22 SES 06 C, Academic Work and Professional Development
This research study aim is to analyse the assessments made by a group of trainers and advisors of university teachers after the implementation of a collaborative training process in teams of teachers. A team or network includes a dozen university teachers coordinated by one of them to carry out some research based on their own classroom practice. All the networks count on the advice of expert researchers specialised in university teaching. Special attention is paid to the assessments that coordinators offered after the completion of the Teaching Research in Higher Education Networks Project [Redes Programme] that has been developed at the University of Alicante since 2001.
The project main goal is to achieve professional development within teaching research collaborative networks. The research issues stem from the lines which shape the profile of the Redes Programme, i.e. the teaching staff’s professional improvement coordinated with an improved learning on the part of students; and the attention to the needs of the teaching staff as well as to the peculiarities of the subjects and/or degrees –always assigning an outstanding role to the participants in the research process. The issues to be researched on are approached through the opinion of the coordinators seeking to offer innovative aspects linked to research on teaching practice.
Teaching development from a perspective oriented towards the social construction of knowledge and practice means that it is basically active participation that permits to lay the foundations of grounded theoretical knowledge (Burnaford, Fischer & Hobson, 2001; Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999). Therefore, the Redes Project creates and provides a space for learning where it is possible to work collaboratively and do research on the practice itself as a training and development method (Brockbank & McGill, 2007) (Hanna, 1998) It is situated within the context of university curriculum planning as a previous step that is necessary to make possible the transition from what has been programmed to the actual practice (Knight, 2005) because the real goal that the Redes Programme has been trying to achieve is the gestation of a collaborative culture within the teaching teams by encouraging teachers’ willingness to become essential agents in the design of the curricula.
According to the final conclusions drawn by the coordinators, it is unquestionable that the participation of teachers in this programme has allowed them to gain access to new approaches, such as the need for a change in their attitudes towards their own teaching, which should be articulated around the students’ work. It is equally necessary to make a deep reflection on the elements of the teaching-learning process, which should be oriented to the training of students who, besides being autonomous and participative, are willing to continue learning throughout their lives. This implies contrasting methodologies as well as contributing to create a teaching context which can offer the right structural conditions for the methodological renewal. Finally, it was necessary to achieve competences in educational research among the university teaching staff.
Brockbank, A., & McGill, I. (2007) Facilitating reflective learning in higher education. Maidenhead, England: McGraw Hill/Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press. Burnaford, G., Fischer, J. and Hobson, D. (2001).Teachers Doing Research. The Power of Action Thorough Inquiry. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Cochran-Smith, M. y Lytle, S. L. (1999) Relationship of knowledge and practice: Teacher learning in the communities. Review of Research in Education, 24, pp. 249-305. Hanna, D.E. (1998) Higher Education in an Era of Digital Competition: Emerging Organizational Models. Journal of Asynchronus Learning, 2 (1), pp.66-95. Hoyle, E. (1974). Professionality, professionalism and Control in Teaching. Educational Review, 3 (2), pp.13-19. Knight, P. (2005) El profesorado de educación superior. Madrid: Narcea. Stenhouse, L. (1987) Research as a Basis for Teaching. London: Heineman Educational Books Ltd. Wasser, J.D. y Bresler, L. (1996) Working in the Interpretative Zone: Conceptualizing Collaboration in Qualitative Research Teams. Educational Researcher, 25 (5), pp. 5-15.
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