An Educator’s Self-Reflective Journey Mentoring Children Facing Homelessness

Year: 2018

Author: Killham, Jennifer

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
As an educator, what can be done to help student’s facing homelessness? On a typical night in January, 37% of people in homeless shelters were parents and their children. Also, 21,000 children, or 1% of the [City]’s children, sleeping in a homeless shelter. Homeless children three times more likely to experience emotional /behavioral difficulties, four times more likely to have developmental delays, and eight times more likely to be asked to repeat a grade.
 
This teacher inquiry project represents an educator’s self-reflective journey mentoring children facing homelessness. It involved participant observation at an inner-city elementary school in [city removed] and mentorship program in partnership the [City] Zoo. A Deweyian form of engaging in meaningful reflection provided the theoretical grounding. Field notes and reflective journal entries were used as data. Laurel Richardson’s (2003) writing as a method of inquiry, as well as Carol Gilligan’s Listening Guide guided the analysis. An I-Poem was created an analysis revealed that as the I-voice shifted towards a caring tone, the child developed the capacity to care for others and the educator’s capacity to form a mentoring partnership improved. Data illuminated how confirmation of others contributes to with the development of a “better self.” Confirmation involves building trust, maintaining continuity, and developing co-partnerships in teaching and learning.
Extensive field notes and reflective journal entries were collected over the course of sixteen weeks. Data was collected using Laurel Richardson’s writing as a method of inquiry as a guide. Analysis Carol Gilligan’s Listening Guide was also used to to decipher the data, along with an interpretive community. Through the theoretical underpinning of Martin Buber and Nel Noddings, this data helps illuminate how confirmation of others helps with the development of a “better self.” Confirmation involves building trust, maintaining continuity, and developing co-partnerships. 

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