Dr Steve Shann

Map of my research territories

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From the back cover of 'Imagined worlds & classroom realities'

Stories matter. Stories speak about complex aspects of our lives that intuitively we know are important but for which the language of rational discourse is often inadequate. Stories draw on archetypal structures and evocative language in ways that create affect: they penetrate,  provoke, and disturb.

This is a book of nine stories about teachers and students. A young woman sits in her first teacher-education lecture and wonders what kind of a tribe she is joining. A preservice teacher clashes with his mentor teacher on a practicum. A teacher and students inhabit an online space with unpredictable consequences. Sally discovers the Universarium. Joseph writes a story that undoes his therapist. Sylvia struggles to free herself from an oppressive discourse about the nature of teaching. Two siblings support and console each other through their complex inductions into classroom lifeworlds.  A secondary student goes missing and police, the media and his teachers wonder why. A teacher-education academic wrestles with elusive ideas in order to prepare a lecture that he hopes will make a more-than-passing impact.

There is no other book like Imagined Worlds and Classroom Realities. It not only tells nine gripping stories; it also both positions these stories as part of a growing scholarship about story-telling, and provides practical ways of using the stories in teacher education and professional development.

Steve Shann is a teacher and writer with over forty years experience in primary, secondary and tertiary classrooms.

Teachers and Scholars

I currently work within a set of smaller connected communities discussing, researching and writing about issues of common interest. 

These include:

  1. The Mythopoetic Scholarship Group: for academics, teachers  and students interested in exploring a mythopoetic methodology in their research
  2. The International Reading Group: for students and scholars interested in being part of an online group to discuss papers and ideas
  3. The Early Career Teachers Collective: for pre-service and eary-career teachers  as they negotiate the challenges of their early years
  4. The Secondary English Teachers Collective: for English teachers wanting to discuss and explore the nature of our subject, and its purpose

 I have been working with these four groups for some time now, sometimes on my own or with a particular colleague or small group, sometimes with a larger group. The work has already resulted in some publications, with more in the pipeline. 

Deleuze and Guattari neatly capture what I hope is the spirit of this kind of work.

 "This is how it should be done: Lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of land at all times."

My own set of theoretical lenses include the following:

  • the ontologies of Spinoza, Deleuze and Guattari (suggesting that social life is constituted by organisms animated by a desire to grow and adapt in worlds where life trajectories intersect and affect each other)
  • the psychologies of Jung, Hillman, Campbell, Winnicott (suggesting that individual lives are shaped by unconscious desires and fears as much as by conscious motivations and influences)
  • the constructivism of the philosopher Charles Taylor and educational theorists like Schulman, Darling-Hammond, Nilsson and Wilson (suggesting that we make meaning by simultaneously finding and creating it in our social worlds, emphasizing the need to bring theory and practice closer together)
  • a mythopoetic methodology, informed by the work of scholars such as Macdonald, Greene, Eisner, Barone, Britzman, Richardson, Somerville and Clough, and which goes by many names in the world of scholarship (arts-based research, postmodern emergence, fictional ethnography,creative non-fiction,  amongst many others).

My book in production, to be published late 2014.

Want to know more?

 Perhaps you're just interested in what we've already been doing, and browsing these pages satisfies your interest. 

But if you'd like to find out more, send me an email  (steve.shann@canberra.edu.au).


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