Bridging educational phases and sectors to strengthen practice; welcoming new CollectivED fellows
As my time as a teacher educator extended the chances to work outside of this comfort zone kept growing, teaching on the Masters’ courses meant working with teachers and school leaders at different stages of their career from primary and secondary settings, and beyond. One cohort studying enquiry-based learning brought students together with the usual breath of professional experience and in this instance included a palliative care consultant who taught that specialism to fifth year medical students with a primary school middle leader. As discussions emerged through the module, we explored principles and practices of Philosophy for Children (P4C), which the some of the primary teachers were familiar with but the medic was not. His interest was peaked however and when we returned for the next teaching session he talked about how he was now redesigning parts of his teaching to take on the practices of Philosophy for Children, and when I assessed his assignment several months later he was able to trace the impact on his medical students of these changes right back to those initial discussions with the primary teachers. It wasn’t just the knowledge that P4C existed, it was the chance to listen to, pose questions of and make sense of other practitioners’ insights that had made the difference.
Nicholas McKie has significant experience of working in international educational contexts and developed international teacher training at the University of Warwick, UK. He specialises in leadership and transition coaching and coach training practice and his recent work has taken in Kuwait, Russia, Cyprus, Thailand and Singapore. He also sees the value of connections and says he works ‘to ensure educators are connected across the contrasting contexts in which I work to ensure professional learning networks can enhance educational practice worldwide by the sharing of good practice’. Victoria Wasner works in an international school in Switzerland and has recently completed a part-time doctorate at Durham University. It was my pleasure to be one of her examiners and it is wonderful to welcome her to our CollectivED community. Victoria’s EdD included a year-long, practitioner-based, participatory inquiry through which she created a framework for a ‘Pedagogy of CARE’. Victoria explains this as a ‘set of interrelated pedagogical principles and personal attributes for ethical, collaborative practice in education [where the] acronym CARE stands for a process and stance of Consciousness, Action, Responsibility and Experimentation [which] represents my beliefs in the need for dialogic, reciprocal, non-hierarchical relationships that allow knowledge to be co-created by different actors in different spaces’.
Clare Dutton is a primary practitioner and current part-time doctoral student at the Carnegie School of Education. She reflects that ‘my commitment to building capacity and empowering educators to create contexts for powerful and sustainable forms of professional development is what has led me to undertake my Doctorate research into teachers’ experiences of agency’. Clare has often promoted learning opportunities to others as well as seeking them out for herself. She was the co-founder and host of Doncaster’s first Teach Meet; has introduced colleagues to both the Chartered College of Teaching and the Chartered Teacher program; and, in her role as an SLE, has presented workshops to support newly qualified teachers. She sees mentoring and coaching as a privilege and is currently volunteering as a mentor for a trainee-teacher through the EduMentoring initiative. Kevin Merry is also committed to supporting others to develop as practitioners. He works at De Montford University in Leicester where he leads a strategic project called ‘Developing and Recognising Effective Teaching (D&RET)’ which has provided a support and development framework for all staff involved in supporting student learning at the university. An example of this is Universal Design for Learning (UDL) training which Kevin explains is ‘focusses on developing the social and emotional aspects of learning, supporting the construction of compassionate learning communities in which students and staff feel safe, valued, and have a sense of belonging to the learning environment’.
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.