Practicing Palimpsest: Layering Stories and Disrupting Dominant Western Narratives in Early Childhood Education

  • Carolyn Bjartveit University of Calgary
  • E. Lisa Panayotidis University of Calgary
Keywords: hermeneutics, early childhood education, narrative, identity, diversity, language


Interpreting and contextualizing the meanings of spoken, transcribed, visual and embodied languages, we explore how the life stories of immigrant educators evoke socio-cultural and diverse imaginaries. We incorporate the Greek practice of palimpsest - a layering of stories, voices, fragments, and traces - to understand forms of active becomings which provide possibilities for dissonance and transformation and treat the self as relational and inherently multiple. Critically reflecting on this stratum of narratives and cultural understandings, we draw on the insights of several theoreticians and scholars to consider how the language of immigration, trauma, and displacement emerge in educator’s thinking about the curriculum they are given. In transcribing stories - the participants and our own - we heard “layered voices†(Aoki, 2005) that pointed us to different understandings about the immigrant experience, the connections between the self and other and what it means for immigrant educators and students to live together in ECE settings.


Keywords: hermeneutics; early childhood education; narrative; identity; diversity; language



Author Biographies

Carolyn Bjartveit, University of Calgary


Carolyn Bjartveit is a PhD Candidate in Educational Studies in Curriculum and Learning and a sessional instructor at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. Her doctoral research focuses on the topics of teaching and learning and the complex intersections between the self (of students and educators) and the curriculum in culturally diverse early childhood education post secondary classrooms.

E. Lisa Panayotidis, University of Calgary
E. Lisa Panayotidis is Professor and Chair of Educational Studies in Curriculum and Learning at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. She has written extensively on fine arts teacher education, historical thinking and consciousness, and curriculum theory and imagination. Co-author of Provoking Conversations on inquiry in Teacher Education (2012, Peter Lang), her research has appeared in the Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, Media: Culture: Pedagogy, and Journal of Curriculum Theorizing.


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