Val Mulholland

University of Regina

Reflection seems easier at the end of the year, when the days are short, and the time of darkness, long. At least that’s true for me, living in the northern hemisphere where the end of fall term coincides with the shortest days of December. In this spirit, I re-read the four articles that make up the Autumn issue of in education. As is typical of this journal, each article represents a different approach to research, ranging from the philosophical foundations, to story and perspectives, to systematic analysis, to application of preservice learning to emerging practice. Since becoming in education, our Faculty has supported a broad landscape and this issue is no exception.

I recall a moment years ago, when I was a high school English teacher, reading Jeff Wilhelm’s You Gotta BE the Book in my classroom during sustained silent reading. I underlined the following passage, recognizing words that strengthen my resolve to model and encourage meaningful literacy practices with all the students in my midst:

Education is experience in how to learn; it is an exploration and an expansion of what it means to be human in the world. It is practice in the construction of meanings with other. … I am a teacher-researcher because if I improve instruction, the lives of those I teach can be enhanced. The meaning of our work, as Eisner (1993) reminds us, is in the lives it enable others to lead. (Wilhelm, 2008, p. 201)

By the time the spine cracked and pages began to fall away from my copy, Wilhelm had published the second edition, which I am quoting in this editorial. I literally wore out the first edition, through multiple readings, and multiple loans to new teachers. What I valued about the book then, and what I continue to respect today, is the balance of knowledge and skill, and passion and empathy, within his philosophical case and his direction for action for literacy teachers, within its pages. I still find meaning in those words.

Similarly, the articles in this issue, in many respects, engage in “the experience of how to learn.” The researchers take seriously the magnitude of the work of teachers, and have engaged in research that informs and inspires teachers and teacher educators to think more deeply, to act more radically, and to understand more fully how their learning is made manifest in their practices. First, Foran’s “Mollenhauer’s Representation” takes up preservice teacher’s international field experiences, attending to among other dimensions of the teaching, the relational bond. Second, Martha Moon’s article draws on stories and multiple perspectives to enrich both educators and students’ understanding of shared learning and relationship. Third, Brenna, Sun, and Liu advocate for “Radical Change” in their analysis of contemporary Canadian picture books and the relationship of those literary artefacts to multicultural education. Finally, Murray-Orr and Mitton-Kukner return the reader to emergent practices and identity of the early-career teacher. The articles are two sets of bookends; the first two speak to each other from different philosophical traditions, while the last two approach the artefacts of literacy and development of meaningful practice from different perspectives. The circle is completed with Carl Leggo’s beautiful review of Finley and Thurgood Sagal’s The Way of the Teacher: A Path for Personal Growth and Professional Fulfillment. The through line is relationship, the beating heart of education.

As I reflect, this issue of in education casts light on ways that research enhances the lives we lead.


Wilhelm, J. D. (2003). “You gotta BE the book: Reaching engaged and reflective reading with adolescents.” Urbana, IL: NCTE.


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