Time and developments in pedagogical work - A plea for experimental time within participatory partnerships

    Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


    This abstract aims to address research challenges related to time and competing rationalities of time management within welfare institutions participating in partnerships to develop or renew welfare work. Our objective is to present a critical analysis of time dynamics when forming participatory partnerships to develop welfare institutions and to discuss how difficulties to claim and uphold time for experimental developments of welfare work affects outcome.Experiences and knowledge build up in two long-term action research project conducted as participatory partnerships forms our point of departure. The first project, ‘the school project’, was a two year long partnership among management, teachers and pedagogues at a medium size Danish school, that aimed to examine and empower cross-disciplinary aspirations to advance inclusive education (Madsen, Bladt & Tofteng 2016). The second project, ‘the pre-school project’ was a three year long partnership among pedagogical employees, management and children at five Danish preschools, that aimed to examine and develop everyday life and learning environments in preschool (Husted 2016). The projects shared the same goals and ambitions; to develop and qualify pedagogical work by putting forward the knowledge, critique and dreams of the professionals (here teachers and pedagogues) through specially designed participatory processes and experiments. The projects was characterised by high degree of commitment and cooperation among leaders and employees at the participating institutions. This meant that the institutions at hand had allocated time, space and attention into employee driven developmental and experimental processes leading to new proposals and solutions to problems or difficulties in the pedagogical settings or learning environments. However, the claim for time and commitment to open ended experiments proved to be difficult to uphold. Whenever a hesitant outline for a new procedure or practice emerged, it was likely that the participants would quickly decide to do the outline, convert it into a new standard or reject the whole idea. At the same time, the participants repeatedly requested scheduled free time from other scheduled operational tasks in order to take serious the experimental dimensions of developing pedagogical practice and sustain new developments. Contemporary difficulties to incorporate development organization in day-to-day operations in institutions and companies and the importance of time and commitment to open ended developments and learning forms a familiar challenge in action research (Pålshaugen 1998, Argyris & Schön 1996). However, the challenges in these two projects did not only touch upon time and time consumption but also upon rationalities linked to the use of linear time. Acquisition of self-regulated time showed to be a focal point for conflicting dynamics between the anticipations tied to experimental developments and the anticipations linked to day-to-day operations in the institutions. Anticipations tied to experimental developments of work stresses ongoing and reversible tests of a better practice and hold a circular, tentative and investigative understanding of how to attain learning and change (Lewin 1948, Sennett 2008). Thus, acceleration of social change and the increasingly influence of performance indicators (Scott 2014) seem to impose very short time span and very little patience with experimental trials on the participants in the two projects. Anticipations and pace tied to day-to-day operations within welfare institutions doesn’t really seem to have time for experimental time and the unpredictable qualities that might be extracted from these experiments.In this sense the study puts forward and re-actualize the discussions on whether man’s possibilities of creating a free and more satisfactory work, society and life require setting time free from work (Gorz 1999) or setting time free within work (Negt 1984). MethodBoth projects presented were conducted as critical-utopian action research stressing a participatory worldview (Reason & Bradbury 2001) along with awareness about democratic knowledge creation and potentials for developmental processes through local formation of critiques and utopias (Nielsen & Nielsen 2016, Husted & Tofteng 2014).The participatory research approach also holds a notion of emancipation and democracy, both of the knowledge creation and the development within the field, and is generally concerned with framing and understanding research as democratic and open ended processes, that aims to create knowledge and ways to make sustainable change that disrupt societal discourses which seem closed, rigid or non-productive.The study puts forward empiric and theoretic investigation of findings and learning related to time and experimental time obtained through shared knowledge production. The shared knowledge production evolves round workshops, reflections and concrete experiments performed during the project periods by the participants with the researchers as co-reflectors and supervisors.The School project hold shared knowledge production with two leaders, 45 teachers and five pedagogues all situated at the same school.The pre-school project hold shared knowledge production with about ten leaders, 130 pedagogical employees and 50 children divided between five daycare centers situated in three municipalities.Expected OutcomesThe cross inquiry into two long term action research projects aiming at development and renewal of pedagogical work shows that learning and change through investigative experiments was frequently overthrown by rationalities of time management linked to day-to-day operations. The study present ambivalence within the professionals whether to do the job and respond to anticipations produced by the structural and political public management frame or to develop the job and produce new anticipations in ways that they themselves find meaningful and fulfilling within a professional judgement. These two are not necessarily opposites, but in many cases (as we will show) the professionals ability and opportunity to take ownership and full advantage of time set aside to renew their own profession seem to be delimited by time management originated from short sighted performance indicators.The study investigate the challenge of how to appropriate time for experimental renewal of pedagogical work, when time has become a battlefield between not only more organisational time or linear time, but also a battlefield within the frame of the professionals own judgement.The outcome of the study forms a plea for experimental time within participatory partnerships. Through promising cases where appropriation of time and renewal of pedagogical work through experiments succeeded, we argue that experimental time within work holds unclaimed potentials for development and renewal of pedagogical work that cannot be adequately claimed by performance indicators or day-to day rationalities of time management.ReferencesArgyris, C. & Schön, A. (1996): Organizational learning II. Theory, Method and Practice. Addison-Wesley Publishing CompanyGorz, A.(1999): Reclaiming Work. Beyond the Wage-Based Society. Polity PressHusted, M (2016): Pædagogisk praksis mellem kvalitetsløft og faglig erosion I Friis Andersen, M. og Tanggaard, L. (red.) Tæller vi det der tæller? Målstyring og standardisering i arbejdslivet. KlimHusted, M. & Tofteng, D. (2014): Critical utopian Action Research. In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research. Coghlan, D. & Brydon-Miller, M. (eds.).Sage PublicationsLewin, K. (1948): Resolving Social Conflicts. Selected Papers on Group Dynamics. Harper and RowMadsen, L., Bladt, M. og Tofteng, D. (2016): Bedre trivsel for alle: Et aktionsforskningsprojekt i skolens liv, nye åbninger for pædagogen i skolen, Unge Pædagoger 77 (1).Negt, O. (1984): Lebendige Arbeit, enteignete Zeit. Politische und kulturelle Dimensionen des Kampfes um die Arbeitszeit. Campus VerlagNielsen, B.S, & Nielsen, K. A (20016): Critical Utopian Action Research: The potentials of Action Research in Democratization of Society. In H.P. Hansen, B.S. Nielsen, N. Sriskandarajah, & E. Gunnarsson (eds): Commons, Sustainability, Democratization: Action Research and the Basic Renewal of Society. RoutledgeReason, P. & Bradbury, H. (eds.) (2001): The SAGE Handbook of Action Research – participative inquiry and practice. SAGE publicationsScott, W.R.(2014): Institutions and Organizations. Sage PublishingSennett, R. (2008): The Craftsman. Penguin PressPålshaugen, Øyvind (1998). The End of Organization Theory? Language as a tool in action Research and organizational development. John Benjamins Publishing Company.Author InformationMia Husted (presenting)University College CopenhagenResearch and DevelopmentCopenhagen VDitte Tofteng (presenting)University College Copenhagen, Denmark
    Publikationsdato24 aug. 2017
    StatusUdgivet - 24 aug. 2017
    BegivenhedECER 2017: Reforming Education and the Imperative of Constant Change: Ambivalent roles of policy and educational research - København, Danmark
    Varighed: 22 aug. 201725 aug. 2017


    KonferenceECER 2017


    • Undersøgelsesdesign, teori og metode
    • Ledelse, organisationsudvikling og innovation
    • Uddannelse, professioner og erhverv