10 SES 11 E, Collaboration, Messiness and Hybrid Learning Space
Collaborative inquiry "has emerged as the dominant structure for the professional learning of educators in the UK, North America and other parts of the world” (Baumfield, 2016, p.103) and collaboration between teacher educators and between teacher educators and their student teachers is common place. Lofthouse and Thomas 92015, p.8) have defined collaboration as “an action noun, describing the act of working with one or more other people on a joint project. It can be conceptualised as ‘united labour’ and might result in something which has been created or enabled by the participants’ combined effort”. This useful definition was used by Lofthouse and Thomas as a prompt for “a conversation” (ibid) with English secondary school teachers about their experiences of working in partnership with other teachers to develop aspects of their practice and to establish to what extent they considered this to have been “collaboration”. The definition emphasises collaboration’s active nature, its open-endedness in terms of who you might be collaborating with, and suggests possible benefits of collaborative inquiry. It might be described as a neat and tidy definition of collaboration. However, Eraut argues (2000, p.133) that “tidy maps of knowledge and learning are usually deceptive”. Lofthouse and Thomas’ definition is useful for the research participants but is silent on one of collaboration’s most important characteristics: its “messiness” (Adamson and Walker, 2011, p. 29). Messiness means the “complexity, unpredictability and difficulty in monitoring and management when teachers work and research together” (ibid). Messiness also includes “the dilemmas” faced within collaborative inquiry (ibid). Whilst Adamson and Walker (2011) identify tell us what messiness is they do not explain how it happens. Collaboration, its messy process and its associated messiness has largely been neglected by texts and teacher educators’ accounts of their research except for a very small amount of literature written in the United States, England and Honk Kong (Segall, 2002; Cook, 2009). There seems to be no contribution to this debate yet from mainland Europe. This is a significant omission and a gap in any research “story” and "the history" of teacher educator collaboration. Law (2003, p.3) states that “contemporary social science methods are hopelessly bad at knowing…mess” and suggests that these “dominant approaches”, who are committed to neat and tidy accounts of research, it could be argued, seek to “repress the very possibility of mess” and messiness. Yet the “world is largely messy” (ibid) and therefore Law asserts we should be “interested in the process of knowing mess…[and the] methodologies for knowing mess” (Law, 2003, p.3 ). Therefore this paper invites European teacher educators to contribute to the debate about mess and messiness within teacher educator collaboration, how it happens and how it might be documented. The paper brings mess and messiness into the foreground and in the process resurrects Segall's (2002, p.150) work on "Second Text" to answer three research questions: what is messiness within teacher educator collaborative inquiry? How does messiness happen within teacher educator collaborative inquiry? How do you document messiness within teacher educator collaborative inquiry?
Adamson, B., and Walker, E., (2011) Messy collaboration: learning from a learning study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 29-36 Baumfield, V., (2016) Democratic pedagogy: thinking together. In. Coffield, F., and Higgins, S., (Eds.) John Dewey’s democracy and education: a British tribute (pp99-113) London: IOE Press. Berry, A. (2007) Tensions in teaching about teaching: understanding practice as a teacher educator. Dordrecht: Springer. Coffield, F. (2014b) Whip me with carrots: the role of motivation in education and training. In: Coffield, F., with Costa, C., Müller, W., and Webber, J., Beyond bulimic learning: improving teaching in further education.(pp.99-116) . London: IOE Press Cook, T. (1998) The importance of mess in action research, Educational Action Research, 6, (2) pp.93-109. Cook, T. (2009) The purpose of mess in action research: building rigour though a messy turn, Educational Action Research, 17, (2) pp.277-291. Eraut, M. (2000) Non-formal learning and tacit knowledge in professional work. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70, pp.113-136. Law, J. (2003) Making a mess with method. Published by the Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YN Lofthouse, R., and Thomas, U., (2015): Concerning collaboration: teachers’ perspectives on working in partnerships to develop teaching practices, Professional Development in Education, doi: 10.1080/19415257.2015.1053570 Schön, D. (1987) Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass. Segall, A., (2002) Disturbing practice: Reading teacher education as text. New York: Peter Lang Wilcox, S., Watson, J., Paterson, M., (2004) Self-study in professional practice In. Hamilton, M., Loughran,J., Russell, T., LaBoskey, V., International Handbook of Self-study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices, (pp273-312) Springer. ProQuest Ebook Central.
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