01 SES 14 C, Building a Learning Community Through Group Reflection: Establishing conditions in a transforming educational system
A pressing challenge for the improvement of educational systems in many European countries and internationally is to understand the conditions enabling all teachers to experience professional learning. Group reflection is one of the tools that supports professionally competent workforce. First a competent workforce has to take shape in a “system”, which includes collaboration between individuals, teams and institution, as well as competent governance at A policy level. This conceptualization extends the traditional understanding of competence as an individual property to the institutional and governance domain. Hence, our understanding of competence moves beyond the acquisition of knowledge and training of skills to embrace reflectiveness as its core (Urban et al, 2012). A competent system has to link THE staff’s initial good education to the possibility of constant reflection on shared strategies ideas and practices in the line of effective teaching. (Urban et al. 2011). In this way, it becomes a responsibility of policy makers, services, organizations, to give teachers the opportunity to meet and solve problems together. The case studies of CoRe research show that in contexts in which pedagogical guidance is provided, child free hours are scheduled and reflection paths are supported; the quality of teachers makes direct impact on pupils on A classroom level. (Urban et al. 2011). The importance for teachers of collaborative, reflective professional learning arrangements was identified by the OECD (2014). Unfortunately frequent (and often contradictory) policy changes and missing political strategy in Czech education were highlighted as A problem in realizing this goal.
Since June 1990, there have already been 20 ministers of education in office. The core of school legislation - The National Educational Programme - does not exist. The first significant change on school legislature has been THE new school act in 2004, which introduced decentralization of educational policy and A model of competencies. Nevertheless most teachers and even academics did not show A positive attitude toward this attempt. (Straková, 2013) Beside that, political transformation of educational systemS was not sufficiently accompanied by the transformation of culture and value systems (Moree, 2017).
The frame of teachers‘ professional development is also missing as several attempts to introduce A standard of professional teachers failed.(Rýdl, 2014)
Although teachers‘ resistance against quick and unexplained changes grows, there is still no unifying group or association. On the contrary, teachers‘ association become more and more fragmented. (Bouda, 2018)
In this situation we introduced group-reflection method (Wanda) in order to stimulate group reflection and professional learning growth. Wanda has been developed in Belgium in 2010 by Artevelde University College and VBJK, to analyze professional practices in a group setting. Wanda (which is A Dutch acronym for Appreciate, Analyze and Deeds), has been created for teachers, PR actioners and students working in the childcare sector. (Favre, 2004). It has its roots in two approaches: Analyse de pratiques (Michael Balint) and Appreciative Enquiry (David Cooperrinder and Srivasva). (Cooperider 2003). It is a practice which encourages that and which strength is bringing reflection into practice with the help of specific phases that support the group and the individuals in reflecting in a contextualized way and focusing on different perspectives and angles on a singular situation.
The main goal of this workshop is to share the information on how a group-based reflection method like Wanda has been implemented into the Czech primary school context, and how it has been perceived by a chosen team of teachers. The session will be organized as a Wanda session. Then, we would like to invite a discussion on its potentials and conditions needed in order to create space for a collaborative, involved professional learning arrangements in Czech schools.
This reacher research-based workshop is a combination of presenting and analysing the data from the pilot session of the group reflection called Wanda and its implementation in the Czech republic, through simulated Wanda sessions.The tentative conclusion of the authors to be discussed in the form of learning questions during the workshop. This qualitative research was conducted in 2017. After eight Wanda sessions, teachers from different groups were asked for feedback on the method. The teachers evaluated the pros and cons of the sessions and identified weak points. They suggested improvements for both the organization of the course and its content. We documented sessions of group reflection at one elementary school and in two programs of teachers training. The design of the study is a mix of qualitative methods based on semi-structured interviews (Hermanowicz, 2002; Rubin and Rubin 2012). Data from 8 participants, 10 questionnaires and 8 protocols of participating observations. were analyzed through open coding and and comparing different (several) researchers’ various code sets. We identified MULTIPLE important outcomes about the benefits and PITFALLS of the method, which we would like to discuss with the conference participants during in the research workshop. Wanda is a circular process where we start from a specific situation, analyze it and deconstruct it, after which we go back to the situation to find possible ways to reconstruct it. It is a method that connects Reflection and Action in a circular way (Cauwels, De Schepper, 2015, Kortagen, 2013). Our data will serve as a starting point for the discussion. The first attempts at implementation of this particular group reflection in the Czech republic showed some deeper gaps in the educational and school environments. We will invite the workshop participants to take specific role in stakeholders in Czech educational landscape and to discuss the questions what conditions (from the point of view of different stakeholders – teachers, principals, children, parents, school founders, ministry of education (legislation) are needed to support the collaborative learning in Czech schools.
The teachers spontaneously recognized Wanda as being relevant in several areas. The first was the development of metacognitive skills. The second area was related to professional knowledge, especially concerning strategies and guidelines on how to cope with common situations. The third area was the building and the appreciation for a learning community. They experienced strengthening trust, solidarity and support within their team. They also appreciated the chance to see the problem from multiple perspective of different stakeholders, in the process creating a space for ideas and constructive feedback of all colleagues. Althought Wanda seem to fill the gaps such as the lack of teacher support (supervision, intervision), there are still some challenges the participants mentioned and which we would like to discuss. It is connected to the difficulty with identifying and daring to come forward with their personal experience and learning situations, which are imperative to the session as they could be enriching for the whole group. In Czech schools there is often little time for a session like this, since extra education or supervision does not happen during the already poorly paid working hours. Understandably Teachers struggle with formulating learning questions. The sessions are often unique spaces for sparing and so they quickly become emotionally exhausted, as they are not used to work with emotions, reflection and sharing. As sharing (of failure) in A team is rarely common, they feel unsafe and lack trust between one another. These reflective professional learning arrangements are fairly new in Czech Republic. Adapting this Belgian method has also been, and still is, a challenge, because our country has a different and shifting school culture (Moree 2013). We share a common interest in this research field, but we also want to challenge ourselves to try and build sustainable conditions for such a learning system.
●Bouda, Tomáš (2018) Pedagogové všech směrů, spojte se aneb Subjektivní zamyšlení nad novými spolky Pedagogickou komorou a Učitelskou platformou Časopis Řízení školy 1/2018 ●Cooperrider, D. L. (2003) Appreciative Inquiry Handbook. Brunswick: Crown Custom Publishing. ●Favre, D. (2004). Quelques réflexions de formateur sur l’analyse des pratiques professionnelles en secteur petite enfance. In D. Fablet (Ed.), Professionnel(le)s de la petite enfance et analyse de pratiques, pp. 17-38. Paris: L’ Harmattan. ●Hermanowicz, Joseph C. (2002). "The Great Interview: 25 Strategies for Studying People in Bed", Qualitative Sociology 25(4): 479-499. ●Kortagen, F.A.J., Kim Y.M.,Green W. (2013): Teaching and learning from within. Acore Reflection Approuch to Quality and Inspiration in Education, Routledge, New York ●Moree, D. (2013). Učitelé na vlnách transformace: kultura školy před rokem 1989 a po něm. Karolinum Press. ●Moree, Dana. (2017), Case Study - Czech republic. In.: Veugelers, W, de Groot, I & Stolk, V 2017, Research for CULT Committee– Teaching Common Values in Europe,European Parliament, Policy Department for Structural andCohesion Policies, Brussels ●OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). (2006). Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: OECD. ●Rubin, Herbert J. and Rubin, Irene (2012). Qualitative Interviewing : The Art of Hearing Data. Thousand Oaks etc. : Sage, ch. 10. ●Rýdl, Karel (2014) Vývoj standardizace profese učitele v České republice − nekonečný příběh? ORBIS SCHOLAE, 2014, 8 (3) 9−21 ●Schön, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner. How professionals think in action. London: Basic Books. ●Straková, Jana. (2013) Jak dál s kurikulární reformou.Pedagogická orientace, 2013, roč. 23, č. 5, s. 734–743 ●Unicef Innocenti Research Centre. (2008). Report Card 8. The childcare transition. Florence: Unicef Innocenti Research Centre. ●Urban, M., Vandenbroeck, M., Peeters, J., Lazzari, A., & Van Laere, K. (2011). Competence Requirements in Early Childhood Education and Care. CoRe Final Report. Brussels: European Commission. ●Urban, M., Vandenbroeck, M., Van Laere, K., Lazzari, A., & Peeters, J. (2012). Towards competent systems in early childhood education and care: Implications for policy and practice. European Journal of Education, 47(4), 508-526. ●Van Laere, K., Cauwels, V., Frederickx, K., De Schepper, B. (2012). WA = WANDA? Hoe waarderende praktijkanalyse een meerwaarde is voor kinderopvang. Tijdschrift voor Welzijnswerk, 36-328.
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