BCW teamAgency, Inquiry, learning, Understanding Learners



ABC OF INQUIRY – CO-RESEARCHER  “By giving our students practice in talking with others, we give them frames for thinking on their own.” Lev. S. Vygotsky. Co-researching is a respectful practice that allows participants to create their own stories and identities as learners.

CO-RESEARCHER: Sharing the journey together
Co-researching is a process in which mentors and apprentices develop and test ideas together, challenge assumptions and question the status quo, to discover relevant and meaningful ways of engaging with and understanding ideas. In the past learning was seen as the teacher passing knowledge to the learner, now teachers have the opportunity to position themselves as mentors who are still learners and see their students as apprentices who bring a bank of ideas and experiences with them to the discovery table. Positioning yourself as a co-researcher on a learning journey, enables you to explore, act and reflect, to share the journey with your learners, not just act as a guide with a map that lays it all out. 
Teachers who are co-reserchers can be a participant on a journey that can add to and enrich personal ideas, attitudes and skills. They do not position themselves as experts, as the holder of all ideas or knowledge. They are positioned as a more experienced traveller who has things to offer, while still having a great many things to discover. They are aware of their own biases and preferences and are open to exploring new ways with new learners.
Learners who have the opportunity to position themselves as co-reserchers, need to feel  their mentor is trustworthy and safe.  Learners have ideas about the journey and some experiences that will help them negotiate the path ahead, they are also curious and want to travel more slowly to get to know the potential paths they can take on the journey. Sometimes they will tread the same paths as their mentor, sometimes they may want and need to develop their own path to the same end point. Learners need to have space  to make their mistakes, as well as having a space to reflect on their choices. They will become the leaders of the future because of the mistakes they make, the successes they can take ownership of and the experiences they have in a journey they had some say in progressing.
A key to helping learners become a co-researcher in the learning process is by supporting them to becomaware of their own thinking.  Co-researchers need to be aware of and reflect on:
  • Interests and connections to the world outside the learning spaces
  • Attitudes, biases, positioning and perspectives that influence their choices
  • Skills, strategies and process explored, developed and tested 
  • Prior knowledge and new facts and knowledge gained 
  • The big ideas they hold that cross over time and place
  • Understand that they themselves have the experience and potential to be positioned as mentors among their own peers
  • Learners can also be considered as co-consultants on the learning journey, as their ideas can be fresh and surprising of their peers and teacher.

BCW will now use ‘They — themself’ as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in all subsequent material generated on our website.

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BeConWiz Ideas and Thoughts by Carla Holmes, Mary-Denese Holmes, Pearl Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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