Writing and professional learning: The uses of autobiography in graduate studies in education

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Based on the writing and oral reports of a group of 15 students in a graduate course focused on autobiographic writing and professional development, I address the question of how graduate study in education might sustain teachers in their work. For the course in question, the students studied recent research on teacher learning and devoted time to personal writing related to the course topics, viewing writing as an embodied process. The participants saw professional learning as entailing the expansion of their repertoire of professional knowledge and skills, the strengthening of reflective processes, paying attention to cognitive dissonance, inquiry into and clarification of their personal story and the development of 'narrative authority', the building of a 'knowledge community', and the integration of theory and practice. My interpretation of the course materials highlights the contribution of writing to professional learning: writing facilitated paying attention to the concrete details of experience, making place for expression of feelings and imagination, giving voice to a range of social concerns, and viewing social, cultural, and religious difference as a resource for teacher learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-327
Number of pages21
JournalTeachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Autobiographical writing
  • Teacher community
  • Teacher development
  • Teacher professional learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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