Acting and Interacting: Teacher Narratives and the Building of Global Community

Acting and Interacting: Teacher Narratives and the Building of Global Community

Jane Spiro (Oxford Brookes University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-985-9.ch007


This chapter looks at the way in which an online discussion forum into critical incidents impacts on the professional knowledge and self-esteem of teachers engaged in in-service development on an MA in Education programme. The chapter shows how the online environment enabled teachers to share concerns and values about their profession and to recognise connections between apparently widely different cultural settings. The online discussion supported the teacher’s individual actions and provided structured opportunity for teachers to arrive at action plans for their own development. The chapter explores the generative principles which made these activities work. It also considers the relationship between individual action and its capacity to impact on students, colleagues and institutions.
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In recent years, the online environment has been theorized and deconstructed through multiple micro-studies of online learning in practice. Whilst most of these studies have related to students in content-focused programmes such as business (e.g. Rice, 2009), science (Haigh, 2009), language (Loewen and Reissner, 2009; Blake, 2009) a small number have related to online learning as part of teacher development. Duncan and Barnett’s study (2009), for example, focuses on online learning as the teacher skill itself to be developed, and arrives at the view that online learning needs to be more embedded into teacher education programmes. O’Connor (2009) describes the role of video observations as part of an online course for pre-service teachers. This study showed that the pre-service teachers arrived at their own insights into good practice which were as sound and varied as those which might have been reached through trainer intervention.

These studies, whilst specific to teacher education, connect with those from a wide range of other subject disciplines, which explore the online environment ‘in the round’ from the perspectives of the learner, the group, the task, and the technicalities of the environment.

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