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TitleUnplayed Tapes: A Personal History of Collaborative Teacher Research. The Practitioner Inquiry ...
LanguageEnglish
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Page 1

DOCUMENT RESUME

ED 438 536 CS 216 989

AUTHOR Fishman, Stephen M.; McCarthy, Lucille
TITLE Unplayed Tapes: A Personal History of Collaborative Teacher

Research. The Practitioner Inquiry Series.
INSTITUTION National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, IL.
ISBN ISBN-0-8141-5573-1; ISBN-0-8077-3967-7
PUB DATE 2000-00-00
NOTE 309p.; Published simultaneously by the National Council of

Teachers of English and Teachers College Press.
AVAILABLE FROM National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 W. Kenyon

Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096 (Stock No. 55731-3050: $19.95
members, $26.95 nonmembers). Tel: 800-369-6283 (Toll Free);
Web site: http://www.ncte.org.

PUB TYPE Books (010) Opinion Papers (120)
EDRS PRICE MF01/PC13 Plus Postage.
DESCRIPTORS Action Research; Case Studies; Classroom Research;

Educational Research; Higher Education; *Inquiry; *Research
Methodology; *Teacher Researchers

IDENTIFIERS Berthoff (Ann E); *Collaborative Research; Integrative
Organized Approach; *Personal History; Stenhouse (Lawrence)

ABSTRACT
In this book, two teachers share their experiences as

researchers to confront and address the current disagreements'about.whether
empirical research or narrative recounting is a better research model. In the
book they seek to transcend these disagreements by endorsing an integrative
approach that covers all aspects of practitioner inquiry, joining discussion
of the history of the field, its theory, and its various research techniques
with presentation of their own classroom studies. Using the contrasting
orientations of Ann Berthoff and Lawrence Stenhouse to better understand
their own views, the two teacher researchers in this book open the "unplayed
tapes" of conversations behind four of their published tudies--in doing so
they trace their struggles to create a style of inquiry that utilizes both
approaches, mixing features of empirical research with elements of teacher
story. The book concludes by offering teacher researchers specific tips about
how to integrate theory and data, insider and outsider perspectives, and
contrasting methodologies. Appendix contains a memo to focus students about
think-alouds (a brain-storming process). Also contains reprints of the four
studies and a 205-item bibliography. (Each chapter contains references.)
(NKA)

Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made
from the original document.

Page 2

UN P LAYE D
TAPE S a peRsoNaL HistoRy of

coLLaBoRative
teacHeR ReseaRcH

PRACTITIONER

INQUIRY

SERIES

BEST COPY AVAILABLE

U S DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Office of Educational Research and Improvement

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION
CENTER (ERIC)

This document has been reproduced as
received from the person or organization
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Minor changes have been made to
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Points of view or opinions stated in this
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PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE AND
DISSEMINATE THIS MATERIAL HAS

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M. Kits r

TO THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
INFORMATION CENTER (ERIC)

STEPHEN M. FISHMAN & LUCILLE MCCARTHY

Page 155

Using Stenhousian Research to Defend Berthoffian-Expressivist Pedagogy 143

cargo as did teacher, textbook, and parent talk. In thus turning my back
on postmodern scholars' deconstruction of language, critics argued, I was
failing to give my students the tools they needed to become reflective
about their own language. Such self-consciousness is crucial, according
to expressivism's critics, if students are to have a chance to intelligently
choose a language, to adopt speech whose ideological cargo they
truly accept.

Obviously, then, I saw these criticisms by Bartholomae, Berlin,
Bizzell, and Shor as important onesones since continued, in fact, by a
second generation of expressivism's critics, including Flinders (1997),
Lensmire (1994), and Wilhelm (1997). I wanted to be open to these
charges, and, at first, felt bad that unwittingly I was misleading my
students and missing opportunities to help them become agents of social
reformsomething I desperately wanted to do. But even worse, my
asking them to write about events or issues in their own lives which
"refused to go away" was to perpetuate capitalist values and strengthen
the chains into which my students had been born.

RESPONDING TO CRITICISMS OF BERTHOFFIAN-
EXPRESSIVIST PEDAGOGY

But then I got my back up. And it was not because I could do some fancy
theoretical footwork to show that these thinkers were sloppy or inconsis-
tent, that postmodernism was a false step, or that deconstruction was
simply an interesting form of 20th-century nonfoundationalism. It was
really Berthoff again. She and Britton and Elbow had taught me to value
personal experience, to trust my tacit knowledge, to trust, that is, what I
felt but could not fully explain. Further, I suspected I was not the only
person to have experienced the energy of personal writing, of the map-
ping and brainstorming and small group work featured by expressivist
pedagogy. Surely, it seemed, whatever the shortcomings of the expres-
sivist classroom, if it could turn students on to the joys of self-discovery,
to the power of what Coleridge calls "coming to know what we know,"
then it would be foolhardy to turn it out because the theory underlying it
was insufficiently developed. And this gave Lucille McCarthy and me the
focus of our second study.

But where to begin? How could I defend myself if I did not have
ready answers to these very serious criticisms from across the postmodern

155

Page 156

144 CHAPTER FIVE UNPLAYED TAPE 2 Steve Fishman with Lucille McCarthy

spectrum? My first breakthrough occurred while having lunch with
Lucille and Peter Elbow. In outlining to us the many attacks to which his
own work had been subject, Elbow commented that he was frequently
called a romantic. And I, without much thought, asked, "What's wrong
with romanticism?" The long and the short of it was that Peter did not
know what was wrong with romanticism, but he did acknowledge there
was a close connection between Berthoff's notion that writing is a
creative process and the romantic view that creativity, truth, and insight
are intimates. These questions about romanticism and its relationship to
the expressivist classroom led me to explore the romantic tradition.

Tracing Expressivism to Its Romantic Roots

In the end, my exploration took the form of a comparison and contrast
between the view of writing of Peter Elbow and the view of language of
Johann Gottfried Herder, the 18th-century German Romantic. In particular,
my research showed me that romanticism was a protest against the harsh
uniformity and mechanical quality of industrial life. Romanticism's
search for uniqueness can, surely, be egocentric, but it can also, as Herder
intended it, be a way of sharing with others, of transcending the compet-
itive barriers and isolation of modern life. Put differently, it occurred to
me that Herder's claim (1770 / 1966) that to understand another person is
to imaginatively step into their world, that we cannot judge another's
perspective while remaining in our own, is very much akin to Elbow's
believing game (1973, pp. 145-191). That is, the point of personal writing
is not simply to learn about oneself. The point is to help another person
step into your world so he or she can see where you are coming from, so
your world can truly make sense to someone else.

These comparisons between Herder and Elbow presented a way to
complexify expressivist theory, suggesting to me that at least one strand
of romanticism was an effort to use idiosyncracies not to isolate people
but to connect them through understanding. Although it is true that all
language has a social and ideological function, my examination of
expressivism's romantic roots showed me that it is also true that
important aspects of language can be grasped only in a personal context.
My growing understanding that romanticism is complex, that it has
communitarian as well as isolating dimensions, presented me with a
thread I thought I could follow in defending Berthoffian pedagogy
against its many critics.

156

Page 309

UNPLAYED TAPES
a peRsoNaL HistoRy of coLLaRoRative

teacHeR Re s e a RcH

It is the absolute honesty and
integrity of this book that I find so
compelling. The authors are not
afraid to admit that they had diffi-
culties, that one or the other of
them was wrong, that at first they
could not understand what the
other was doing in the classroom.
There is nothing else quite like it
in the literature. Susan McLeod,
Rit.litattut State t blicerqty

"Ihis hook succeeds on multiple
levels. Hrst, it informs teacher-
researchers about the tensions
they are most hkelv to feel in thei
own efforts to improve teaching.
...iecorid. it makes explicit the tacit
struggles of theory within teacher
research. And, third, it provides
a sophisticated defense of teacher
research against the current back-
lash of positivism in colleges of
edut (Ilion, government agencies,
and schools. Patrick Shannon,
The Pcnn,ylz'ania tilate

At a time when classroom researchers find themselves pulled
between conflicting models of inquiryempirical research versus
narrative recountingFishman and McCarthy map out an alternative
to the field's current either/or dichotomy. Using the contrasting
orientations of Ann Berthoff and Lawrence Stenhouse to better under-

stand their own views, Fishman and McCarthy open the "unplayed
tapes" of conversations behind four of their published
studies. In doing so they trace their struggles to create a style of
inquiry that utilizes both approaches, mixing features of empirical
research with elements of teacher story.

Stephen M. Fishman teaches
philosophy at the University of
North Carolina Charlotte

National Council of Teachers of English
1111 W. Kenyon Road
Urbana, IL 61801-1096
800.369.6283
http://www.ncte.org

TEACHERS
COLLEGE

WPRESS
Teachers College
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027

Lucille McCarthy teaches composition
and literature at the University of
Maryland Baltimore County

Cover Art Cotruoy Our of School L S Lowry, I421
Cover art used by vetoes:ton:It tale Gallery. tendon

Art Resources, NY, and Mrs Carol Ann Danes

ISBN 0-8077-3967-7

73967

309
Book Eksiqr erty Skmdtt

Page 310

n

(9/92)

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