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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Becoming anew as an educator : thinking with Arendt through narrative Hashemi Nouri, Haideh


Inspired by Hannah Arendt’s concept of narrative, this thesis examines my becoming anew as an educator in relation to others and within the context of historical events. As autobiographical inquiry, the study interweaves fragmented life stories based on my memories of growing up in Iran during the monarchy era, revolution and war, coupled with my experience of immigration to Canada, motherhood, and teaching. These life stories provide insight into my self-formation, influenced by social, cultural and political context and inter-generational relations. A life full of indelible events between birth and death can appear in narrative. Narrative becomes an act of remembrance that reveals who-ness of the actor. Narrative affects, incites and calls for further action; however, the outcome of the initial act is not guaranteed. Life stories in various forms have been fundamental in understanding the past, and illuminating the path to the future. Stories reveal the significance of words and deeds with which “we insert ourselves into the human world, and this insertion is like a second birth” (Arendt, 1998, p. 176). The role of narrative in education throws light on the contingency and complexity of subject-formation. Through this thesis, I explore ways in which early childhood educators can support the young in becoming subjects. Becoming a subject means having the capacity for freedom of thought and action in relation and response to others. I inquire how narratives in education—a site of tension between the old and new—can support the young generation in their renewal of the world. This investigation portrays the role of narrative/pedagogical narration in the process of living inquiries, reflective dialogues, and pedagogical engagements with children in early childhood spaces.

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