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Vulnerable to possibilities : a journey of self-knowing through personal narrative Renner, Peter Grein

Abstract

This study examines one man's experience of becoming an adult educator. Pausing to reflect after twenty-six years of teaching others how to teach, I set out to excavate the foundations of my professional practice, to crack open such questions as How did I become this teacher? and How does my lived experience inform my professional practice? Zooming between the personal and the professional, I layer autobiographical memories, critical incidents, narrative poetry, photographs, collages, and fictional dialogues into a multi-voiced narrative. Declining the security of traditional research tools (such as testing, measuring, classifying, generalizing, and theorizing), I turn instead to the Zen notion of Beginner's Mind, an approach that opens me to many possibilities. Rummaging amongst the messy fragments of lived experience, I encounter the slipperiness of language and the subjectivity of interpretation. I roam widely in the literature and invite colleagues to read and respond to work-in-progress. In due course I find that whole-hearted writing fosters self-transformation and that exposing such work to others triggers conversations about identity and integrity. I now present an open text—one that invites readers to locate their own stories between the lines, interrogate their own teacher persona, and awaken to their own experience

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