Multigenre Narratives as a Healing Process

Multigenre Narratives as a Healing Process

Jennifer Lynne Bird, Eric Wanner
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4249-2.ch024
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This chapter uses the theory of narrative inquiry and the practice of multigenre writing to explain the implications of using writing to assist in healing from physical pain. Dr. Jennifer Bird has always used narratives and journal writing with the college students she teaches. During her physical therapy sessions with Dr. Eric Wanner, she realized a neck pain journal read by her physical therapist provided additional insights into pain recovery. In this chapter, Dr. Bird and Dr. Wanner share their perspectives of their collaborative narrative inquiry qualitative research project and advice of how writing can lead teachers to develop a stronger self-awareness of what they need both physically and emotionally.
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Background Of Narrative Inquiry

Pain and I know each other well. My mom died an unexpected and tragic death during my time as a doctoral student. Refusing to sink under the weight of the emotional pain that gripped me, I used the theory of narrative inquiry as a lifeboat to help me heal. Connelly and Clandinin (2000) describe narrative inquiry as “stories lived and told” (p. 20). I forever remain grateful to my doctoral dissertation committee for giving me the opportunity to use writing as healing and complete a study that enabled me to tell the stories of other teachers as writers while simultaneously and most importantly living and telling my own story.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multigenre Writing: Originally made popular in the field of education by Tom Romano, a multigenre paper consists of two parts: creative writing in multiple genres and the writer’s analysis of the genres. The original version of multigenre papers can also be used in classrooms for students of all ages. When creating a multigenre project, students respond to a topic such as a novel and create genres such as the following: A “missing scene,” such as a conversation between two characters that you think should have happened but didn’t, a flashback to explain a certain character’s behavior, or another scene that you would like to see; A prequel or sequel that describes events that took place before or after the novel; Rewriting an existing scene from the point of view of another character; Placing yourself in the novel by pretending you are a minor character and explaining your connection to the main character; A journal entry from a character’s point of view; A news article about events in the novel; An advice column; A magazine collage representing events in the novel; A mix CD containing songs you think fit with the novel; Artwork depicting an event in the novel; A board game featuring events in the novel; A poem about the novel; An invitation, menu, or other project that connects to the novel. After designing the genres, students write a paper of end notes explaining why they chose the genres they did, how the genres relate to the topic of the paper, and any additional information about their thought process.

Neck Pain Journal: Jen created a journal of how her neck was feeling and what she was doing when her neck felt pain. Eric read the journal and diagnosed what Jen needed to do to make her neck feel better.

Thinking Like a Turtle: Take on one task at a time, which can lead to greater productivity and less stress.

Multigenre Healing Project: Jen and Eric designed a multigenre project where Jen wrote about her neck pain and Eric provided the end notes analysis. This is a different perspective on multigenre projects that connects the field of education and medicine and can lead to greater patient awareness about health.

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