01 SES 02 C, Voices, Dialogue and Dialogical Approaches to Professional Learning
This work forms part of the project “Innovation Networks for Educational and Social Inclusion. Co-laboratory of inclusive participation’’ (Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness EDU2015-68617-C4-3-R). Within the framework of this project we present a meta-analysis of the research process that has been developed over two years in one of the participating schools, with the purpose of improving the participatory culture, promoting curricular innovation. The deconstruction of the research process, supported by a visual narrative methodology has enabled us to identify the findings and limitations of the process as well as its repercussions on the professional development of the participants.
International studies on educational and social inclusion have contributed to showing the relevance of incorporating collaborative actions between various agents, using participatory research as a tool for provoking contextualized transformations and promoting horizontality in the relationships between the participants (Hopkins, Harris, Stoll & Mackay 2014; Della Porta & Diani, 2015).
It is along these lines in which the demand arises for the need to break from the reproduction of externally predetermined schemes in processes of participatory deliberation and inquiry in order to foster the establishment of links and decision-making based on the recognition of individual identities and the different needs of the participants (Cook, 2015; Townsend & Thomson, 2015). In this way, increasing the commitment of the educational community is achieved, improving the professional development of teachers, who become genuine leaders in the process of transformation through a process in which different perspectives converge. This influences the establishment of relationships and contributes to making the learning situation more complex with regard to improvement, enabling the incorporation of what is emerging (Atkinson, 2013).
Based on the framework described, our work aims to analyze the results of a participatory research project on improving schools and identify the strategies promoted to enhance the professional development of the participants. Thus, it aims to contribute to knowledge about actions focused on promoting the democratization of knowledge and the visibility of voices outside the academic context (Soussa Santos, 2006) as well as the achievement of disruptive actions that commit the University to educational and social transformation. These objectives are in line with the strategies defined by the EU (Forum for the Global Development of Education). The research questions that have guided the inquiry process are described below:
- How can the process of collaboration and reflection on improving the participatory culture in the educational institution be optimized? What strategies have promoted or hindered the professional development of the participants?
- How can student participation in the reconstruction of curricular innovation experiences be increased through visual narrative methods?
- How can the polyphony of visions, perspectives, skills, opinions, etc. from the whole educational community be integrated avoiding the creation or recreation of absent voices?
The case under analysis is a collaborative action research design. In the following section we will describe techniques that have been used to support an innovative social methodology, with the objective of incorporating different languages that increase the real participation of the members involved in the research process (Bragg & Manchester, 2011). In this regard, the use of visual narrative in the production, deconstruction and analysis of data constitutes a tool for increasing reflection on improving participatory culture in the school as well as for documenting and understanding curricular and training implications (Hernández, Castro, Alonso & Canales, 2017). The action-research process in which we are immersed started with a collaboration project between two classes from Infant and Primary education in 2015 in a school located in Santander, northern Spain. From the research work developed with students focused on generating improvements in school life, we were able to provoke the participation of the remaining classes, the collaboration of the educational community and the need to rethink the training of teachers at the school as systematic inquiry into curricular innovation. Regarding data collection and production techniques, in conjunction with the use of diaries, questionnaires and interviews, other specific techniques stand out for creating visual stories such as visual micro-stories, cartographic resources and dialogues stimulated by videos (Lewthwaite & Nind, 2017). With respect to the analysis of the information gathered, a process of reflection takes place on the dimensions that arise from the implementation of the collaboration process with the objective of responding to the questions that have guided the inquiry process and integrating the dilemmas that have been identified for the purpose of analyzing the voices that have emerged from the classrooms.
The first results have enabled clarification of the findings and controversies involved in this participatory research process resulting from the collaboration between the School and the University and have lead to a deeper understanding of the strategies inherent in curricular innovation and the professional development of the participants. Firstly, we have optimized the process of collaboration, facilitating situations for reflecting on the improvement of participatory culture and transformation in the context of action itself. The analysis carried out has enabled us to recognize our identifying traits in the process of accompaniment. Committed to making innovative practice visible and recognizing the actors in the classroom, we aim to encourage awareness of the achievements and the identification of concerns in the process. Likewise, we have carried out an in-depth analysis of the strategies used to increase the professional development of the participants and identify aspects to be improved for the following cycle of action, such as the need to rethink training in the school as systematic inquiry around teacher tasks and scaffolding strategies. Secondly, we have managed to increase the creative production of students, exceeding the limits set by the teachers with regard to visually mediated experiences. We also suceeded in encouraging critical analysis in the reconstruction of school experiences and the description of the learning achieved by students. On the other hand, from the students’ visual stories we have become aware of the need to diversify strategies so that students can redesign them, improving their participation in the process of documentation. Finally, the scenario described above, has allowed us to rethink real participation and avoid the creation or recreation of absent voices in the practices. We have promoted forms of social inquiry and the visibility of the participants, identifying the challenges and opportunities for further research.
Atkinson, D. (2013). The blindness of education to the ‘untimeliness’ of real learning. Presented at School of Social Sciences and Public Policy. King´s Collegue London. Bragg, S. & Manchester, H. (2011). Creativity, School Ethos and the Creative Partnerships programme. Creative Partnerships, London. Cook, T. (2015). Harnessing the power and impact of creative disruption. Educational Action Research, 23(4), 461-464. Della Porta, D. y Diani, M. (2015). The Oxford handbook of Social Movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hernández, F., Castro, A., Alonso, C., & Canales, C. (2017). Teachers’ learning cartographies as process of research entitlement. ECER 2017. Cophenage. Hopkins, D., Harris, A., Stoll, L. & Mackay, T. (2014). School and system improvement: A narrative state-of-the-art review. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 25(2), 257- 281. Lewthwaite, S. & Nind, M. (2017). The approaches used in research methods teaching- NCRM quick start guide. Manual. NCRM. Sousa Santos, B. (2006). The University in the 21st Century: Toward a democratic and emancipatory university reform. In R. A. Rhoads, & C. A. Torres (Eds.), The University, State, and Market: The political economy of globalization in the Americas (pp. 60-100). Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. Townsend, A. & Thomson, P. (2015). Bringing installation art to reconnaissance to share values and generate action. Educational Action Research, 23(1), 36-50.
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