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Visual Portrait: Holistic Lessons of an Educator at Mid Career


IVLA 2014

► Karen F. Tardrew (IVLA Board Member; Ed. D. – Associate Professor, Teaching, Learning & Assessment, National College of Education, National Louis University, Chicago, IL)

This year the researcher accomplished twenty years of teaching teachers at the University level. Educators bring into the classroom a personal history and a set of inclinations that lead them to specific strategies, not just for survival but also for thriving. Throughout a professional lifetime, educators develop a range of strategies that included intellectual, emotional, artistic, and spiritual practices (Palmer, 1990).

Due to policy changes, the context of teacher education has significantly transformed in recent years. I will explore the important intersection of transformative professional development as it relates to wholeness and resiliency of educators. My analysis of the data highlights that there is not a single answer to how a teacher uses holistic and mindful practices to maintain professional and personal resiliency. With the addition of mindful practices, there was an achievement of personally relevant goals, and enhanced ability to cope with the demands of teaching in the current context (Gold, Smith, Hopper, Herne & Tansey, 2010).

The research will be presented in the form of “visual metaphors” through an interactive reader’s theater presentation. The portraits are not merely a collection of narratives and photos but are part of my analysis. The narrative portraits are designed to reveal what I believe are important dimensions of how a teacher enacts his or her whole being in work with students and colleagues. Collectively, these visual metaphors make a statement about what the work of a “whole and mindful” teacher embodies.

This presentation was recorded November 6, 2014 by WGTE Public Media at the Toledo Museum of Art as part of the 47th International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA) conference.