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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES, *pedagogy
As an academic working for the past three years in a learning and teaching centre in a higher education institution inIreland, I have only recently asked myself if I have been living in the direction of my educational values (Whitehead, 1989). These are my ideas about what constitutes an educationally worthwhile process of teaching and learning by defining the relationship between knowledge, teachers and learners.
My professional role involves the provision of academic support for newly appointed staff at the Institute. I felt there was a discrepancy between what I felt should be happening for these new staff members and the reality of the provision of academic support. I decided to conduct an action research study over a three month period to investigate this discrepancy. The focus of the study was myself, and what I was doing to support these new lecturers. My claim at the end of this study is that I now have a clearer picture of the problem areas in academic support levels encountered by newly appointed academic staff.
My evidence emerged from an analysis of a transcript of a focus group session held with six members of academic staff as the participants in my study, through asking them what their learning needs were as they began their new posts, and at the various stages thereafter. Due to the fact that I felt that the research should be manageable and be under the direct control of myself as the practitioner, it was small-scale. My two colleagues in the Centre and a member of high level management agreed to form a validation group who worked with me to analyse the evidence to substantiate my claim.
Donnelly, R. (2003) Researching and Acting: Exploring and Improving the Provision of Academic Support for Newly Appointed Staff in a Higher Education Institution in Ireland. Networks: Online Journal for Teacher Research. http://education.ucsc.edu/faculty/gwells/networks/journal/Vol6(2).2003oct/Donnelly.html