A narrative inquiry into the experience of negotiating the dominant stories of physical education: living, telling, re-telling, and re-living

2015-11-19T16:08:35Z (GMT) by Ashley Casey Lee Schaefer
This paper explores the tensions that surfaced as a teacher of physical education shifted his ‘stories to live by’ (Clandinin and Connelly, 1999) around physical education. The tensions became explicit when his shifting ‘stories to live by’ bumped against dominant narratives of physical education that shaped his professional knowledge landscape. Our inquiry is framed by Dewey’s pragmatic ontology (1938) and Clandinin and Connelly’s (1995) narrative conception of experience as the living and telling, re-telling and re-living, of stories of experience. We also draw on Connelly and Clandinin’s (1999) narrative conception of identity as ‘stories to live by’ which is an embodied, fluid and context-dependent view of identity as situated at the interface between personal practical knowledge and professional knowledge landscapes. We begin with situating this work within the broader spectrum of narrative research. We then describe the relational processes of re-telling the stories through narrative inquiry (Author 1 and 2) and finally explore the re-living of these stories in order to show the tensions that surfaced as Author 1’s ‘stories to live by’ shifted. We engage in the narrative inquiry process of re-telling using the three-dimensional narrative inquiry space (with dimensions of place, sociality, temporality), to show tensions and shifting identities. We conceptualize these tensions as moments of autobiographical revisions (Carr, 1986). These revisions are seen as a part of a person’s struggle for narrative coherence; a struggle to compose a life in the professional knowledge landscape that is meaningful to each individual. In these moments of autobiographical revision we show the reflexive relationship between living, telling, re-telling and re-living of stories. We end by considering what we have learned about our own stories to live by through this process and theoretically and practically suggest ways other teacher educators and physical educators might benefit from engaging in narrative inquiry work.