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Examining the development of collective understanding between researcher and facilitator communities through article unpacking

2.6 Dialogue and the co-construction of knowledge
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
4:20 PM, Wednesday 30 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
This paper examines the emergence of a partnership between researchers at a large Canadian public university and pedagogical consultants and teachers within a neighboring rural school board. As part of this project, pedagogical consultants facilitate teacher learning communities focused on math teaching in order to support students with the transition between elementary and secondary school. However, given that such a partnership brings together people with different histories, expertise, and goals, this creates a challenge for engaging in collective work. We thus seek to answer the following questions: 1) How do the various members of the research and practice communities interpret the purpose of different facets of the research partnership?, and 2) How do these interpretations play out within the interactions in the teacher learning communities? In order to understand the interactions between the research and practice communities, we draw upon work by Cobb, McClain, Lamberg & Dean (2003) that conceptualizes boundary encounters as events in which members from different communities come together to engage in collective work. Interactions within boundary encounters can be influenced by brokers (those who are members in multiple communities) and boundary objects (Star & Griesemer, 1989) (objects that are shared by multiple communities). In our project, the teacher learning communities serve as boundary encounters, and the broker plays a dual role as a pedagogical consultant and a researcher. Classroom video from teachers in the project acts as one example of a boundary object in that the research community uses the video as data and the practice community uses it to facilitate reflection on practice. Our data, to be collected this upcoming year, will consist of: a) interviews with consultants (including the broker) and teachers about their initial perceptions of the purpose of the different facets of the research (e.g., the use of the video, what it means to be a participant) and b) video recordings of the teacher learning communities. We will analyze the interviews through a process of iterative refinement in order to identify themes related to how members interpret the purposes (e.g., the purpose of the video). In order to understand how those interpretations are reflected in the teacher learning communities, we will select one teacher learning community from early in the project, before shared expectations are developed, to conduct a fine-grained analysis of how members’ interpretations are apparent in their discourse. In particular, we will characterize how the boundary object of video and the broker play a role in mediating such interactions. This analysis will provide insight into the initial stages of a research-practice partnership. 
McGill University
McGill University, Bishop's University
Eastern Townships School Board
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