22 SES 08 C, Professional Development and Identity
In the last five years, in the Group Indaga-t (GIDCUB-13/087), we have been promoting, developing and disseminating meaningful learning innovative and collaborative experiences at the University of Barcelona. Through teaching innovations and research projects, we consider that the competence of learning independently is not just related with doing alone what the teacher demands (Chan, 2000). If we expect that students meet our expectations, we are denying the possibility of being surprised or being under a disturbance, something that is part of our positionality as University teachers. Atkinson (2010: 6) defines the idea of disturbance in teacher experiences “when a teacher is confronted with something mysterious that disturbs his or her mode of functioning”. This idea of disturbance seems to be a central concept in philosophy and authors such as Badiou, Deleuze and Foucault among others. For us, the experience of disturbance is relevant because it seems be connected with “a rupture, a puncturing of ways of understanding or acting which has the potential to precipitate real learning” (Atkinson, 2010: 6). And we want to promote in our students and ourselves experiences of real learning.
Learning is, in our perspective, a slippery experience connected with Atkinson’s notion of ‘real learning’ that “involves a movement into a new ontological state; it defines a problem of existence, in contrast to more normative learning in its everyday norms and competences.” (Atkinson, 2012: 9). This movement, we think, is what students experienced when they are developing research project in our classes, because they are able to “produces a new alignment of thinking and action” (Atkinson, 2012: 9). They experience learning as part of subjectification process that generated “a disruption of established ways of knowing, through learning events” , because they are able “to handle states of uncertainty as new knowledge and (where) new competences begin to emerge” (Atkinson, 2012: 10).
This framework is the base of the project Invisible zones on the independent learning assessment (2013PID-UB/001) where members from the Teaching innovation group Indaga-t have been exploring our own zones of disturbance, where our discomfort and unknowing emerge in the relationship between students and teachers, during the scholastic year 2013-2014. In this project we assume that everything that produces a disturbance can help us to rethink the comfort zone (Brown, 2008) we occupy at the university (Hernández-Hernández and Fendler, 2013) and give us the opportunity of being coherent teachers.
To achieve this aim we need to redefine teachers and students roles and pedagogical relationships, rethinking students’ learning experiences and assessment stragegies (Herraiz, 2015). Redefining roles concert to questioning the responsibilities and commitments that we assume as teachers and students (Chan, 2000). It means moving our role from transmitter to a guide who is accompanying the student’s achievements, mistakes and improvements (Champagne and alt. 2002); and implies understanding that students are the main actors of their learning process.
The main goals of the project are:
a) Exploring the intersections between formative assessment, participation and independent learning, under the perspective of disturbance.
b) Identify our own zones of disturbance on assessment practices.
c) Developing assessment strategies which incorporate the experience of these zones of disturbance in our courses in collaboration with the students.
As we explain later, at the methodology section, the need of inquiring on the experiences of disturbance in assessment emerges from our conversations with our students where we put in common how these experiences affect the pedagogical relationship. In this paper we present the analytical and reflective process that allowed us to learn and create innovative and participative assessment strategies by taking into account the disturbance experiences we share with the students.
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