ERG SES G 12, Studies in Education
My PhD is situated within my practice context as a lecturer in the Institute of Education at Massey University, New Zealand. I work on the Specialist Teaching team, facilitating a blended (online and face-to-face) and inquiry-based postgraduate programme for experienced teachers seeking to further their specialisation in inclusive education through an interprofessional community of practice approach. As part of my wider duties on the programme, I coordinate the marking across papers; administer requests for extensions on assignments, and systematically support the wellbeing of students. Juxtaposing these three responsibilities affords me a bird’s eye view of student wellbeing, and an appreciation of the enablers and barriers to effectively managing postgraduate study. My PhD questions students’ own understandings of professional identity, authentic practice and well-being: how students make sense of these constructs and the connections between them; how their understandings shift over time, and the implications for tertiary providers. This presentation will overview the research and findings, to set the stage for a discussion on research in and on our contexts and alongside our students/participants.
Postgraduate students – and all professionals – practice within personal, professional and contextual stressors that can interfere with their ability to learn and reflect deeply, apply new knowledge and skills, and practice in ways that are consistent with their professional beliefs. Irrespective of other life circumstances, postgraduate study comes with its own stressors. Experienced practitioners encounter feelings of being a novice again; learning curves are high and often in multiple areas. Wellbeing often suffers during tertiary study, and caring for students in holistic ways improves the depth of their motivation, creativity and learning.
Lecturers must conceptualise, and provide, the right balance of support and challenge to midwife the professionals their students are becoming without creating so much pressure that they move from learning into ‘survival mode’ (Korthagen, 2009). Conversely, we must not water down challenges and expectations to the point that truly transformative learning can no longer occur. Observing the different ways lecturers respond to the wellbeing of their students provides us with models of relationship-based pedagogy (Bishop, Berryman, Cavanagh, & Teddy, 2009) and teaching within a culture of care (Walshaw & Anthony, 2007). Seeing the range of ways teaching colleagues respond to student’s circumstances also foregrounds the tension between student support and programme accountability.
These dilemmas are important because of the role we as university lecturers play in students’ professional lives for a brief but critical period of time. My research identifies essential components of professional fulfilment not always addressed explicitly in postgraduate education: professional stance, stamina and a network of supports (Kelcthermans, 2008). Further, I explore these ideas and consider a framework for postgraduate students and universities wanting to support learning that is sustainable and transformative, learning that changes and harmonizes who we are with what we do in our practice (Korthagen, Kim, & Greene, 2012).
In this session, I will briefly overview the research and conceptual framework to establish the context of my research. I will then focus on key insights around participatory research in education in terms of power sharing, transparency, co-construction of knowledge, collective ways of knowing, trust, authenticity and vulnerability.
Bishop, R. (2003). Changing Power Relations in Education: Kaupapa Māori messages for “mainstream” education in Aotearoa/New Zealand . Comparative Education, 39(2), 221–238. doi:10.1080/03050060302555 Bishop, R., Berryman, M., Cavanagh, T., & Teddy, L. (2009). Te Kotahitanga: Addressing educational disparities facing Māori students in New Zealand. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5), 734–742. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2009.01.009 Kelchtermans, G. (2008). Study, Stance, and Stamina in the Research on Teachers' Lives: A Rejoinder to Robert V. Bullough, Jr. Teacher Education Quarterly, (4). 27. Korthagen, F. (2009). Professional Learning from Within. Studying Teacher Education, 5(2), 195–199. doi:10.1080/17425960903306955 Korthagen, F. A. J., Kim, Y. M., & Greene, W. L. (Eds.). (2012). Teaching and Learning from Within: A Core Reflection Approach to Quality and Inspiration in Education (1 edition.). New York: Routledge. Stears, M. (2009). How social and critical constructivism can inform science curriculum design: a study from South Africa. Educational Research, 51(4), 397–410. doi:10.1080/00131880903354733 Walshaw, M., & Anthony, G. (2007). Creating opportunities through care in the mathematics classroom. Journal Issue, (1). Retrieved from http://www.nzcer.org.nz/system/files/journals/set/downloads/set2007_1_048.pdf
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