Looking big at cooperating teachers in music education: examining narrative authority within a knowledge community
Greene, Jennifer L. R.
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The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to examine how cooperating teachers’ narrative authority was revealed or strengthened within an intentionally formed knowledge community established to create a safe space for cooperating teachers to story and restory their experiences as music teacher educators. The conceptions of knowledge communities and narrative authority, grounded in Dewey’s theory of experience and narrative knowing, followed the research line of Connelly and Clandinin (1990). Concepts of interest emerging from this framework were cooperating teachers’ personal practical knowledge, continuity of experience between their stories, interaction with others in specific contexts, features of the professional knowledge landscape of music teacher education, and tensions arising from cooperating teachers’ positions on the landscape relative to the conduit. Of particular interest was how the strengthening of narrative authority within the knowledge community would allow cooperating teachers to question taken-for-granted notions of teacher education. The knowledge community, which included three participants and myself, met twice during the course of the study, but maintained continuous communication through conversations and emails. Observations were conducted during the student teaching practicum. Field notes were also an important part of the data collected. Data analysis and representation were situated within the three-dimensional inquiry space described by Clandinin and Connelly (2000) and drew on a variety of methods. Issues of researcher subjectivity and ethics were addressed through enacting the principles of resonant work in narrative inquiry in music education (Stauffer & Barrett, 2009). Four story categories emerged from the data: stories of established practice, stories of influential relationships, stories of tension, and stories of possibility. Laying alongside the stories of each participant created a thematic dialogue that gives readers a seat at the table to experience their stories and a jumping off point to add their own. There is potential for this type of knowledge community to strengthen practice by creating a space for sharing previously untold stories of practice. The process of looking back at past practices, reflecting on current practices, and reimagining future practices within the knowledge community strengthened narrative authority in a way that opened the possibility to trouble certainty.