07 SES 04 D, Onto-Epistemological Considerations for Researching Practice Architectures across and within Intercultural Education
Biesta (2009) warns that education is at risk with the rise of the measurement culture in which educational policy and practice – at a national, supra-national and local level – are shaped to focus on how to make education more ‘effective’. Such a focus relies on a common-sense view of what education is for. Instead, Biesta (2009, 46) suggests, we need explicit conversation around the “question of what constitutes good education”. Such conversation is only possible when we understand what currently constitutes education – its underlying assumptions, values, practices and relationships – so as to then discover what is possible. The theory of practice architecture (Kemmis et al, 2014) provides tools to surface the ‘common sense’ view of education by attending to the nexus of sayings, doings and relatings that build educational practices. Site ontologies teach us that practices are shaped by particular locations, contexts and moments. Thus, this surfacing needs to be done site by site so as to engage in site-specific conversations about what constitutes ‘good education’. We discuss two projects in two different countries (Norway and Canada) that engage research methodologies intended to facilitate discovery of site-specific common-sense understandings of education and facilitate dialogue about the potential of education. Through our distinct dialogue-based methodologies, we engage with participants to make practice explicit – for ourselves and our research participants. As researchers, we seek not to reproduce knowledge but to engage with the site-specific taken-for-granted so as to get to the site-specific possibilities. The first project re-conceptualizes the concept of collaboration between teachers, parents and adolescents to meet adolescents’ autonomy in Norwegian schools. Large groups of stakeholders were invited to Dialogue Cafés, where dialogue was facilitated to explore and re-discover the topic under study together. The second project utilises learning circles with Canadian educators and students to explore the concepts of school relationships and restorative justice. Learning circles position participants as experts of their own experience. Through these methodologies, we seek to engage with our research participants to mutually trouble taken-for-granted practices and to move the conversation beyond what makes effective education to discover what makes good education.
Biesta, G. (2009). "Good education in an age of measurement: On the need to reconnect with the question of purpose in education." Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability 21(1): 33-46. Kemmis, S., Wilkinson, J., Edward-Groves, C., Hardy, I., Grootenboer, P. & Bristol, L. (2014). Changing practices, changing education, Springer Science & Business Media.
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