Critical personal reflections on professional development within a complex learning environment

Deborah Prescott

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    This article presents my professional reflections about what I am learning as a team member of two large units in the Graduate Diploma of Teaching and Learning. Critical personal reflection and narrative analysis are used to explore my professional learning journey, particularly in relation to my ‘primary colleague’, the most experienced team member. This narrative critically reflects on tensions between my developing understandings about learning and teaching in higher education and how learning best takes place. The literature supports learning and teaching approaches that disrupt the status quo, foster complexity and cultivate true collaboration and transdisciplinarity.

    Guiding my reflections is how I have been helped by my primary colleague and, in turn, how I may be able to help others towards more collaborative, reflective and transdisciplinary workplace practices in spite of working within isolating course parameters. How can we each make space (physical, virtual, collegial, temporal and mental) to engage in collaborative workplace practices that turn the focus of teacher education more towards complex, transformative learning? Collaborative work is time-consuming and, in my experience, thoroughly effective and deeply satisfying.

    Collegial dialogue within my team has occurred in the complex context of improving the learning of our students and has included such wide-ranging topics as: philosophies of learning, effective pedagogies, environmental sustainability, the scholarship of learning and teaching, political and industrial issues, and transformations to teacher education and schooling. These conversations deepen what I am able to bring to my students’ learning and create synergies between professional reflections and student learning processes that inform each other.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18-29
    Number of pages12
    JournalLearning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social contexts
    Issue numberSpecial Issue: Narrative Inquiry
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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