Teacher transformation: transcending hegemonic roots
In this dissertation study, I build from the research on transformative teaching (transformative for students), liberating theories (Liberating, Liberation and Liberating Theories) as well as literature about transformation, reflection and discourse to make the case that our historic and continuously inequitable results for students based on demographics (not the least which is racial identities) have less to do with gaining more knowledge and skill about of teaching and learning (the technology for how to equitably educate all our students exists) and less to do with the necessary tweaks in our system (redesign, restructuring, etc.). Rather, radical shift may lie in transformation. As a result of this literature review, I offer a conceptual model, which includes stages for interruptive experiences, making meaning and taking action. Through this facilitated participatory interpretive study, I define and focus on the Transformed Teacher. This study suggests that radical shift will require teachers to engage in ongoing work in order to reach and sustain at a minimum threshold of personal transformation in order to effectively work in and simultaneously against the hegemonic design of public schools in service of our least reached students, thus transcending their arguably intended roles to help manifest social reproduction. The question for this study basically asked how have those teachers who have engaged in their own transformation come to do so given the reproductive and seductive systemic forces?Based on the assumption that Transformed Teachers provide transformative experiences for traditionally least-reached students, this study first engaged "students-on-the-cusp" to reflect on and recommend teachers who have been transformative for them - and thus teachers who may have reached a minimum threshold of personal and professional transformation themselves. These teachers were then invited to participate in a daylong reflective writing and working retreat; the results served as the primary data for this study. Conclusions suggest that Transformed Teachers need to continuously develop their awareness of our educational system, themselves and others; commit to rigorous inquiry, reflection and discourse - professionally AND personally; alone, in (racial) affinity, and across difference, benefit from relationships with mentors, and must share their own - and listen to others' diverse stories.Results for this study could have implications for all levels of teacher development - from teacher education to hiring to ongoing teacher support and evaluation. Expanded, learning and implications may be transferable for creating parallel possibilities for our students themselves.