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An invitation for growth

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posted on 03.03.2017, 00:23 authored by Coverdale, Keith
I performed an autoethnography (Ellis, 2004), reflexively (Freire, 1970) using the form of a Greek comic drama, (Watling, 1947) to explore the question: How can I grow (Dewey, 1902, 1915, 1916, 1938, 1941) in my understanding of offering experiences to Victorian secondary school students, that invite them to grow as humans? In the thesis, I react cathartically to my experiences of mechanistic and coercive schooling, rejecting, in particular, one representation of positivism. I characterise that particular representation of positivism ironically, as The Perfect Lesson, in a deliberate distortion of sous rature (Derrida, 1974). Inspired by my students, I investigate the possibility of focusing on the students’ educative needs. I explore several metaphors as a means of challenging my own thinking about learning, including writing a short comic drama of my own, in order to seek the responses of others. I include transgressive data such as memory and response data (St Pierre, 1997) and express some of my ideas as personifications. The inquiry reveals and challenges my positivist and linear assumptions, following various flight lines. The structure of the thesis is non-linear and has rhizomatic elements (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987). The limitations and possibilities of offering students increased control of their own inquiry, while still acting as responsible adult educators, are investigated. I observe that, it is extremely difficult to offer a substantial and consistent invitation for growth, in a system distorted by positivism. Invitational moments enabling educative practice in the midst of a mis-educative system are suggested. I describe flashes of ironic comedy and hope amidst the system.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Nicola Johnson

Additional supervisor 1

Ann Ryan

Additional supervisor 2

Nerissa Albon

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre


Degree Type



Faculty of Education

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