Amish Teacher Dialogues with Teacher Educators: Research, Culture, and Voices of Critique Page: 593
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The Qualitative Report Volume 10 Number 3 September 2005 593-620
Amish Teacher Dialogues with Teacher Educators: Research,
Culture, and Voices of Critique
New Life Christian, New Haven, Indiana
Glenda Moss and Joe Nichols
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana
This dialogical project is framed within critical inquiry methods to bring
an Amish teacher's voice to the forefront. Henry, an Amish middle school
teacher, and two university teacher educators in northeastern Indiana
collaboratively critiqued educational literature written about the Amish
culture from the past 15 years. Building on critical ethnography and
narrative methods, the authors used dialogue as a medium for inquiry.
The intersubjective, collaborative project democratized the university
researchers' research role and allowed an Amish voice to gain a place in
the academic field of research. Key Words. Amish, Narrative, Qualitative,
Culture, Critical Inquiry, Intersubjective, Dialogue, Voice, Context,
Contextualize, Community, Story, Trustworthiness, Ethnography, and
Contextualizing the Story: Voice of an Amish Teacher
Why conduct a research study about research literature written about the Amish?
This project was designed to allow two university professors and me (Henry), an Amish
middle school teacher, an opportunity to use critical narrative research methods to read
research written by English' researchers about the Amish culture; compare the research to
my personal experiences growing up Amish, living as an Amish adult, and teaching in an
Amish school; and situate my voice in the academy as a voice of critique.
My experience as a researcher and co-author begins with my story of becoming a
middle school teacher in an Amish school in the community in which I was raised. While
harvesting wheat at my father's place in 1988, I overheard a discussion between my sister
and her husband about the discipline problems in the Amish school that their children
attended. I said, "I think I could teach." From doing this research project with co-authors,
Glenda and Joe, I understand that what happened next cannot happen in English schools.
The next night, the Amish school board came over to ask if I would consider teaching
seventh and eighth grade students. I said, "Yes," and that is how I became a teacher in my
Today, I reflect back and realize this was a calling and a gift that I did not know I
had. With teaching came the desire to learn how to effectively help and bring out the best
1 In the Amish community where Henry lives, non-Amish Whites are referred to as English.
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Zehr, Henry; Moss, Glenda & Nichols, Joe. Amish Teacher Dialogues with Teacher Educators: Research, Culture, and Voices of Critique, article, September 2005; [Fort Lauderdale, Florida]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc109724/m1/1/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Dallas.