A Journey Toward Mutualist Teaching and Learning: A Collaborative Reflective Practice on Community Building and Democratic Classrooms

  • Joe Norris
  • Olenka Bilash


Norris and Bilash have a professional history that spans over twenty-five years. After a few years in the school system, completing their doctorates and holding faculty positions elsewhere, both started their fourth year as professors at the same institution. Upon first meeting at a technology workshop, they embarked on a collaborative reflective practice project employing one of the recently introduced technological advances at that time, email. They shared teaching stories about student resistance to an emergent, uncertain curriculum that ran counter to the traditional prescriptive approach and presented polyvocal texts using a Reader’s Theatre format (Coger, L., & White, M. (1982). Reader’s theater handbook: A dramatic approach to literature. Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman.) at academic conferences. Similar to duoethnography, each spoke her/his own story, making explicit whose voice was whose. Twenty plus years later, they refocus those conversations with new ones that explore each other’s personal and educational histories from early childhood to the present, reinforcing, yet problematizing their beliefs and practices about teaching in mutualistic manner that strives to be dialogic and democratic.


Junior High School Critical Incident School Board Doctoral Study Student Voice 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joe Norris
    • 1
  • Olenka Bilash
    • 2
  1. 1.Dramatic ArtsBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.Department of Secondary EducationUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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