AARE Special Interest Group Innovation Project. Transforming understandings through collaborative writing about professional experience in teacher education. Navigating new spaces, partnerships, mentoring and dialogues to reconceptualise professional experience arrangements and position them in the contextual world, situated through social and cultural practice

Year: 2016

Author: Rorrison, Doreen, Ambrosetti, Angelina, Kriewaldt, Jeana, Capeness, Ros

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

An AARE Special Interest Group grant enabled 30 delegates from 16 Australian Universities to meet and share their innovative stories and research related to professional experience in teacher education. Several themes emerged and writing groups developed quickly around these themes. Following the development of a book proposal these groups consisting of both early career and more experienced writers continued to collaborate through a range of digital and technological means to write about their innovations. This joint paper by the editors of the proposed edited volume, documents the process of coordinating and supporting a disparate group of academics, highlighting the contribution the project can make to the field. Writers have moved from identifying themselves with different aspects of professional experience and individual innovative projects (eg ‘mentoring’, ‘school partnerships’, ‘dialogues and assessment’, ‘reconceptualising models’ and ‘support processes’, to collaboratively theorising and positioning their innovative project within the wider concepts of ‘creating learning spaces’, ‘enabling dialogues’, ‘guiding and supporting learning’ and ‘reframing professional experience arrangements’. An overarching theme of re-focusing professional experience as an evolving practice creating arrangements that meet local needs and constraints is emerging.The recent works of Australians Allard, Mayer and Moss (2014) suggest we need to focus on authenticity outside of and beyond neo-liberal constructs. Meanwhile Berliner and Reid (AARE, 2012) and Giroux (2015) soundly challenge the closing down of the debates and the reifying of knowledge that is denigrating the thick values and choices of democracy. Teacher educators need to assert themselves as change agents and key players in the debates around a quality democratic education. Building on the work of Bourdieu, Foucault, Gramsci, Habermas, Bernstein and Freire, Australians Jenny Gore, Kay Martinez, Susan Groundwater-Smith and John Loughran have also influenced our focus. Meanwhile the deep interrogative work of Michael Apple and Bob Lingard who contest the conservative modernisation of education influences our writing.The edited volume ‘A practicum Turn in Teacher Education’ (Mattsson, Eilertsen and Rorrison, 2011) made a contribution to the field by identifying a range of models for practicum that can be recognised as unique responses to local culture and tradition. We extend this view and argue that even within one country or tradition arrangements related to professional experience are embedded in the contextual world and situated through social and cultural practice (Lave and Wenger). The chapters and sections of the book will establish how this has happened and how we can learn from it.