The Ins and Outs of Teamworking: When University Teachers, in-Service Secondary Teachers and Pre-Service Teachers Collaborate to Transform Learning

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Initiatives for teachers’ professional development should rely on the epistemology of practice, that is, be founded on the premise that reflective teachers construct professional knowledge and develop professional skills through practice and through planning, observing or analysing practice. Reflection about teaching action and reflection in teaching action triggers innovation, especially when teachers work together to create the necessary conditions to transform learning. This paper advocates in favour of collaborative action research and innovation as a methodology to promote change in classroom practices. To illustrate this proposal, it presents a case study in which a secondary English teacher from a school which hosts adolescents at risk opens her classrooms to a researcher and a group of pre-service teachers with the objective to reflect upon her own practices and to become an agent of change. Our corpus is made of natural audio-recorded data from the discussions emerging during focus-group sessions held to evaluate the ongoing innovation and interviews to participating secondary students and trainee teachers. The analysis of those interactions will first lead us to reflect upon the challenges of promoting change in the classrooms. Then it will allow us to understand the impact of the experience and argue in favour of a model of teacher education based on team work as a tool to acquire professional skills and guarantee students’ learning success.

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