The Impact of Teachers' Autobiographies on Teaching Practice

The Impact of Teachers' Autobiographies on Teaching Practice

  • Submitted By: Dunakeszi
  • Date Submitted: 07/14/2013 12:11 PM
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 4748
  • Page: 19
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The Impact of Teachers’ Autobiographies on Teaching Practice by Diana Norma Szokolyai, Ed.M, M.A.



The more I thought about the impact of teachers’ autobiographies on their practice and the question of how the understanding of teacher autobiography might influence the way we design research on pedagogy and engage in the practice of teaching, the more I began to question why teachers’ personal narratives are traditionally given so little attention. After coming to a realization of the enormous impact that teachers’ life stories had on their practice, I began to wonder how any design for researching pedagogy or engaging in the practice of teaching could ignore teacher autobiography. How could something so essential be sidelined or worse—ignored completely? In letters of interest for job applications, teachers get a chance to speak about their stories, but more often than not, they will avoid influences or information that is exclusively intimate, concentrating more on quoting the trendiest pedagogy of the day, the latest approach they learned from Teacher’s College or from an educational review. In this essay, I will examine the experiences of three outstanding teachers, Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, David Wilkins, and Anne McCrary Sullivan to explore the impact their own personal narratives have had on their professional practice. Their ability to engage in a high level of introspection and their intrapersonal intelligence has allowed them to pay attention and listen to their own stories, which in turn made them pay attention and listen to their students. This capacity for listening to others’ stories, tuning into the lives of their students and paying them close individual attention is very important to all three teachers. Furthermore, their teaching styles and the way they view themselves as teachers is deeply rooted in an understanding of their personal stories. We cannot fully understand their teaching without the context of these life...

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