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Preparing teachers for knowledgeable action: Epistemic fluency, innovation pedagogy and work-capable graduates


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This  presentation is around the theme “Preparing teachers for knowledgeable action”. I mainly  talk about the nature of teachers' actionable knowledge and productive learning and assessment tasks. 

Main topics
1.  Seeing teachers’ knowledge and learning form a ‘practice' perspective (I briefly introduce ways in which we have been looking at  professional skilfulness and preparation)
2. Unpacking teachers’ resourcefulness for knowledgeable action (I briefly give some insights into what we call "epistemic fluency",  particularly what makes teacher’s action “knowledgeable” and knowledge “actionable") 
3. Assessment artefacts: what do they say us about work readiness, knowledgeability, and capability for knowledgeable action?  (here, I will give some insights into what kinds of artefacts teachers are actually asked to produce and submit  for assessment and what they say us about what teachers know and should be able to do)
4. Innovation pedagogy as an approach to prepare and assess work-capable graduates (some examples into  how learning through innovation looks like and some (provocative) suggestions how  ‘measurement’ of teachers’  readiness could look like). 

Published in: Education
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Preparing teachers for knowledgeable action: Epistemic fluency, innovation pedagogy and work-capable graduates

  1. 1. The University of Sydney Page 1 Preparing teachers for knowledgeable action: Epistemic fluency, innovation pedagogy and work-capable graduates Lina Markauskaite Acknowledgements: Peter Goodyear & DP0988307 Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation Sydney School of Education and Social Work ITEPL@ QUT, Brisbane 20 February, 2017
  2. 2. The University of Sydney Page 2 Link to eBook Context: Epistemic fluency Grounded (extended) view of cognition and professional knowledge – Professional expertise is inseparable from capacities to (co)construct epistemic environments that enhance knowledgeable actions – Such expertise is grounded in embodied, situated professional knowledge work – It requires mastering professional epistemic tools and ways of knowing (epistemic games) – Much of this work is done by (co)creating professional (epistemic) artefacts that embody actionable knowledge
  3. 3. The University of Sydney Page 3 Today 1. Actionable knowledge 2. Epistemic tools, games and fluency 3. Assessment artefacts 4. Innovation pedagogy 5. Some provocative suggestions Our empirical study – nursing, pharmacy, social work, teaching, school counseling – 20 professional courses – workplace-related assessment tasks
  4. 4. The University of Sydney Page 4 Why should teachers come to university? WORK Professional practices (resourcefulness) RESEARCH Epistemic practices LEARNING Knowledge practices (cultures) Knowledge, but… Evidence- using practice Evidence- producing practice Knowledge- using practice Knowledge- generating practice Knowlegeable action Actionable knowledge
  5. 5. The University of Sydney Page 5 Actionable knowledge Actionable knowledge is “knowledge that is particularly useful to get things accomplished in practical activities” (After Yinger & Lee, 1993, 100) “…knowledge is conceived largely as a form of mastery that is expressed in the capacity to carry out a social and material activity. Knowledge is thus always a way of knowing shared with others, a set of practical methods acquired through learning, inscribed in objects, embodied, and only partially articulated in discourse” (Nicolini, 2013, 5)
  6. 6. The University of Sydney Page 6 Knowledge(ing): Culture, practice and resourcefulness (Personal) epistemic- conceptual resourcefulness/fluency (Local) epistemic practices (Global) knowledge cultures Actionable knowledge(ing) Innovation
  7. 7. The University of Sydney Page 7 Epistemic games and toolsas one aspect of epistemic fluency
  8. 8. The University of Sydney Page 8 Epistemic games “When people engage in investigations – legal, scientific, moral, political, or other kinds – characteristic moves occur again and again” (Perkins, 1997, 50) Epistemic games are patterns of inquiry that have characteristic forms, moves, goals and rules used by different epistemic communities to conduct inquiries (Morrison & Collins, 1996) Roots Wittgenstein: language-game, form of life, family resemblance Examples – Creating a list – Creating a taxonomy – Making a comparison – Proving a theorem – Doing a controlled experiment – Planning a lesson
  9. 9. The University of Sydney Page 9 Epistemic fluency & functional epistemic games Epistemic fluency is an ability “to use and recognise a relatively large number of epistemic games” (Morrison & Collins, 1996, 108) Functional epistemic games – patterns of inquiry which contribute to the way practitioners generate (situated) knowledge that informs their action But… “...decision making, problem solving, and like kinds of thinking do not have specifically epistemic goals – goals of building knowledge and understanding” (Perkins, 1997, 55)
  10. 10. The University of Sydney Page 10 Playing & weaving professional epistemic games Epistemic games 2. Situated problem-solving games 3. Meta-professional games Research games Producing games Coding games Concept combination games Articulation games Evaluation games Making games 4. Trans-professional games Sense-making games Exchanging games 1. Propositional games 6. Weaving games 5. Translational public games Conceptual tool- making games Routine games Semi-scripted games Concept games Public tool- making games Organising games Open games Investigative discourse games Decomposing & assembling games Flexible games Semi-constrained games Situation-specific games Standardisation discourse games Conceptual discourse games Informal discourse games
  11. 11. The University of Sydney Page 11 Mastering epistemic tools and professional infrastructure Epistemic tools 2. Epistemic devices 3. Epistemic instruments & equipment Epistemi c forms Epistemic concepts Inquiry strategies Epistemic statements Data & information gathering tools Processing & sense- making tools Output generating tools Evaluation & reflection tools 1. Epistemic frames (Intra) professional epistemes General epistemic frames Domain- specific conceptual models Professional perspectives & approaches Inquiry structures Inquiry processes Problem-solving strategies
  12. 12. The University of Sydney Page 12 Main insights 1. Learning to use powerful epistemic tools and play powerful epistemic games are among those key aspects of professional epistemic practice that could/should be taught at universities 2. Teaching would benefit from much more articulated and precise understanding of its epistemic toolkit 3. Epistemic tools and games could provide a concrete foundation for preparing teachers and for assessing
  13. 13. The University of Sydney Page 13 Assessment objects and artefacts
  14. 14. The University of Sydney Page 14 Learning through making artefacts We should look for foundations of enduring professional practices, discovery and innovation in objects and artefacts (After Nicolini, Mengis and Swan, 2012) 1. What is it that students are expected to learn and produce for assessment? 2. How does students’ work on making assessment artefacts help them bridge knowledge learnt at university with knowing in workplaces?
  15. 15. The University of Sydney Page 15 Objects of tasks Motives/Objects Everyday practices Unusual practices Fine-tuning skill and knowledge Key specific skills and knowledge Eg. Administering reading assessments Hardest elements of practice Eg. Teaching lessons of most difficult topics Shaping professional vision Core inquiry frameworks Eg. Using Bloom’s taxonomy question prompts Hidden elements of professional practice Eg. Seeing social justice in a lesson plan Making professional artefacts Artefacts for/in action Eg. Designing a plan Generic artefacts-tools Eg. Creating guidelines, teaching kits
  16. 16. The University of Sydney Page 16 Assessment artefacts Cultural artefactsConceptual artefacts Epistemic artefacts Action Meaning Practice artefacts Action artefacts Design artefactsAnalytical artefacts ReadyKnowledgeable Capable
  17. 17. The University of Sydney Page 17 Main insights 1. Programs should create the right mix of tasks that involve production of cultural, epistemic and conceptual artefacts 2. ‘Unusual’ objects often involve epistemic qualities that we don’t see in everyday objects 3. The value of artefacts comes from knowing involved in production and knowledge they embody
  18. 18. The University of Sydney Page 18 Innovation pedagogy Teachers as constructors of professional tools for knowledgeable action
  19. 19. The University of Sydney Page 19 Learning through innovation 1. A productive way to ‘package’ many aspects of epistemic fluency 2. Developing a special skillset for practical innovation 3. Value of the product Three modes of inquiry System s thinkin g Design practice Responsiv e action
  20. 20. The University of Sydney Page 20 IV. Constructing shareable principled- practical knowledge products Making knowledge actionable and action knowledgeable I. Learning methods (epistemic tools and games) for inquiring into complex social systems III. Learning to create their own innovation environment iPad Journey (MLS&T, 2011) II. Grounding theory and methods in practical sense-making and action
  21. 21. The University of Sydney Page 21 Learning analytics for deep learning Challenges the students chose to address Ipad journey: Introducing iPads in a Secondary School Overcoming isolation in online learning Learning on-the-go: Mobile learning in higher education E-type guide: Moving from print to online in higher education Redesigning learning spaces: Learning through making Developing students’ creative potential Google brain: Utilising power of digital knowledge tools for learning Creating an engaging school
  22. 22. The University of Sydney Page 22 What the students valued… – Novelty of pedagogical approach – Motivation and engagement – Teamwork experience – Autonomy and agency – Relevancy of theoretical knowledge – … “Really enjoyed the group work challenge, the assessment piece was appropriate and the reflection was a good way to consolidate the learning.” (MLS&T, 2013) “I learnt far more doing the teamwork than I'd expected to. There was a great exchange of ideas and knowledge. Overall, a different but very rewarding course for me.” (MLS&T, 2013) “[The best aspect of the course is] the innovative ways that the course is designed to encourage, or actually demand, autonomous learning.” (MLS&T, 2013) “This unit was a challenge for me, a completely new and different way to learn, but very effective!!” (MLS&T, 2013) “I really appreciated the benefits of covering (usually) one reading a week and then writing a post which connects it to my work experience.” (MLS&T, 2013) “The Innovation Challenge gave us opportunity to work as a team on an ill-structured problem, which was highly motivating and great learning experience.” (MLS&T, 2013) “We can explore and have ideas without pressure” (MLS&T, 2015)
  23. 23. The University of Sydney Page 23 (Re)imagining assessment and ‘measurement’ of readiness 1. Using epistemic games and tools as a guide what students are expected to master 2. Developing professional resourcefulness through construction of principled-practical professional artefacts-tools 3. An open, ‘live’ database of professional tools constructed by (pre- service) teachers… 4. …and possibly multiple evidence how these tools work in various contexts
  24. 24. The University of Sydney Page 24 Most importantly… 1. Moving away from a ‘blind’ evidence culture to an epistemic culture and practice that values professional ways of knowing 2. Taking pre-service teachers’ capacities seriously and leaving behind a ‘deficit’ view Related ideas 1. Principled-practical knowledge (Bereiter) 2. Family resemblance of expertise (Sternberg & Horvath) 3. Deliberative expertise (Hatano & Inagaki)
  25. 25. The University of Sydney Page 25 If you are interested... Email: Follow our website: