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Investigating Tension in Collaborative Action Research about Comics Writing Open Access


Other title
teacher professional learning, collaborative professional learning, collaborative action research, tension in teacher-researcher relationships
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Nixon, Rhonda
Supervisor and department
McClay, Jill (Elementary Education)
Examining committee member and department
McClay, Jill (Elementary Education)
Department of Elementary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This dissertation was written as a commonplace text (Havens, 2001; Sumara, 2002), where I gathered multimodal texts (print, visual, audio, video) of importance to the five teacher participants and me and interpreted them through sociocultural, historical and critical theoretical lenses to answer two research questions: How is professional learning experienced by teachers participating in collaborative action research? and What is the role of tension in critical, collaborative inquiry-based communities? The five teachers, who were new to critical, collaborative inquiry-based ways of learning, chose to engage in comics writing as a new approach to teaching narrative writing in their grades three, four, and six classrooms with me as an outside researcher over four-five months. The teacher participants found that taking on new teaching and learning identities created various tensions in their everyday planning, teaching and reflecting practices that shaped and were shaped by the diverse communities of practice that we developed in various spaces, including their two different schools. I investigate our learning experiences and the role of tension in them by conceptualizing settings as social spaces (Leander, 1999), where we cocreated patterns of practices. I examined these patterns using Kemmis, Hardy, Wilkinson, Edward-Groves and Lloyd’s (2010) emerging “ecologies of practice” theory. First, I took a macroview of the teachers’ and my social spaces by analyzing the “practice architectures” and metapractices (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008) or institutional practices of professional learning at work in their schools. Second, I engage in microanalyses of the teachers’ and my practices according to multidimensions (cultural/discursive, material/economic and sociopolitical) within and across our different communities of practice. Finally, I present my findings about how our social spaces developed and what the role of ethical, material/economic, emotional and relational tensions were as we learned through collaborative action research (Kemmis & McTaggart, 2005).
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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