01 SES 03 B, Learning through Collaboration
Parallel Paper Session
The idea of the teacher as researcher (Stenhouse 1975) and the idea that teachers should be research-minded as part of their professionalism is fast becoming an unchallenged element of educational discourse in Europe and beyond (Cochran-Smith & Lytle 1999; Kemmis 2010). In our view, teachers can improve their professionalism through research the best if and when it helps them to acquire a more reflective and interpreting stance towards their own teaching, including reflection on the aims of education. In this contribution we report on a design-based research of a course for teachers working in secondary schools in the Netherlands, intended to enhance teachers’ professionalism in this way.
We work from a view of the aims of education in which not the efficient transmission of knowledge, but the subjectivation of students is central (Biesta 2010). This has consequences both for the importance of reflection on research questions and interpretation of results we emphasized in the course, and for the way we conducted our own research into the results of the course.
Understanding these relations led us to formulate two basic principles for teacher research. Firstly, when teachers research their own practice, the questions they ask should be guided by a view of the aims of their education effort. Many innovation processes concentrate on the how of education and take the what and for what for granted. Teachers usually do not think much about aims either. If teachers use research techniques without reflecting on aims, this emphasis will only be strengthened. Therefore we are of the opinion that teachers learning to do research also need to learn to think about the aims of education (Crockett 2002). This is necessary if learning to do research is to contribute to the professional identity development of teachers. The second basic principle is that learning to do research is to acquire the means, in terms of knowledge, skill and stance, to reflect on your own teaching and interpret what happens in the classroom – in other words, to enhance your professional identity as a teacher (cf. Feldman & Weiss 2010; Kelchtermans, 2005; Day et al., 2006). Such thinking (at least in principle) requires the ability, supported by adequate theory, to see and understand your own practice as a teacher in the context of the school, the neighbourhood, the school system, and ultimately, of society as a whole (Kincheloe 2003). Teachers should have a critical awareness of the praxis in which they participate. To clarify this for the teachers, we decided to differentiate between various forms of research-mindedness. Tentatively, we call these forms inquisitiveness, research awareness, and research competence.
Our basic research question was, What are some possible concrete translations of our theoretical principles in educational practice of the course which would enhance teachers’ insight into these principles? The answers to this question from each cycle of course design were used to inform a new cycle of the course.
Biesta, G. (2010) Good education in an age of measurement: Ethics, politics, democracy. Boulder, Co: Paradigm Publishers. Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S.L. (1999). The teacher research movement: a decade later. Educational Researcher, 28 (7) 15-25. Crockett, M. (2002). Inquiry as professional development: creating dilemmas through teachers’ work. Teaching and teacher education, 18, 609-624. Day, C., Kington, A., Stobart, G. & Sammons, P. (2006). The personal and professional selves of teachers: stable and unstable identities. British Educational Research Journal 32(4), 601-616. Dreier, O. (2008). Psychotherapy in everyday life. Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press. Feldman, A. & Weiss, T. (2010). Understanding change in teachers’ways of being through collaborative action research: a cultural-historical activity theory analysis. Educational Action Research 18(1) 29-55. Kelchtermans,G. (2005). Teachers’emotions in educational reforms: Self-understanding, vulnerable commitment and micropolitical literacy. Teaching and Teacher Education 21, 995-1006. Kemmis, S. (2010). Research for praxis: knowing doing. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 18 (1) 9-27. Kincheloe, J. (2003). Teachers as researchers. Qualitative inquiry as a path to empowerment. Second edition. London: RoutledgeFalmer. Stenhouse, L. (1975). An introduction to curriculum research and development. Oxford: Heinemann. Van den Akker, J., Gravemeijer, K., McKenney, S., & Nieveen, N. (2006). Educational design research. London: Routledge.
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