EXCHANGING GLANCES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF A JOINT EDUCATION AND RESEARCH PROGRAMME CARRIED OUT AT A SECONDARY SCHOOL IN A SOCIOECONOMICALLY UNDERPRIVILEGED MILIEU

C. Pratginestós1, J. Solans2, D. Masats1

1Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (SPAIN)
2Institut Federica Montseny (SPAIN)
Planning and developing classroom research from the perspective of responsible research and innovation is a key action of the European Commission Horizon 2020 program. In the field of education this implies, very often, designing proposals for innovation at schools to be constructed and implemented by teams composed of researchers and in-service teachers committed to transform educational practices into opportunities for tackling both educational and social challenges. Within the teams, it is extremely important to clearly stablish and negotiate the nature of the relationship of team members to ensure that they all work together from symmetrical but different positions to attain a common goal (Ballena, Masats & Unamuno, 2019). This research methodology is commonly referred to with the Spanish coined term ‘co-labor’ (Leiva & Speed, 2008) as the word ‘collaboration’ in education it traditionally evokes a context in which researchers enter schools as experts, from a power position, to help teachers, regarded as non-experts, improve their practices. However, research in ‘co-labor’ is challenging.

This paper presents a case study, conducted in a secondary school, sited in a socioeconomically underprivileged milieu, in which English language teachers and researchers work in ‘co-labor’ in the design, implementation and evaluation of innovative technology-based language teaching projects targeted only at a cohort of learners. The study, aimed at investigating how to improve teaching practices, is based on the premise that knowledge gained by teachers who reflect upon their practices has positive consequences in their students’ learning success (Burnard, Apelgren & Cabaroglu, 2015). We analyse data from the discussion sessions held at the end of two academic years by team members and other language teachers at the same school to reflect upon the challenges of promoting change in the classrooms through a process of ‘co-labor’ and whether this process proves to be beneficial for the whole school community. This is why in this last session teachers of languages other than English are invited to participate in the discussions. Our study reveals that ‘co-labor’ creates the necessary conditions to transform learning, both in the classrooms of project team members and in those of other teachers. Parallel to this, the views of non-team members help participants confirm the type of challenges to be faced if the method is to be applied to in all classrooms.