Browsing Institute of Education Research Collection by Subjects
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Can we work together and still be friends?Recently at my institution, the University of Derby, we have recognised a burgeoning increase in the number of academic staff undertaking postgraduate courses which requires tutoring or supervision from other academic colleagues. Increasingly the postgraduate team is undertaking ‘colleague to colleague’ supervision for Master’s and Doctoral programmes. While this may be nothing new in Higher Education (HE) institutions I was interested in some of the ways in which this pedagogy impacted on professional relationships. There appeared to be little written in the academic literature at least about ‘colleague to colleague’ supervision, but at a recent University Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) conference the theme was widely recognised by many university staff. There are increasing constraints on the CPD budgets in secondary schools that goes nowhere near covering professional development requirements for all staff. Schools must therefore turn ‘in house’ and make full use of existing teacher capacity to cover the shortfall perhaps under the auspices of coaching and mentoring. This drive for getting ‘value for money’ would require teachers to work more closely together, perhaps on a one to one basis over longer periods of time. How do teachers manage one to one professional relationships; which can be improved when they work but difficult to sustain if they do not.
The nature of practitioner research: critical distance, power and ethicsResearching within one’s place of practice allows the researcher to have the unique position of knowing the participants and the research context. The relationship the participants have with the researcher will impact upon the disclosure of information differently than research conducted by someone outside the area of practice. This can be a benefit and a drawback for the participants, the area of practice and the researcher. However, as is demonstrated within this paper, the role the researcher adopts throughout the process of gathering information is not always clear. As a student on the Doctorate of Education programme myself, the nature of practitioner research and the complexities of this type of research is of great interest to me. Beginning to develop my own research project through this taught programme has allowed an opportunity to think through these challenges and wrestle with the complexity and contradiction, dilemma and incongruity which emerges from being a researching practitioner. Within this piece it is suggested that these quandaries can be considered from the perspective of critical distance, relationships and power and ethical considerations. The idea of considering these conflicts reflexively will be explored here. Although this discussion was not based on empirical research findings as such, it is anticipated that this piece will further the understanding of practitioner research in higher education from the position of being a student and through scholastic analysis of the Ed D programme providing a particular perspective on the nature of research.