Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Publication Title

11th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning

First Page

321

Last Page

327

Keywords

Studies, Teacher education, Experiential learning, Knowledge management

Abstract

The Faculty of Education at a Southwestern Ontario, Canadian University appointed an Experiential Learning Specialist (ELS) as a member of the Faculty in 2007. The Experiential Learning Specialist acts as an impartial resource for all members of the educational community (teacher candidates, faculty, staff, school partners), by providing counselling, collaboration and mediation to promote social justice and equity in teacher education. In this regard, the Experiential Learning Specialist has developed professional resources, provided confidential counselling, guided conflict resolution through mediation processes, and endeavoured to build a knowledge community. The continued focus has been to contribute to the development and implementation, through consultation and collaboration, of opportunities with which to strengthen professionalism and professional relationships. Community building through collaboration fosters sharing, intergroup dialogue, and relationship building; consequently, former resistance and reluctance to discuss and resolve conflicts may be eliminated, pre-conceived biases may be addressed, and in teacher education this process may also foster peer collaboration (Roland, Colella & Igbokwe 2014). Teacher Education programs must build communities of practice to "collectively redefine practice" as well as, knowledge communities "to improve individual practice" (Seaman 2008, p 277). A critical aspect of professional development is shared knowledge, "...teachers authentically share their stories of practice in safe places - what may be referred to as knowledge communities to make their personal practical knowledge explicit to themselves and to others" (Olson & Craig 2001, p 668). These strategies would support cultural and linguistic differences in educational practice, as well as, work to address the challenges and barriers that culturally diverse teacher candidates may face in teacher education field practicum settings.

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