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Interrogating (Hi)stories

Establishing the Educational Relevance of Spiritual Development Through Critical Historiography


Audrey Lingley

In Interrogating (Hi)stories, Audrey Lingley uses a critical constructivist perspective to problematize the absence of the spiritual dimension of human growth from pedagogical models that emphasize responsiveness to developmental psychology. The book investigates this conspicuous absence through critical historiographical research; it is a critical interrogation of the tacit understandings that guide education in general and middle grades reform in particular. The author offers practical, classroom-based implications and culturally respectful language for educators who believe spirituality is a legitimate aspect of human growth and learning in a public school setting.
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Different images of the same landscape enable us to see different possibilities, different relationships, and perhaps enable us to imagine new phenomena in that educational landscape. A new image must be articulated or described so others can move within the landscape as they did in the past, but with greater freedom and new awareness of their choices and limitations. (Huebner, 1999, p. 404)

Critical historiography in educational research is a unique and highly effective methodology for interrogating beliefs, assumptions, and values treated as normal or natural as a means of challenging dominant pedagogy and opening up space for new visions of educational practice. One of the empowering aspects of critical constructivism—the researcher paradigm that guides critical historiography—is its commitment to theory explicitly situated in classroom practice. Critical historiography offers an authentic and transformative methodology for exploring and discussing theory and practice in ways that serve both academics and practitioners. By blurring the hierarchical lines between scholars and teachers while still maintaining rigorous standards for research, critical historiography is an exemplar of critical research.

However, as a research methodology in education, critical historiography is neither common nor well-understood. Doctoral programs in the fields of education (e.g., curriculum and instruction, leadership, and policy) typically categorize research methods courses into two camps: quantitative and qualitative. Historiographical techniques may draw from those two categories, but as a method of scholarly inquiry, it is distinct in terms of purpose, design, and results. One of the challenges of...

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