10 SES 14 B, Self-Study Methodology: An inspiring and ambitious approach for practitioner research in Europe
Introduction We are six teacher educators at the University of Iceland using self-study to develop our courses and strengthen our professional foundation. The purpose of our study was to examine how the discourse of self-study of teacher education practices is developing in Iceland, and consolidate the influence on our professional development. Our goal was to understand the process of applying self-study in our professional community. Self-study as research methodology is a way for practitioners to critically reflect on their practice, and find ways to make the study public (Samaras, Guðjónsdóttir, McMurrer & Dalmau, 2012). Self-study of teacher education practices (S-STEP) was created and developed in English speaking countries, and most presentations of self-study, oral and written are in English. To understand deeply and present our studies it is critical to be able to do it also in our main language. It is challenging to explain our knowledge generation only in a foreign language. Therefore we find it important to create an understanding of the methodology and to underpin our foundation by creating a discourse on self-study in Icelandic. Methods This self-study explores the interpretation of self-study research in their professional community, and the development of the discourse in Iceland. It is a critical collaborative inquiry with a focus on a transparent and systematic process. Data was collected through narratives from each participant´s teaching and focus groups meetings. By analyzing our vision, values and beliefs we began to gain an understanding of our professional identities and the development of the self-study discourse in our professional community (Dalmau & Guðjónsdóttir, 2002; Loughran, 2014). Results This study sheds a light on how we created and developed the S-Step community. The first hurdle we had to cope with was the language. There is a strong official demand to use Icelandic and to create an Icelandic vocabulary for new professional concepts. The word self does not translate well into Icelandic and creates many questions and commands. Collaboration through shared teaching and learning experiences has helped us to draw out the complex thinking, decision making, and pedagogical rational that supports the professional work of teacher educators. As we strive to create our professional substance through self-study methodology we are challenged by our colleagues, who question the activity of researching your own practice especially with a focus on the self. Participation in the international self-study academic community has supported our stance as self-study researchers.
Dalmau, M. C., & Guðjónsdóttir, H. (2002). Framing professional discourse with teachers: Professional working theory. In J. Loughran & T. Russell (Eds.), Improving teacher education practices through self-study (pp. 102–129). London: RoutledgeFalmer. Loughran, J. J. (April, 2014). Professionally developing as a teacher educator. Journal of Teacher Education. Retrieved http://jte.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/28/0022487114533386.full.pdf Samaras, A., Guðjónsdóttir, H., McMurrer, J. R. & Dalmau, M. D. (2012). Self-study of a professional organization in pursuit of a shared enterprise. Studying Teacher Education: A Journal of Self-study of Teacher Education Practice, 8(3), 303–320.
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