I’ve just returned from AERA 2012 Vancouver with a mind full of ideas and thoughts that will take several lifetimes to untangle. However 2 things I have learnt.
Firstly having gone to AERA quite a few times I have always been frustrated about missing out on some key papers and once again with thousands of excellent papers this year I decided upon a different strategy. This year I let the papers come to me! I stayed on the same floor of the Vancouver West Convention Centre for most of the week and listened to as many Division K Teacher Education papers that I could.
The second thing that I have learnt is that there is a global paradigm shift taking place in Teacher Education and there is no stopping it! In an age of hyper connectivity – news travels fast and whether it is good practice or bad practice it still travels and like any virus – how you deal with it is what counts.
Trying to summarise what was said is not so straightforward – but I have titled this post as Third Field Hybridity as may way of capturing both the direction of travel and my way conceiving of the likely changes ahead. Ultimately it would seem a theory and practice divide is caricatured as a binary unable to be bridged. This is of course nonsense! In fact the lack of bridging was often as a result of policy makers failing to recognise how theory and practice are interlinked.
However new spaces are offering new fields of contested spaces (Third Field) where practice and practitioner and theory and theorist meet to identify the common ground – where practice takes place and theory also takes place. In many ways theory in the ‘Third Field’ will thrive and practice will be enhanced. So I view the virus in a positive way – but there is a lot of thinking still needed. However I have put my notes from AERA into a ‘wordle’ to try and make sense of what I was thinking and although it may not make much sense to others it does make some to me!