|dc.description.abstract||This is a Self-study about my role as a teacher, driven by the question: "How
do I improve my practice?" (Whitehead, 1989)? In this study, I explored the
discomfort that I had with the way that I had been teaching. Specifically, I worked to
uncover the reasons behind my obsessive (mis)management of my students. I wrote
of how I came to give my Self permission for this critique: how I came to know that all
knowledge is a construction, and that my practice, too, is a construction.
I grounded this journey within my experiences. I constructed these
experiences in narrative fomi in order to reach a greater understanding of how I
came to be the teacher I initially was. I explored metaphors that impacted my
practice, re-constructed them, and saw more clearly the assumptions and influences
that have guided my teaching.
I centred my inquiry into my teaching within an Action Reflection
methodology, bon-owing Jack Whitehead's (1989) term to describe my version of
Action Research. I relied upon the embedded cyclical pattern of Action Reflection to
understand my teaching Self: beginning from a critical moment, reflecting upon it,
and then taking appropriate action, and continuing in this way, working to improve
my practice. To understand these critical moments, I developed a personal definition
of critical literacy. I then tumed this definition inward. In treating my practice as a
textual production, I applied critical literacy as a framework in coming to know and
understand the construction that is my teaching.
I grounded my thesis journey within my Self, positioning my study within my
experiences of being a grade 1 teacher struggling to teach critical literacy. I then repositioned
my journey to that of a grade 1 teacher struggling to use critical literacy to
improve my practice. This journey, then, is about the transition from critical literacyit
as-subject to critical literacy-as-instmctional-method in improving my practice. I
joumeyed inwards, using a critical moment to build new understandings, leading me
to the next critical moment, and continued in this cyclical way. I worked in this
meandering yet deliberate way to reach a new place in my teaching: one that is more
inclusive of all the voices in my room.
I concluded my journey with a beginning: a beginning of re-visioning my
practice. In telling the stories of my journey, of my teaching, of my experiences, I
changed into the teacher that I am more comfortable with.
I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the
classroom. It's my personal approach that creates the climate. It's my daily
mood that makes the weather As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power
to make a person's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an
instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all
situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or
de-escalated and a person humanized or de-humanized. (Ginott, as cited in
Buscaglia, 2002, p. 22)||en_US