UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Learning to be a mother, to be a mother learning, a mother learning to be Lee, Fiona Ruth Grace


Adult learning is “a multidimensional phenomenon ... that takes place in various contexts”, including those that are concurrently individual, familial, and societal (Merriam 2008, p. 97). Through a process that is located, dynamic, informal and formal, and occurs in both public and private contexts, this thesis employs autobiographical bricolage to articulate my mother learning in a rich, layered exploration and expression of insights. Over the course of my writings, I explored my identity, role, and practices within the contexts of family relationships, communities of peers and mentors, and the wider North American context. Through this method, I articulate the spectrum of mental, emotional, psychological, relational, spiritual, embodied, and artistic learning in which I have been engaged, while also locating my self in the context of the broader educational and interdisciplinary discussions on mothering and learning. This thesis gives shape to my mother learning journey: a process of identification and reflection which grants me insight into other parents’ ways of “knowing, learning, and being” and has fostered in me the desire to facilitate and provide compassionate support for other parent learners (Grumet 1988, p. 149; Holman-Jones 2008, p. 209; Geertz 2003, p. 149). This desire to develop “a shared consciousness” is rooted in a desire to foster the “surprising insights” that Davis, et al. (2000) claim will inspire learners to continue seeking growth and challenge (Clarke & Collins 2007, p. 167; p. 148). Self-exploration informs my role as a parent educator seeking to enrich the mutual learning of parent-learners and educators. Through clarification of the mother learning of my predecessors and by offering new “methods and meaning”, I hope to incite change through a process which layers cycles of reflection and re-imagining (Byrne-Armstrong 2001, p. 72; Grumet 1988, p. 90, 93, 19; Holman-Jones 2003, p. 111). My own transformation from an isolated, fearful, and discouraged woman who felt constrained by her mother role, to that of a layered, humbled, questioning, and resourceful mother, daughter, wife, and educator define the borders of this thesis, but not of my learning journey as a mother and parent educator. This journey continues still now.

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