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Title: Exploring learning in practice to support construction teachers' professional development
Author: Durrant, Karl Kenneth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 7777
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2015
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I am a teacher trainer. I work for an FE institution that specialises in construction education. In this study I report on an action research project carried out with the coparticipation of the construction teachers (my students) with whom I work. I engage with my students as I set out to nurture a professional development community of practice, seeking to free them from conventional teacher development practices. My informal approach to professional development, based on the principles of theories of situated cognition, suggests learning through abstraction can occur in formal and informal contexts and traverse contexts. At the start, I asked my students to volunteer to work with me. On recruitment, I explained the purpose of my research and discussed what I saw as the key ideas of communities of practice explicitly. This provided the initial abstraction. Activity developed co-participants’ understanding of communities of practice, leading us to identify communities of practice that we saw as influencing their developing teacher identity. Co-participants then used this understanding in lesson-study activity. As we progressed, we agreed that we had become a professional development community of practice. Membership encouraged a proactive positive teacher identity, equipping coparticipants with new tools for teaching. Co-participation was empowering. It inspired the creation of innovative teaching resources (in-tune with their students’ identity) for proactive learning. Our powerful teaching community of practice formed out of the initial abstract concept I provided, in collaborative negotiated activity. Those co-participants who had recently completed formal teacher training became central to our professional development community of practice. The engagement of others was more peripheral. Co-participants who were more central had a greater understanding of learning and were better equipped to teach their own students. Legitimate peripheral participants learnt from these co-participants. At the same time as my approach develops individual mental processes, it enculturates teachers into our college. The project supported the development of critically reflective and reflexive practitioners, with what look to be sustainable effects. Data provides insight into the bridges and barriers to establishing a professional development community of practice and teacher identity formation.
Supervisor: Winbourne, Peter ; Adler, Sue Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available