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Our Words Flowing into Wide Futures: Making a Difference through Poetic Professional Learning


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Hala Mreiwed

Mindy R. Carter

Claudia Mitchell


My explorations in self-reflexive and arts-informed research have given rise to a distinctive formulation of poetic professional learning as a literary arts-inspired means of researching and enhancing professional learning. I have worked with many others, in South Africa and internationally, to cultivate a portfolio of work that engages the power of poetic inquiry for researching and performing professional learning. In this chapter, I show how I looked back over this portfolio of work to inquire about its impetus and impact. I asked, “What difference can poetry make to professional learning?” To respond to the question, I created a “poetic bricolage” using words and phrases from nine professional learning poems, composed over a span of five years. The medley of voices presented in this chapter communicates how students, teachers, and academics who might not call themselves experienced or well-qualified poets can come together and play with the artistic potential of poetic forms and language to generate research data, representations, and interpretations. Even when the poems themselves might not be regarded as literary or artistic texts, the experience of poetry making, especially when it is collective, can permeate professional learning research and practice with imagination, feeling, and sensory impressions in ways that intensify and interconnect self-insight, care for others, and social awareness.

Online Publication Date Oct 12, 2020
Publication Date Jan 1, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 26, 2022
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
Pages 179-190
Series Title Personal/Public Scholarship
Series Number 8
Book Title Art as an Agent for Social Change
Chapter Number 18
ISBN 9789004442863
Keywords self-reflexive research; arts-informed research; poetic inquiry; poetic professional learning
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