International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 14 Number 12

October 7, 2013

Narrative Texture:
The Layering of Voices in a Secondary Classroom
for Learners with Special Needs

Deborah V. Blair
Oakland University, USA

Citation: Blair, D. V. (2013). Narrative texture: The layering of voices in a secondary classroom for learners with special needs. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 14(12). Retrieved [date] from
In this paper I explore the layers of voices represented in a classroom of high school students with special needs. As their guest music teacher, I learned about their strengths and challenges, their teachers, and their engagement with music. Issues of inclusion, access, privacy, and personal bias confronted me as I worked to construct narratives that honored the students' story of school. To address, in particular, the issue of bias, I explored representations of the data (Blair, 2010) in various formats (Lather & Smithies, 1997; Smith, 2009) and considered the influence of formatting to engage/disengage the reader (Barone, 1900, 1995). Here, I first share a narrative written from the learners' perspective followed by a narrative layered with my voice as the teacher-researcher. The metaphor of musical texture frames this paper and serves to enable the reader a glimpse into the students' musical ideas within their compositions as well as the multi-layered roles and perspectives within this special classroom.

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