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‘We must get together and really talk …’. Connection, engagement and safety sustain learning and teaching conversation communities

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Over time, reflective conversations seem to have disappeared from everyday academic practice, yet such conversations have the potential to influence teachers’ sense of self as well as their teaching practice. To investigate the question – how can university teachers develop a community where conversations about learning and teaching continue to flourish? – this article analyses a case study of three groups of university teachers who took up the challenge to Talk About Teaching And Learning (TATAL). Each group employed social models of reflection to construct teaching philosophy statements and teaching portfolios through a process of writing stories as reflective inquiry. The investigation suggested three factors – connection, engagement and safety – facilitated these small groups of university teachers to build conversation communities. Further interrogation of these factors suggested a model to support the construction of ongoing teaching and learning conversations within and beyond higher education settings.

Keywords: collaborative inquiry; conversation communities; reflection; teaching philosophy; teaching portfolio

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Teaching and Learning Centre, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia 2: Faculty of Business and Government, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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