Dr. Judith M. Newman



Situating Ourselves

[ Journal Entry ]

An interesting issue arises from the juxtaposition of a couple of the readings. Connelly/Clandinin mention the issue which Nel Noddings raises: “that of using the narrative to situate ourselves in relation to the persons with whom we work (children as well as adults, I might add), to the ways in which we practice in a collaborative way, and to the ways all participants model, in their practices, a valuing and confirmation of each other.”

It’s this business of situating ourselves, that we have to keep in focus. That’s at the heart of what we’re attempting. The thing I find interesting in Connelly/Clandinin’s work, however, is how they do none of this themselves—they keep telling us how to do narrative inquiry, but I have never seen a narrative inquiry of theirs—of teachers they work with, but nothing they’ve written about their own work. Hence, their admonishing the reader to remember it’s important that the researcher listen first to the practitioner’s story.

In our work, the researcher is the practitioner. We’re researching ourselves, trying to situate ourselves in what we do.

This situating ourselves is what Bruner refers to as a constructivist position. That is we’re attempting to tell ourselves our own stories, to construct them from fragments of evidence, both present and past. The challenge, I believe, as he mentions at the end of his piece, is that the ways “of conceptualizing that with (our stories) become so habitual that they finally become recipes for structuring experience itself."

We’re trying to use our narrative accounts to break that habitual conceptualizing. We’re trying to see ourselves with new eyes, in new ways and so to construct a new perspective on who we are and on our work.