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Sentio ergo sum: Professional philosophy and personal identity in the making of an enabling educator

journal contribution
posted on 2021-10-12, 01:42 authored by Flavia SantamariaFlavia Santamaria, Ann-Marie PriestAnn-Marie Priest
The ethos of enabling educators is central to their work, but there are few accounts of how this ethos develops. This paper uses narrative enquiry to explore the development of one Australian enabling educator’s professional philosophy through her construction of her life experiences and personal identity. Proceeding on the assumption that narrative is the most effective way to examine the richness and complexity of the interrelationship between personal identity and professional philosophy, this paper presents an autobiographical account of an enabling educator’s journey from non-traditional student to non-traditional academic. Analysis of this narrative reveals that feeling, which the educator defines both as empathy and as the capacity to feel pain, is at the heart of the educator’s construction of her self-identity. This personal quality is transmuted, in her professional practice, into a transgressive philosophy of care in which allowing the possibility of failure for a student is seen as central to building resilience, a philosophy which challenges and extends dominant constructions of the concept of care in enabling education. More broadly, the paper points to the importance, within the enabling space, of the presence of educators from non-traditional backgrounds with diverse life experiences, identities and philosophies.






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The University of Newcastle

Additional Rights

CC BY 3.0

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

Era Eligible

  • Yes


International Studies in Widening Participation