The affordances and limitations of collaborative research in the TESOL classroom
Keywords:collaborative research, professional learning, teacher educators, adult education, identity texts
The diversity of learning needs within the TESOL field creates inherent tensions between the need for targeted professional learning for TESOL teachers, the more generalist nature of tertiary TESOL courses, and the varied research interests of teacher educators. This article describes a collaborative research project between university-based teacher educators and TESOL teachers working in an adult education centre. With a range of aims amongst the research participants, this article reports on the ‘fluid’ and ‘messy’ process of collaborative research (Burns & Edwards, 2014, p. 67) as we investigate the use of identity texts (Cummins & Early, 2011) as a mediating tool for professional learning. In acknowledging the practice of teaching as highly situated, the data presented focuses on the individual experience of each teacher, voiced through an action research frame, before we discuss the achievements and challenges which emerged through this collaborative research process. In the findings, we argue for the importance of championing the case for the messy processes of collaborative research within the broader research academy.
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