Developing Holistic Practice through Reflection, Action and Theorising

Dec. 01, 2011

Source: Educational Action Research, Vol. 19, No. 4, December 2011, 489–502
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This paper outlines the process of the self-study research which the author undertook on her work as a teacher in a primary school on the west coast of Ireland.

The article examines how, through reflection on and thinking critically about her work, the author gained new insight and understanding of her practice and developed a new epistemology of practice.

Initially, the authors set out to examine the value of the inclusion of digital technology in her work as a primary school teacher.

The author's initial findings indicated that her work, in the form of digital projects with her classes, was commensurate with what was considered to be good practice at that time.

The author began to understand that her use of technology in the classroom was tied in with the idea of being creative and of making connections between discrete subject areas; between the classroom and the people outside; between school and the world of nature; and between school and community.


Holistic practice

Gradually, the author began to see that her project work was less to do with the technology itself, and more to do with an ability to think critically and to clarify what my educational values were.
Hence the focus of her work was no longer on technology, but on how its inclusion might enhance, support and inspire teaching and learning in a holistic way.

The author's new understanding around these collaborative projects emerged in terms of holistic practice; clarifying her ontological values and learning to think critically.

Developing a theory of practice

As her research into her practice developed, the author began to use those recently articulated values as criteria to evaluate if she was developing a better understanding of her practice as she sought to develop a theory of practice from her work.

The author concludes that in the research process, she developed a new understanding around her digital projects such that she can now perceive them as processes for developing spiritual and holistic approaches to learning and teaching.

The author has developed an epistemology of practice that draws on dialogical, holistic and inclusional ways of knowing and which is exemplified in the relationships that she nurtures with and for her class and is enacted in the projects they undertake.

The author hopes that as she continues to engage in her research she has the capacity to question and explore the way things are and to imagine and explore how things might be.

Updated: Oct. 02, 2013