The Courage to SoTL
Using Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach, and in particular the notion of the undivided life, to guide reflections through the process of collaborative autoethnography, we reflect on our lived experiences with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). The central question being: How does Palmer’s idea of the undivided life enable SoTL scholars to explore notions of identity and integrity that are intertwined with our academic practice? Ultimately, we found that Palmer’s insights provoked us to think deeply about our identities, and while perhaps we did not always see ourselves on the paths he illuminates, his work, and our collaborative ethnographic process, helped us to illuminate our own paths. More specifically, we share five themes arising from our collaborative autoethnography related to the importance of context and positionality, defining a SoTL scholar, the power to diminish, the importance of relationships and community, and collaborative autoethnography as method and process. Our stories highlight the need for us to see our community as complex, messy, and deeply human, and we remind readers of the need to think about the ethics of all methods and the power in our everyday practice to include or exclude.
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