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Seeking vision and voice in poetic dwelling

Sarah L. Sawin Thomas, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Narrative inductive accounts of my teaching practices create a compelling medium for exposing and challenging silences in education, while seeking and reinforcing enduring ideals. By stressing active perception, reflection, creative experimentation and invention in multiple mediums (e.g., literary, visual arts and performing arts) within my classroom, students and I experience challenge and hope. As we strive for meaning, the classroom discourse gains texture rich with honesty, pursuit, imaginative leaps, failures and tough ethical questions revealing our shared humanity and fostering agency for learning. The singular and collective stories of teaching that unfold provide direction for the field of education because within them the reader is able to closely observe and interrogate existing practices while better discerning the possible. ^ Poetic dwelling spaces emerge, opening up content rather than pinning it down definitively. Alongside my students we suspend preoccupations with outcomes and linger in ideas. We recursively move from global to local perspectives, asking ourselves who we are amidst larger theoretical conversations about pedagogy and how our practices are informed by the larger scope. We privilege artistry, science and humanity as arteries comprising the bloodstream of good teaching and learning. Each chapter invites such poetic dwelling spaces for both reader and author to enhance meaning through stimulating professional reflection and imagination, considering what constitutes effective teaching/learning practices while probing professional identity. At the core of my professional identity I find over and over again that claiming the identity piece—teacher as inventor vs. reproducer—generates meaningful learning with students, among colleagues, and within myself. The voice and vision for education I personally gain are expressed and the significances for learners and learning revealed. My hope is that these accounts incite a collective educator voice and vision, insisting on the necessity of poetic dwelling spaces as inviting the meaningful work inherent within learning.^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Education, Secondary|Language, Rhetoric and Composition|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Thomas, Sarah L. Sawin, "Seeking vision and voice in poetic dwelling" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3349561.