When teachers talk back to theories, making them “internally persuasive discourse … half ours and half someone else's” (Bakhtin, 1981, pp. 345–346), theories can be dynamic, can lead to productive dialogue and generative reflection.(Ritchie & Wilson, 2000, p. 18)
Research collaboration between teachers and academics has recently been advocated not only as a means of producing good educational research, but also as a powerful form of teacher education. In this chapter, we examine some discursive episodes in the research meetings of a group of variously situated educators, a group of which we are members. The group, composed of teachers of children, a video ethnographer, graduate students, and a professor in a faculty of education, is interested in the education of children of diverse language and ability backgrounds. In this chapter, we examine occasions upon which participants in our group talk back to, create, and modify their own and others' theories and knowledge and other occasions that seem to preclude, or at least inhibit, such conversations. In so doing, we hope to understand better how to engage in collaborative research and teacher education in ways that allow for generative dialogue and critical action that leads to classrooms in which children, as well as teachers, are able to talk back and participate in dialogue with their own and others' theories and knowledge.
Collaborative educational research
Including differently situated educators in educational research activities has often been discussed in general educational and, more recently, in second language educational literature (Bailey et al., 1998; Cochran- Smith & Lytle, 1999a, 1999b; Freeman & Johnson, 1998; Nunan, 1992).