UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Educators engaging in philosophical conversational spaces : participatory action research as a model for initiating change McDonald, Gavin Dean


This study examined the impact that the establishment of a philosophical conversational space would have on a group of participants and their school context. Specifically, the research questions focused on what effects this participation would have in terms of motivation and morale, sense of professional community, and also its effect upon teaching practice in the classroom. In addition, the study sought to determine in what ways educational institutions can be recreated to include meaningful spaces for philosophical inquiry and critique. This study is informed by critical theory and thus views research as an opportunity to critically analyze the ways in which educational institutions function. Using participatory action research as a methodological foundation for the study allowed participants to play an integral role within the research project. Several themes emerged from the research. The first theme highlighted the importance of the diversity of the group and the sense of community that developed through the study. The second theme identified the importance of using philosophical texts to initiate critical reflection and the interrogation of each participant’s teaching experiences within the school while inspiring possibilities for change. The third important factor to emerge was the way in which participatory action research facilitated the creation of a space in which participants experienced a sense of agency while working together to develop an action plan within the context of their school community. The research suggests there is great value in the creation of conversational spaces that utilize the resources of educational philosophy. It also highlights how participatory action research can be a valuable vehicle in the development and initiation of such spaces in which participants can experience a greater sense of agency as they pursue opportunities for personal growth and institutional transformation.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada