Illness as teacher: Learning from illness

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 2017, 42 (1), pp. 54 - 68
Issue Date:
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This article is a conceptual exploration into the value of illness, bodies and embodied practice in teacher education. It draws on my reflections and practitioner accounts of poor health to investigate the potential to learn from illness. I position myself in this discussion as a non-tenured academic who experiences the challenges of her uncertain work environment through her body. I examine the functionalist approaches that devalues the body and explain how the disruptions triggered by illness can enable individuals to create more authentic professional narratives. This paper explores the author's growing awareness of illness, its impact and learning opportunities. Finally, the author investigates the value of writing about illness and the significance of teaching as a witnessing act. Such discussions of illness are pertinent to teacher education as illness is an inevitable part of life and can evoke powerful learning experiences.
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