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Silent Moments in Education

Silent Moments in Education: An Autoethnography of Learning, Teaching, and Learning to Teach

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 336
  • Book Info
    Silent Moments in Education
    Book Description:

    Silent Moments in Educationcombines autoethnography with psychoanalytic theory and critical discourse analysis in a unique consideration of the relations teachers and learners forge with knowledge, with ideas, and with one another.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9564-1
    Subjects: Education, Psychology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. Prologue First Circumnarrative: The Sun
    (pp. 3-4)

    It is not a straight line.

    January 2006

    If an ending is also a beginning, can a beginning be also an ending? And can there be a place where we are neither beginning nor ending, but waiting to do both? I have been wandering around in academic limbo for some time now. For well over two years I have done virtually no work. This time has divided itself roughly into two not-quite-equal parts: caring for a terminally ill loved one, and mourning the death and the permanent absence of that beloved.

    Still, it seems as if it might be time...

  5. Introduction
    (pp. 5-20)

    A four-year-old kindergarten pupil is silently, utterly obedient, even when faced with disagreeable demands from the teacher. A secondary school student feels drawn to a specific subject area, but vehemently refuses to enrol in a course with a particular teacher, despite warnings that this decision could preclude continuing in a beloved discipline. A university student, despite being familiar with the texts the course addresses and interested in its concepts, sits at the computer for days on end, producing nothing, as the due date for the final paper rapidly approaches. A preservice teacher is eager and obliged to gain practical experience,...

  6. PART 1

    • Second Circumnarrative: The Wind
      (pp. 23-24)

      June 2006

      On an early summer day, at the point in the distinct but inseparable processes of grieving a loss and creating a project, when I know that for pragmatic reasons I must try to shift the balance away from the former and toward the latter, I read, for the umpteenth time, my dissertation proposal. And as I do, to my great surprise I feel an excitement rising in me. This excitement is physical, visceral. It begins in the soles of my feet, moves up my legs, vibrates through my thighs. At the core of me it is a kind...

    • 1 Thinking about Facts: Ethnography, Autoethnography, Discourse Analysis, Psychoanalysis
      (pp. 25-44)

      They seem straightforward enough.

      I attended secondary school in Ontario from 1969 to 1974. In the curriculum then in effect, English became non-compulsory after Grade 11. I did not like English, so although I had been informed of the consequences, I chose to stop taking it.

      These facts are where I am choosing, for now, to begin my story. It is not so easy to determine what the beginning actually is, what the facts really are. There is more than one beginning, and there are many facts. Beginnings are more than moments in time. They are events in thinking, places...

    • 2 Thinking about Stories: Narrative, Memory, Psychoanalytic Theory
      (pp. 45-68)

      Here is another version of the story of dropping English: a fictive reconstruction and expansion, shifted into third-person, of the ʹfactsʹ set out at the beginning of Chapter 1.

      From the notes of a secondary school guidance counsellor:

      Date: June 1972

      Student: Colette Granger

      Grade: 11

      Purpose of appointment: Grade 12 timetable

      Everything in order. Grade 12 option sheet signed by mother. Student wants to drop English. I told her this was unusual, because

      (a) many Grade 11 girls want to drop math, but English is usually one of their favourite courses

      (b) she has always had high marks in...

    • 3 Field Notes, Felt-notes, Felt and Noted: Silencing Learning, Silencing Desire
      (pp. 69-98)

      Behar is pointed regarding the seamier side of ethnography illuminated by the controversy surrounding the appearance in 1967 of MalinowskiʹsDiary:it was, she writes, ʹthe genre that wassilentabout the privileges of gender, race, class, and nationality, the genre that wassilentabout power, the genre that wassilent about desireʹ (Behar, 1999, p. 473; my italics). But Beharʹs, and indeed Malinowskiʹs, are not the only voices cooking up trouble in the (auto)ethnographic kitchen. Hammersley (1992, pp. 144–5) responds to the commonly held view of practitioner research (grounded in insider knowledge) as more legitimate than that done...

  7. PART 2

    • Third Circumnarrative: The Rain
      (pp. 101-102)

      July 2006.

      This afternoon, out of nowhere came rain.

      The day steaming hot, my little office sticky and sweaty and still even with the window wide open, and suddenly, with one inaugural thunderbolt, the rain comes. Relief, wetter than ever, but cooler. My eyes move from the small bright square of computer screen to the larger illuminated window frame, and through it to the damp-smelling shiny outside, where water falls in great thick streaks, noisy on the shed roof, splashing into bins empty of the gardenʹs weeds that should fill them because itʹs summer and everything grows, but that donʹt...

    • 4 Curiosity Kills the Silence: On (Not) Representing Sex in Kindergarten
      (pp. 103-128)

      Several winters ago, my partner and I spent about a dozen Tuesday evenings taking Latin dance lessons in a school near our home. That classroom was a lively place. The instructors, a man and woman in their forties, kept the talk flowing and the music playing. The bass was loud: you have to feel the beat, they would say. They encouraged the students to loosen up – feel the musichere, here, here– and they would point to the head, the feet, the heart. Andsomewhere else, they would insinuate, not saying precisely where, never pointing, but talking in...

    • 5 Another Nice Mess: Teachers Translated by Technology
      (pp. 129-160)

      In April of 1997 I used an IBM Selectric typewriter to draft the final paper for the last course of my undergraduate degree. I was not a very good typist, and there were streaks of liquid paper where I had made corrections: the professor told me it looked old-fashioned.

      That fall I entered a teacher education program as one of a cohort of 70 student teachers. Some of us had computers at home; many did not. Six of us were recruited for a project called ʹHands On Information Technologyʹ (HOIT), whose aim was to facilitate computer use among novice teachers,...

  8. PART 3

    • Fourth Circumnarrative: The Snow
      (pp. 163-164)

      I always kept a journal. From the small, thick diaries of childhood, their covers red ʹleatheretteʹ and their pages edged in ʹgoldʹ that matched the tiny keys I locked them with (and often subsequently lost), to spiral-bound notebooks of a more utilitarian sort, to (still later) more elegant versions made from handmade paper and covered in moleskin or linen, I recorded thoughts, observations, secret pleasures and private furies. Some I have discarded; one or two I tore to shreds; a few I have still.

      A little over nine years ago, in January of 1998, I stopped. It was nearly two...

    • 6 Neither Here Nor There: Difficult Moments in Teacher Education
      (pp. 165-192)

      I begin writing this section of my study on a bright day in early February, several years after the journal entry that precedes it, in what was until a few days ago an unusually mild and snowless winter. Today is bitterly cold. It stormed all last night and this morning, and outside all is muffled by snow except the scraping of the neighbourʹs shovel as he clears his driveway. I have had to turn on the electric heater in my chilly little upstairs office, and Iʹve lit candles and made tea, and I sit at my desk with a woollen...

    • 7 Ghosts That Haunt Us: ʹForbidden Narrativesʹ of Learning to Teach
      (pp. 193-232)

      The Kleinian concept of splitting of the object, and concomitantly the ego, marks the origin in psychoanalytic thought of object relations theory. Developed by Fairbairn (1952), Winnicott (1990) and others, it posits (in a moment of almost-meeting with pure social constructionism) that the human psyche is made, and makes itself, in relation to the social world. This making is inaugurated when the infant begins to perceive its separateness from its mother¹ in a process in which ego is the force that mediates between inside and outside. In the classic Freudian view (1948), the infant prior to this awakening has no...

    • Fifth Circumnarrative: The Spring
      (pp. 233-234)

      March 21, 2007

      In my mind I wander back to the frozen day when I began writing what has become Chapter 6. The bitter winds of winter have gone, and though it is still cool outside most of the snow has melted, and the calendar says it is the first day of spring. I remember, that other day, the radio playing Joni Mitchellʹs ʹCircle Game.ʹ I do not think that Mitchellʹs thinking was deliberately psychoanalytical when she wrote ʹWe canʹt return, we can only look behind from where we came.ʹ But looking back, it seems to me, is a kind...

  9. (In)Conclusion
    (pp. 235-252)

    On a summer evening in the early months of developing this study, I went for the first time to the home of a new friend. Located in a sleek high-rise in a recently rebuilt part of the city, his little apartment was a cluttered labyrinth – the small hallway made even narrower and more cramped by stacks of books, magazines, record albums, and all the detritus of a life in which things get put down but never put away. The walls were dark too, covered with photographs in frames, paintings, and yellowed architectural drawings. I turned a corner into the...

  10. Epilogue Sixth Circumnarrative: Around and after Words
    (pp. 253-256)

    This work has been a long time coming. At the point when I had imagined I would be beginning to write, my partner, Alberto, was diagnosed with cancer. At the point when I had imagined I would be adding the final touches to the finished piece, he died. I had no choice but to wait until after his death to begin writing, yet for a long time his death made writing impossible. And if it was impossible after he died it was even more emphatically so while he was alive but sick: for reasons practical, logistic, and otherwise the last...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 257-270)
  12. References
    (pp. 271-302)
  13. Author Index
    (pp. 303-308)
  14. Subject Index
    (pp. 309-320)