Breaking the Elephant’s Tusk: Teacher Autobiography and Methodology in Peace Education
Steve Sharra, Ph.D.
Michigan State University - Lansing
This paper, a reflection of a study of peace education in Malawi, makes an argument for autobiographical perspectives as a form of methodology. Capturing the study’s participants’ autobiographical accounts, and studies on autobiography, the report demonstrates how autobiography guided the study, from the questions that contextualized it, to the ethnographic approach that framed it. The paper argues for how autobiography provided methodological space for the exploration of peace and social justice education and its endogenous contexts. The endogenous contexts are exemplified in the proverb in the title, and in the concept of uMunthu, (humanness), the study’s important finding.
‘Umanena chatsitsa dzaye kuti njobvu ithyoke mnyanga’—Chichewa proverb
The above proverb, from chiChewa, a language spoken in Malawi and in some parts of southern Africa, tells the story of a group of hunters who happened upon a dead elephant in the bush. They immediately noticed that the dead elephant was lying under a dzaye tree. They also noticed that one of the elephant’s tusks was broken, and that a bruised dzaye fruit (same family as passion fruit or granadilla) was lying next to the elephant. One of the hunters exclaimed that the elephant had probably died from starvation. Another suggested that it had probably been killed by the dzaye fruit as it fell from the tree. A third hunter pointed out that it was not enough to conclude that it was the dzaye fruit that had killed the elephant. Rather, it was necessary to ask what had caused the dzaye fruit to fall from the tree and hit the elephant’s tusk. Upon examining the tree, they saw a rodent resting on a branch up the tree. They decided that the rodent may have been one of the plausible factors that caused the fruit to fall, and to hit the elephant’s tusk, killing the elephant. Malawians use this proverb to signify the importance of not being satisfied with easy, obvious answers, but rather to probe and inquire further into root causes and contexts.
I found this proverb to be deeply significant as I developed a proposal for my dissertation research, went into the field to conduct the study, and pored over my data to try and make sense of the entire endeavor. My study rested upon the assumption that in order to understand the contexts of social injustice, inequality, and human insecurity in Malawian contemporary life, it was important to go beyond easy answers and probe deep into historical, political, social and global contexts of Malawi’s problems. These contexts made the project complex and difficult, not least due to the inherent risk of romanticizing some historical and global periods, and treating others superfluously. For these reasons, the study focused mostly on how such historical, political, social and global contexts were implicated in curriculum and pedagogy, and their applications in the classroom and school.
This report is written mainly as a reflection of how my dissertation study on peace and social justice education in Malawi, in retrospect, derived its methodology from autobiographical perspectives which included my own, participants’ accounts, and published studies. The report presents the main research question that guided the study, the supporting questions that contextualized the study, and the qualitative, ethnographic approach that framed the terms of reference for the study. A description of the role that autobiography played in inspiring and motivating the study is provided, as is a discussion of the place of local knowledge and endogenous ways of producing that knowledge. The report ends by tying the reflection as a whole to the proverb in the title and in the opening paragraph above as a confluence where teacher education meets autobiography and peace studies in education.
The main question the study set out to investigate was the kinds of writing teachers produce as they construct knowledge about problems of social injustice, insecurity and inequality in Malawi. This question arose from the premise of three other questions:
What ideas about Malawi’s history and contemporary society would teachers’ writing show to be necessary for peace building, and for the addressing of problems of social justice, insecurity and inequality in Malawi?
How does writing by teachers help us better understand teachers’ ideas about peace, human security and social justice?
How can we, educational researchers, policymakers, curriculum specialists and educators and other stakeholders, better understand the educational needs of Malawian people in the pursuit for peace, human security and social justice?
The research sought to make suggestions for practice on three points. First was how Malawian teacher-writers could develop teaching and learning activities that used writing, broadly defined, to construct knowledge relevant for peace and social justice at the community level. The second point was how to view teacher autobiographical writing as knowledge production in the context of community and national peace building. The third point was that approaching curriculum and pedagogy from a peace and social justice perspective could be done using existing content, without having to produce a new curriculum and new textbooks. New content material could be added as needed, but what would change would be the strategies and methods for teaching.
There are two important areas that could have enriched and broadened the scope of the study, but for purposes of narrowing down the study to a manageable topic, these areas were not a part of the study. First, recent thinking in educational research in Malawi and other countries has focused on the place and role of parents in envisioning new educational ideas, and there is no doubt that this would have added great insights into this study. Second, the languages of instruction has been a protracted debate in Malawi and in many formerly colonized countries. An examination of how language affects and impacts the implementation of educational reforms and policies could have been another important addition to the study. Due to the need to narrow down the focus of the study, the study did not investigate these issues.
Purpose of Study
The study was aimed at understanding the meaning of peace, and the relevance of peace education, defined broadly, from the teachers’ perspectives. As a researcher, I was the primary instrument for data collection. The knowledge that I was the primary instrument for the data collection allowed me to pay closer attention to instances when my passions might get in the way of the investigation and influence my interpretations of phenomena. While I was aware of the potential for this to happen, my concern was not so much on my data being skewered by my intervening influences, as on when my findings would cease to emerge from the data and begin emerging from my preconceived notions. I went into the field aware that my views were more or less formed around questions of the role of colonial history and contemporary structural inequalities in creating contexts in which Malawians grappled with problems of conflict and structural violence. I saw that problem as part of the construction of global, racialized, hierarchical identity categories, lying at the bottom of the self-defeatism in which local and endogenous knowledges are seen as having no place in modern Malawi, with far-reaching implications for the types of solutions elite Malawians and politicians envisage for the nation.
Autobiography as Inspiration
What I was unaware of however was how the processes and experiences that have shaped the views I hold would become an important, if not intriguing, part of the story I would eventually tell about my findings. In the early stages of thinking about the form and organization of the study, I read a handful of Malawian autobiographies, which I found exceptionally exciting and inspiring. It immediately became clear to me how as Malawians, the dictatorial imposition of official histories during Malawi’s 30 years of one party rule had deprived us of a much richer and fuller heritage of how the Malawi nation, and Malawian identity, came into being. Seeing how personal narratives combined individual insights with national aspirations for independence from British colonialism led me to see the power of autobiographical narrative as a methodological tool, as research data, and as a practice and reflection of peace building.
Realizing how this tool had not been well investigated in Malawian education, I began to think of the challenges and opportunities posed by autobiography in educational practice (Florio-Ruane, 2001; Chanfrault-Duchet, 2004). I drew inspiration and motivation from Florio-Ruane’s (2001) study of pre-service teachers who formed a book club and read autobiographies. Called the Future Teacher Autobiography Club, the prospective teachers read, met and discussed autobiographies for a six month period, during which time they dug into several conversations about many issues surrounding culture and their identities as students, teachers, members of a race, gender, various ethnic groups, and citizens. More inspiration for my approach to the study also came from my experiences in the Michigan State University’s chapter of the National Writing Project, the Red Cedar Writing Project. My participation in the 2002 summer invitational came at a crucial time when I was putting together ideas and resources for my proposal. Both ideas, a teachers’ autobiography club, and the summer invitational writing institute, became important parts of the methodology for my eventual study.
Because a good number of the Malawian autobiographies have been preoccupied with the struggle against colonial dictatorship, and the irony of the post-independence dictatorship Malawi turned into months after independence, the effects of colonialism on contemporary Malawian identity and the political system have been an important context for my attempt to understand Malawi’s educational system and how teachers experience that system. The study thus had part of its beginnings in what Smith and Watson (2001) call a Fanonian critique “of the specularity of the colonial gaze,” which they see as reconceptualizing “relations of domination and subordination in formerly colonized regions,” linking colonialism to global racism (p. 134).
Henry Masauko Chipembere’s 2001 autobiography Hero of the Nation: The Autobiography of Henry Masauko Chipembere, published posthumously, and Kanyama Chiume’s The Autobiography of Kanyama Chiume (1982) filled me with a strong desire to learn more about how life writing perspectives merge with peace and justice, curriculum and pedagogy in educational contexts. Both Chipembere and Chiume were leaders in the struggle for Malawi’s independence, and their autobiographies give detailed accounts of the roles they played in the struggle for Malawi, and for a Pan-Africanist worldview as a guiding philosophy for the independence of all people of African descent. They foreground their educational experiences in different parts of southern and eastern African, demonstrating how their education opened up in them an awareness of the evils of colonialism for Africans. They both obtained university degrees in South Africa and Uganda respectively, in the mid-1950s, and returned to Malawi where they became actively involved in the efforts to secure independence for Malawi. Of particular interest to me was how their education equipped them to join the struggle for freedom and justice for their people, a characteristic conspicuously absent in Malawian education today.
It was for this reason that I put the two autobiographies on the list of readings for the writing institute phase of the study. All eight teacher-autobiographies written by the participants, analyzed in the next chapter, were influenced, to some extent, by reading excerpts from the two autobiographies. That influence can be seen in how the teachers in the study also foreground their educational experiences, with some of the teachers, not all, tying their experiences to the political atmosphere of the time they went to school.
Although they have not themselves published their own autobiographies, Jack Mapanje and Steve Chimombo, two of Malawi’s most prominent writers and literary scholars, have spoken of the need for more Malawians to come forward with autobiographical narratives of their experiences during the dictatorship. In numerous speeches and articles, Mapanje has pointed out he was able to survive his political detention and come out alive after three and a half years, owing to the power of storytelling. He has talked of how he and fellow prisoners kept hope alive by sharing stories and folktales (Chimombo, 1999), and, for him, by keeping in mind that upon his release, he would turn his harrowing experiences into poetry and publish them. Arguing that other Malawians have their own experiences to tell, Mapanje (2002) has urged for the “orality of justice,” the telling of stories by ordinary Malawians to counter those constructed by the dictatorial regime.
Adding to Mapanje’s call, Chimombo (1999) has pointed out how words such as truth, reconciliation, forgiveness and healing will remain empty for as long as no attempts are made by artists to recount their experiences with repression going back to colonialism, continuing to the Banda dictatorship, to Muluzi’s era in which the 1968 Censorship and Entertainment Act, responsible for the repression against writers, remained unrepealed. Chimombo refers to his own personal experiences, saying “being a writer myself, I have been a victim too, in some form or other, of similar circumstances,” adding that in his case the suffering has been more psychological than physical, compared to other writers and artists he lists as having suffered both physical as well as psychological violence during the Banda dictatorship (p. 85).
Chimombo observes that Malawian artists “have never been called upon to take stock of what they lost in their own career,” a statement that rings true even outside the arts. There are only a handful of autobiographical accounts by Malawians, leaving the life writing terrain in Malawi acutely underexplored. One exception is a memoir by Fr. Padraig O’Maille (1999), an Irish Catholic priest who worked in Malawian parishes and taught in the University of Malawi from 1970 until his deportation by the Banda regime in 1992. Titled Living Dangerously: A Memoir of Political Change in Malawi, O’Maille’s account of Malawi is a moving narrative offering a personal perspective on what went on inside Malawi as Malawi’s intelligentsia got arrested one by one, and how ordinary Malawians both colluded with the system and sabotaged it. I read Living Dangerously after I had already started writing up this study, but its account merged well with those of Chipembere and Chiume, writing much earlier. A few more autobiographies and memoirs are reported to be on their way, including one by Felix Mnthali, a professor of English who spent a year in political detention soon after O’Maille’s arrival in the University of Malawi. Mapanje, Chimombo and Catherine Chipembere, widow of Henry Masauko Chipembere, have also talked of their own forthcoming autobiographical accounts.
There are also a few studies, outside Malawi and also focusing on lived experiences, that offered more insights into my project. Just before I left for Malawi in February 2004 I saw a book review of Voices from Cape Town Classroom: Oral Histories of Teachers Who Fought Apartheid. Written by Alan Weider (2003), Voices from Cape Town Classrooms portrays the lives of twenty South African teachers who were interviewed by Weider on their teaching and activism against apartheid. They were teachers who “were committed to their students both pedagogically and politically,” and whose teaching “promoted non-racialism, democracy, and the end of the apartheid system” (p. 6).
The other study, also an oral history project with teachers, is titled Black Teachers on Teaching, and was written by Michelle Foster (1997). Similar to Voices from Cape Town Classrooms, Black Teachers on Teaching is also based on interviews with twenty teachers, whose real voices are presented verbatim, allowing “the narrators to speak in their own words” (p. xx). The teachers in Foster’s project ranged from elderly teachers now retired, to middle-aged teachers still teaching, to younger teachers just entering the teaching profession. Their experiences thus cover a whole of historical and contemporary circumstances, including school desegregation and contemporary issues such as the standardized testing.
While the studies described above use life narrative and teaching, Kay Schaffer and Sidonie Smith’s (2004) study, Human Rights and Narrated Lives: The Ethics of Recognition, looks at life narrative in contexts of injustice, violence, inequality and human rights abuse. The project by Schaffer and Smith uses five case studies, namely, South Africa, Australia, Japan, China and the United States to highlight the transformative role of life narratives in bringing to light human rights abuses in these countries. The study “explores how narratives that bear witness to suffering and impact differently upon dominant and marginalized, subaltern and outgroup communities, emerge in local settings that are inflected by and inflect the global.” In this way the narratives effect a range of practices and contradictions from enabling and constraining “subjects of narration” to the conditions under which “calls for recognition, response, and redress are mediated by the formal and informal structures of governments, politics, and culture” (p. 7).
Since returning from the field in 2004, I have come across more and more scholarship on the place of autobiography (Chanfrault-Duchet, 2004), autoethnography (Reed-Danahay, 1997), and self-study (Mitchell, Weber & O’Reilly-Scanlon, 2005), especially in the social sciences and the humanities, and in education in particular. The analytical categories employed in the study benefited from developments in ethnography, the study of personal narratives, life writing and autobiography that, according to Smith and Watson (2001), have served “the purpose of valorizing the lives of ordinary, often marginalized, subjects” (p. 161). Such developments have also highlighted the need to promote the telling of stories of human rights abuses and social injustices, and the importance of understanding the historical and global interconnectedness of human suffering, as Smith and Schaeffer (2004) have shown in their study of the presence of such issues in the United States, Australia, China, South Africa and Japan.
While the findings of my study focused mostly on the lives of ten Malawian teachers who wrote autobiographies, and on their attempts to construct a peace pedagogy in their schools, the analytical categories used in understanding the findings were made more meaningful by the consciousness that this was also, to a considerable extent, my story. This turn of events unfolded towards the final stages of the analysis, edging the format and style of the study toward a genre that has come to be termed “contingent autoethnography” (Ellis, 2004). Ellis sees contingent autoethnography as a form in which “an author writes about others, most likely not planning to study anything about the self. Then in the process of research, the researcher discovers his or her connection to the material and to the world studied” (p. 51). Unlike Ellis’s autoethnography, which for her can embrace novelistic tendencies that extend to fictionalized events aimed at showing, rather than merely telling, every detail reported in my study came from the data collected from the field, and from real life participants. The exception might be the introductory and concluding chapters of the resulting dissertation, in which my own story merged with those of the participants.
The analysis of the data relied on fieldwork, the main reason why I needed to spend time physically in the setting with the participants. To effect change in educational policy and curriculum in Malawi, the conventional route would have been to study and work with the upper echelons of the education system’s hierarchy, such as department heads at the national curriculum center, directors in the ministry of education, and curriculum specialists. However the design for this study aimed to engage the group perceived to be at the bottom of the hierarchy, classroom teachers, and their students. Part of this decision was informed by a critical theoretical perspective aimed at critiquing traditional methods of knowledge production which have, according to Marshall and Grossman (1999), evolved within structures that privilege elitism, to the marginalization of other forms of knowledge (p.4).
Disinheriting Local Knowledge
In Malawi, as in many other formerly colonized countries, the education systems currently in place did not evolve out of indigenous structures of social life and aspirations, but rather, they were inherited from colonial systems and missionary institutions (Musopole, 1994; Ndura, 2006). Although governments made efforts to change the systems to benefit more Africans, the changes were aimed at creating a small cadre of highly trained individuals who would occupy bureaucratic government positions and be in charge of the post-independence development effort. Although there was an intention to change the system, in reality it was mostly the people running the system that changed. In Malawi, this meant educating a few elites, with the majority of the people educated only for menial and clerical jobs. The content and methods used in the education system remained those from the colonial era, whose main aim had been to provide workers in supporting roles in the running of the colonial government (Moumoni, n. d., referenced in Rodney, 1971). The effect of this type of education was the perpetuation of the colonial mentality, a condition expressed through the term ‘neocolonialism’ (wa Thiong’o, 1986). Very little of African heritage and knowledge made its way into the curriculum.
The view of knowledge that prevailed in the school system was therefore one of borrowed ways of knowing to be taught to Africans. Africa and Africans were not assumed to have produced knowledge worth being considered school knowledge. “Thirty years after the decolonization process,” according to Campbell (2000), “the curriculum in Africa is still designed to reproduce social inferiority, masculinity and ethnic identities” (p.39). Until recently, the dominant view of knowledge in the Malawi school system has been one where knowledge is supposed to be borrowed from outside the country, and coming from the top: from experts, government, the global North. While this dominant view of knowledge from the top or from outside is not unique to Malawi, belief in the inferiority of African knowledge systems plays a subtle but deep role to this day.
Writing about professional development programs aimed at orienting Malawian teachers to new developments in the curriculum, Mchazime (2003) points out that courses are still planned by experts, which teachers see as “externally motivated” (p. 92). He calls for courses that are “requested by the teachers” and are based on the “teachers’ own internal vision of good practice” (Mchazime, ibid.). But even if teachers request the courses, and experts design courses based on teachers’ specifications, the arrangement still privileges a top-down, hierarchical way of producing knowledge, which leaves the structures of power and influence unchanged. In the process, local, African ways of knowing are still systematically left out of the education system, thereby perpetuating inequality and injustice. A goal of this research was therefore to attempt to “view inquiry as leading to radical change and emancipation from oppressive social structures” using both critique and “direct advocacy and action taken by the researcher, often in collaboration with participants in the study” (Marshall and Grossman, pp.4-5). The conversation resulting from the process was aimed at giving teachers a voice, and beginning the process of transforming the dominant paradigm from knowledge transmission to one in which teachers also construct knowledge.
That autobiography was the answer to the question I was asking became apparent on the first day I met the participants. The design of the study involved a two-week writing workshop in which participants were given excerpts of autobiographies, poetry, articles and essays to read, discuss, and use as inspiration for their own writing. Participants were free to write something in response to the readings, reflecting on their own lives. When sharing time came, most of the participants had chosen to write about various aspects of their lives in autobiographical narrative. Some wrote about what it was like to go to school in Malawi in the 1970s, while others wrote about what it was like to be a teacher in present-day Malawi. On what it was like to go to school during the 1970s in Malawi, a few of the participants mentioned events that characterized the socio-economic and political atmosphere of the time. Some of the descriptions provided in the autobiographical accounts included the political abuses that extended to school life. Malawi became a one-party state soon after its independence from the British in 1964. The president, Dr. Hasting Kamuzu Banda, was declared president for life, and was given dictatorial powers. Every Malawian was taken to be a member of the sole political party, and was therefore coerced into buying a party membership card. The idea behind the party was to raise funds for development, and also for identification purposes. But it soon became a tool of oppression in which people were denied access to hospitals, markets, and public transportation. This practice extended to schools, where even little children in the early grades were required to buy the membership card and carry it with them at all times. Several of the participants in the study wrote about this.
One of the most memorable stories we heard and read was by a teacher who as a child was expelled from school and banished from attending any Malawian school. His crime had been suspicion that he was behind the defacing of a portrait of the president hanging on one of the walls of the classroom. His desk was immediately underneath the portrait, and so when nobody stepped forward to confess to the defacing, the school authorities decided that it had to be him, his frank protestations notwithstanding. He was expelled from the school, and stayed home for two years. He later changed his name and enrolled at another school. He did very well, being selected to one the prestigious secondary schools in Malawi, going to teachers’ college, and eventually becoming a teacher.
uMunthu and Endogenous Definitions of Peace
On what is was like to be a teacher in Malawi today, the participants wrote about what they saw as oppression from their superiors going up the hierarchy from head teachers up to the Ministry of Education headquarters. Some of the participants wrote about being denied deserved promotions and pay raises, being exploited of monetary benefits due to them, and being insulted and looked down upon by their superiors. One participant went as far as pointing out how the poor regard in which Malawian teachers are held have consequences in the way teachers are trained, with the Ministry of Education having very low expectations of teachers’ academic capability. The consequences of these low expectations, this participant observed, extended to the rest of the country and affected its development:
The quality of teaching suffers. Sometimes you just give the pupils notes to copy instead of engaging them. That contributes to poor performance, and affects their future. Eventually the children end up failing in life. Once they fail to continue with school, that’s it. If they are boys they marry after Standard 8 (Eighth grade). And they marry women who themselves didn’t go to school. The children born in such a family are themselves disadvantaged from the start. The child may be bright, but the home conditions may affect his/her school performance. (Pinde, Interview)
In dealing with the question of what could be the underlying reasons for the injustices visited upon Malawian teachers, two of the participants saw it as a lack of appreciation for the humanity of other human beings. When one is able to appreciate and respect others, one is said to have uMunthu, which loosely translates as humanness, the quality that makes one a full human being. uMunthu is a concept that is used quite commonly in Malawian discourse, and which carries with it a tradition of philosophical and theological scholarship, pursued by a number of Malawian and southern African intellectuals, theologians, religious leaders and public figures. In many southern African societies, the concept of uMunthu underscores the identity that makes one a human being (Musopole, 1994; Sindima, 1995; Ramose, 1996; Tutu, 1999). UMunthu is premised on the principle that one’s humanity is bound up with that of other human beings, and therefore being a human being entails fraternity with other human beings. While uMunthu has attracted scholarly attention amongst southern African researchers and leaders, it is also a worldview that is easily articulated by ordinary people for whom uMunthu represents principles for day to day living. The participants in this study spoke from this perspective rather than from that of academic theorizing. One participant spent a considerable amount of time giving examples of what uMunthu was, and pointed out that it needed a combination of cultural upbringing and educational opportunity for one to develop uMunthu. Many of the education officials at the district, division and ministry levels were better educated than most teachers, but there were those in their midst that had not developed uMunthu, and therefore did not regard teachers as people worthy of dignity and deserving of opportunities:
Ethical responsibility is not the responsibility of the school alone. uMunthu starts at home. uMunthu is when you can do things that make other people say you are a human being; you have certain characteristics that make you a human being; to listen to what other people say; to associate with other people, elements like those are what make a human being. And there are times when uMunthu disappears. And somebody becomes a thug. And these forces can have nothing to do with education. A person can be highly educated, but have no uMunthu (Pinde, Interview).
Method in the Mushiness
The definitions of peace and social justice derived from the autobiographical accounts of the teachers argue for the addressing of the problems the participants raised. The contexts of the problems are also historical, as in the teaching of how the country fought for its independence, only to descend into a dictatorship. Yet given the worsening conditions of schools in the country since the end of the dictatorship, the participants’ accounts call for a deeper problematization of the circumstances that were unraveled in the process of addressing the previous injustices. The autobiographical nature of the data from this study provides unique insights into how the Malawian teachers in the study personally experience their profession. Even then, the stories themselves are also subject to further inquiry, so as to account for the larger contexts in which Malawi as a country negotiates its place in the global arena. These contexts include the Cold War era politics that dictated development policy during the years that Malawi was a one party state, Third World debt and the exploitation of Africa’s resources, and the market/privatization forces that impinge upon the ability of the state to provide social services such as quality education (Meinhardt and Patel, 2003; Bond, 2006)). Thus the autobiographical accounts of these teachers should also be understood as being bound up in the global social justice discourse.
How the Elephant’s Tusk Broke
All scholarly inquiry involves variations of asking what brought down the dzaye fruit for it to break the elephant’s task. This insight rescued my study in moments of dark despair when I was not sure where the study was headed. By constantly returning to the autobiographical motivations that inspired my research questions, I was able to put together a story of where the study was coming from and where the teachers’ autobiographical narratives and interviews were taking it to. The same motivations helped in categorizing the themes that the teachers’ stories and other data generated, leading to a framework that held the entire study together, exposed unanswered questions, and mapped out new ones.
In peace education, the significance of this in-depth inquiry cannot be overemphasized. For teacher development in Malawi and elsewhere, autobiographical accounts of teachers’ lives provide a wealth of stories through which teachers reaffirm their humanity, their uMunthu, and that of their students and their communities. From this reaffirmation teachers may offer their own definitions of peace and social justice, derived from lived experiences, endogenous contexts and knowledges. From these lived experiences, contexts and knowledges teachers can then develop themes for a peace curriculum that enables a pedagogy centered around peace and justice issues. The knowledge that autobiography is never fixed, but always fluid (Florio-Ruane, 2001), should allow for interrogation of the processes through which endogenous contexts inform a peace curriculum and pedagogy (Turay, 2000; Ihejirika, 1996). In this way, teachers will be enacting a peace praxis that embodies activism and reflexivity, and that makes schooling more relevant in the lives of the teachers themselves, their students, and their communities.
Steve Sharra holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University. A Compton Peace Foundation dissertation fellowship enabled Steve study how teachers use autobiography to define and enact peace and justice education in Malawi, drawing on endogenous perspectives. Steve blogs at Afrika Aphukira <http://mlauzi.blogspot.com> and at Global Voices Online <http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/-/world/sub-saharan-africa/malawi/>.
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