Touching the inexplicable: Poetry as Transformative Inquiry

Michele Tanaka, Vanessa Tse


Educators must attend carefully to personal beliefs in order to lessen the perpetuation of harmful norms occurring in schools and schooling. Our purpose here is to focus on how a particular process of creating poetry influences disruptive encounters, such as homophobia and privilege, thus working to change long held patterned ways of knowing. The type of poetry described is rooted in the philosophy of Transformative Inquiry (TI). Where poems are not pat answers, but unravelings and reweavings of enduring educational concerns. In poetry we see an elixir of mystery and certainty, a powerful orienting towards the pain of others: we are changed, and in turn, we change our teaching. TI poetry is a powerful act, permeating the boundary between professional and personal, calling forth the textures of being which sculpt our dispositions both in life and in practice so that educators may respond with integrity to the needs of students.




Transformative Inquiry; poetic inquiry; teacher education

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

The journal is published by the Foundation for Curriculum Theory and is associated with the Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice, held in the autumn of each year. JCT is indexed in The Education Index.

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