Gary BARKHUIZEN is Professor in the School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of language teacher education, learner language, teacher identity, and narrative inquiry, and he has published widely on these topics in a range of international journals. His books include Analysing Learner Language (Oxford University Press, 2005, with Rod Ellis), Second Language Identity in Narratives of Study Abroad (Palgrave, 2013), Narrative Inquiry in Language Teaching and Learning Research (Routledge, 2014), and Narrative Research in Applied Linguistics (Cambridge University Press, 2013). His latest book is Reflections on Language Teacher Identity Research (Routledge, 2017). Gary has taught ESL at high school (in South Africa) and at college level (in New York), and has been involved in teacher education in South Africa, New Zealand and the United States. Click to go to his website.

Plenary: The power of stories in teacher research

As teachers we tell and hear stories all the time. In this presentation, I argue that since these stories are such a central part of our professional lives and are always available and accessible, it makes sense to use them productively to better understand what it is we do as teachers and what our learners do as learners. In this presentation, I report on an action research project I carried out with a group of language teachers enrolled in a graduate course. I had taught the course for a number of years and part of the activity was for the teachers to write and analyse stories of their teaching experiences in order to reflect on their practice and their developing knowledge during the course. I wanted to know how they felt about this activity and whether they thought it was helpful. In discussing the findings of the action research, which included a pre- and post-course questionnaire, I emphasize the significance of making sense of our lives through story in language teacher education.

Workshop: Collecting and analyzing ‘short stories’ in teacher research

In this workshop I provide a brief overview of what narrative inquiry is in the field of language teaching and learning research, and then explore in more detail what ‘short stories’ are and how we can use them in our research. Short stories are excerpts of data, in story form, extracted from a larger set of data. The stories are analysed for the content as well as the contexts in which the action of the stories unfolds. Short stories are evident in all types of qualitative data, and their analysis is appropriate and useful in action research or exploratory practice projects. Through examining short stories we are better able to understand some of the puzzles we encounter in our teaching and professional practice. Throughout the interactive workshop I will present some data for analysis, and participants will be encouraged to draw on their own research practices and goals.