Penning Possibilities: Narratives of Poets' Personal and Community Learning Experiences Practicing Spoken Word
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Using narrative and poetic inquiry as methods for data collection an analysis, this dissertation documented the stories of four poets and their engagement in Spoken Word practice as well as how they utilized this art form to engage in learning individually and collectively. Each dissertation participant shared stories through conversational interviews, a writing workshop, artifacts, and poems. The research questions guiding this qualitative study included: (1) What are the stories of four adult poets becoming engaged in Spoken Word practice? (2) Why is Spoken Word an important pedagogical vehicle for learning at the levels of self and community? (3) How can Spoken Word be used as a learning tool? As study findings emerged, ways in which each participant engaged in Spoken Word as a vehicle for learning and educating others materialized. Thus, study findings are presented by discussing the following concepts and themes: Storytelling, finding voice, healing, informal/nonformal/formal learning, democratic praxis, and community. Throughout these themes, study participants reported how they have utilized Spoken Word to engage as adult learners and educators. Additionally, the dissertation documents their impact as agents of change through the Spoken Word practices they reported. Study findings suggest that Spoken Word can inform arts-based community education and adult education practices. This dissertation adds to the current body of literature regarding the usefulness of the arts in community building and adult learning, particularly the potential for transformational learning through the implementation of arts-based educational practices.