On not becoming 'a mere empirical existence': exploring 'who' and 'what' narratives in pre-service English teachers' writing

Graham Bruce Parr, Scott Anthony Bulfin, Renee Castaldi, Elisabeth Cari Griffiths, Charmaine Manuel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Standards-based reforms of education favour narrow forms of teacher professional learning tied to generic standards and pre-determined, measurable outcomes. In high-stakes accountability-driven environments, in schools and initial teacher education programs, educators are rarely encouraged to inquire into their work and professional identities through narrative writing. This article describes and analyses an assessment task in a pre-service teacher education course wherein students explore dialogic forms of critical autobiographical writing as part of an ongoing process of examining and clarifying their views and values about English teaching. Drawing on Cavarero, we argue that the writing these preservice teachers do provides a space for them to negotiate ?what? and ?who? narratives as they journey to become English teachers. Their writing productively grapples with generic ?what? stories such as what standards documents attempt to tell about English teaching, and the ?unrepeatable uniqueness? of ?who? stories developed out of their individual cultural, educational and linguistic difference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133 - 148
Number of pages16
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this