Stepping out from behind the Curtains of Academic Oz: An Autoethnography of Restorative Learning
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This critical autoethnographic exploration evolved following an initial curiosity concerning diversity of practice amongst (other) Lecturers when constructing feedback for mature undergraduate Registered Nurses. As an early exploration revealed that I was viewing my professional experiences as a learner and practitioner through a previously unacknowledged working class lens, I began to foreground personal experiences from which a more relational understanding of the intersecting nature of personal, professional and broader influences on practice has emerged. A reclaimed marginalised perspective provided an ethical direction for the research and for the development of a more nuanced understanding of feedback practice. Within this thesis, autobiographical writing, stories from practice and theory share a symbiotic and reciprocal relationship illustrating the intersectionality of multiple influences on practice. This layered and intertwined approach to data generation and interpretation allowed me to critically engage with my social and practice worlds incorporating the tensions and dilemmas of what it means to practice as a teacher and to be human within the academy. The theory of restorative learning (Lange, 2004, 2007) underpins the structure of the thesis, foregrounding the emerging influence of a restored marginalised perspective. The concepts of habitus, field, capital and symbolic violence (Bourdieu, 1973) have been used to think through how these restored perspectives and personal experiences intersect with professional and broader influences in practice. Through autoethnographic exploration insights emerged; the influence of a wounded learner habitus on feedback practice, a renegotiation of a privileged position in the feedback relationship and the development of trickster properties as a device to open up dialogue and reflexive spaces within my own culture in order to develop feedback practice beyond the self. In practice we are rarely encouraged to confront why we think the way we do about ourselves as teachers, particularly in relation to the social, cultural and political world around us. This thesis contributes to the ongoing scholarly conversation concerning influences on professional practice from a practitioner perspective and the role of a layered approach to autoethnography in making these perspectives accessible.
EdD in Education