(Dis)Empowering Spaces: Drawing on Disabling Experiences as an Early Career Teacher with Dwarfism

Pritchard, Erin (2021) (Dis)Empowering Spaces: Drawing on Disabling Experiences as an Early Career Teacher with Dwarfism. In: Early Career Teachers in Higher Education: Academics’ Teaching Journeys. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781350129344

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As an Early Career Teacher (ECT), I am still trying to develop my own effective teaching style within the discipline I teach in, Disability Studies. According to Remmick et al. (2011), an ECT’s ability to learn how to teach is a process that develops over time. In this chapter, I will be exploring how sharing my experiences as a disabled person has both helped me to develop my teaching style and has empowered me as a disabled ECT. I argue that, in these cases, sharing my personal experiences helps to complement the teaching materials and, as a result, increases my confidence as a teacher. However, this teaching style is deeply personal and also poses some challenges. I will be utilising spatial analysis to understand how sharing my experiences has shaped my teaching style. In particular, I will highlight how different teaching spaces and the different students occupying those spaces can affect whether and how I choose to share particular, personal experiences in the learning environment. In this chapter, I therefore demonstrate how teaching spaces can be both empowering and disempowering for me as a disabled ECT.
In the first part of this chapter, I question who should teach Disability Studies. In Disability Studies, the ‘disabled identity’ of the teacher is important to consider. It is argued that disabled teachers can offer knowledge through their bodies and experiences (Sheridan and Kotevski, 2014). This adds another dimension to the teaching and learning experience for students of the discipline of Disability Studies. I then move on to explore how teaching spaces can be empowering for me as a disabled ECT. I focus on the importance of “space” within the context of constructing identities, building confidence and teaching. This provides a base for understanding how spaces can be empowering. However, in the last section I also complicate this by showing how teaching spaces can also be disempowering, depending on the type of student cohort who also occupy those spaces.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: dwarfism, disability, higher education, early careers teacher, space
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Social Science
Depositing User: Erin Pritchard
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2021 12:20
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 12:20
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/3359

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