Becoming a narrative inquirer
Our teaching of narrative inquiry, shaped by a conceptualization of narrative inquiry grounded in a Deweyan theory of experience, works from a view of experience as embodied, always in motion, and shaped and reshaped by continuous interaction among personal, social, institutional and cultural environments. Given this experiential grounding, narrative inquiry is much more than telling or analyzing stories. Our focus is on learning to think narratively, that is, on learning to think with stories. Learning to think with stories highlights the relational, multiperspectival processes in which participants and narrative inquirers inquire into their lived and told stories attentive to the dimensions of temporality, sociality and place and with a focus on retelling and reliving lived and told stories in more thoughtful and responsive ways in the future. Through a series of storied moments, we show ways in which we intentionally create small responsive communities of sustained conversation enabling students to tell aspects of their lives through engaging in diverse narrative inquiry activities. We then illuminate the transformational power of response as lives meet within the three-dimensional narrative inquiry space and each teller is supported in retelling his/her stories in more attentive ways. As students learn to attend to their experiences in narrative ways each teller awakens to new ways of knowing and becoming a narrative inquirer.