01 SES 14 A, Ecosystems of Teacher Development Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 01 SES 16 A
The first presentation of the symposium introduces theoretical perspectives on ecosystems of learning. From a systemic perspective, teacher education can be understood as a system, consisting of subsystems, at levels of institutions, regions and nations, and even at a continental level (e.g. European Commission 2010). A systemic approach to teacher education may be applied from a variety of perspectives. Some of the most commonly used are the traditional system theories of Niklas Luhmann and Urie Bronfenbrenner. The concept of business ecosystems introduced by James F. Moore is also widely used especially in the context of business education. There are also interesting ecological perspectives to research on technology in education that examine the nature of ubiquitous learning in the ecosystems of learning consisting of human practices in the technological environment (Zhao, Lei & Frank, 2006; Cope & Kalantzis 2009; Yahya, Ahmad & Jalil 2010). Our focus in this symposium is on the theory of ecologies of practices by Stephen Kemmis and his colleagues. This approach has been influenced by the ecological principles advocated by Fritjof Capra (2005). The framework of ecologies of practices draws our attention to the interdependence among particular clusters of practices, and the ways particular practices interact and influence each other, so that one practice produces outcomes or products that are taken up in other practices. We may also understand practices as systems within a hierarchy of systems. The theory of ecologies of practices explores how practices are ecologically connected with one another and with other kinds of living entities (Kemmis & Heikkinen, 2012). Kemmis, Edwards-Groves, Wilkinson and Hardy (2012) have shown how it makes sense to say that practices live in ecological relationships with one another using principles derived from Fritjof Capra’s principles of ecology (Capra, 2005). Capra has listed eight principles of ecology which can be applied to any practices, including educational practices. These principles are the following: networks, nested systems, interdependence, diversity, cycles, energy flows, development and dynamic balance. Kemmis and Heikkinen (2012) have added an additional principle of ecology to the list, that of ecological niches. Throughout these nine principles, we intend to show how (a) practices, by analogy with species, and (b) ecologies of practices, by analogy with ecosystems, meet the criteria implied by these principles of ecology. Our aim is to show how practices related to teacher development reflect the influence of such principles.
Capra, F. (2005). Speaking nature’s language: Principles for sustainibility. In M. K. Stone & Z. Barlow (Eds.), Ecological literacy: Educating our children for a sustainable world (pp. 18–29). San Fransisco: Sierra Club Books. European Commission. (2010). Developing coherent and system-wide induction programmes for beginning teachers: A handbook for policymakers. European Commission Staff Working Document SEC (2010) 538 final. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. Kemmis, S., Edwards-Groves, C., Wilkinson, J., & Hardy, I. (2012). Ecologies of practices. In P. Hager, A. Lee, & A. Reich (Eds.), Learning and practice. Singapore: Springer, 33-49. Kemmis, S. & Heikkinen, H. 2012. Future perspectives: Peer-Group Mentoring and international practices for teacher development. In: H. Heikkinen, H. Jokinen & P. Tynjälä (Eds.) Peer-Group Mentoring for Teacher Development. Milton Park: Routledge, 144-170. Schatzki, T. (1996). Social practices: A Wittgensteinian approach to human activity and the social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Yahya, S., Ahmad, E. A., & Jalil, K. A. (2010). The definition and characteristics of ubiquitous learning: A discussion. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 6(1), 1. Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (2009). Ubiquitous learning: An agenda for educational transformation. Ubiquitous learning, 3-14.
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