Interacting Narratives:

Acknowledging the Self in the Construction of Professional Knowledge


  • Darrell Dobson University of Toronto



In narrative approaches to teachers’ professional knowledge, identity (one’s story to live by) is generally understood to be constructed and reconstructed through conscious intention (Chosen Narratives) and through contextual influences (Life Narratives).  It is possible and necessary to go further, to describe a third fundamental influence. Using the concept of Self Narratives allows teachers and teacher educators to acknowledge and work with the inevitable and powerful unconscious dynamics that influence their teaching practice and the ongoing construction and reconstruction of their professional knowledge. The concept of Self Narratives integrates the theories and practices of depth psychology, particularly Jungian analytical psychology, into narrative approaches to teachers’ professional knowledge. Recognizing the unconscious mind as profoundly influential is a position overlooked by more familiar schools of educational psychology, and a Jungian perspective considers the unconscious mind as ultimately helpful and holistic, a position that varies from other schools of depth psychology.