“Small” Stories and Meganarratives: Accountability in Balance
by Margaret R. Olson & Cheryl J. Craig - 2009
Background/Context: Meganarratives, or “grand stories,” are composed of loosely held ideas about standardization, the rhetoric of education for all, the focus on individual success, and the appearance of representative diversity that rarely take into account human diversity embedded in deeply rooted value systems and authentically present in “the realm of face-to-face relationships.”
Purpose/Objective/Research/Question/Focus of Study: In this article, we offer atypical, noncanonical “small” stories as accounts of ways in which teachers and students live in small moments of diversity unseen and unheard within prevailing meganarratives of accountability.
Setting: This research took place in the mid-southern United States and eastern Canada.
Population/Participants/Subjects: Research participants included a preservice teacher candidate in Canada and an in-service teacher in the United States.
Research Design: Through using narrative inquiry as a human research method, we feature small storied nuggets of teachers and students breaking through “surface equilibriums and uniformities” to challenge educational orthodoxies that cast long shadows on their work and their relationships and add to the complexities of their lives.
Conclusions/Recommendations: In the final analysis, we argue for fluid back-and-forth movement between small stories and meganarratives in order to nurture dialectical relationships between and among theory, practice, and policy. Such an approach would create spaces for experiences of accountability to be lived and told, and relived and retold, in more balanced ways.
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