01 SES 04 A JS, Professional Learning through Mentoring
Joint Paper Session NW 01 and NW 10
In 2013, the Teaching Council (TC) of Ireland attempted to follow the example of many countries both in European and world wide, by publishing ‘Guidelines on School Placement’. Unfortunately, many have argued that however necessary the guidelines were, the timing was ill-concieved (Sugrue and Solbrekke, 2017; Mulcahy and McSharry). Both past and recent literature has highlighted a vast array of barriers, which may shed some light on implementation challenges. These include cultural barriers e.g. a fear of evaluation (Hogan et al., 2007) as well as a “prevalence of professional insulation and isolation” (TC, 2010 p. 26) and ‘competitive individualism’ (Coolahan, 2003), which has led to a knowledge hoarding tradition (Cross, 1996). Other barriers associated with the global economic crisis include: eroded working conditions (ASTI, 2016), limited resources, record cuts, re-deployment threats (Mulcahy and McSharry, 2012), to name a few. Teacher Union critics claim that times of austerity have seen a narrowing scope, with the economic welfare of the teacher being priortised at the expense of the PD welfare of teachers (Poole, 2000). Moreover, a clarion call for ‘work to rule’ has led to CPD being seen as unpaid extra work (Bascia, 2001), and unions have asked teachers to cease engagement (ASTI, 2013). Given all of these issues alongside school placement being seen as “an exhausting experience” (O’Rourke, 2014, p. 6) which “can bring more burden than benefits” (Mulcahy and McSharry, 2012, p. 99), it is understandable that the participants’ colleagues’ levels of good will and volunteerism are low (ASTIR, 2014). As participants’ colleagues were less interested (Nowell, 2009) in school placement and were less committed to engage (Burns, 2007), there was a lack of consensus, which made collaboration less possible for participants (Lawlor, 2015). As such, ‘boundary spanning’ (Lindkvist, 2005) and the knowledge expansion (Bruce et al., 2011) of their colleagues was less likely, which made their capacity to affect change more difficult (Borzillo and Kaminska-Labbe, 2011).
Too often CPD implementation fails, not because the CPD did not inform and upskill, but because the schools in which teachers aim to apply it lack a supportive ‘critical hardware’ (Chevalier and Buckles, 2013). Whilst knowledge expansion is one outcome of effective CPD, “knowledge is power only for those who can use it to change their social conditions” (Shor, 1992, p. 6). Therefore, it is incumbent upon CPD providers to cater for the development of ‘flexible software processes’, which arm participants with the “skilful means to facilitate authentic dialogue and well informed reasoning” (Chevalier and Buckles, 2013, p. 84), in order to empower their colleagues (Ruechakul et al., 2015). The ‘Participatory Action Research’ (PAR) process is increasingly being accepted as an effective pedagogical vehicle for CPD (Anderson et al., 2015). It is particularly promoted for cultures where change is difficult to achieve and it emphasises that learning should go beyond the merely additive, to produce ‘transformative intellectuals’ (Aronowitz and Giroux, 1985). The empowerment potential of PAR is said to “leave people with tools for social change” (Smith et al., 2010, p. 1117) as they engage in “the process of acting upon the conditions [they gace] in order to change them” (p. 33).
The aim of this study was to examine if engagement in and with PAR supported the learning structure of a Mentoring Community of Practice (M-CoP) so that participants could overcome resistance to their engagement with school placement and if so, how (Weber 1978, p. 53 cited in Haugaard and Cooke, 2010). Secondly, there was a desire to consider if participants could cascade their learning to colleagues, thus promoting ‘second order change’ and if so, how (Haugaard and Cooke, 2010).
Anderson, V., McKenzie, M., Allan, S., Hill, T., McLean, S., Kayira, J., Knorr, M., Stone, J., Murphy, J., Butcher, K., 2015. Participatory action research as pedagogy: investigating social and ecological justice learning within a teacher education program. Teach. Educ. 26, ASTI, 2015. ASTI members reject latest Junior Cycle proposals. ASTI, 2014. ASTI Submission to the Teaching Council on the Continuum of teacher education. Borzillo, S., Kaminska-Labbe, R., 2011. Unravelling the dynamics of knowledge creation in communities of practice though complexity theory lenses. Knowl. Manag. Res. Pract. 9, 353–366. Chevalier, J.M., Buckles, D.J., 2013. Participatory Action Research: Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry. Routledge, London. Coolahan, J., 2003. Attracting, Developing & Retaining Effective Teachers: Country Background Report for Ireland. Cross, S., 1996. Roots & Wings: Mentoring. IETI 35, 224–230. Haugaard, M., Cooke, M., 2010. Power and critical theory. J. Power 3, 1–5. Hogan, P., Brosnan, A., De Róiste, B., MacAlister, A., Malone, A., Quirke-Bolt, N., Smith, G., 2007. Learning Anew: Final Report of the Research & Development Project. Teaching & Learning for the 21st Century, 2003-07. NUI Maynooth, Maynooth. Labone, E., Long, J., n.d. Features of effective professional learning: a case study of the implementation of a system-based professional learning model. Prof. Dev. Educ. 42, 54–77. Lawlor, J.A., 2015. Social Networks in Community Change Efforts. A Thesis Submitted to Michigan State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements. Mulcahy, C., McSharry, M., 2012. The Changing Face of Teacher Education in Ireland: A major overhaul or a cosmetic review? Educ. Res. EJournal 1, 91–103. Neal, J.W., 2014. Exploring Empowerment in Settings: Mapping Distributions of Network Power. Am J. Community Psychol. 53, 394–406. Ó’Ruairc, T., 2014. Opening remarks to School Placement Seminar. Ruechakul, P., Erawan, P., Siwarom, M., 2015. Empowering Communities in Educational Management: Participatory Action Research. Int. Educ. Stud. 8, 65–78. Smith, L., Rosenzweig, L., Schmidt, M., 2010. Best Practices in the Reporting of Participatory Action Research: Embracing Both the Forest and the Trees. Couns. Psychol. 38, 1115– 1138. Sobottka, E.A., 2013. Participation and Recognition in Social Research. Int. J. Action Res. 9, 124–146. Sugrue, C., Solbrekke, T.D., 2017. Policy rhetorics and resource neutral reforms in higher education: their impact and implications? Studies in Higher Education. 42, 130–148. Teaching Council, 2013. Guidelines on School Placement. Teaching Council, 2010. Draft Policy on the Continuum of Teacher Education.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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