Chapter 9 – Revisiting Three Stories

The following stories have been told so far in this book:

Chapter One— The story of teachers deciding to expel a student from school was told to the readers of this book to illustrate the real world of teaching and the use of qualitative inquiry by a variety of inquiring educators to understand that world better.

Chapter Two and Appendix A— The story of teacher education based on inquiry by all participants was told to educational researchers and potential educator-inquirers to illustrate the need for action research by teachers, supervising professors, and student teachers so they will become more vulnerable learners, and thus, more powerful educators.

Chapter Three and Appendix B— This story of one teacher’s journal keeping and reflective analysis of the stories in that journal was told to her professor as a class project, to teachers in in-service sessions, and to readers of this book to encourage them to keep a record of their experiences and thoughts and to use analysis procedures such as Spradley’s to gain useful insights into their teaching experiences.

Chapter Four and Appendix C— This story of one teacher’s study of one student was told to her professor, to parents, and to other teachers to illustrate the change that can come about in a teacher’s life and teaching when that teacher listens carefully with qualitative inquiry tools to the stories students are telling with their lives.

Chapter Five and Appendix D— This story of an inquirer critiquing her own work was told to the readers of this book and the inquirer’s professor to illustrate the use of standards for judging the quality of qualitative studies.

Chapter Six and Appendix E— This story of a district superintendent’s study of change was told to a dissertation committee and then in an article to school administrators and scholars interested in educational change to illustrate the value of inquiry by a school administrator and to help the audience think about change in a different way.

Chapter Seven and Appendix F— This story of an assistant elementary school principal seeking to understand a school policy through the eyes of children and parents was told to a dissertation committee and then in an article to school principals and teachers to invite these audiences to reconsider their policies of retaining children in the early grades and is an illustration of the value of retelling stories from several perspectives.

Chapter Eight and Appendix G— This story of a graduate student studying a teacher and his thinking for a dissertation project was told to a dissertation committee and shared with the readers of this book to explore what the student learned about teacher thinking and to illustrate alternative ways of interpreting people’s experiences and telling stories about those experiences.

The stories from Chapters One, Three, and Six will be discussed in some detail below. These three were selected because they represent three rather divergent stories told to very different audiences and for very different purposes. The story of Steve in Chapter One is really a story that could be told to any audience, whether they were educators or simply members of a society in which school plays a major role. Marné’s story in Chapter Three was not a thesis or a dissertation but it is a relatively concise story (a complete dissertation would be much too long to present here) that follows a dissertation format and would address the concerns of a graduate committee interested in testing a student’s competency as a Ph.D. candidate. And the story of change in Chapter Six was written in an article format for people interested in that topic, particularly in the context of schooling. Please review each of these stories in the appropriate sections of this book before going on to the next section of this chapter.

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