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Auto/biography & Pedagogy

Memory & Presence in Teaching

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Freema Elbaz-Luwisch

In the tradition of educational narrative inquiry, this book explores diverse ways of thinking, writing and theorizing from auto/biographic experience, in language that is rooted in practice yet challenges the authoritative discourses of educational policy, theory and research. The book moves from first to third person accounts and from personal and family stories to narratives of teachers and teacher educators in the contested, multicultural environment of Israel. It highlights the multi-voiced, embodied lives of Israeli teachers from many cultures and identities and engages with literature around memory and embodiment, imagination, place and presence in teaching. The book will interest researchers in curriculum studies, teaching and teacher education, as well as scholars interested in issues of memory in historical and contemporary contexts.
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Chapter 3: Mothering, Embodying, Teaching

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CHAPTER 3

Mothering, Embodying, Teaching

The purpose of this chapter is to make sense of the complex relations that obtain among the three terms that make up its title—mothering and teaching as two practices central to society, and embodiment as a crucial feature of both. These three terms figure centrally in my own life story as they must in the stories of other women in education. Holding together the multiple concerns reflected by the three terms is a difficult task. As Pillay (2008, 1) reminds us, there is a clear distinction between “being mother, traditionally associated with nurturing, love and emotion, and being academic, traditionally associated with reason and logic.” There is a parallel disconnect between our everyday experience and understanding of our bodies and the ways that the academic world has at its disposal to take account of embodiment. And similarly, the theoretical understandings of teaching as a practice and a profession, and of pedagogy as a subject of inquiry, are not so commonly linked up to either mothering or embodiment. And yet understanding and telling forward my own story require an examination of these terms in concert.

Trusting that a story which demands to be told has shaped who I am and still has much to teach me about being an educator and scholar, I decided to begin the inquiry of this book with my mother’s story. Chapter 2 stands as a first effort to write about my mother, to quiet...

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