Creating spaces for critical transformative dialogues: Legitimising discussion groups as professional practice

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Abstract

Focused dialogue (as lived and living practices) can have a powerful role in renewing professional practice, advancing its sustainability and development as administrative and political systems colonise the practices of teachers and teacher educators. However, participating in discussion groups for many teachers, including those in academia, is often constrained by time demands, workplace structures and accountabilities. This paper reports a two year empirical case study investigating the transformative nature of dialogues experienced in one such focused discussion group. The dialogic practices of the group aimed firstly to provide a communicative space for its participants to interrogate and interpret factors which enable and constrain teaching and research practices; secondly, to critique practices as a form of collective professional learning; and thirdly, to study the educational practices of its members from within their own practice tradition. To do this it describes the nature of discussion groups. Findings reveal that creating communicative space for discussion enables professional learning and agency through critical and transformative dialogues.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 2
Pages (from-to)17-34
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journal of Teacher Education
Volume38
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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group discussion
dialogue
teacher
administrative system
research practice
educational practice
teaching practice
political system
learning
workplace
sustainability
educator
responsibility
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abstract = "Focused dialogue (as lived and living practices) can have a powerful role in renewing professional practice, advancing its sustainability and development as administrative and political systems colonise the practices of teachers and teacher educators. However, participating in discussion groups for many teachers, including those in academia, is often constrained by time demands, workplace structures and accountabilities. This paper reports a two year empirical case study investigating the transformative nature of dialogues experienced in one such focused discussion group. The dialogic practices of the group aimed firstly to provide a communicative space for its participants to interrogate and interpret factors which enable and constrain teaching and research practices; secondly, to critique practices as a form of collective professional learning; and thirdly, to study the educational practices of its members from within their own practice tradition. To do this it describes the nature of discussion groups. Findings reveal that creating communicative space for discussion enables professional learning and agency through critical and transformative dialogues.",
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