Coming to know about teaching, its development and researcher practice through collaborative action research with adult education teachers in Sudan

Fean, Paul (2012) Coming to know about teaching, its development and researcher practice through collaborative action research with adult education teachers in Sudan. Doctoral thesis (EdD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This study re-presents an open-ended process of coming to know through designing, conducting and analysing an action research project with youth and adult education teachers in Khartoum, Sudan. The inquiry responds to the overarching question: What knowledge can I generate about teaching, its development and my researcher practice through collaborative action research with teachers in Sudanese youth and adult education schools? This multifaceted focus encompasses reconnaissance into teaching practices and adult education, the processes of action research and teacher development and reflexive analysis of epistemological positioning and knowledge construction through our collaborative investigation.

The action research forms the substantive basis of this thesis, constituting diverse processes of coming to know by the participating teachers and myself. Our interactions as practitioners and researchers interrogated the teachers’ contextualised, practical knowledge through academic mechanisms of data collection and analysis. The teachers reflected upon their taken-for-granted understandings of education, their school contexts and their practice, and re-cast them as more complex. Participation in the study resulted in the teachers becoming ‘learners-focused’ by developing greater focus on their practice, by being mufetih (observant and analytical), by being close to learners and by increased experimentalism. These dispositions were combined with a shift in the teachers’ epistemological positions towards ‘authoritative uncertainty’, in which partial, contextualised and contingent knowledge was recognised as legitimate, facilitating re-construction of their knowledge to develop their practice.

In this narrative account, the field research is framed by my evolving theoretical understandings which informed the design, analysis and re-presentation of the study. An autobiographical introduction to my experience in Sudan outlines my nascent professional stance towards education development. I then explore my increasingly critical understanding of research on teachers and pedagogy in Africa and discourse on education quality in low-income countries. I discuss the formation of my specific researcher identity through postcolonial theorisation of my ethical stance towards making a difference in the field of practice, namely Sudanese schools. In this thesis, layered re-viewing, which derives from an epistemological stance of the partiality and contingency of knowledge, facilitates re-presentation of moments in which understanding is challenged and re-formed by theorisation and experience. Re-viewing literature and theoretical analyses brings new epistemological, ontological and ethical understandings, as my focus on ‘the practical’ in field research has been supplemented in the post-fieldwork period by ‘the practical’ in the academy, a contested domain of knowledge production.

To conclude this thesis, the position of ‘authoritative uncertainty’ is applied in the reflexive deconstruction of the study, as the action research process and outcomes are re-viewed through postcolonial and feminist theories to unpick the situated complexities of cross-cultural practitioner research and its representation. While coming to know is a continuous process, its representation in this thesis reaches an arbitrary conclusion by proposing how coming to know teaching practices, action research processes and reflexive researcher analysis might bring new perspectives to academic and policy initiatives for teacher development.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1025 Teaching (Principles and practice)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education > LB2331.7 Teaching personnel
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG401 Africa > LG513 Sudan
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 24 May 2012 15:14
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2015 14:20
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39414

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