Tuesday, 19 February 2019 19:01

Narratives of Learning - Forum Call - Feb 2019 Featured

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Teaching in higher education can be a lonely endeavor. Practitioners often hold teaching positions for years without ever having a colleague examine or give meaningful feedback on their teaching practice. Great discussions are held on what to teach, when to teach, who to teach, and the date of an exam, but we often do not challenge each other on how to teach. Reflective teaching practice, grounded in social construction, can offer a starting point for such conversations.

To provide some background, please have a look at the following paper: http://ojs.aupress.ca/irrodltest/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2827


In our article on Portfolio Approach to Learning (Leslie & Camargo-Borges, 2017), I argued that to make our ideas clear to our community, we need to be able to create representations of those ideas through a model I called a ‘narrative of learning’, as shown in Figure 1.

narratives of learning short1
Figure 1

By doing so, we are able to better represent our ideas. We can better capture the concurrent processes along with the consecutive, the misaligned and the understated in order to present a more coherent notion of our particular narrative.

Once captured, the narrative of learning then becomes a discrete object.

  • We can view that object with a much greater sense of objectivity and agree with and point out criticisms of it much more readily.
  • We can physically (virtually) move it around within presentations, reuse it and share with our friends.

At this point, we move beyond the narrative of learning and begin to generate new narratives as shown in Figure 2. The construction of knowledge in this manner is often in an intentional or prepared environment such as a class or other forum. 

narrative constructionFigure 2

A first question for today is: how do we enable educators to share narratives of learning, in any form, and apply them to their particular teaching context? For example, we are instituting a peer and summative observation of teaching process. Can this be a forum for sharing such approaches? How might this work?


At the end of the paper, I discuss the notion of the "community echo", as shown in Figure 3. This arises when we put our thoughts out into our community via an open forum or social media of some form and then receive unsolicited feedback.

community echo
Figure 3

Another question I have today is, how do we continue the community of inquiry outside the intentional forum and allow our wider community in to see what we are doing? How do we elicit the “Community Echo” in order to support each others’ reflective practice?


Topic: Taos Institute Associates - Forum Call with Paul Leslie “Constructing a teaching practice”

When: Thurs. Feb 28, 2019 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

Register in advance for this meeting: _____

Taos Forum Calls are offered by and for Taos Associates, and organized by the Taos Institute Associates Council (TIAC). They include a presentation, sometimes a recommended advance reading, and an opportunity for discussion. On Thursday Feb 28th, Paul Leslie will be presenting "Constructing a Teaching Practice". This promises to be a generative presentation and discussion, and we look forward to seeing you join us. You do need to register in advance for these Forum Calls - see the end of the message for link.

Constructing a Teaching Practice (Feb 28 10 am Eastern Time US/Can): Paul Leslie

Teaching in higher education can be a lonely endeavor. Practitioners often hold teaching positions for years without ever having a colleague examine or give meaningful feedback on their teaching practice. Great discussions are held on what to teach, when to teach, who to teach, and the date of an exam, but we often do not challenge each other on how to teach. Reflective teaching practice, grounded in social construction, can offer a starting point for such conversations.

To provide some background, please have a look at the following paper: http://ojs.aupress.ca/irrodltest/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2827


Paul Leslie is an Assistant Professor at Ross University School of medicine where he works in faculty development in the area of teaching and learning. Currently he is designing graduate and certificate programs for medical educators. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor for Queens University in Canada where he teaches online in the Professional Masters Of Education Program. Paul became a Taos associate in 2015 and was the first Taos graduate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Read 2176 times Last modified on Monday, 19 April 2021 08:41
Dr. Paul Leslie

Associate of Taos Institute: http://www.taosinstitute.net/

Education is a Community Affair. 

pleslie bio header 300

www.paulleslie.net