ProPEL: Projects

We have a number of current and recently completed research and development projects which can be found below:

Dr Cate Watson, Dr Valerie Drew, Dr Alison Fox and Dr Morag Redford

This research project explores teachers’ professional learning in the workplace. This is in response to recent policy documents which have highlighted the need for teachers to become ‘extended professionals’, able to act as agents of change within schools.

 

Working with partners within the Central Local Authority Stirling Partnership (CLASP) group, the aim of this project is to develop a model for the accreditation at Masters level of in-school professional learning as a means to achieve ‘extended professionalism’. The new model explicitly recognises the need to involve all stakeholders as co-creators of the curriculum in order to embed sustainable practices of career-long professional learning. Further, we envisage this model leading to knowledge creation within Local Authorities and the University of Stirling, so contributing at a national level to what is known about learning in professional contexts.

 

In addition, this project integrates further funded research and development currently being undertaken in the Faculty of Social Sciences Professional Education team, specifically work on developing ‘Masterliness’ in relation to the accomplished teacher (Constructs of Masterliness and its relationship to the development of accomplishment in teaching) by Valerie Drew and Cate Watson; and work with a partner authority (Perth & Kinross) supporting professional review and development/professional update through coaching and mentoring (Coaching and mentoring to support Professional Review and Development/Professional Update) (Cate Watson and Alison Fox).

Developing partnerships for sustainable career-long professional learning leading to accreditation within the Scottish Masters framework

Cate Watson, Valerie Drew, Alison Fox and Morag Redford of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling have been awarded £107,000 from the Scottish Government for the first phase of a project to explore teachers’ professional learning in the workplace. This is in response to recent policy documents which have highlighted  the need for  teachers to become ‘extended professionals’, able to act as agents of change within schools.

Working with partners within the Central Local Authority Stirling Partnership (CLASP) group, the aim of this project is to develop a model for the accreditation at Masters level of in-school professional learning as a means to achieve ‘extended professionalism’. The new model explicitly recognises the need to involve all stakeholders as co-creators of the curriculum in order to embed sustainable practices of career-long professional learning. Further, we envisage this model leading to knowledge creation within Local Authorities and the University of Stirling, so contributing at a national level to what is known about learning in professional contexts.

In addition,  this project integrates further funded research and development currently being undertaken  in the Faculty of Social Sciences Professional Education team, specifically work on developing ‘Masterliness’ in relation to the accomplished teacher (Constructs of Masterliness and its relationship to the development of accomplishment in teaching) byValerie Drew and Cate Watson; and work with a partner authority  (Perth & Kinross) supporting professional review and development/professional update through coaching and mentoring (Coaching and mentoring to support Professional Review and Development/Professional Update)  (Cate Watson and Alison Fox).

Tara Fenwick, Bonnie Slade, ProPEL, University of Stirling; Susan Kilminster, Alison Ledger, Leeds Institute of Medical Education, University of Leeds.

An increasing emphasis in policy and organization of public service delivery is known as ‘co-production’, defined in simple terms as professional services and products that are co-developed with clients or consumers. The phenomenon is associated with a general concern that the service user voice and choice needs much greater representation in designing and delivering services. Co-production has been conceptualised variously (Needham 2007), but its discussions pose important questions about the changing nature and value of professional work, expertise and knowledge. These questions then, inevitably, have implications for understanding and supporting professional continuing education and learning. Existing research about what happens in everyday practice in co-production arrangements is scant, but it shows many dilemmas particularly related to issues of accountability and professional responsibility.

To understand how professionals manage co-production in social care and in health care, we are undertaking qualitative case study methodology in social and health care organisations in the UK, exploring the following questions:

  • What practices of co-production are enacted at different sites and in different aspects of care involving people who use services, institutions and their practitioners?
  • How are issues of accountability, responsibility and knowledge authority negotiated in these practices?
  • How do various actors understand the values and challenges of these co-production practices in terms of their own interests?
  • What are the implications of these co-production practices and outcomes for professional learning and education?

Funded by the NHS Research Capacity Funding (RCF).

Paper: Co-production in professional practice: A sociomaterial analysis, by Tara Fenwick (2012) 

Tara Fenwick, Bonnie Slade, Ian Roberts, Northern Constabulary, Scottish Institute for Policing Research

What unique demands are encountered by the police service in different rural contexts in Scotland? What unique approaches to policing have been developed for these rural areas? What unique contributions to rural community well-being can be made by the police service? These are the three main questions guiding this study. Policing practice in Scotland and elsewhere varies tremendously according to particular contexts. Rural communities present special challenges to police professionals including large territorial distances, isolation from colleagues, limited access to resources for support, unique community expectations, role conflicts experienced by police officers in the social dynamics of rural neighbourhoods, and even different forms of criminality. Unfortunately, evidence-based practice for policing tends to be based on models derived from urban contexts which have little in common with the demands of rural areas. Only a very limited research literature is available that documents or analyses the unique approaches and challenges of rural policing. This research seeks to address this gap by gathering evidence of distinct dimensions of rural policing practice and knowledge in Scotland’s Highlands and Islands, e.g. those dimensions that require particular skills, resources and infrastructure that are not commonly recognised or supported. Partners: ProPEL (Dr. Richard Dockrell, Professor Tara Fenwick, Ian Roberts, Dr. Bonnie Slade), Northern Constabulary, Scottish Institute for Policing Research, and the Carnegie Foundation.

Report:  Rural Policing:  Understanding Rural Police Knowledge in Rural Communities
Presentation:  Rural Policing: Understanding Police Knowledge and Practice in Rural Communities
Paper:  Rural Police Practice in Scotland: The Case for a Sociomaterial Approach

Professional knowing has conventionally been treated as an individual, person-centred process and reflective, related to personal experience as well as acquisition of disciplinary and problem-solving competencies. Countering this individualist acquisitional metaphor, other views (situated, sociocultural, and practice-based) introduced some time ago a participational metaphor for knowing that emphasised the importance of environment, rules, tools, and social relations. Pushing this line of enquiry further, however, the critical dynamic that is still underestimated or missing altogether is materiality itself. Material forces – flesh and blood, forms and checklists, diagnostic machines and databases, furniture and passcodes, snowstorms and dead cell zones – are integral in shaping professional practice as a repertoire of routines as well as the particular knowing, decisions and actions that are enacted in any local instantiation of practice.  

A sociomaterial approach offers a different configuration for reconceptualising professional learning, where the material and the social are considered to be mutually implicated in bringing forth everyday practices. Various theoretical families examine sociomateriality with their own emphases, such as those associated with actor network theory, science and technology studies, ‘after-ANT’ approaches, post structural geographies, complexity theory and others. Our studies are exploring sociomaterial approaches to better understand the politics and possibilities of various assemblages constituting professional practice and knowledge amidst tumultuous change.

Paper: “Sociomaterial approaches to understanding and researching learning in work”
Special issue: Reconceptualising professional learning in a changing society, Journal of Education and Work, 26 (1)
Book: Emerging approaches to educational research: Tracing the sociomaterial.

The Scottish Ambulance Service currently responds to 10,300 emergency calls annually related to mental health-related distress. The nature of response to these calls including paramedics’ knowledge and practice with respect to mental health, and the subsequent pathways of care including decision-making and linkages among paramedics and other professionals, are perceived to be problematic at present. However, the nature of the problem is not clear. This project aims to (1) explore the overall nature and key sources of the problem(s) in the multi-professional response to mental health emergency calls, and (2) formulate clear research questions and a research approach that can more fully examine this problem(s), and that will suggest solutions for improved practice. This scoping project is particularly focused on the knowledge, practices, and decision-making that circulates through the interactions of multiple professionals involved in responding to mental health emergencies. Partners: ProPEL (Professor Tara Fenwick, Dr. Bonnie Slade); Dr. Edward Duncan, Nursing Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling; David Fitzpatrick, Scottish Ambulance Service, Dr. Tim Essington, Visiting Researcher, University of Alberta, Canada.Canada.

Material enactments of care: Paramedics, police and mental health-related emergency calls - a brief working paper by Dr Helen Aberton, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Preliminary Summary of Findings: Multi-Professional Responses to Mental Health Calls: Knowledge, practice, and decision-making’ by Dr. Tim Essington

1) Older Professionals in the Finance Industry: Learning in New Capitalism

A growing body of research and policy focused on ‘older workers’ responds to perceived concerns that older workers’ skills are declining, along with their participation in employment and learning. Little is published about the issues experienced by older professional workers navigating the work acceleration, intensification, mobility and contingency of new capitalism. This study interviewed 60 certified management accountants and surveyed an additional 816 accounting professionals. The aim was to understand older professionals’ participation in learning through their reports not only of when, how and why they participated in specific learning activities, but also through their stories of practice and work, their understandings of knowledge, and how they view themselves as knowers and as knowledge workers.

Paper: Learning practices of older accountants
Working paper: Older professionals learning in an ageist culture: beneath and between the borders

2) Knowledge-Creation Practices of Older Professionals: An exploration of expansive learning in changing work environments.

Increased regulation, restructuring and audit processes are affecting morale and practice in service professions such as nursing, teaching and social work. Within these conditions, however, professionals are finding spaces and strategies for everyday innovation that sometimes defy governmental discourses of audit and standardization. This project explores the different knowledge sources, knowledge cultures, and strategies for knowledge-creation that are most prevalent in the service professions, with a particular focus on ‘older professionals’ who are so often neglected amongst the many studies of early-career professionals. Three case studies were launched to compare the learning practices of older nurses, social workers and teachers in terms of systemic changes linked to globalised forces. Tara Fenwick, Kathryn Church, Donna Chovanec, Beth Lange, Taylor Webb

Working paper: Knowledge-creation practices of professionals: a socio-material approach to researching practice

In line with the University of Stirling’s aim to expand its work in the Highlands and Islands drawing upon its centre in Inverness, The Stirling Institute of Education is working on the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence with Highland Council. This proposal builds upon and seeks to extend that work and draw out lessons of ways of working and changes in practise that are applicable to other parts of Scotland, including its urban centres. While models of change in urban contexts are most often applied to rural contexts, we believe the model being developed with Highland Council could be more readily adapted and adopted for curriculum change in urban centres. This project aims to: (a) identify effective practices of curriculum implementation and teachers’ professional learning in the context of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE); (b) develop a model for sustainable, large-scale curriculum change and support for teachers’ professional learning; and (c) produce staff development materials and run CPD events to support the dissemination of the model into multiple contexts. Partners: Dr. Mark Priestley and Sarah Minty (The Stirling Institute of Education), Highland Council.

Collaboration among arts professionals has the potential to produce exciting innovations that contribute both to developing the arts and to the economic sustainability of artists. However, collaborative practices across artistic disciplines, languages and styles of creation are difficult to engage and sustain, particularly in the current harsh economic climate in which UK artists must survive. Collaborative processes for innovation in the arts require particular knowledge and capabilities. In this project we are interested in mapping the shared knowledge and capabilities that are most effective in producing successful innovative collaborations among performing artists. Investigators: Professor Tara Fenwick, Dr. Doris Ruth Eikhof, Dr. John I’Anson, Dr. Bonnie Slade, Dr. Ian Munday, University of Stirling

Alison Fox, Bonnie Slade, Tara Fenwick

Impact, while vital to demonstrate as an output of research, is notoriously difficult to measure.  This project seeks to gather data on identifying, assessing, and measuring organisational impact.  Drawing on graduates of an Ed.D. programme as a case study, this project investigates the impact that the graduates make in their workplaces.  Globally over the past two decades there has been a dramatic increase in the number of universities offering doctoral awards, with a concomitant growth in the professional doctorate award in some countries.  Questions have been raised about their purpose and effectiveness, especially in the context of current economic conditions. This research investigates what impact organisations can expect from professional doctorates, and how this can be measured.

Collaborative Professional Enquiry is a sustainable model for professional learning developed within the Faculty of Social Sciences through which educators form and lead a collaborative team to develop a full enquiry project within their schools. The focus is to develop both capacity in practitioner research as well as leadership and sustainability practices. We have conducted various research projects following these collaborative teams, analysing the politics of enquiry development within organisations and comparing tensions and possibilities of pracittioner collaborative research across different organisational settings. Our research suggests Professional Enquiry has a significant impact on professional learning by supporting educators in identifying creative and sustainable practices to address their own professional learning needs as well as those of their students: as such it is a powerful tool for developing capacity in others and the systems in which they work. We suggest leadership may be legitimated and enhanced through the development of the knowledge and expertise gained through engaging in Collaborative Professional Enquiry by implementing new ways of working and motivating others to modify and improve their practices to improve students’ learning experiences.

Paper: Relays and relations: tracking a policy initiative for improving teacher professionalism

Paper: Practice-Based Learning: developing excellence in teaching.

Paper: Collaborative Professional Enquiry: a tool for teacher leadership?

reconceptualising

Reconceptualising Professional Learning: Sociomaterial knowledges, practices and responsibilities

Edited by Tara Fenwick & Monika Nerland

This book presents leading-edge perspectives and methodologies to address emerging issues of concern for professional learning in contemporary society. More information (Routledge, 2014)

materialities

Materialities, Textures and Pedagogies

Edited by Tara Fenwick & Paolo Landri

This book joins a developing tradition of ‘practice-based’ conceptions of learning, but with a special interest in foregrounding the materiality of educational processes. More information (Routledge, 2014)

governing

Governing Knowledge: Comparison, Knowledge-Based Technologies and Expertise in the Regulation of Education

Edited by Tara Fenwick, Eric Mangez & Jenny Ozga

This volume focuses on a major and highly significant development in the governing of education across the globe: the use of knowledge-based technologies as key policy sources. More information (Routledge, 2013)

contexts

Professional Learning in Changing Contexts

Edited by Tara Fenwick, Monika Nerland & Karen Jensen

The knowledge and decisions of professionals influence all facets of modern life, a fact reflected by the increasing and distinct emphasis on public accountability for what professionals know and do. More information (Routledge, 2013)

transformation

The Transformation of Children’s Services: Examining and debating the complexities of inter/professional working

Edited by Joan Forbes & Cate Watson

Can we imagine different ways of working together to secure better outcomes for children and families? What are the complex issues that underlie the apparently simple call for ‘joined-up’ services? More information (Routledge, 2011)

emerging

Emerging Approaches to Educational Research: Tracing the Socio-Material

Tara Fenwick, Richard Edwards & Peter Sawchuk

The last fifteen years have seen much conceptual and methodological innovation in research on education and learning across the lifecourse, bringing both fresh insights and new dilemmas. More information (Routledge, 2011)

mobilization

Knowledge Mobilization and Educational Research: Politics, languages and responsibilities

Edited by Tara Fenwick & Lesley Farrell

How can educational research have more impact? What processes of knowledge exchange are most effective for increasing the uses of research results? How can research-produced knowledge be better ‘mobilized’ among users such as practicing educators, policy makers, and the public communities? More information (Routledge, 2011)

actor_network

Actor-Network Theory in Education

Tara Fenwick & Richard Edwards

Actor-Network Theory has enjoyed wide uptake in the social sciences in the past three decades, particularly in science and technology studies, and is increasingly attracting the attention of educational researchers. More information (Routledge 2010)

global_workforce

Educating the Global Workforce: Knowledge, Knowledge Work and Knowledge Workers

Edited by Lesley Farrell & Tara Fenwick

This international volume considers the challenges facing work related education arising from the rapid expansion of the global economy and the impact of this on labour markets and individual workers. More information. (Routledge, 2007)

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