Pioneers Past and Present: Curriculum insights from stories that link through generations


  • Gail M. Lindsay York University
  • J. W.E. Bjarnason


narrative, life stories, crossing generations, curriculum


ABSTRACT. Stories that were written by my grandfather at the turn of the 20th century spiraled into my daily life as a nurse-teacher at the turn of the 21st century. In this paper, I explore a common plotline of my Afi (Islandic for grandfather) and me as pioneers by linking his life stories to the tensions I experience in my contemporary professional worklife. Our narratives intersect, crossing generations with stories that illuminate for me ways to understand these tensions as a faculty member and curriculum-maker. LES PIONNIERS DE PASSSÉ ET DU PRÉSENT : PERTINENCE POUR LES PROGRAMMES D’ÉTUDES DES HISTOIRES TRAVERSANT LES GÉNÉRATIONS RÉSUMÉ. Des récits rédigés par mon grand-père au tournant du XXe siècle refont surface dans mon quotidien d’infirmière-enseignante au tournant du XXIe siècle. Dans ce document, j’explore une intrigue commune mettant en scène mon Afi (grand-père en islandais) et moi-même comme pionniers en établissant un lien entre les récits de la vie de mon grand-père et les tensions que je ressens dans ma vie professionnelle contemporaine. Nos récits s’entrecroisent et franchissent les générations en me révélant des moyens de comprendre ces tensions à titre de professeure et de conceptrice de programmes.

Author Biographies

Gail M. Lindsay, York University

GAIL LINDSAY is a nurse-teacher who is interested in how students, teachers, and their autobiographies are in relationship with other practitioners and those receiving care in healthcare situations. She contributes to a science of nursing education by thinking narratively about people and events, over time, in diverse settings.

J. W.E. Bjarnason

J. W. D. BJARNASON was an artist, an observer of nature and Gail’s grandfather. His stories of being a pioneer illuminate Gail’s experience in a new collaborative nursing program.




How to Cite

Lindsay, G. M., & Bjarnason, J. W. (2006). Pioneers Past and Present: Curriculum insights from stories that link through generations. McGill Journal of Education / Revue Des Sciences De l’éducation De McGill, 40(1). Retrieved from