Turning the PROMISE into a reality; making sense of teachers’ dilemmas as the basis of professional learning
Late September 2019; the Brexit debacle rumbles on in the UK, but our European partnership project has regained momentum. This week the Erasmus+ PROMISE project group reconvened in Scotland where we were greeted by a warm welcome from colleagues at The School of Education at The University of Aberdeen and where we were enveloped in autumn mists.
This is year two of our project, and you can read earlier blog posts from previous project meetings in Lubliana and Tübingen to gain a sense of our learning journey. The project ‘Promoting Inclusion in Society through Education: Professional Dilemmas in Practice’ involves partners from The Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia, England, Scotland and Hungary. It is an example of the way universities like Leeds Beckett University work collaboratively with European partners over extended periods of time, with potential impacts both in the partner countries and beyond for the benefit of all European society. Dr Mhairi Beaton is leading this international project and Professor Rachel Lofthouse is the other lead academic from the Carnegie School of Education.
In Aberdeen our project meeting focus was making sense of teachers’ professional dilemmas through an archive of vignettes which have been collected over the last year. Teachers, student teachers, school leaders and teacher educators from each of the project countries contributed vignettes which articulated the challenges and tensions that exist in their professional practice. These vignettes offer a window into the world of teachers’ work and the complexity of their decision making at all career stages. The themes which emerged include dilemmas about behaviour, inclusion, transition, curriculum, pedagogy, parental involvement, working with other colleagues (both teachers and other professionals), digital learning, assessment and boundary crossing. The vignettes will form the basis of the project website, allowing the voices and experiences of professionals to shape the learning resources that are developed through this project.
As always during our project meetings we were introduced to the local area and heritage, and Aberdeen University formed a perfect backdrop to this.
Following the two-day partners meeting some participants will be joining the first ‘learning event’ of the project, hosted by colleagues at Aberdeen University. This is an opportunity for partners to learn more from each other and a wider group of colleagues about both wider European and local educational contexts and practices. It will include a focus on digital learning in vocational education and a study visit to Dundee and Angus College, where our partnership colleagues from Aberdeen University work with college lecturers in a reciprocal professional development relationship. There will be opportunities for peer review and critique as part of the learning process.
While Brexit rumbles on with question marks over what the 31st October might bring, we look forward to re-joining our Erasmus+ PROMISE colleagues in the Netherlands in December.
Previous blog posts from this project:
Rachel Lofthouse is Professor of Teacher Education in the Carnegie School of Education. She has a specific research interest in professional learning, exploring how teachers learn and how they can be supported to put that learning into practice.