Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 6, No. 1, April 2010, 63–73.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
Using the narrative inquiry research method, this self-study of the author’s teacher education practices examines the influence of four simultaneous accountability reviews – a national accreditation review, a regional accreditation review, a university system review, and local campus review – on her personal experiences and identity within academia.
The inquiry offers a public view of private practice, explores the hidden curriculum of the accountability phenomenon, reveals cover stories individually and collectively lived, and illuminates how the author’s knowledge of accountability increased.
Drawing on evidence excerpted from journal entries, work samples, historical documents and meeting notes, the author reconstructs a series of changes concerning human subjects reviews, course syllabi requirements, student assignments, grading procedures and personal productivity.
The self inquiry reveals individual and institutional compromises that were made to achieve acceptable measures of success as determined by external agencies. Most of all, hard lessons learned amid multiple accountability agendas are brought to the forefront for discussion and analysis.
The accumulation of self-studies such as this helps to show the nature of the accountability phenomenon and its pernicious impact on teacher educators’ work and personal images of teaching. Such studies demonstrate how desperately productive change is needed in the fields of teaching and teacher education.
In conclusion, the research contributions that self-studies such as this make to the field of teaching and teacher education can also be discussed.
By employing the autobiographical and relational aspects of narrative inquiry (a multi-dimensional research method), carefully rendered accounts such as this are able to chronicle insider experiences of accountability, especially the consequences of what happens when the press for additional evidence intensifies and affects not only the warp and woof of teachers’ and teacher educators’ practices, but also the core of their well-being and the tenor of the institutional contexts within which they work.