Special education through the lens of a/r/tography: an exploration of developing identity
Teacher education programs have focused primarily on specific curriculum, content delivery and assessment strategies. Relatively little time has been spent on either inclusive practices or on teacher identity development. Identity development is often left to an individual teacher to investigate at the point in their career when they determine it is personally relevant either through professional development or further education. In this paper I use an a/r/tographical methodology to evaluate, destabilize, re-imagine my identities (artist/researcher/teacher) as an inclusive educator. Using self-portraiture, a visual research journal, art projects based on Ministry of Education Designations and a series of narrative explorations I examine my biases and expectations, both for myself and my students. Using the lenses of artist, researcher, and teacher I re-examine my practice as an inclusive educator, discarding assumptions, experiences and theories that I have internalized but that do not support inclusion. The practice of a/r/tography has allowed me to integrate my multiple roles and intentionally build inclusion into the core of all of them in order to continue becoming inclusive throughout my career as an educator.