Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 7, No. 1, April 2011, 51–64.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this collaborative self-study was to gain a deeper understanding of the authors' personal experience and practice.
This study also aimed to construct new knowledge that allows for individual transformations and spreads throughout the entire department.
The authors addressed to the following research questions:
(1) How did our joint interpretations in mutual conversations bring about individual transformations?
(2) What can be learned from this about effecting change in the entire community?
The study was set in a learning community established in a college of education where the first author was the head of the elementary department and the second author served as a new clinical supervisor.
The data are drawn from several sources:
electronic correspondence conducted during the years 2001–2003, the authors' regular oral conversations, their reflective journals and self-studies, and transcripts of the weekly faculty meetings.
The authors conceptualized the common space of mutual conversations within the notion of working in a “common interpretive zone.”
The findings demonstrate that the transformation that the authors underwent was reflected in crossing the boundaries between various conceptions.
In addition, this transformation was expressed in a change of their basic assumptions regarding learning, teaching, and relations.
The authors used the theoretical framework of Activity Theory, which helped them to understand and explain the findings by emphasizing conflicts as a powerful source that deconstructs existing behaviors and undermines the old.
The notion of dominant and non-dominant activities helped the authors conceptualize their developmental process.
This collaborative self-study illustrates the co-construction of knowledge of practice in two ways:
(a) the development of the authors' personal perceptions by means of reciprocal relationships, conversations, and active attempts to improve their teacher education practices; and
(b) the impact of working collaboratively in the interpretive zone as a source of expanding learning, changing the curriculum, and implementing new activities.
The authors conclude that the development of their professional self-understanding progressed by reframing knowledge of practice as conflicts, utilizing the latter for evaluating and reconstructing experience, and performing transitional actions on the boundaries between dominant activities and new ones.
Experiencing the innovations and modeling them at all levels was a fundamental element in sustaining learning and teaching in a community of practice and in the transformation of non-dominant activities into dominant ones.