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Title: Exploratory practice in English for academic purposes : puzzling over principles and practices
Author: Hanks, Judith Ingeborg
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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Exploratory Practice (EP) is a relative newcomer to the field of practitioner research in language education. Distinctive in attempting to integrate research and pedagogy via a process of puzzlement, it advocates the inclusion of learners alongside teachers as researchers into their own classroom practices. A1though EP appears to be thriving in different places around the world (notably Brazil), it is rarely to be found in the context of teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) in the UK. Studies which explicitly include learner perspectives are also unusual. This thesis examines the principles underpinning the EP framework as it was implemented on two pre-sessional courses at a university in the north of England. Two case studies investigating the practical challenges and theoretical implications of the innovation are presented. Taking a qualitative approach, participants (both teachers and learners) were interviewed at regular intervals during their courses and artefacts such as student posters and course timetables were collected. Template analysis was used to draw out and correct themes from the data, and the cases were presented as a series of interconnected narratives. Although the open-ended, flexible nature of EP had seemed inimical to the goal-oriented, highly pressured circumstances of EAP, it became clear that EP was enthusiastically adopted by participants. The findings suggest that EP can be successfully incorporated in an EAP context, but that doing so throws belief structures about research and pedagogy into sharp relief. These beliefs are subject to cognitive dissonance, and are often ideologically loaded, consequently attempts to reconcile them require more thought. Issues of relevance, ownership, and puzzling rather than problem-solving suffused the study. Two options are therefore presented: first, a more politic approach is to reframe EP as a form of pedagogy rather than research; second, more radically, the notion of what 'counts' as research needs to be redefined to allow for more innovative, locally relevant, co-constructions of knowledge
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available