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Talking research

Talking research

I wonder if reading as an academic is worthwhile if the audience for most of my learning is me? I have spent enough time saying 'I'll blog next when I have time and when I have something to say" but I don't think that that is the point. I have just co-authored a chapter on 'writing' and we use blogging as an informal way of sharing ideas and structuring thoughts and ideas into a clear and concise message. To do this we have suggested an exact word count (200 words) as this reinforces the need for clarity. So here goes...

I have been reading in three main areas over the last few months: 1) professional development 2) ICT in Physical Education, and 3) the site of the social (i.e. the places -both physically and metaphorically - we work and interact which in turn forms our meta-practices. These themes have been the focus of three main academic papers yet they appear to overlap in so many ways: ways I will now make a first attempt to articulate. 

The bottom line is practices in physical education are somewhat staid. Furthermore the ways in which we seek to continually educate and empower teachers are also staid and predominately use a model of "one size fits all" rather than creating individual learning outcomes for each participant (much like our teaching itself). Additionally we live in a technological revolution where innovation is measured in months not years. So how do we use technology in our teaching when, as a body, we lack the drive to change the status quo, the tools to re-educate ourselves and the time to keep up with every innovation? 

Yet professionally do we have the time not to find ways? 

Solution? We could form our own professional learning communities...

Two hundred works later and I could have stopped but I am not sure that serves my purpose...for those who read a blog on Physical Education and Practitioner Research perhaps they already know this and probably have created networked learning opportunities of their own. As a result they are probably already ahead of the game as my reading of research in this area suggests that these are the best ways that educators can engage in professional learning. For those who might be new to online, unstructured, informal, friendly and meaningful collaboration then you are on the right lines. 

Why?

Because we learn best when rank and file isn't an issue i.e. When all participants have an equal say and can make the contribution that they want. We learn when obedience and compliance are not expected and when we can ask questions and answer questions without fear of rebut or ridicule. When we can share ideas that have been tempered in the 'heat' of the classroom - ours or someone else's it doesn't matter. 

You could argue that these conversations do occur in the 'gaps' between the formalised learning that is supposed to occur on official professional development courses. But these are impromptu meetings that occur by chance. It seems more obvious to me to deliberately and purposefully seek your colleagues. It therefore seems obvious that the best professional development occurs in physical education when we use ICT to create our own sites of the social with colleagues from around the world. 

Once this is done then we have the opportunity to influence how we develop each of these components in the maelstrom of our own institutions and our own classroom.

Your thoughts?

Vicky Goodyear
About me
On Tuesday 31 May at 09:45 Vicky Goodyear said
In my response to Ashley’s blog I have chosen to write in the 200 words format and share my own experiences of ‘talking research;’ If I am honest I have felt sometimes uncomfortable to comment and blog, it has taken me time to ‘polish my writing’ so that I feel comfortable with my words being placed in the public domain. However, pushing through this initial ‘self’ barrier I have commented on blogs and I now feel at ease to share ideas and learn from other physical educators and professionals worldwide. My professional learning community has expanded; PEPRN and twitter have provided places for me to move beyond face to face impromptu discussions. I have gained different perspectives and ideas for practice from avenues I never thought of pursuing. An objective of mine, supported by Dr Ashley Casey (the writer of blog: ‘Talking Research’) and Professor David Kirk, is to create professional learning communities within, and across, physical education departments in the UK. Our own and physical educators engagement with PEPRN will be a place for dialogue on using cooperative learning as an approach to teaching physical education. Physical education teachers, academics and my own understanding of how to ‘most’ effectively use cooperative learning in secondary school physical education will be developed through PEPRN where we will share ideas with each other and professionals worldwide.

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