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ERIC Number: EJ1160494
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Pedagogical Sensemaking or "Doing School": In Well-Designed Workshop Sessions, Facilitation Makes the Difference
Olmstead, Alice; Turpen, Chandra
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v13 n2 p020123-1-020123-20 Jul-Dec 2017
Although physics education researchers often use workshops to promote instructional change in higher education, little research has been done to investigate workshop design. Initial evidence suggests that many workshop sessions focus primarily on raising faculty's awareness of research-based instructional strategies, a fairly straightforward goal that has been largely met. However, increasing faculty's awareness of existing strategies alone has somewhat limited benefits. We argue that workshop leaders should also aim to cultivate faculty's ability and motivation to engage in pedagogical sensemaking, i.e., the pursuit of robust pedagogical logic based on observations and interpretations of classroom events. This goal is likely more challenging to achieve, and thus presents a greater need for research. In this paper, we pursue "in situ," qualitative analysis of two parallel workshop sessions that seem to have the potential to support ambitious outcomes. We demonstrate how faculty may engage in aspects of pedagogical sensemaking, such as using observations of student behavior to support their arguments. We also show how faculty may instead seem to engage in interactions reminiscent of students "doing school," such as evaluating instruction based on "correctness" alone. We also show how differences in workshop facilitation seemed to contribute to faculty engaging in pedagogical sensemaking in one session only. These differences include (i) strictly enforcing session rules versus gently navigating faculty's incoming expectations, (ii) highlighting the workshop leaders' expertise versus working to minimize power differentials, and (iii) emphasizing the benefits of adoption of a prescribed strategy versus encouraging faculty to reason about possible adaptations. We consider the implications of this analysis for future research and workshop design.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1431681