The transformative potentials of our self-studies for a new epistemology of educational enquiry in our university
This interactive symposium is part of the Educational Studies of Ireland Conference
Celebrating Educational Research in Ireland: Retrospect and Prospect March 2005
This account of the symposium aims to give you access to the ideas that informed the symposium and to the papers. It also encourages you to take part in a discussion forum about the papers and their significance for debates on educational research and theory.
In this interactive symposium, we aim to demonstrate the transformative potentials of our self-studies for a new epistemology of educational enquiry in our university. We explain how we have improved our learning by working as a study group, how we transfer our learning to our school-based pedagogical practices, and how we are contributing to current debates in the literature on the significance of teacher research for educational enquiry (Snow 2001).
We are five PhD candidates and their supervisor, undertaking our self-studies through action research. Each of us aims to generate our personal theories of education about how we are contributing to the education of one another, and others in our own settings. Each asks, ‘How do I improve my learning to help you to learn?’ Each holds herself accountable for her influence in the Other’s learning. This focus on personal accountability places our work within an emerging tradition of a new scholarship of educational enquiry (Whitehead 1999), which has considerable potentials for new pedagogies and for the education of social formations in our university. We claim that accepting responsibility for our influence in the Other’s learning has enabled us to develop a form of individual and collective practice that demonstrates the highest quality of scholarly activity, while grounded in each person’s capacity to care for the other. By making our accounts public we believe we are setting precedents for forms of professional learning and institutional pedagogies (Schön 2005) from which others can learn how to improve their own practice and learning.
This symposium is an opportunity to test our claims against the critical judgement of peers. Through our oral and multi-media accounts, we hope to show how we are improving learning, in all the contexts of our professional lives.
Schön, D. (1995) ‘Knowing-in-action: The new scholarship requires a new epistemology’, Change, November–December: 27–34.
Snow, C. (2001) ‘Knowing What We Know: Children, Teachers, Researchers’, Educational Researcher, 30(7): 3–9. Presidential Address to the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Seattle.
Whitehead, J. (1999) How do I improve my practice? Creating a New Discipline of Educational Enquiry. PhD Thesis, University of Bath
Jean McNiff (chair)
Patricia Mannix McNamara
Biographies of participants
Máirín Glenn is a primary teacher in Co. Mayo. For her doctoral studies she is investigating the significance of interconnecting branching networks of communication for educational enquiry using multi-media forms of technology.
Patricia Mannix McNamara is a lecture in psychology and SPHE at the University of Limerick. Her doctoral studies include an investigation into the significance of Bernstein's theory of the pedagogisation of knowledge for educational practices and educational enquiry.
Caitríona McDonagh is a primary teacher in Co. Dublin. Her doctoral studies focus on the creation of new theories of learning difference and their significance for educational practices.
Jean McNiff is adjunct professor in the College of Education, University of Limerick. She has published widely on the significance of practitioners’ action enquiries for reconceptualising educational theory and its implications for educational practices.
Mary Roche is a primary teacher in Cork and is currently engaged in doctoral studies in the area of philosophical enquiry with children and its significance for a new scholarship of educational enquiry.
Bernie Sullivan works in a primary school in Dublin. She is a Resource Teacher for Travellers. She is passionately committed to social justice and equality, and takes as the focus of her doctoral enquiries how the creation of practical theories of justice that are grounded in democratic forms of schooling and equitable educational provision can contribute to new forms of educational practices and theory.
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