Flocking birds of different feathers : exploring educators’ perceptions on the use of interdisciplinary collaborations in professional development (pd) programs
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201606042361
|Publish Date:|| 2016-06-06
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
Stevenson, Blair Charles
Stevenson, Blair Charles
This is a pragmatic study of educators’ perceptions of interdisciplinary collaborations in professional development (PD) programs for educators. This study draws on a social-constructivist view of learning and specifically on the Deweyan pragmatic theory of knowledge. Key concepts such as interdisciplinarity, homophily, inter-, multi- and transdisciplinary collaborations, and PD programs for educators are discussed in light of this perspective.
A literature review shows that interdisciplinary collaborations have been used widely across disciplines as a platform for professionals to interconnect and solve societal problems. However, such collaboration is scarce between educators and other members of other disciplines. Therefore, a gap is identified under the topic of incorporating interdisciplinary collaboration into PD programs for educators.
Thus, this study aims to provide textured, triangulated, and descriptive data from educator-participants’ perceptions about interdisciplinary collaborations for the improvements of the current practice in PD programs. The research questions are: (1) to explore educators’ perceptions about the use of interdisciplinary collaboration in PD programs and (2) to examine their perceptions about the factors that can make interdisciplinary collaborations work in this setting.
This study was framed within a pragmatic research paradigm and is designed based on the concurrent (triangulated) mixed-methods research approach. The university program, Oulu EduLAB, was identified and selected as a site for data collection since it integrates the LAB studio model in its program structure, which supports interdisciplinary collaborations. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from educator-participants in Oulu EduLAB through an online survey. Then, inferences were concurrently constructed from these two sets of data to investigate the research questions.
Overall, findings show that 88% of respondents in this study perceived interdisciplinary collaborations as important in PD programs. Respondents gave several reasons for this opinion, among others: interdisciplinary collaboration is a necessity in the 21st century education, this type of collaboration allows them to improve their own skills, and that they learn new and different things from people of other disciplines. Respondents also rated communication factors as the most important factor in ensuring the success of interdisciplinary collaboration. The highest rated factor was ‘Mutual trust and respect’ while the least rated factor was ‘Each member has a unique purpose in the team’. Finally, both practical and philosophical implications on the use of interdisciplinary collaborations in PD programs are discussed based on the data collected from the survey.
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