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Deleuze-inspired action research in the university: Mobilising Deleuzian concepts to rethink research on the reflective writing practices of student teachers

Harrison, Michaela (2020) Deleuze-inspired action research in the university: Mobilising Deleuzian concepts to rethink research on the reflective writing practices of student teachers. Educational Action Research.

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Abstract

This article offers an insight into the process and potential of Deleuze-inspired action research. It draws on a classroom action research (CAR) project that critically reconceptualises practices of reflective writing in teacher education, including the widespread use of the ‘professional learning journal’ as a resource to facilitate reflection on practice. Students following a teacher education programme in England took part in an innovative mode of engagement with texts, including their learning journals, drawing on the Deleuzo-Guattarian notion of the text as an agent that acts outside of itself. The process was called ‘implicated reading’. An example of a teaching and learning intervention, in the form of a seminar transcript, is offered as an illustration of how Deleuzian theory and philosophy can inspire and shape innovations in practice. The transcript also serves as an opportunity to reimagine the ways in which data and data analysis are conceptualised and practiced in action research (AR) projects. Data is (re)conceptualised as agentic, rather than inert or indifferent. Synthesis is privileged over analysis so that the transcript acts as a provocation to rethink the relation between theory and data, asking what is made possible when these are ‘plugged into’ one another to raise questions that otherwise would have remained unthought. Ultimately, the article offers a worked example of what happens when action researchers take up the challenge of working and thinking within a Deleuzian ontology that seeks to maintain the plurality and potentialities of AR in practice.

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