Developing teacher-researchers: a practice-based Masters of Education
Cloonan, Anne 2011, Developing teacher-researchers: a practice-based Masters of Education, in ICDE 2011 : Expanding horizons - new approaches to ODL : Proceedings of the 24th ICDE World Conference on Open and Distance Education 2011, International Council for Open and Distance Education, Athabasca, Canada, pp. 1-17.
Teachers’ work can increasingly be described as knowledge work conducted in a rapidly changing globalised, digital environment. In order to support contemporary teachers’ work, professional learning needs to be grounded in the contexts and identities of teachers, while engaging them in theoretical discourse. Such an approach challenges traditional approaches to the offering of a Masters in Education by distance learning. This presentation reports on a university-educational authority partnership designed to enable practising teachers to gain Masters qualifications through practice-based ethnographic data collection and research. The context of this partnership is a new professional learning program being offered by Deakin University, Australia and the Catholic Education Office Melbourne. Teachers plan and conduct projects in which they identify an issue to be addressed at their school; research the issue identified; develop and implement an intervention to address the issue; and report on the intervention. Teachers have the option of gaining credit towards a Masters of Education by submitting their work for formal assessment. The participants in this mixed methods study are teachers who are undertaking the post-graduate units embedded in a professional learning program. Teachers are invited to undertake anonymous online pre- and post- surveys with both qualitative and quantitative data collected. Data is also collected through teacher interviews and collection of classroom artefacts including planning documents and work samples. Initial findings illustrate that a practice-based approach to Masters studies engages teachers as creators rather than reproducers of knowledge. The use of a range of print and new digital media both within the design and operation of an online learning environment and pedagogies for effective adult professional learning enable flexible and creative pedagogical responses and knowledge creation by teachers.
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