Refining the 3R-EC Framework for epistemic reflexivity in teacher education: Supporting teacher educators to teach about diversityRefining the 3R-EC Framework for epistemic reflexivity in teacher education: Supporting teacher educators to teach about diversity

Year: 2018

Author: Lunn, Jo, Rowan, Leonie, Ryan, Mary, Walker, Sue, Terri, Bourke, Peter, Churchward

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There is concern internationally about the extent that teachers are prepared to work with the increasingly diverse student (and community) population. To date, research into the relationship between teacher preparation and preparedness to teach diverse learners has focused on teachers’ self-reported levels of preparedness, evaluations of teachers’ skills as undertaken by supervising teachers, principals or researchers or reviews of teacher education curriculum.  This has left an under examined variable that impacts upon teacher preparation: teacher educators’ own understandings about teaching to diversity. Rather than focusing on teachers’ sense of preparedness to teach diverse learners, we sought to investigate teacher educators’ understandings about teaching to diversity and how they make decisions about this in teacher education. The research is based upon interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers who collectively draw upon psychology and sociology including the concepts of epistemic cognition, epistemic fluency, reflexivity and epistemic reflexivity. Building on the authors’ previous work around reflexivity and the 3R-EC framework on epistemic reflexivity (Lunn Brownlee et al., 2017), this study used social lab methodology to explore how suitable the framework might be for Australian teacher educators supporting preservice teachers to teach diverse learners.
Lunn Brownlee et al. (2017) proposed epistemic reflexivity as a way to understand teaching practices more broadly. We have extended this theorisation to teaching to/about diversity for teacher educators. By using the framework we expect to capture teacher educators’ reflexive dialogues that make explicit epistemic aims and reliable processes for supporting preservice teachers to teach diverse learners. 
Twelve teacher educators from an Australian University participated in a social lab to explore the extent that the 3R-EC framework was ‘fit for purpose’ in understanding how teacher educators promote teaching to/about diversity in ITE. According to McKenzie (2015) the term social lab is used to “describe the process of bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to create new insights and to collaboratively explore, frame and co-create solutions to complex challenges” (p.3). Participants described epistemic aims, reliable processes, resolved action and reflexive deliberation as they reflected upon the 3R-EC framework. Findings revealed that the 3R-EC epistemic reflexivity framework was useful for capturing reflexive dialogues although notions of epistemic cognition were challenging. Some refinements to the framework were suggested.