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Both Sides of the Table

Autoethnographies of Educators Learning and Teaching With/In [Dis]ability


Edited By Philip Smith

Both Sides of the Table is a set of evocative, heartfelt, personal, and revealing stories, told by educators about how their experiences with disability, personally and in the lives of family members, has affected their understanding of disability. It uses disability studies and critical theory lenses to understand the autoethnographies of teachers and their personal relationships with disability. The book takes a beginning look at the meaning of autoethnography as a method of inquiry, as well as how it has been (and will be) applied to exploring disability and the role of education in creating and sustaining it. The title refers to the context in which educators find themselves in Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings for students with disabilities in schools. There, educators often sit on the other side of the table from people with disabilities, their families, and their allies. In these chapters, the authors assume roles that place them, literally, on both sides of IEP tables. They inscribe new meanings – of relationships, of disability, of schools, of what it means to be an educator and a learner. It is a proposal (or perhaps a gentle manifesto) for what research, education, disability, and a utopian revolutionary politics of social transformation could and should look like.
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About the Contributors


Lynn G. Albee: Lynn G. Albee holds a BA in Music Performance and an MA in Instruction from Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota. She earned her Ed.D in Disability and Equity in Education from National Louis University.  Currently, she serves as the Program Director for the Master of Arts in Education program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Her writing has explored the over-representation of minorities in special education, inequity in education for individuals with disabilities, and she has presented at international conferences. Albee’s dissertation “Because I knew that I was right. Narrative Inquiry: A person’s aesthetic of disability,” tells the story of a man with an intellectual disability fighting for (and eventually winning) his right to live on campus. Albee has taught in parochial, public K-12 schools and segregated private day schools. Albee has also been an Education Specialist at the University of Minnesota, an Instructor at National Louis University and a Technology Consultant for a grant implementing Universal Design for Learning in post-secondary environments. Albee has a brother who has autism, and her experiences with him piqued her interest in the field of disability studies. As the oldest of four, Albee noticed the inequity of her education and her brother’s education. As a teacher, she insisted her classrooms be inclusive. In one instance, her assertion resulted in her teaching position being terminated. She started an adapted music program for students with autism, resulting in a happier classroom and school environment. She currently teaches courses on engaging learning environments,...

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