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Reconstructing and Reorganizing Experience: Weaving a Living Philosophy

by Carol R. Rodgers, Marti Anderson, Beverley Burkett , Sean Conley, Claire Stanley & Leslie Turpin - 2021

Background/Context: This study contributes to ongoing work in professional learning communities, self-study, and reflection. It offers a structure and a process rooted in a philosophy of practice grounded in various thinkers like Dewey (1916), Rogers (1957; 1980), Curran (1978), Freire (1970), Gattegno (1987), Greene (1978), and Carini (2001, 2010).

Purpose/Objective: The purpose of this study is to explore the process of one teacher educator inquiry group that has lasted nearly 30 years, and which has sought to enact Dewey’s (1916) notion of education, “that reconstruction or reorganization of experience that adds meaning to experience and increases ability to direct the course of subsequent experience.”

Research Design: Our research design mirrors the reflective inquiry process of our group, that is, how we researched is simultaneously what we researched. The process itself follows a structure for reflection outlined by Dewey (1933) in Rodgers (2002). It begins with recollected experiences, descriptions of those experiences, and is followed by a “harvesting of themes,” through analysis and interpretation, to possible modes of “intelligent action.” The process is iterative and continuous.

Conclusions: Our conclusions go beyond mere descriptions of our process. We come to the realization that, as Greene writes, being “wide-awake” to the particularities of our lives and work; to live intentionally, deliberately, and morally; and to be aware of who and why we are, and are to each other, is essential to a democratic society.  

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 123 Number 6, 2021, p. -
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23712, Date Accessed: 9/17/2021 12:28:57 PM

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About the Author
  • Carol Rodgers
    State University of New York at Albany
    E-mail Author
    CAROL RODGERS, Ph.D., is an associate professor of education at the State University of New York at Albany. Her work focuses on reflective practice, the educational philosophy of John Dewey, presence in teaching, history of progressive teacher education, and a humanizing pedagogy. She is author of “Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking,” Teachers College Record, (2002). Her most recent publication is The Art of Reflective Teaching: Practicing Presence, published by Teachers College Press (2020).
  • Marti Anderson
    Independent Consultant
    E-mail Author
    MARTI ANDERSON is a teacher educator and independent consultant who has worked in both formal and non-formal contexts for nearly 30 years. She has worked with teachers in dozens of countries on six continents. Her interests include cross-cultural philosophies, world religions, systems thinking, chaos theory, organizational development theories, and subtle energies as ways of understanding our world. She is co-author with Diane Larsen Freeman (2011) of Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, Oxford University Press.
  • Beverley Burkett
    Nelson Mandela University
    E-mail Author
    BEVERLEY BURKETT is a research associate at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and has 35 years’ experience of teacher development in Africa, Europe, and the U.S. She was head of a Language Education Unit at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa, visiting faculty at the School for International Training, VT, and most recently, degree chair of the MATESOL program at Marlboro College. She is the author of “Developing a personal theory of teaching practice: The role of reflection,” KOTESOL Journal (2014), and co-author with Francis Bailey and Donald Freeman (2008) of “The mediating role of language in schooling and the evolving role of the teacher,” in Spolsky & Hult (Eds.) The Handbook of Educational Linguistics.
  • Sean Conley
    Independent Consultant
    E-mail Author
    SEAN CONLEY, Ed.D., is an independent consultant. He has taught and been an administrator for Marlboro College, The New School, The School for International Training, and Tokyo Jogakkan College. He has an Ed.D. from Columbia Teacher’s College and an M.A.T. from the School for International Training.
  • Claire Stanley
    Antioch University New England
    E-mail Author
    CLAIRE STANLEY is on the faculty of Antioch University New England, where she teaches in the M.Ed. program. She is a Co-Founder and former Guiding Teacher of the Vermont Insight Meditation Center in Brattleboro, VT. Her areas of interest include the intersection of Mindfulness and Reflective Teaching Practice, Mindful Leadership, and Compassionate Action in educational communities. She is author of “Mindfulness for Educators,” Insight Journal, (2007) and Lovingkindness, Ascent Magazine, (2001).
  • Leslie Turpin
    School for International Training Graduate Institute
    E-mail Author
    LESLIE TURPIN is associate faculty at the School for International Training Graduate Institute where she chairs the MATESOL Low Residency Program. Her areas of interest include community resilience and the support of the arts in new American communities, intercultural communication in language teaching, and supervising teachers in their practice. She is most recently the author of “Eclectic Pedagogy,” in Lionatas (Ed.), The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching.
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