PhD progress

PhD progress report: 22/04/2013.

Start date: February 2013

I have just started my doctoral study and am in the early stages of literature orientation – looking for signposts in the prescribed literature we have been analysing in doctoral workshop sessions and extrapolating from there into other journals, and other authors which will have relevance for my study.  I have been spending less time on subject –related literature than on the literature around social theory at this stage. Further reading on subject specific themes is my immediate task.

A significant source for social theory so far has been Mark Murphy’s new book on Social Theory and Education research which has helpful and accessible chapters on the main theorists in this field– Foucault, Bourdieu, Derrida, Habermas. Having dabbled a bit in my undergraduate degree with French philosophers (I even went to a Derrida talk in Paris once!) I’m finding it very interesting to revisit them in a more sophisticated context and begin to see ways in which they can relate to my study. Thinking across the readings we have done for our last workshop it is becoming clear that a socio-cultural perspective is a really appropriate theoretical foundation for this study: Vygotskyian understandings of knowledge being culturally mediated through dialogue and relational practices (as in Boreham & Morgan; 2004) within a collective and not only individual context is a useful perspective through which to consider the practice of learning rounds in schools. Anne Edwards’(2006)  paper on relational agency was particularly interesting as it exposed a model of distributed agency based on a version of CHAT activity theory– where multiple agents working together “expanded the object.”  Engestrom is referenced in most of the readings I have come across ( Paavola and Hakkarainen; Edwards;  Boreham & Morgan) so far which seem relevant so this is a thinker whose work I shall further research.

I’m attending a training session in Refworks next week to hopefully settle on a referencing system I can use that is supported by the university so I hope I can export the bits and pieces I have elsewhere in Mendeley and Endnote into it and use one system. I’ve applied for the Doctoral student conference in May and the Summer School in June, so hoping to get some advice from students who are further on in this process and enjoy the wisdom of impressive list of presenters there. There will be tweets and more blogposts!

Boreham *, N. & Morgan, C., 2004. A sociocultural analysis of organisational learning. Oxford Review of Education, 30(3), pp.307–325.

Edwards, A., 2005. Relational agency: Learning to be a resourceful practitioner. International Journal of Educational Research, 43(3), pp.168–182.

Mark Murphy (University of Glasgow) ed., 2013. Social Theory and Education Research 1st ed., Abingdon: Routledge.

Paavola, S. & Hakkarainen, K., 2005. The Knowledge Creation Metaphor – An Emergent Epistemological Approach to Learning. Science Education, 14(6), pp.535–557.

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About catrionao

I'm a PhD student at Stirling University, studying a school based practice of teacher professional learning. I also do online facilitation for various organisations such as SELMAS and the Strategic Leadership Development Programme.
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