Using Practitioner Research As a Reflective Tool in Vocational Education and Training
This study reports on the way an action research approach was adapted to promote reflective practice amongst vocational education and training teachers, and on the tools and techniques that were used by practitioners to ‘capture’ elements of their learning design and teaching practice for the purposes of review, analysis and redesign. The project drew on the work of an Australian Research Council project: Learning by Design, through which a model of practitioner research was developed and implemented with school teachers
The present research project, which started in 2008, involved four teams of teachers, two curriculum designers, a research mentor whose role was to scaffold the research practice and guide the practitioners in the development and implementation of data capture tools and strategies, and a research consultant who played the role of rapporteur. Each of the four teams designed and implemented an individual sub-project on their own teaching practice.
The paper opens by describing the background to the research project and the sub-project design process through which the research mentor guided the teams into a practitioner-researcher space. The paper then focuses on the work of one team as its members reflect on and visually document their experience in developing and implementing a work-based learning program under contract to a global optical manufacturer. Having traced the process of data capture and reflection which took place during a series of workshop sessions, the paper identifies principles for the capture of practice and key elements of a pedagogy of reflective practice.
Keywords: Action Research, Reflective Practice, Vocational Education, Teacher Training
Senior Research Fellow & Project Manager, Globalism Research Centre, RMIT University
Sherridan Lee Maxwell
College of Science Engineering and Technology, RMIT University