01 SES 11 A, Mentoring of New Teachers in the Nordic Countries: Practices of professional learning as ecosystems. Part 1.
Symposium to be continued in 01 SES 12 A
The first presentation of the symposium introduces conceptual tools to understand practices of professional development as ecosystems of learning. Our theoretical framework in this symposium is rooted on the theory of ecologies of practices by Stephen Kemmis and his colleagues. The approach has originally been influenced by the ecological principles introduced by Fritjof Capra (2005) but the terminology and the overall theoretical apparatus has gradually developed during the last decade. This theoretical perspective has been further developed during the last two years in three parallel Governmenr Key Projects in Finland: (1.) eAMK – ecosystems of learning (2.) Toteemi and (3.) Verme2 – projects. 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. Sometimes practices are competitors, fighting against each other and competing for resources (Moore 1996). Often their existence is also based on continuous interdependence with other practices (‘species’), even forming a symbiosis and nested systems. To survive in an ecosystem, the species (the practice) finds an ecological niche providing optimal living conditions for that particular species. 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, 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 general principles of ecology which can be applied to any practices, including practices of professional learning and development. The original Capra’s principles were the following: networks, nested systems, interdependence, diversity, cycles, energy flows, development and dynamic balance. Kemmis and Heikkinen (2012) have added the principle of ecological niches to this list. In this presentation, we briefly introduce these principles, and introduce one more concept will be added; that of ecological resilience. Throughout these ten 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. The main focus in this symposium will be on the two most recently added principles, those of (1.) ecological niche and (2.) ecological resilience.
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. Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (2009). Ubiquitous learning: An agenda for educational transformation. Ubiquitous learning, 3-14. 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. Heikkinen, H., Huttunen, R., Syrjälä, L., & Pesonen, J. (2012). Action research and narrative inquiry: five principles for validation revisited. Educational action research, 20(1), 5-21. 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. 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. 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.
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