I (Cathy) am currently working my way through a book on critical reflection. ‘Working’ is the operative word, as this book, What Our Stories Teach Us, is set up as a guide to take us ( the teacher, professor, etc.) through an active critical analysis of our lives as educators using storying and critical incidence. The author, Linda Shadiow, loves to share stories herself. Below is one of her favourites. Apparently she has told it often and she uses it in her book to illustrate how our stories can impact our lives.
A graduate student is attending a lecture being given by one of her intellectual heroes, the Brazilian educator and theorist Paulo Freire. She takes notes furiously, trying to capture as many of his words as possible. Seeing that she is keenly interested in what Freire had to say, his translator asks if she would like to meet him. Of course! She is introduced and he begins by inquiring about her work. Then he graciously agrees to respond to a set of questions she and her colleagues hoped they would get the chance to ask him. She is impressed beyond belief, but time prevents her from asking one last, difficult question. They meet accidentally once more at the event and he wonders if she asked all her questions? No, there is one more. “Given your work, we want to know ‘where is the hope’?” Without hesitating he moves toward her, takes her face in his hands, looks into her eyes, and replies, “You tell them, ‘you are the hope, because theory needs to be reinvented, not replicated … it is a guide. We make history as we move through it and that is the hope.”
(Taken from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/reflections-on-teaching-learning-from-our-stories/ )
The graduate student is, of course, Shadiow. She explains in her book that her experience with Freire never left her. It energized and motivated her. She had to “give back “. She invites us as both reader and participant to rediscover our incidences of profound learning and let them move us.