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Collaborative Reflective Discourse in a Teacher Professional Learning Community: Capturing the Conversational Regime

Sun, April 30, 4:05 to 5:35pm, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Floor: Meeting Room Level, Room 221 C


To understand how to foster sustained collaborative reflection in a teacher professional learning community through the use of rich video data from practice and techniques to scaffold reflective conversations.
Theoretical framework
This paper is based on the work of our research-practice partnership to develop and investigate digital literacy and disciplinary understanding in mathematics classrooms, with a focus on the transition between elementary and high school.
Our focus is on reflection as a boundary activity between teaching and research, an activity that benefits from a data-base of rich artifacts from practice (primarily video records of classroom events), that is shared through discourse, and that can be scaffolded by various facilitation processes. Analysis of the discourse of collective reflection in our PLC will uncover the conversational regime of the group and its expansions as we include different modalities of facilitation (Koh, 2015; Nehring, Laboy, & Catarius, 2009).
Three main research fields guide our inquiry: theories of reflection and reflective practice in education (Blomberg et al., 2014; Hatton & Smith, 1995; Shulman & Shulman, 2004); rich data from classroom practice as starting points for collective reflection (Little, 2007); discourse that supports collaborative reflection (Borko et al, 2015; Dudley, 2013).
The umbrella methodological approach is design-based implementation research (Penuel et al, 2011). We document and analyze, through thematic and conversational analysis, the discourse that characterizes productive reflective conversations and we develop and validate a facilitation model to sustain the collaborative reflection of the participating teachers.
Our approach is relatively cautious about facilitation to avoid obliterating naturally occurring interactions and reflections. We initially focus on enabling teachers’ agency. The collaborative and socially-situated dimension in these conversations ‘‘requires and brings about collective and distributed agency’’ (Engeström and Sannino 2010, p. 7). We focus on the overall conversation, examining the nature or level of teachers’ noticing as manifested in their discourse, through, for instance, describing, interpreting, or proposing alternatives (Borko et al, 2015; van Es, 2011).
Data sources
Data sources include: interviews, video recordings of class activities, records of reflective conversations, transcripts of online discussions, researchers’ field notes. In this presentation we focus on teachers’ reflective conversations while viewing video segments as a process of sense making around conjectures typical of learning studies (Dudley, 2013).
Our analyses capture the types of talk that characterize a group or a specific conversation in time. The combined analyses of reflective themes and conversational moves produces interaction maps that highlight a group’s types of reflection as well as conversational interactions and moves. We propose the notion of conversational regime as a possibly important contributor to the development of productive collaborative reflection: what are the emerging, mostly tacit, discourse norms in the group, is there an authentic dialogic space and intersubjectivity (Henessy, Mercer, & Warwick, 2011; Wertsch, 1991), and democratic participation?
This project documents how productive discourse can be fostered through a research-practice partnership and design-based implementation research approach for the establishment of a “community of interpretation” where collective and distributed agency intersect with theory-driven facilitation protocols.