Academic journal article International Journal of Action Research

Action Research with John Dewey's Poetic and Rhetoric Pedagogy

Academic journal article International Journal of Action Research

Action Research with John Dewey's Poetic and Rhetoric Pedagogy

Article excerpt

Introduction

Tripp (2005) reports that there are several types of research which seek to integrate actions performed in practical situations with the search for knowledge about the reality in which such actions take place. The general procedure consists in identifying a problem, formulating hypotheses, planning solutions, producing interventions, and finally monitoring and evaluating such interventions, always aiming to achieve objective improvements in a given reality, the increase of knowledge about the practice investigated, and also about research. The presentation of the method called action research, which is attributed to Kurt Lewin, includes theoretical studies and research techniques validated by scientific communities, not only aiming at knowledge of the reality studied academically, but also to transform the current situation through actions that are continually problematised and evaluated.

Action research and other similar forms of research have been highly valued and used in the human sciences, especially in education, because in contrast to the usual methods, they promote conscious, intentional, dialogical and innovative actions, capable of contributing to the realisation of democratic ideals, and also to the possibility of improving the quality of teaching work, and the re-elaboration of the individual and social life of all those involved in the pedagogical process. Despite Lewin being the creator of this method in the 1940s, it may be said that other thinkers and researchers have previously adopted principles of argumentative and active práxis, and even methods that combined investigative and reflexive reasoning, research, mobilisation, and action; further studies have expanded the foundations of action research, causing proposals for the training of professionals, notably reflective teachers, and contributing to the emergence of new academic approaches that argue that action is essential (André 2001; Tripp 2005; Silva 2008; Rocha et al. 2016).

It is possible to place the American philosopher and educator John Dewey (1859-1952) as a precursor of action research, as a defender of the relevance of this method to the constituti on of the knowledge in the humanities. What supports this statement is the Deweyan concept of reflexive thinking, or inquiry, whose definition includes a general procedure that is very similar to action research. Dewey characterises reflexive thinking as a tool to guide everyday life, as well as guiding the complex formulations of science; it is from a significant problem that the individual seeks a solution, which involves raising information: theoretical, experiential, technological, historical, etc., to reason and articulate hypotheses that answer the initial question, to choose a course of action, and finally, to evaluate the effectiveness of the chosen hypothesis. The process of investigation is completed with the formation of a judgment, which is a moral judgment about the solution of the problem, and can be systematised for the elaboration of theoretical speculations. The solution is never definitive, because in the face of a new problem, albeit similar to the previous one, a new investigation should be initiated (Cunha 2005).

Considering Dewey's conceptions and procedures, we developed action research to test, in a practical way, the hypothesis that the comprehension of Deweyan principles related to the artistic development are able to help teachers to construct significant possibilities in the teaching of artistic languages and to form creative, expressive subjects, participants in the culture. The choice of artistic languages as the subject of this research was based on the thesis that the core of Deweyan ideas lies in an aesthetic theory, which originates a ped- agogy that we call poetics, or rhetoric. The first section of this article will be devoted to substantiating this thesis.

The second section will focus on the organisation of the action research, which was done with a group of 23 university students between the ages of 18 and 25 from a teacher training course taught at University of Säo Paulo, Ribeiräo Preto, Brazil, that aims to empower them to teach children between 0 and 10 years of age, and to act in school management. …

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