Spaces Draft

In my assignment, I will be discussing writing my Autoethography which will be based on my critical incident. My critical incident was when  my Secondary school got shut down and so I had to move to another secondary school. I will be discussing my emotions and the impact this change had on me. I will also be looking at different theorists and their viewpoints on space.

What is an Autoethnography?

According to (Brodkey, 1996: 29) as cited in (Denshire, S. 2013) “auto-ethnography invites writers to see themselves and everyone else as human subjects constructed in atangle of cultural, social and historical situations and relations in contact zones”.

(Ellis, 2004: Holman Jones, 2005) as cited in (Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. 2010) defines Autoethnography as a type of writing that looks at the personal experience of the individual to understand other ‘cultural experiences’. (Jeffrey Keefer, 2009), explains that the researcher can look more deep into their ‘own experience’ and places that as a  ‘focus of investigation’.

Furthermore,  The (Erialprojectorg, 2017) website suggests Autoethnography is a group of ‘qualitative methods’ in social sciences that holds emphasis on to the ‘observation of social practices’. Furthermore, the (Erialprojectorg, 2017) website also suggests that these methods allow “the researcher to build theories about how a social process occurs”. From this I understand that Autoethograpy is kind of writing your own autobiography for other readers to understand and engage with your experience. It also expresses your thought and ideas on to a blog that some people can relate to you.

My Critical Incident

After so many protests across the streets of Sheffield, we had to finally accept the fact that we were unsuccessful in saving the school. I can remember hugging my friends and saying our last “goodbye’”; because school isn’t going to be the same without them. I felt distraught that I had to make new friends, get used to the new space and environment. (Peter C. Lippman, 2010) suggests that “ The responsive design approach understands the transactional relationship between learners and their learning environment and that sustainable design does not merely signify the integration of green principles but rather how the learning environment- social and physical- can contribute to the development of the learner”.

The new school was huge compared to my old school. As it had three floors and each floor had ten classrooms and three offices. There were also two canteens and one library. The school also had three outdoor fields and two sports halls since it was specialised in sports.  After a few months into my new Secondary School, everything was so different and I hated that. The students already had their own group of friends so it was hard for me to engage with them. I felt withdrawn from everything, I used to wish when school would end so I can be away from everyone. I avoided any questions that came my way and so kept my ideas and opinions to myself. The school was having a parent meeting soon so I was nervous to know what my teacher thought about me. I knew my grades would be bad so I was scared that the teacher would discuss it with my parent as I did not want them to feel disappointed and let down.

At the Parents meeting, my teacher went through my work and noticed that I had not made any progress and was falling behind than the other students in my class. She discussed that I did not participate enough with other students as well as the learning activities that used to take place in the classroom. She also discussed my attitude towards learning and how deeply concerned she is with my attendance and punctuality. Furthermore, the teacher was most concerned about my confidence which she explained is a key part for any career path I want to do in the future. My teacher also looked at my grades from my old school and explained that they have decreased rapidly from my grades in my new school. This made me feel disappointed realising how poorly I have achieved. I also felt embarrassed to be in this position as I never used to have any concerns with the teachers in my old school.

Confidence was a huge issue the teacher raised to my parents. She believes that to achieve well I must stand out. I realized with me not participating with other students is making me stand out in a bad way. Therefore, the teacher explains that she would be organizing group based activities so I can have the chance to talk to other students. I am going to have one to one tutorials with me to view my progress and make action plans to get back on track with my grades. Kuh (2001a, 2001b, 2003) as cited in (Kelly E. Matthews, Victoria Andrews & Peter Adams, 2011) “developed the student engagement (SE) model to investigate how much time and effort students allocate to educationally purposeful activities that directly relate to academic success”.

Furthermore, The teacher is also going to ask me more question frequently in class so that I am still participating and listening. The teacher is also going to be observing me in classrooms and taking note on how I am coping. It feels kind of strange that the teacher is observing me, however it is only for the good. She also said that she is going to inform the students to engage with me more frequently and put me into sports classes so I can get more comfortable with them. Personally, I feel like I have let the teachers down and feel ashamed as I did not contribute like how other students did. However, I feel like concerns of the teacher concerns were understandable as she is only wanting me to pursue the best education for a good career path. And to increase my grades I must listen to her concerns and work with the teachers. (Matthews et al., 2009) as cited in (Kelly E. Matthews, Victoria Andrews & Peter Adams, 2011) explain that “Qualitative methods, namely observations and interviews, were employed to gain a richer, more in-depth understanding of the Quantative data found in the first phase of the study”.

After the parents meeting, my parents were there to support me and make my journey at secondary school easy for me. The teachers used to have one to ones and saw significant changes in my work. I was in a football and netball team in which I spoke to different people and showed that I can work in a team. I also made my group of friends that offered me support and advice and were frequently answering questions in class.Even though this incident caused me stress and made me uneasy, it made me reconsider my studies and goals in the future. Therefore, this incident was good as it got me participating with people and feeling confident in school.

Word count- 1357


Denshire, S. (2013) Autoethnography. Retrieved from:

Jeffrey Keeper . 2009. What is Autoethnography . [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2017].

Erialprojectorg. (2017). Erialprojectorg. Retrieved 1 March, 2017, from

Brodkey L (1996) I-site.Literacy and Numeracy Studies6(2): 17–30.

(Brodkey, 1996: 29) as cited in (Denshire, S. 2013). Autoethnography. Retrieved 1 March 2017, From

(Peter C. Lippman, 2010). Can the physical environment have an impact on the learning environment? Retrieved 1 March 2017, from

(Matthews et al., 2009) as cited in (Kelly E. Matthews, Victoria Andrews & Peter Adams, 2011).  Social Leaening spaces and student engagement. Retrieved 1 March 2017, from

Kuh (2001a, 2001b, 2003) as cited in (Kelly E. Matthews, Victoria Andrews & Peter Adams, 2011) Social Leaening spaces and student engagement. Retrieved 1 March 2017, from

(Ellis, 2004: Holman Jones, 2005) as cited in (Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. 2010) Autoethnograpgy: An Overview [40 paragraphs] Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12 (1), Art.10,

(Ellis, 2004: Holman Jones, 2005) as cited in (Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. 2010) Autoethnograpgy. Retrieved 1 march 2017,



2 thoughts on “Spaces Draft

  1. The introduction states where the blog entry is going however it may be beneficial to go back to it upon completion of your blog entry in order to make sure all the points have been addressed and signposted. You have given a wide range of autoethnographic definitions however they have so far only been stated. You could make links between them to compare and contrast and point out where they agree and disagree with each other.

    Your critical incident explains the situation extremely well however there is little reference to your emotional reaction. To create a more evocative piece it may be helpful to elaborate on how your senses reacted to each situation in your critical incident. Not only could this create an evocative piece and allow the reader to put themselves in your shoes it could also allow you to later link this to the Merleau-Ponty’s idea of phenomenology. I feel that the flow of your critical incident would be smoother if the academic literature was taken out and placed within the section where you look at different theorists to explain your critical incident as currently the theory within the critical incident takes the focus away from what is happening. I would also recommend you check your in text referencing by looking online in the library gate way at the guide for APA referencing.

    You made it clear that you struggled to readjust when you relocated school. I get a huge sense of a not belonging in your new secondary school setting. Lefever is the go to theorist when it comes to belonging, her article ‘Belonging on Campus’ (2012) would be a good read and could be used to explain your engagement levels and how they altered within your new school setting. This could then be associated with how this reflects upon your feeling of belonging. Another article to further support this argument is Bryson and Hand’s (2007) ‘The Role of Engagement in Inspiring Teaching and Learning’. This article also looks into the student’s feeling of belonging and focuses on the concept of learning through engagement.

    I would also suggest reading up on Foucault and his theory of power based on Bentham’s panopticon as I feel this would link in well with the teacher’s decision to ‘observe’ you in the classroom and ‘take note’ of how you are coping. You could elaborate on how that would alter your behaviour and participation within the classroom.
    This is an overall good piece of writing. I really enjoyed your choice of critical incident. I think it is rich with moments that link in with many theorists. I look forward to reading the completed blog entry, especially where you apply the theories of space and place to your critical incident.


  2. I found your introduction useful, as it was well signposted, so I knew exactly what you would be writing about throughout your blog post. Moving on to your section titled ‘what is an autoethnography’; I thought that you defined autoethnography well using multiple theorists and briefly discussed your own understanding of autoethnographic writing, but you could go into further detail. I noticed that you have cited Ellis, et al (2011) by providing a definition of autoethnography, however this reading goes on to discuss the history and origins of autoethnography. For example, I think it is important to note that a researcher uses principles of autobiography and ethnography to do and write autoethnography. Thus, as a method, autoethnography is both process and product. Perhaps go back and add to this section in order to develop your argument even further.

    I enjoyed reading your critical incident I found it engaging and it gave me insight into an obvious difficult time in your life. However, it was very descriptive and in order to improve further and to fully grasp autoethnographic writing I would suggest you add more emotion and feelings to your writing. You have given a description of your new school, but in order for your critical incident to evoke the reader, I would suggest you include a sensory aspect of your experience. For example what you could hear smell etc. When entering this new unfamiliar place. I failed to pinpoint what kind of autoethnographic style you were writing in, if you include more emotions and feeling in your writing, it could become an emotive autoethnographic account.

    You have sited some theorists throughout your critical incident, however in order to improve on structure and the flow of your assignment, I would suggest you incorporate these theorists in a separate section. I could not understand how some of the theories you used related to your critical incident, perhaps this was because of the lack of explanation that went along with these theories, which is why I think they would be useful in a separate section as you could link your critical incident to different theories in further detail.

    To improve your use of theory I would suggest looking at May (2011) ‘Self, Belonging and Social Change’ (can be found on library gateway) reading. One theme highlighted in this journal article is the idea of ‘belonging’, which I think, would relate well with your critical incident. May (2011) defines belonging as ‘a sense of ease with oneself and ones surroundings’ (p.368). You mention in your critical incident that when first starting your new school everything was so different and that you felt withdrawn from everything, you could link this to the idea of not feeling like you belonged in this space. You could also read Lefever (2012) ‘Exploring student understandings of belonging on campus’, which discusses student belonging further and what factors may influence this.

    When writing your final draft do not forget to include some reflections and your conclusion. I would also advise that you proofread your work, as there are grammar inconsistencies throughout and parts that do not make sense.


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