Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Portraying the Genred Self: An Autoethnographic Account of Six Characters in Search of a Teaching Identity
by Rushing, Ashby Reid, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2011, 325; 3434118
Abstract (Summary)

This study researched my teaching identity. The study included a critical exploration of the multiple personal and professional selves and the roles they play in the formation of my teaching self. Researching my teaching identity through constructing knowledge of my multiple selves and the relationships among them enabled me to better understand my teaching identity at this moment in time and to develop a more complex framework for understanding my developing teaching identity over time.

This research is presented as a performance autoethnographic multigenred study. Using performance autoethnography and representing my findings through multiple genres provided a more layered picture of my teaching identity: the complexly layered story of where it came from and what it is now. Multigenre writing was used to define the six characters—daughter, writer, wife, teacher, mother, and researcher—that comprise my teaching identity. Additionally, a one-act play was created, putting the six characters on stage.

Story grounded this research and how it is presented. My life and my teaching identity are entwined; to understand one I have to understand both. Through story, I have come to better know myself and see my life in new and different ways. This research used writing as a method of inquiry. Writing is a sense-making act; through writing, I gained insight into the formation and nature of my multiple selves and my teacher identity and how it optimized student thinking and learning.

This study suggests the importance of reflective writing in teachers’ professional lives. Also, this study suggests that teachers are not one self but many selves in the classroom. The evidence supported by this study suggests I must be explicit with students about the power struggles I am experiencing. This research made me recognize a few aspects of my teaching identity that I want to change. This study of my teaching identity has awakened me to the need to involve students in determining which characters are connected to specific actions and words. This study suggests that students can explore their multiple characters because they themselves are not singular, unified identities, but like me, possess multiple characters. Lastly, this study provides a multiplicity of possibilities for methodological approaches using performance autoethnography and multigenre writing.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Paley, Nicholas B.
Commitee: Beck, Sylven, Hall, Libby, Hanrahan, Linda, Tate, Patricia
School: The George Washington University
Department: Curriculum & Instruction
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 72/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Pedagogy, Teacher education
Keywords: Autoethnography, Multigenre, Performance, Performance autoethnography, Teaching identity
Publication Number: 3434118
ISBN: 9781124405803
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