Becoming a gender equity consultant : a self-study of learning and struggle

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This thesis is an exploration of my practice as a teacher consultant in the area of gender equity. Focusing on my consultancy practice with teachers in primary school settings, the study explores my development as a teacher consultant. The study is a self-study in teacher education practices and considers the following questions: • How do I experience and understand my practice as a gender equity consultant? • How can I improve my practice as a consultant? • How does self-study contribute to professional learning about consultancy? My learning about consultancy is explored using narrative inquiry methods including field notes, journal entries, in-depth and focus group interviews with participating teachers, and reflections on critical friend interactions. These methods were used to develop stories of teacher professional learning and consultancy that informed my understandings about my work with teachers, and subsequent changes to practice. I argue that the process of becoming a teacher consultant is one of continual construction and reconstruction as one reflects on and reframes experience, based on interactions with teachers, colleagues and the professional literature. This process of reconstruction enables one to come more clearly to know the self in practice, and therefore, better understand the needs of others in teacher professional learning contexts. Finally I argue that self-study of teacher education practices offers teacher consultants the means to investigate their practice in ways which result in transformative learning about their support of professional learning for teachers in school settings. This study has implications for self-study of teacher education practices as it expands this methodology to include its usefulness for understanding the practice of teacher consultants supporting the professional learning of experienced teachers in schools.
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