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Auto/biography & Pedagogy

Memory & Presence in Teaching


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 4: Retrieving Memory, Shaping Teaching: Stories of Teachers



Retrieving Memory, Shaping Teaching: Stories of Teachers

After beginning with the family stories that shaped my own life and identity, I now turn to the life stories of educators from the diverse communities that make up contemporary Israeli society. I wonder what their stories might have in common. How do they differ? What makes the difference? How does place matter—in particular, living on ‘contested ground’? What of time—lived time, historical time, the sometimes hallucinogenic time of violent conflict? Do the teachers’ narratives embody closure and self-protection, as one might perhaps expect, or are there openings within them to dialogue and criticism? To look more closely at these issues, in this chapter I examine the life stories narrated by a group of teachers who are graduate students in education; in Chapter 5, I will examine the life stories of colleagues, teacher educators in Israel and abroad.

As already noted, the students at the University of Haifa are a diverse group in both age and background. The university does not provide official demographic information about the student body, but it is usually held that roughly eighty percent of the students are Jewish (most of them born in Israel, about a third immigrants—mainly from the former Soviet Union). Around twenty percent of the students belong to the Arab/Palestinian community; by religion they are Moslem, Christian, and Druze. Some of the students are religiously observant or traditional, others secular. They have been educated...

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