Crosswinds: An Analytic Auto/ethnographic Journey Traversing Tensions Between the Educative and Political Stances of a Literacy Coach




Sellers, Teresa Mobley

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Awareness and concern regarding the reading achievement of U.S. public school learners garner much attention in the current political landscape (Matsumura, Garnier, & Resnick, 2010). This is due in part to the predictive role literacy plays in forecasting future academic and economic success. These influences prompted decision-makers to enact legislation and programs in ways that expanded the role, position, and scope of the literacy coach with the intent of pushing teachers in the direction of policy and linking teacher practice to student achievement. Due to the mechanization of coaches, Hunt and Handsfield (2013) called for studies that explore how literacy coaches engage in and respond to questions of "social positioning" and "nexuses of identity and power" (p. 72). This analytic auto/ethnographic (Anderson, 2006) study sought to answer this call by investigating the lived experience of one literacy coach. In particular, this self-study endeavored to unearth information regarding the manner in which a literacy coach who ascribes to transformative literacy coaching positions herself and others. The primary data source consisted of journal entries documenting the life-world of a literacy coach, supported by a video recording of an instructional planning session. Examining the journal entries with Polkinghorne's (1995/2005) Analysis of Narrative yielded the following themes or navigational strategies: sentimentality, pedagogical content knowledge, awareness of and separation from pressures, and relational interactions. Micro-analysis of the transcribed videotape produced information regarding the coach's fluid use of positioning within her assigned role as a coach (Harré & Langenhove, 1999). In conclusion, the data revealed how the researcher-participant extended and bundled the previously identified navigational strategies inside of a humanizing stance. Through her refusal to dehumanize and deprofessionalize teachers, she resisted colonial, institutional structures and fostered intellectualism and collegiality by modifying traditional storylines through empowering discourses and discursive practices.


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analytic auto/ethnography, literacy coaching, positioning theory



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching