As part of course requirements, 16 education students in a master’s cohort tutored groups of elementary children (the same groups throughout the semester) in an after - school writing program that emphasized an ethos of care. The education students had never taught children and consequently had difficulties reflecting about their lessons through weekly e - mail communication. As the course instructor I had a hunch innovative artistic processes might unleash and heighten the education students’ abilities as reflective practitioners . Therefore, I asked them to explore their pedagogy through the arts. Concurrently, I engaged in arts - based educational research (ABER) to ascertain in what ways arts constructions might prompt the education students’ motivation and abilities to thoughtfully consider their work. Using constant comparative methods and a “bricolage” approach, I discovered arts - based techniques, particularly poetry, fostered and illuminated their introspections. The education students also had distinct preferences among the three modes of reflective inquiry I requested they employ (e - mail communication, self - portraits with dialogue, and poetry). As suggested by respected ABER scholars, I monitored and documented my dilemmas throughout the inquiry process in an attempt to achieve verisimilitude and to inform new arts - based researchers. I share these dilemmas and oversights, and discuss puzzling, unanswered questions in this paper.


Arts - Based Educational Research (ABER), “Bricolage, ” Education Students, E - mail Reflections, Ethos of Care, Methodological Issues, Poetry, Self - Portraits

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