The Split-Off Narrator: Coming to Symptoms in Stories of Learning to Teach

Apr. 20, 2010

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 16, No. 2, (April 2010), 219–232
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this conceptual article, the author considers two apparently contradictory dynamics in learning.
First, the Winnicottian notion of the split-off intellect, in which individual subjectivity is skewed toward thinking and away from affect.
Second, an inversion of the first notion, in which affect splits off to form the central domain of experience, relationship, and defense against difficulty.

The author uses narratives from several contexts in her own educational history – a student-teaching experience, a graduate course in educational theory, and my work as a preservice teacher educator-to discuss these two notions.

The author further conceptualizes these narratives, opposite yet similar, not as problems to be overcome but as important movements in the work of coming to new ideas or excavating buried emotions.

Finally, the author considers how educators in general, and teacher educators in particular, might facilitate the working-through of intellect/affect splits with the aim of helping students integrate thinking and feeling as they begin or continue their work in the classroom.

Updated: Oct. 12, 2010