What deathless powers: A conversation with Steinbeck to problematize the role of the ethnographic researcher in education
‘What deathless power lies in the hands’ of the practitioner and researcher? Whilst designing an arts- based methodology, I considered Steinbeck’s notion of the ‘teacher who writes on children’s minds’ (Steinbeck, 1955). This paper tells the story of how I conversed with others as I considered and designed a study to critically explore my research question: What does it mean to be a Pākehā educator? As an emerging researcher I looked to mentors/guides/critical friends to enlarge my understanding of the role I was undertaking, represented here through a fictional conversation with John Steinbeck. For the purpose of my study I required a methodology that would enable me to engage in an in depth exploration of individual stories of contemporary Pākehā educators, whilst acknowledging my central role as both Pākehā and educator. I chose to take a postcritical ethnographic approach.
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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015