Scholarly Re-vision: Using Burkean Frames as a Heuristic for Iterative Narrative Reflection and Practice
This dissertation develops a heuristic—one I call the iterative narrative reflection framework—for rhetorically engaged, data-driven teacherly theory building using Kenneth Burke’s frames of acceptance and rejection. Teacher-scholars regularly develop curricula and lesson plans informed by theory and prior experience, but the daily practice of teaching and learning with students rarely plays out as expected. In many cases, institutional constraints and the unpredictable lives of students interact with teachers’ plans in surprising and sometimes confounding ways. Teachers typically make sense of such challenges by constructing post-hoc narratives about what happened and why, attributing motives and agencies to other participants in ways that suggest how to respond, move forward, and get back on track. Whether such narratives are part of a deliberate practice of reflection or an informal and largely unnoticed mental process, they are rarely thought of as constructed accounts and therefore as rhetorical acts that can be subjected to serious review, criticism, and revision. Yet these stories are shaped by familiar genre conventions that influence interpretations of events and motives in ways that may or may not serve well as teachers consider how best to respond to unfolding events. Using the iterative narrative reflection framework to guide my analysis of my own teacherly narratives through multiple layers of reflection and criticism, I demonstrate across the dissertation’s three cases how such deliberate, methodical analysis can reveal tacit assumptions and additional interpretive possibilities. Ultimately, such a process of iterative reflection enables the teacher-scholar to choose from among a wider range of available means of persuasion and pedagogical possibilities.