Carrying Stories From the Outside In: A Collaborative Narrative Into a Teacher Education Community


  • Shelley M. Griffin Brock University
  • Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker Brock University
  • Julian Kitchen Brock University



research circle, research writing, teacher education, narrative inquiry, social constructionism, self-study


As three professors working collaboratively in teacher education, we reflect on our participation as former graduate students in narrative research circles facilitated by Dr. Jean Clandinin (University of Alberta) and Dr. Michael Connelly (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto).  By drawing upon the stories that we carry from institutions outside Brock University, we inquire into how our narrative experiences inform our current positioning within a teacher education community.  Situating our work within social constructionism and narrative inquiry honours our relational, co-constructed work.  Reflecting on three central questions regarding our individual research circle experiences assists in understanding how our narratives overlap with our current community.  We draw attention to unspoken tensions that are embedded while working in relation.  We invite other scholars to consider how collaborative research circle experiences can be a powerful form of living in community and a means of enhancing scholarly writing and practice.

Keywords: research circle; research writing; teacher education; narrative inquiry; social constructionism; self-study

Author Biographies

Shelley M. Griffin, Brock University

Dr. Shelley Griffin is a faculty member in Elementary Music Education in the Department of Teacher Education, Brock University. She obtained her Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Education Degrees from the University of Alberta, and her Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Prince Edward Island. Shelley has previously taught in the Department of Music, University of Prince Edward Island and in the Department of Elementary Education, University of Alberta. Prior to university teaching, Shelley taught Grades 1-9 Music and Grade 1/2 classroom with the Western School Board, Prince Edward Island. Her research interests include children’s narratives of musical experiences, pre-service music teacher education, self-study of teacher education practices, faculty mentorship, and collaborative writing.

Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker, Brock University

Dr. Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Education at Brock University. She obtained her PhD from OISE, University of Toronto. As a former vice-principal, literacy consultant, and elementary teacher, Dr. Ciuffetelli Parker has had extensive experience in Ontario Education, particularly in urban school settings. Her specialty in narrative inquiry lends to her research interests in: literacy teacher development, initial teacher education, and marginalized school and educational communities. Dr. Ciuffetelli Parker currently is a principal investigator of a funded province-wide research project exploring success stories of school communities affected by poverty. The research grant is supported by the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, Canada. In addition, Darlene currently serves as one of the editors of Brock Education: A Journal of Educational Research and Practice.

Julian Kitchen, Brock University

Dr. Julian Kitchen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, Brock University where he teaches courses on professionalism and law.. He obtained a B.A. (Toronto), B.Ed. (Windsor), M.Ed. (Toronto), and Ph.D. (Toronto). Julian taught Intermediate/Secondary History and English over a decade. Before joining Brock in 2006, he was an adjunct professor for seven years at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He is also one of the editors of Brock Education: A Journal of Educational Research and Practice. He just published a Relational Teacher Development: A Quest for Meaning in the Garden of Teacher Experience (LAP Lambert, 2009). Julian’s research interests include: teacher education, self-study of teacher education practices, teacher development, teacher induction, aboriginal education, narrative inquiry, and education law.  His research interests include Aboriginal education, teacher education, narrative inquiry and education law.