The people of the school: Problematising remote teacher educator identity, reflexivity and place

lcj-20-coverAl Strangeways

LCJ: Special Issue: New Connections in Education Research, 20, pp. 70-81

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Strangeways, A. (2016). The people of the school: Problematising remote teacher educator identity, reflexivity and place. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: New Connections in Education Research], 20, 70-81. DOI:



This paper offers the research story of my artistic and analytic practices in a remote Indigenous teacher education setting in Central Australia. In this hybrid arts-based research text (Barone & Eisner 1997), I use portrait painting, narrative and analysis to explore my encounters, as both teacher educator and visual artist, with the people of the school, and examine the impact of shifting between these identities on my pedagogical practices as a teacher educator. I explore the ways in which operating as an artist problematised my educator identity: how it embodied my knowledge of the dynamic, social and multiple nature of identity (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011) and challenged the tacit knowledge and perspectives I brought to the remote setting and to my interactions with staff, children and families.

The three pairs of paintings and narrative fragments presented derive from a portraiture project undertaken in 2014. The pairs and commentary present a range of perspectives on the complexity of professional identity and practice, and offer insights into the experience of thinking differently through arts-based research practices. I draw out three dimensions of thinking differently – looking differently, seeing differently and being differently – and highlight the value of foregrounding such perceptual and ontological questioning practices in our work as teacher educators.


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