Finding Poetry in Professional Learning: A Polyvocal Bricolage
Professional has roots in the Latin profiteri, meaning, “declare openly”. If we think about professional in this way, turning our learning inside out and inviting others to engage with it is central to professional learning. In turning my own learning as a teacher educator inside out, I have developed a portfolio of work that uses the power of poetry as a literary arts-based mode for researching and performing professional learning. In this lecture, I demonstrate how I created a polyvocal bricolage using excerpts from published research poems, composed individually and collaboratively. I illustrate how this polyvocal poetic bricolage became a container for a gradual distillation of multifaceted learning, experienced over time, with others. Overall, the lecture exemplifies how poetry can enrich professional learning, contributing to reimagining professional practice and collaboration in creative, pluralistic, and transformative ways.
Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan is Professor of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and a South African National Research Foundation rated researcher. Her signature academic work in the niche area of professional learning centres on professionals initiating and directing their own learning to enhance their continuing growth. Her work has contributed to scholarship on professional learning through self-reflexive methodologies of self-study, narrative inquiry, and autoethnography. This has given rise to a distinctive formulation of poetic professional learning as a literary arts-based mode for researching and enriching professional learning. Another noteworthy research outcome has been the innovative conceptualisation of polyvocal professional learning, developed through a seven-year international research partnership with Professor Anastasia P. Samaras (George Mason University, USA). Their book that introduced this work, Polyvocal professional learning through self-study research (Pithouse-Morgan & Samaras, 2015), was nominated for the 2016 American Educational Research Association Qualitative Research Special Interest Group Outstanding Book Award. Kathleen also led a research team that received the South African Education Research Association award for the Outstanding Peer Reviewed Chapter/Article Published by a South African Researcher in 2015. In 2018, Kathleen received the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Distinguished Teachers’ Award. She has a portfolio of more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and has graduated 17 Masters and 4 doctorates. Recent book publications include Memory Mosaics: Researching teacher professional learning through artful memory-work (Pithouse-Morgan, Pillay, & Mitchell, 2019). Kathleen is Chair of the Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association and Convenor of the Self-Reflexive Methodologies Special Interest Group of the South African Education Research Association. Mentoring and collaborative scholarship are significant features of her research leadership. She works to cultivate a research environment that is supportive of the achievements of others, particularly postgraduate students and early career academics.
2008 PhD (Education), UKZN, Durban
2003 Master of Education (Cum Laude), UKZN, Durban
2001 Bachelor of Education (Honours) (Cum Laude), University of Natal, Durban
1995 Higher Diploma in Education, University of Natal, Durban
1994 Bachelor of Arts, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg
University Appointments and Fellowships
2019 – Professor, UKZN
2017 – 2018 Associate Professor, UKZN
2010 – 2016 Senior Lecturer, UKZN
2008 South African National Research Foundation International Postdoctoral Fellowship at McGill University, Canada
Recent Honours and Awards
2017 Award for being in the Top 30 Most Published Researchers, College of Humanities, UKZN
2017 Award for Innovative, Creative, Effective Teaching and/or Supervision, School of Education, UKZN
2017 Award for Excellence in Mentorship of Early Career Academics, School of Education, UKZN
2016 Excellence in Teaching Award, School of Education, UKZN
2013-2019 South African National Research Foundation Y1 (Young Researcher) Rating
Pithouse-Morgan, K., Pillay, D., & Mitchell, C. (Eds.). (2019). Memory Mosaics: Researching teacher professional learning through artful memory-work. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Ritter, J. K., Lunenberg, M., Pithouse-Morgan, K., Samaras, A. P., & Vanassche, E. (Eds.). (2018). Teaching, learning, and enacting of self-study methodology: Unraveling a complex interplay. Singapore: Springer Nature.
Pithouse-Morgan, K., & Samaras, A. P. (2019). Polyvocal play: A poetic bricolage of the why of our transdisciplinary self-study research. Studying Teacher Education, 15(1), 1-15.
Pithouse-Morgan, K., Chisanga, T., Meyiwa, T., & Timm, D. N. (2018). Flourishing together: Co-learning as leaders of a multicultural South African educational research community. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 20(3), 102-125.
Edited Book Chapters
Pithouse-Morgan, K. (2019). My students’ stories became a gift: A tale of poetic professional learning. In E. R. Lyle (Ed.), Fostering a relational pedagogy: Self-study as transformative praxis (pp. 20-33). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill | Sense Publishers.
Pithouse-Morgan, K., Deer-Standup, S. O., & Ndaleni, T. (2019). Stories blending, flowing out: Connecting teacher professional learning, re-membering, and storytelling. In K. Pithouse-Morgan, D. Pillay, & C. Mitchell (Eds.), Memory Mosaics: Researching teacher professional learning through artful memory-work (pp. 155-173). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Pithouse-Morgan, K., Madondo, S., & Grossi, E. (2019). The promise of poetry belongs to us all: Poetic professional learning in teacher-researchers’ memory-work. In K. Pithouse-Morgan, D. Pillay, & C. Mitchell (Eds.), Memory Mosaics: Researching teacher professional learning through artful memory-work (pp. 133 – 153). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Pithouse-Morgan, K., Makhanya, H., Downing, G., & Phewa, N. (2019). Picturing a more hopeful future: Teacher-researchers drawing early memories of school. In K. Pithouse-Morgan, D. Pillay, & C. Mitchell (Eds.), Memory Mosaics: Researching teacher professional learning through artful memory-work (pp. 55-75). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.