10 SES 04 A, Teacher Inquiry and Engagement when Learning to Teach
This contribution is grounded on the research project APREN-DO: How teachers learn: Educational implications and challenges to face the social change (EDU2015-70912-C2-1-R) aimed to explore what, how, where, with, who and with what teachers learn and how teachers’ reflection about their own processes of learning can improve initial an in-service professional development programs.
Most teacher learning and professional knowledge studies focus on the institutional environments in which teachers' professional development and work take place. Studies developed by our research group about teachers’ professional learning (primary, secondary and higher education) (Sancho-Gil, 2011; Sancho-Gil, 2013; Sancho-Gil & Hernández-Hernández, 2014) have provided rich evidence of the complexity, depth and breadth of teachers’ learning. Professional learning is not linked to a given time or space and cannot be circumscribed to a professional environment. Any kind of learning is a rather nomadic, (dis)continuous, nonlinear, fragmented and fractal process made out of intra-actions between humans, non-humans, culture, affects and matter. For the specific aims of this paper, we build on two perspectives that help us to explore usually hidden dimensions of teachers’ professional learning: the nomadic approach and the Affects’ Theory.
The notion of nomadic learning is used to account those interactions that subvert the learning process. This notion invites us to consider how to access these ‘places’ beyond those frameworks pre-established in learning and research. Authors such as Britzmann (2000), Braidotti (2014), Jackson and Mazzei (2009; 2012) have guided us to explore and signify what is outside the framework of educational institutions and the research we do with teachers. Nomadology is a movement through the learning and research process that works across both horizontal and vertical axes, affecting how the project advances (the questions that are posed along the way), as well as interacting with the different layers implicit within the project (the generation of evidences, the analysis, and the decisions on how make public the research process).
Adopting a nomadic approach allows to introduce disruptive ways of thinking concepts such as images of thought, simulacrum, strength, assemblage, prioritization....One consequence of bringing into action the nomadic approach into the inquiry process on teachers’ imaginaries is that the contributions and experiences bringing into the research are taken not by themselves and their visibility but by how they affect the context of our thinking trajectories and those learning practices that take place in the educational institution and outside it.
The notion of affects is related to the affected and affecting body, therefore, the affections that our body experiences because of the other bodies will also appear as affects. For Spinoza we are essentially affective beings and it is in affection (desire) that we experience our nature and existence. It is that desire, essential within us (law of conatus), that moves us to do things and to interact with other beings. Spinoza advises that knowledge is fundamental to understanding and controlling the affections and passions that we experience, therefore, the only way for to govern the affections is education, since it brings us to a deeper knowledge of ourselves (Camps, 2011). In this relationship, where the affective training of the body is completely connected to the past lived by the body (Massumi, 2011), the notion of event addressed by Dennis Atkinson (2012) appears in his Theory of Real Learning. "An event refers to a disturbance, a rupture, a way of performing comprehension or performance that has the potential to precipitate real learning" (p. 6).
Our presentation will focus on the nomadic dimensions of secondary teacher’s learning, how they feel affected by their learning processes and its implications for teacher’s professional development.
Twenty-nine teachers from different secondary schools participated in the development of this research, with whom we developed learning cartographies of their learning processes inside and outside the school. We adopted “an artistic form of the social sciences, a form of radically interpretive representation” (Richardson & St. Pierre, 2005, p. 964) inspired on post-qualitative approaches (St. Pierre, 2011; Jackson, & Mazzei, 2012; Lather, 2013; Lather & St. Pierre, 2013), which shape a not unified movement that puts into question the very notion of research: it is no longer about getting results but generating concepts. The fieldwork, understood as a possibility of encounter not as a ‘place’ where to collect data, was carried out in two ‘moments’: (1) during November and December, 2016 we went to three secondary schools around Barcelona, where we met with groups of 3-11 teachers. Teachers were asked to introduce them and (our)selves, explaining why they wanted to participate in what most of them called a “training”, and advance a bit their cartographic proposals. They were asked to think of them by capturing and relating three issues previously proposed by us: a) the learning places b) their moves between the inside and the outside of the institution, and c) the sense they make to the very act of learning. After that, our role as researchers was limited to accompanying one or two teachers and energizing –but never judging– the making of the cartography. In addition, they all explained afterwards what they had done and why in front of their cartographies. This account was video recorded. (2) Six month later, between May and June 2017, we returned to the schools, to shared what the cartographies and videos have helped us to think both on learning and on our encounter. Instead of applying a previous method to scrutinize them, our stand on the cartographies contents departed from the acknowledgement and the potentiality of «not-knowing» (Rogoff, 2006). Thus, we were looking for a new kind of object of inquiry, “'pulled out of shape by its framings' and, equally importantly, 'framings pulled out of shape by the object'” (Lather, 2013, p. 639). To this end, the cartographies, the accounts teachers gave of them and our field notes were put together to produce an emerging conversation. Rather than meaning, this allowed us to open up to “unexpected readings of and listenings to materials in what might be termed 'fractal analysis'” (Lather, 2016, p.127).
Following this double approach (nomadology and affects) has allowed us to also explore to ourselves as part of a process that is permanently questioning our frames of what means to be a teacher or a researcher. Our research is showing that learning processes take place in the interaction of diverse fields of knowledge and experiences that go beyond those traditionally related to professional knowledge. It also surpasses only human interaction, because the space of learning is expanded and crossed by matter/materiality, the affects and the non-human forces. In addition, emotion and affection act as the main driving force of learning. The conversations with the participating teachers, firstly in the process of developing their learning cartographies and, secondly, in the sessions the researchers shared with them about what their cartographies and explanations about them allowed us to think, provided different evidence. As for the nomadic notion of learning, teachers admitted that over the years their idea of learning, space, time, tools and meaning had profoundly changed. However, they were surprised to recognise they did not pay attention to the changing learning circumstances of their students. The space of learning emerged as a notion that expands and is crossed by the affections, experience and also the body, always present in the educational relationship and in the process of learning. As Spinoza proposes, the affection refers not only to emotion but also to bodily movements (Rivera de Rosales, 2011; Camps, 2011) that's why, real learning produces displacements and a "shock" that is embodied into us and affects us. These two issues were strongly pointed out as fundamental in the initial and in-service professional development programs. In the final steps of this research we are developing professional development workshops for secondary school teachers building on the processes and concepts emerging from our research.
Atkinson, D. (2012). Contemporary Art and Art Education: The New, Emancipation and Truth. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 31(2), 5-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-8070.2012.01724.x Britzmann, D. P. (2000). “The Question of Belief”. Writing Poststructural Ethnography. In E. A. St. Pierre & W. Pillow (Eds.), Working the ruins (pp. 27-40). New York: Routledge. Braidotti, R. (2014). Writing as a nomadic subject. Comparative Critical Studies 11(2), 163-184. doi: 10.3366/ccs.2014.012 Camps, V. (2011). Spinoza: La fuerza de los afectos. In El gobierno de las emociones (pp. 65-87). Barcelona: Herder. Jackson, A. Y., & Mazzei, L. (2009). Voice in Qualitative Inquiry: Challenging Conventional, Interpretative, and Critical Conceptions in Qualitative Research. London and New York: Routledge. Jackson, A. Y., & Mazzei, L. (2012). Thinking with theory in qualitative research: Viewing data across multiple perspectives. New York: Routledge. Lather, P. (2013). Methodology-21: what do we do in the afterward? International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(6), 634-645. Lather, P. (2016). Top Ten + List: (Re)Thinking Ontology in (Post)Qualitative Research. Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies, 16(2), 125-131. Lather, P., & St. Pierre, E. A. (2013). Post-qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(6), 629-633. doi: 10.1080/09518398.2013.788752 Massumi, B. (2011). Palabras clave para el afecto. Exit Book: revista de libros de arte y cultura visual, 15, 22-31. Richardson, L., & St. Pierre, E. A. (2005). Writing: A method of inquiry. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. (3rd ed., pp. 959-978). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Rivera de Rosales, J. (2011). Spinoza y los afectos. Exit Book: revista de libros de arte y cultura visual, 15, 38-49. Rogoff, I. (2006). Academy as Potentiality. www.zehar.net, 60/61, 4-9. Sancho-Gil, J. M. (Ed.) (2011). Con voz propia. Los cambios sociales y profesionales desde la experiencia de los docentes. Barcelona: Octaedro. Sancho-Gil, J. M. (Ed.) (2013). Trayectorias docentes e investigadoras en la universidad. 24 historias de vida profesional. Barcelona: Dipòsit digital de la Universitat de Barcelona. Sancho-Gil, J. M., & Hernández-Hernández, F. (Coords.) (2014). Maestros al vaivén. Aprender la profesión docente en el mundo actual. Barcelona: Octaedro. St. Pierre, E. (2011). Post-qualitative research: The critique and the coming after. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The handbook of qualitative research (4th ed., pp. 611-625). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
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