The opportunities and challenges of a shared discourse

Year: 2012

Author: Acquaro, Daniela

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


The paper reports on the opportunities and challenges associated with a fully integrated approach across each of the University based discipline areas in developing a shared understanding of the metalanguage and its associated practices and dispositions in adopting the notion of clinical praxis. Central and significant to this successful implementation is shared inspiration and vision. As with any reform, the move to re-form the beliefs, assumptions and practices of those charged with implementing the changes requires acceptance and commitment (Shahan 1976, Fullan 1982).

The impetus for the shift toward a clinical model in teacher education represents a long term deep cultural change in education and schooling; that is the creation a new generation of teachers (Rickards 2011) capable of integrating theory and practice in their reflection, diagnosis and response to student needs. Such a cultural change takes time and requires all stakeholders to participate in negotiations. To this end, in 2012, a research project was undertaken to investigate the ways in which clinical praxis was undertaken by discipline specific academics working in the Master of Teaching (Secondary).

 In negotiating the sensitivities present in such an inquiry, 'Talking Stones' was the methodological tool adopted, providing an opportunity to place meaning into concrete objects (Henderson 2010). The use of this powerful tool provided insights into the opportunities and challenges of a shared discourse. Using the physicality of each stone, academics were able to reveal their understandings, uncertainties and reflections of a process of reform within their disciplines in the context of the Master of Teaching Program. Rich descriptions of discipline specific academics' understanding and implementation of Clinical Praxis were discussed revealing the complexities in accepting a shared discourse. This data will provide a substantive aspect of this paper.