Developing the skills of pre-service teachers in applied ethical decision-making

Project Details

Description

The project will facilitate collaboration between me and Assistant Professor Karin Murris to examine whether an ethical deliberation model in England can be adapted to another national context. Dr Murris is an internationally recognised authority in Philosophy for Children currently researching teachers and teacher educators attitudes towards behaviour in classrooms, therefore extremely interested in the potential of ‘P4T’.

The initiative will involve three elements. First, I will visit University of CapeTown, a Worldwide Universities Network member to meet with Dr Murris, her teacher education colleagues, students and lead a seminar. AT UCT, I will explore the feasibility of a pilot P4T workshop in South Africa, utilising Newton Fund support and other grant applications. Finally, I will also meet a second South African colleague, Dr Nuraan Davids, interested in this initiative, as well as collaborating to apply for a Newton Mobility grant.

Layman's description

Teachers in classrooms are required to make ethical decisions all the time yet there is, as yet, little provision which supports them with this aspect of their work in initial teacher education. 'P4T' is an innovative approach to developing the skills of pre-service teachers in ethical decision-making I am currently, drawing on the community of enquiry approach to teaching promoted by advocates of Philosophy for Children, or 'P4C'.

The project will facilitate collaboration between me and Dr Karin Murris, University of Cape Town, to examine whether an ethical deliberation model I have helped to pilot in England can be adapted to another national context. Dr Murris is an internationally recognised authority in Philosophy for Children currently researching teachers and teacher educators attitudes towards behaviour in classrooms, therefore extremely interested in the potential of ‘P4T’.

Key findings

I visited the University of Cape Town in March 2016 at a challenging time for the institution and for South Africa. Questions about the authority and financial integrity of President Zuma dominated the press on the day that I arrived. Closer to home, a series of student-led protests took place at UCT during my stay. Many of the discussions I participated in during my stay were political in character.

I met Dr Murris, her teacher education colleagues and students and contributed to seminars there and led a PGCE lecture at the university of Stellenbosch. @ Stellenbosch, I received tour of Education Faculty & Library and was introduced to other members of Faculty

I explored the feasibility of a pilot P4T workshop in South Africa with Dr Murris (UCT) and Dr Davids (Stellenbosch). We identified ‘Mont Fleur’ http://www.montfleur.co.za as a suitable site for the activity recommended separately by both of them. I was also able to meet a third colleague Professor Azeem Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), courtesy of an introduction by Professor Leon Tickly (University of Bristol). In June, Dr Murris attended a P4T workshop in England at my invitation. Dr Davids & I submitted a successful proposal to present together at the biannual INPE Conference (International Network of Philosophers of Education) at the University of Warsaw in August.
Exceptional expertise or facilities made available during the visit included:
1) Opportunities to attend two PGCE sessions and to meet South African trainee teachers
2) Opportunities to attend critical posthumanist reading group @ UCT involving part time PhD students who were practitioners which was facilitated by Dr Murris along P4C principles, hence resonating with P4T initiative; see use of technology to include 4 postgraduate students who were teachers to participate in the session remotely; attend a Reggio Emilio influenced workshop for Early Years practitioners facilitated by UCT; and attended by local teachers

I now have a clearer understanding of the context of teacher education in South African context based on experience and observation; this has been at different phases of schooling; early years and foundation stage @ UCT & secondary schooling at Stellenbosch. I have had opportunities to compare and contrast perceptions of the SA experience at the level of practice and policy with perceptions of the situation in England. It is interesting how in both jurisdictions there are concerns about teacher quality and teacher formation, given wider concerns about the state of schooling. The direction of travel for ITE in England announced in the recent White Paper (released on the day I arrived) is out of universities and into schools. In South Africa, if anything, teacher pre-service preparation ought to be more school based, although this is unlikely to happen in the short term at least, given concerns about lack of capacity to provide high quality placements in schools there.

I have exchanged examples of PGCE programme paperwork with my colleague at Stellenbosch and discussed the notion of university/school partnership widely practiced in teacher education in England. I have offered research methods advice on practitioner research projects to postgraduate students at both Stellenbosch & UCT. I was able to contribute to professional dialogues about philosophy and education in both universities too and bring about a meeting between my colleagues in each institution, who hadn’t previously met each other before, although they were known by reputation to one another.

On June 13th-14th 2016, Dr Murris attended a P4T workshop in North Somerset. We will both attend the Annual BERA Conference in September 2016 and in that same month she will offer a seminar to the Bristol and Bath Branch of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain at the University of Bristol.
We will pursue a joint application for funds for a fourth P4T event to be held in Cape Town in 2017. I will contact RED to ask for support in identifying and pursuing a likely sponsor. Dr Murris is returning to England in September to attend BERA and will present her work in Bristol at a seminar funded by the PESGB (Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain).



Janet Orchard
July 2016
AcronymP4T
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/03/1631/07/16

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education
  • SoE Centre for Knowledge, Culture, and Society