MirandaMods: From Practice to Praxis in Informal Professional Learning Contexts
This chapter focuses on a variant of the “unconference” called MirandaMod. “Unconference” is a generic term for relatively informal partly facilitated participant-driven meetings focused on a theme or a purpose. In an unconference, the agenda is set by the participants, subverting the hierarchical nature of conventional academic conferences. Teachers in England have led the development of two kinds of “unconference”: the TeachMeet, that concentrates on the craft of the practitioner, in which teachers present their techniques and ideas to their peers, and the international MirandaMod, a themed unconference variant that encourages a focus on “praxis” – the melding of learning theory, pedagogy and practice. This chapter investigates the MirandaMod model that reflects the complex, social, intellectual and practical process of professional learning and facilitates this under three headings: the opportunities for teachers to record changes in their beliefs and understandings in relation to changing practice and developing skills; the variety of locations and modes that reflect different cultural contexts for learning and, the potential for professionals to re-evaluate their identity in relationship to their role and their pedagogical observations. MirandaMods also enrich social learning over time, particularly when opportunities for face-to-face meetings are limited because of economic restraints.
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