نوع مقاله : مقاله پژوهشی
1 کارشناسی ارشد آموزش زبان انگلیسی، گروه زبان و ادبیات انگلیسی، دانشگاه مازندران، بابلسر، ایران.
2 دانشیار گروه زبان و ادبیات انگلیسی، دانشگاه مازندران، بابلسر، ایران.
3 استادیار گروه علوم انسانی و اجتماعی، دانشگاه مازندران، بابلسر، ایران.
عنوان مقاله [English]
Many studies have been conducted investigating the link between teacher reflection and classroom practices. It has been demonstrated that teacher reflection results in more self-awareness in teachers to renew their understanding and even reform their classroom practices (Farrell, 2015; Farrell & Stanclik, 2021; Walsh & Mann, 2015; Wright, 2010). However, considering that previous studies have mostly adopted etic approaches, limiting them to cognitive epistemologies, more holistic and emic approaches seem to be required. To address this gap, this article seeks to introduce autoethnography as a qualitative research method that has much to contribute to self-reflective studies. For this purpose, the first author’s first-hand experiences with an autoethnographic study were used to provide an exposition of the essence of autoethnography and how it is conducted. In this study, data were collected by the first author from a large range of past, present and external sources, including self-reflective journals, diaries, and talking with others (Chang, 2008). Then, data analyses and interpretation were done meta-autoethnographically (Ellis, 2016) to reveal the first author’s learning about autoethnography. This study is organized as follows: In the first section, autoethnography is introduced as a self-reflective approach “to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experiences (auto) to understand cultural experience (ethno)” (Ellis, Adam, Bochner, 2011, p.273). In autoethnography, the researcher investigates a familiar aspect of their life such as their childhood, school time or professional, cultural and/or social issues, and relationships with others (Chang, 2008). Therefore, the researcher(s), their subjectivity, and their stories that contribute to a better understanding of their experiences and the social-cultural context are all valid sources in autoethnographic studies. Autoethnography, originating with the emergence of postmodern philosophy, legitimates “many ways of knowing and inquiring (Wall, 2006, p.147).” Believing that getting knowledge about the researcher’s micro-sociocultural is still a valuable way of knowing, autoethnography seeks to discover personal experiences (Wall, 2006). The article proceeds in the second section to sketch out the methodological dimensions of autoethnographic studies through the first author’s lens. Her understanding of and experiences with autoethnography have been described through the methodological dimensions of autoethnographic research, including data gathering, saturation, writing, ethics, quality of autoethnographic studies, and her professional and personal development. In the first part of learning about autoethnography, the first author indicates how her puzzling as a teacher about her classroom practices led to her relying on autoethnography as a self-reflective research method to explore her puzzle. She gathered data by using multiple data-gathering devices including, journal writing about past experiences and epiphanies, diaries doing an autoethnographic study, and utilizing external sources such as talking with others, literature, and documents. It also explains how the integrated steps of data gathering, data management, and data analysis in autoethnographic studies were initially confusing for the first author.
In the second part of learning about autoethnography, the first author’s confusion, challenges, and decisions about saturation in autoethnographic studies are explained. It is indicated how the first author with the assistance of her mentors met the challenge by conceptualizing saturation in her autoethnographic study in two phases. The first phase of saturation took place when the authors considered the amount of data appropriate to start coding, although data are ever-growing in autoethnographic studies (Chang, 2008). The second phase was determined by the authors when they achieved a deep understanding of the investigated issue.
In the third part of learning about autoethnography, the first author clarified how reading art–based autoethnographic studies with a variety of different writing styles seemed to be confusing at the beginning when she was looking for a commonly used systematic academic style of writing. It demonstrates how the first author decided to conservatively locate herself in the middle of the continuum of art and science in writing autoethnography. Regarding the different writing styles that are suggested by different autoethnographers (Adam et al., 2015; Chang, 2008), the first author with the assistance of her mentors opted for mixed realistic and descriptive styles in the text.
The fourth indicates how the first author met the challenge of ethics in her autoethnography. Although autoethnography investigates the self, personal stories had taken place within social networks and in relation to others (Ellis, 2007). Therefore, making ethical decisions about others, particularly intimate others, is also required (Ellis, 2007). Due to the fact that autoethnographers make ethical considerations according to their condition, their relationships with others, their audience, and the value of reality, it is indicated how the first author used several suggested protective devices (Adam et al., 2015; Ellis, 2007) in making the decisions about others in her stories, including eliminating parts that threatened the privacy of others, using collaborative witnessing, writing anonymously and/or pseudonymously, sharing the manuscript with others. The fifth part is about the evaluation criteria, which were an important concern for the first author after completing her autoethnography. It addresses issues such as the context, meaning, and utility of the terms such as reliability, validity, and generalizability as applied in autoethnography (Ellis et al., 2011). The first author attempted to provide clear and rich explanations about the process and product of her autoethnographic study to make the narrated stories more possible, believable, trustable, engaging, and meaningful for the audience. The sixth is about the researcher’s professional development that she experienced during and after the process of an autoethnographic study. Finding through the study that she internalized negativity to pair/group work activities was rooted in her early life experiences and the sociocultural setting she had lived in led to her efforts to socialize students into appropriate implementation requirements of pair/group work activities.
The seventh is the researcher’s personal and professional development through the shifting from a positivist approach to a postmodernist viewpoint. Postmodernism believes that everyone may have his/her interpretation of reality and it provides an opportunity for researchers to gain and share their local and partial knowledge (Wall, 2006) and value their status in research. It is explained how turning to postmodernism has led the researcher to value others’ thoughts, ideas, and interpretations, particularly welcoming the students’ voices. Although the present study was limited to the first author’s understanding of autoethnography, it is hoped that sharing the experiences with an autoethnographic study through the lens of an autoethnographer teacher has implications for teachers on how to use autoethnography as a data-led approach to promote self-reflection on their classroom practices. Moreover, it may open new windows of opportunities to renew and reform the educational system, principles, beliefs, values, teaching methods, and teachers’ personal and social behaviors in the Iranian educational system to be able to educate critical teachers.