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A narrative inquiry into children’s experiences of composing their identities as citizens Open Access


Other title
citizenship education
curriculum situations
narrative inquiry
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kim, Byung-Geuk
Supervisor and department
D. Jean Clandinin (Elementary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Linda Phillips (Elementary Education)
George Buck (Educational Psychology)
Vicki Ross (College of Education, Northern Arizona State University, USA)
Florence Glanfield (Secondary Education)
Randolph J. Wimmer (Educational Policy Studies)
Department of Elementary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
My research puzzle focused on understanding the ways in which children compose their identities as citizens in curricular situations through telling and inquiring into the stories of who they are in their multiple life contexts. I conceptually framed citizenship education as linked to identity-making and making a curriculum of lives. I conceptualized citizenship education as children’s identity-making, which involves a process of becoming through inquiring into children’s stories of experience in multiple life contexts. This process engages teachers in the curriculum-making of citizenship education within the tension between planned and lived curricula contexts in order to create educative curriculum situations. By adopting a methodology of narrative inquiry, I negotiated the participation of a grade four teacher and three children. I worked with them in a classroom for the participation period (September 1, 2007–December 31, 2007). My field texts consisted of: field notes on my in-class participant observation, transcripts of one-on-one research conversations with children, field notes on those conversations, children’s diaries, children’s work samples, transcripts of conversations with family members, transcripts of conversations with the teacher, and field notes on those conversations. Moving from field texts to research texts, I composed narrative accounts of three children to identify resonant experiences around each child’s identity-making as a citizen. In each child’s narrative account, I saw how I engaged in curriculum-making with each child to help her/him shift her/his stories of who she/he was as a citizen. Looking across the three narrative accounts, I found resonant experiences around children’s identity-making as citizens by attending to how their stories to live by shifted as curriculum-making happened in the classroom. In my research I reconceptualize how we teach citizenship education by creating educative curriculum situations as shared inquiry spaces in which teachers begin by getting children to tell the stories of who they are in their multiple contexts and working with them to inquire into those stories in order to understand who they are in relation with others. In this sense, citizenship education is a process of inquiring into who children are in relation with other members in their immediate, multiple life contexts, and in relation with events and circumstances in order to help them position themselves as active agents and as citizens.
License granted by Byung-Geuk Kim ( on 2011-07-19T22:36:46Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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