10 SES 02 C, Learning to Teach: Meaning and Reflection
Traditionally, doctoral study has tended to be a mostly solitary programme of exploration. In recent years, not only has the number of educators undertaking doctorates grown exponentially but teams of supervisors have begun to develop models of collaboration in doctoral study that better align with understandings that learning is a social as well as an individual process and that it is complex and multi-directional.
This paper reports the development of a doctoral learning community in a university college of education. It examines interactions and collaborations that have evolved within the community and also the beginnings of further collaboration with two universities in other countries separated by ocean but connectable through the internet.
The doctoral programme involved in this study has a large number of international students from a wide range of countries. There is risk of students feeling isolation and marginalisation because of differences in culture and in the social and conceptual contexts that have prompted their research. There is also opportunity for enriching encounters and provocative debate that comes from looking at ideas from widely different perspectives and experiences. Reported here are critical episodes and decisions that encouraged the development of a doctoral community as one that is interactive socially and academically, created the kind of collaborative sharing and questioning that are characteristics of learning communities (Wagner, 1998). In particular we examine ways in which students, and their supervisors, have sought to deconstruct the potential hegemonies caused by the dominance of (so-called) western experiences within published accounts of research and theorisations of effective practice and to mediate between the valuable knowledge and knowledge processes of the academy and the ground material, social and cultural realities of their own countries of practice.
The work reported here is a further part of a on-going research project investigating the ways the growing transnational promotion of postgraduate education for educational development constitutes a trade and the ways in which such trade may be fair trade. Earlier stages of the project focusing first on the needed for reciprocity in gain and then on processes that create such reciprocity have been presented at ECER 2012 and ECER 2013 and have been published (Greenwood, Alam & Kabir, 2013; Greenwood, Everatt, Kabir & Alam, 2013). This paper focuses on the development and functioning of the learning community within the institute and the ways in which it helps doctoral students in education not only with developing stronger critical perspectives and wider conceptual frameworks for their own research but also in providing an experiential model of how learning communities are evolved and function and how they might be carried into teacher education and the practice of schools.
This focus aligns with the conference theme in that it critically examines past practice in educational research into teacher educational and school improvement and draws on the experiences of the doctoral community involved in the study to reconceptualise the nature of schools, of learning and teaching within them, and of the way we prepare and develop teachers (pre-service and in-service).
The broad theoretical frame for the symposium draws on concepts of the critically interactive and creative nature of learning communities (Lave & Wagner, 1991:Wegner, 1998), the processes of participatory action research (Kemmis & McTaggart, 2000) and reflective practice (Schön, 1983).
Brydon-Miller, M., Kral , M., Maguire, P., Noffke, S. & Sabhlok, A. (2012). Jazz and the Banyan Tree: Roots and Riffs on Participatory Action Research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.) Strategies of qualitative inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Geertz, C. (1988). Works and lives: The anthropologist as author. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Greenwood, J., Alam, S. & Kabir, A. (2013). Educational Change & International Trade in Teacher Development: achieving local goals within/despite a transnational context. Journal of Studies in International Education Greenwood, J., Everatt, J., Kabir, A. and Alam, S. (Ed.) (2013) Research and Educational Change in Bangladesh. Dhaka: Dhaka University Press. Kemmis, S. and McTaggart, R. (2000) "Participatory action research", in N.K. Denzin and Y.S. Lincoln (eds) Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd ed., pp. 567-605). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Lave, J. & Wegner, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner, How Professionals Think In Action. New York: Basic Books. Stake, R. (2003). Case studies. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Strategies of qualitative inquiry Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zuber-Skerritt, 1996). New directions in action research. London: The Falmer Press.
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