Volume 7, No. 4, Art. 19 – September 2006

Creating Collaborative Third-space Discourse to Address Contradictions in Coteaching

Ed Lehner

Abstract: This article examines how coteaching can be wrought with contradictions without employing its recursive counterpart, cogenerative dialogue. To help avoid dualistic tendencies while coteaching, participants can use cogenerative dialogue to help create collaborative third-space discourse where plans of cooperative action can be cogenerated. This work also shares how the extension of the cosmopolitan ethic can be used in tandem with one-on-one cogenerative dialogues to navigate ideological differences in coteachers and create fruitful working partnerships.

Key words: cosmopolitan ethic, dualism, collaborative third-space discourse, ideological difference, one-on-one cogenerative dialogue

Table of Contents

1. Coteaching and Contradictions

2. Setting in Motion Dualistic Coteaching Discourse

3. Theorizing the Recursive versus the Dualistic

3.1 Unintentionally employing dualism

3.2 Dualism as a default

3.3 Organizational structures are recursively related to individual agency

3.4 Matt choose dualism by default

4. Speaking across Boundaries in Social Space

4.1 Recreating a third-space for discourse

4.2 Theorizing the third-space

4.3 Redefining the third-space

4.4 Defining collaborative third-space discourse

4.5 Not all collaborative third-space discourse is alike

5. Using Cogenerative Dialogue to Speak across Ideological Difference

5.1 Describing our coteaching site at Liberty High School Suspension Center

5.2 Liberty students are both highly skilled and greatly at-risk

5.3 The challenges of teaching at Liberty

5.4 Detailing coteaching Liberty

5.5 An example of coteaching difference that led to contradictions

5.6 A tale of coteaching explosion: the case of Michael and Nathan

5.7 By far, it was our most productive meeting of the year

6. Theorizing One-on-one Cogenerative Dialogues

6.1 Cogenerating with enemy: speaking across social boundaries

6.2 Enactments of cosmopolitanism moves Nathan from justifiable rage to supporting Michael's growth

6.3 Employing the cosmopolitan ethic to find collaborative third-space discourse

6.4 Extending cosmopolitan practice to ideological foreigners

7. Coda

Acknowledgments

References

Author

Citation

 

1. Coteaching and Contradictions

In their innovative research on coteaching, Wolff-Michael ROTH and Ken TOBIN (2002) conceptualize how educators who coteach together can develop coordinated and complimentary practices over time. Often the implementation of coteaching affords more learning opportunities for students because the teachers are synchronized in their sharing of physical, temporal and meaning-making symbols (ROTH, TOBIN, CARAMBO & DALLAND, 2005). With all the exciting educational possibilities that this research has yielded to date, one area of concern is the noticeable lack of focus on the difficulties that can occur while coteaching is enacted in school/university partnerships and in schools themselves. Although coteaching setbacks have been discussed in the educational literature (TOBIN, ZURBANO, FORD & CARAMBO, 2003), an important aspect of investigating educational enactment is studying the contradictions that take place and attempt to understand why they happen. As a methodology to better understand its enactment, new insights can be garnered by zooming-in, and sustaining focus-on (ROTH, 2005) the contradictions that arise while coteaching. [1]

1.1 Responding to GALLO-FOX, WASSELL, SCANTLEBURY, and JUCK

It is in the spirit of examining the contradictions that I find Jennifer GALLO-FOX, Beth WASSELL, Kathryn SCANTLEBURY, and Matt JUCK'S (2006) recent paper so rich with possibilities. In their article, GALLO-FOX et al. provide fresh insights into the uses, but more so, the limitations, of coteaching by delineating some of the unique issues they experienced when employing this model. GALLO-FOX et al. outline some of the ethical, epistemological, and power-differential problems that arose when various stakeholders were enacting different philosophical conceptions of coteaching. Since earlier work on coteaching mostly focused on the patterns of coherence as they played-out in the classroom, GALLO-FOX et al. (2006) raise significant concerns they experienced as multiple participants struggled to implement coteaching and, in the process, tussled with its philosophy and with each other. In my close reading of their "tale from the field," I was challenged to examine the theoretical and utilitarian means that researchers and teachers can take in order to promote a sense of ethical practice in the face of opposing philosophical, axiological, and, epistemological views of coteaching. [2]

2. Setting in Motion Dualistic Coteaching Discourse

Frequently, opposing views are necessary in research projects and, without the presence of contrasting voices, an unintended "official" discourse can result. In this article, I examine GALLO-FOX et al. and advance that their use of coteaching without its recursive counterpart, cogenerative dialogue, could have set into motion dynamics that limited dissenting communication. As participant voices struggled to find their place in this study, a type of ideological dualism materialized that pitted coteaching proponents against non-coteaching supporters. Without the use of cogenerative dialogue, where opposing ideologies could have been discussed, dualism emerged because the project lacked a field where diverse views of the practice could have coexisted. Considering the different stakeholders that represented this school–university partnership, I propose that cogenerative dialogue would have been an ideal place where conversations could have occurred to speak across the barriers of difference and possibly resolve issues of conflict. In this section, I also conceptualize a collaborative third-space discourse that can result from the use of cogenerative dialogue. [3]

2.1 Employing one-on-one cogenerative dialogues to negotiate ideological difference

Inspired by the candid sharing of GALLO-FOX et al., I too share some of the difficulties that our school has experienced in our use of coteaching. In this section, I build on the ideas Wolff-Michael ROTH, Daniel LAWLESS and Ken TOBIN (2000) by sharing my school's use of one-on-one cogenerative dialogues to help coteachers discuss their ideological differences. In the employment of one-on-one cogenerative dialogues, a spirit of cosmopolitan practice (EMDIN & LEHNER, 2006) should be present allowing kindness, patience, and acceptance be shown to fellow coteachers despite ideological divergences. Many in education espouse ideals such as tolerance, open-mindedness, and democratic actions, but these same people are often hard-pressed to practice such standards when confronted with the "ideological other." By affording the ideological other, cosmopolitan ethic works in tandem with one-on-one cogenerative dialogue to foster open-communication even in partnerships that appear philosophically impractical. [4]

3. Theorizing the Recursive versus the Dualistic

Wolff-Michael ROTH (2005) uses a SHEFFER stroke ("│") to denote the recursive relationships that seemingly exist between radically different entities. This notion that opposing forces should be viewed as recursively related rather than dialectical opposites equips researchers with a useful tool to make critical distinctions about the nature of coteaching partnerships. By employing a sense of radical doubt to the nature of social constructs, educational investigators come to see that the relationship between A or B is not a simple dichotomy of either/or, but instead a more complex interweaving of both A and B, or A│B. Understanding ROTH's use of the SHEFFER stroke helps conceptualize the complexity that is occurring as coteaching is enacted in social life. Unfortunately, most social actors understand life dualistically rather than recursively. The dilemma of dualism is encapsulated in the commonly accepted wisdom of either A or B, or A is not B and B is not A. [5]

3.1 Unintentionally employing dualism

Applying a recursive understanding, or a lack thereof, to the situations described in GALLO-FOX et al, it seemed that many of the stakeholders were not viewing their roles in the project with a range of possibilities, but instead in an either/or, dualistic manner. In fact, the descriptions of the coteaching problems are framed with this bifurcated language. For example, the authors of this work reproduced their written descriptions of these dilemmas in ways that are also fashioned in polarities: (a) the coteaching model vs. non-coteaching, (b) buy into the coteaching framework or to opt-out of it, and (c) include all stakeholders or exclude them. Somehow the participants' issues around the use of coteaching became pitted against each other. As a result, the numerous ways that the partnership could have worked were fallaciously conceptualized as limited to only two possibilities: coteaching or no coteaching. Likely unbeknownst to the respective authors, a false dichotomy was put in place by their individual, and later, their collective framing of the problems. [6]

3.2 Dualism as a default

As I reread GALLO-FOX et al., I was captivated with the ways that each author told her/his own personal story. And as I poured over the individual participant accounts, I was particularly fascinated with how each explained their respective loss of agency. In my rereading of this work, I wondered if the individual participants unconsciously created these dilemmas through their inaction. For example, the student-teacher, Matt, vividly tells how he came to be disappointed in his coteaching arrangement. In describing his experience, Matt explains that his coteacher, Rosie, and he held radically different views about the ways that partnership would be enacted. Matt also explains how Rosie would take-charge of certain situations, often leaving him to feel as if he lacked voice and representation on important topics. As the article progresses, Matt tells more about his experiences and how he often felt confined by his role as student teacher, especially when his coteacher started to direct planning sessions.

"I'm not sure why I didn't raise my concerns with Rosie. I assume that part of my decision not to challenge her suggestions was because I respected her as both my cooperating teacher and a teacher. However, my lack of voice in this situation did not allow for my opinions to be acknowledged and decreased my share of responsibility for the lessons being planned" (GALLO-FOX et al., 2006, ¶15). [7]

Matt's brave and honest commentary is an example of how discourse can define/refine, and potentially limit, autonomous action. Somehow, in the range of action-related possibilities, Matt's choices were narrowed to Rosie's conception of a control orientated partnership versus his notion of an equal affiliation. In spite of his desire to create an equitable working-relationship, he tells of little that he did to align his coteaching needs to the realities of his arrangement with Rosie. [8]

3.3 Organizational structures are recursively related to individual agency

Both critiquing and drawing from the work of Pierre BOURDIEU, David SWARTZ (1997) explains how the interplay between organizational structures and individual agency work together. In SWARTZ's description, he outlines the distinctive means by which agency is both structured, and simultaneously structuring. That is, when a person decides to act, she can create unique in-field structures that afford her more agency and these successful experiences cyclically empower her to exert more individual initiative. Conversely, when a person decides not to act, she quickly becomes disadvantaged by her lack of understanding of the field's resources and rules. Inevitably, her inaction coupled with a volitional unfamiliarity of the field's structure serves to weaken her ability to effectively act. [9]

An example that helps to further elucidate how agency can be both structured and structuring is unfolded in the aforementioned relationship between agency│structure. Agency, the capacity for a person to act, is contingent upon, and simultaneously different from, the structures that afford such individual action. Be they material or schematic, the field's structures can configure individual action by allowing such deeds or precluding them. However, the degree to which a social actor employs her agency is both defined and redefined by her relationship to the field's structures. If she continues to creatively and persistently make use of her agency, she will more readily navigate even difficult structural obstacles. [10]

3.4 Matt choose dualism by default

In the case seen in GALLO-FOX et al. (2006), Matt's postponement to act both structures his relationship with Rosie, and is structuring to all their future interactions. Although his reluctance to act is understandable, Matt's decision not to discuss his displeasure with his coteaching association with Rosie sets off a series of social dynamics that served to reify their unequal relationship. His inactivity precludes any discussion with Rosie that could have changed the nature of their partnership. If Matt had endeavored to take even the most nominal of efforts to voice his concerns, these measures could have created spaces to talk openly with Rosie and perpetuated the possibility for change. Additionally, if at anytime Matt had articulated his discontent, his actions, like his inaction, would have structured his coteaching arrangement and would have informed future possibilities. Though he always possessed the potential to change his situation by making use of his agency, Matt chose not to take such action. Though Matt never lost his ability to act, the field's structures slowly congealed around him, making proactive measures increasingly unlikely the longer he waited to raise his uneasiness. His latency both structured and became structuring of the resources at his dis-posal, which contributed to restraining his ability to act. As the structures became more concretized by his inaction, Matt started his progressive metaphoric march toward role confinement, and eventual acceptance of his limited position. [11]

4. Speaking across Boundaries in Social Space

In analyzing the problems encountered by GALLO-FOX et al. (2006), it seems that ethical problems may have emerged primarily because the numerous stakeholders, like Matt, may have perceived themselves as sealed in their proscribed roles. In the environment described in their article, the coteaching arrangement was complex because of the numerous relationships involved: two different institutions, student teachers, teachers, teacher-supervisors, university researchers, and a university-supervisor. With such a variety of participants, it is understandable that different approaches to coteaching would be utilized, even in contradictory ways, intended by the "model" provided by the university. [12]

4.1 Recreating a third-space for discourse

Understanding that coteaching often operates with multiple stakeholders concurrently employing disparate conceptions of the practice, it is necessary to create spaces where these varied notions can be discussed. One possible resolution to the ethical problems experienced in this project could have been the use of cogenerative dialogue as a way to speak across the boundaries of power, position, and philosophical difference. In fact, the early scholarly articles on the practice describe a setting where coteaching and cogenerative dialogue coexist, allowing student teachers and supervisors to navigate the theory-practice gap (ROTH, LAWLESS, & TOBIN, 2000; ROTH & TOBIN, 2002). Developed as a way speak across differences in ideology and practice, the use of cogenerative dialogue can create spaces to allow the exchange of ideas from participants who hold radically different philosophical positions. Cogenerative dialogue provides a field that concurrently facilitates the creation of a "third-space" (MOJE, 2004) where fundamentally different discourses can be discussed openly with the possibility of collaboratively creating an agreed-upon plan of action. [13]

4.2 Theorizing the third-space

By using cogenerative dialogue in conjunction with coteaching, participants can be provided a field (ROTH & TOBIN, 2002) to talk across the boundaries of position in social space. In my theorization of collaborative third-space discourse, I depart from Elizabeth MOJE's formations significantly in that her conceptions of the discourses are split into home and school. MOJE's construction of a first-space discourse reflects a person's home environment. Accordingly, MOJE's second-space discourse represents standards based curriculum knowledge, and her view of the third-space merges both home and school into one learning environment. [14]

4.3 Redefining the third-space

Departing from MOJE's ideas, I conceptualized collaborative third-space discourse as culture that is being produced in the bounded field of cogenerative dialogue (ROTH & TOBIN, 2004). To expand further, a field is a social-space where culture is enacted in the form of schemas and practices (TOBIN, 2005). In the context of a cogenerative dialogue, each participant brings to the field his ideas about a particular topic and the resulting discourse centers on these matters of concern. Consequently, discourse one and two are the social actors' conceptions of what is happening as social-life occurs around them. Each actor's individual discourse embodies her respective ideological positions, social histories, and her unique perspective on the events that occurred outside of cogenerative dialogue. [15]

4.4 Defining collaborative third-space discourse

In my conceptualization, the discourse that occurs in a cogenerative dialogue is a form of cultural production that transpires in a porously bordered field that has its own structures. When the field's participants begin to talk about ways to cooperate with each other, the collaborative third-space discourse is opened. Simply put, the collaborative third-space discourse is conceived as a cooperative moment when members pool their intellectual and physical resources to achieve an agreed upon plan of action. Collaborative third-space discourse is a mutually cogenerated solution agreed upon with each member intending to fulfill their respective pledge. [16]

4.5 Not all collaborative third-space discourse is alike

When collaborative third-space discourse occurs, the field's members may experience elevated stages of emotional affiliation, mutual excitement, increased degrees of solidarity, and moments of euphoria (TOBIN, 2005). Although the creation of collaborative third-space resolutions can create such positive emotional connections, not all solutions will result in high-degrees of emotional relatedness. Some agreed-upon resolutions unmistakably will be practical and devoid of any emotional connection. Other agreements may simply be an accord to discontinue a previously dysfunctional arrangement. However different each cogenerated decision, the overriding point remains that the solutions are collaborative negotiated and resulted in a commitment to enact the collective resolution. [17]

5. Using Cogenerative Dialogue to Speak across Ideological Difference

By using cogenerative dialogue, many of the participants in GALLO-FOX et al. may have been able to create collaborative third-space discourse and work out their ideological differences about coteaching. At times, nearly everyone involved in coteaching could benefit from using cogenerative dialogue because it allows for discussion and possibly collaborative third-space discourse. Reflecting on the authors of GALLO-FOX et al., I am reminded about the challenging realities when employing coteaching. As a fellow teacher/researcher, I too have experienced difficulties with implementing the coteaching model primarily because of the work it entails to create a functioning partnership. However, despite the difficulties implementing coteaching, the potential benefits greatly outweigh the possible harms. Turning my focus away from the experiences of GALLO-FOX et al., I depict a problem our school has encountered and the ways that the coteachers worked to resolve the issue. [18]

5.1 Describing our coteaching site at Liberty High School Suspension Center

Located in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, Liberty High School is a vibrant learning community where one hundred students attend regularly. Liberty High School is unique in that it is a New York City Suspension Center that has been created to instruct suspended students from the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens who have been recently released from their primary institutions because of their disciplinary problems. Suspension centers are alternative schools where students receive their education while serving a yearlong expulsion for committing a serious disciplinary violation. Many of Liberty's students are bright young people who are academically and socially skilled, as demonstrated in school and in extra-curricular activities. [19]

5.2 Liberty students are both highly skilled and greatly at-risk

Simultaneously, these same students should be considered at-risk because of a combination of urban problems. Many of these students come from large urban high schools that struggle to adequately educate their student bodies leaving many of them academically ill-equipped for participating in today's labor markets. Nearly all of these students have made deliberate choices that have positioned them in trouble with the law, which has resulted in them being placed on either probation or parole. Despite many of their positive strengths, nearly all of the students are at risk of dropping-out of school, being incarcerated, and without adequate college or occupational training, experiencing low-paying vocational choices. Nearly all students at Liberty are involved with New York City's juvenile justice system because of alleged criminal activity or due to police involvement during the event leading to their suspension. Almost all Liberty students are under-credited and over-age for their respective grade. Additionally, though more than one-third of the students are classified for special education classes, the school does not have enough staff to fulfill the goals set out in the students' Individualized Educational Plans (IEP's). [20]

5.3 The challenges of teaching at Liberty

Because of the distinctive issues faced by the students, Liberty's teachers are confronted with a number of unique challenges. For instructors at Liberty, the job can be trying, and this environment has seemingly led to some teachers adopting a deficit model of student educational possibilities. At times, several of the teachers openly joke about the grave situation of the young people at Liberty, often employing sarcasm to describe the students and the likely dearth of educational and vocational prospects for them. Though teachers often perform these cynical behaviors behind closed doors, or in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, as to appear to be teasing, these consistent "jokes" have created a culture that negatively views student potential. Not surprisingly, the teachers who employed this deficit lens also tend to unconstructively view the student problems experienced in their classes. Unfortunately at Liberty, the framing and reframing of student ability through a deficit lens has often informed important pedagogical and philosophical questions concerning the students' abilities to academically and social advance in our school. [21]

5.4 Detailing coteaching Liberty

At Liberty High School, the staff has implemented a coteaching model in our instruction of "Advisory." Advisory is an eclectic credit-bearing course that seeks to equip students with problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. The Advisory curriculum is cotaught by a teacher and social worker to emphasize the important psychological dynamics required to effectively work through complex issues. Although the class credit counts as an elective course for graduation, many of the students do not take the instruction seriously. Since many of the learners do not fully apply themselves, their lack of effort serves to reinforce the deficit understanding that some teachers have of the students. [22]

5.5 An example of coteaching difference that led to contradictions

Coteachers of an Advisory course, the two instructors involved in this disagreement are very different from each other. A fifth-generation Irish-American whose father was a police officer, Michael is a white man in his early fifties and is a twenty-year veteran teacher. Nathan is an African-American male, a professional social worker who is in his early forties and a third-generation Brooklynite. In many ways, the two signify the racial polarization present in New York City as social life is experienced. Because of a history of American institutionalized racism, whites and blacks can often have distinctly incongruent understandings of the same events that unfolded around them. This seems to be the case with Michael and Nathan who are often on opposing sides in even the most trivial educational disputes. Michael and Nathan also represent two very disparate conceptualizations of the student's educational needs and contrasting pedagogical approaches to meet such needs. [23]

5.6 A tale of coteaching explosion: the case of Michael and Nathan

Having provided a sufficient backdrop, these two coteachers had a fierce disagreement which primarily stemmed from their individual ideological vantage points. At a teacher's meeting on a calm Friday afternoon in early May, the ideological detente ceased when Michael and Nathan fought over the ways that the students were being underserved. During this routine, normally uneventful weekly meeting, Michael and Nathan aggressively exchanged words over the way that the class was underperforming and the interaction became increasingly hostile as they shared their individual expectations for the students. [24]

In a priggish tone, Michael said

"I don't know what to do! Most of kids are in serious trouble. The smart students at Liberty read on a fifth-grade level. Almost all the students have all been in jail and now they are suspended. And here we are teaching in this suspension center, expecting miracles!" [25]

Nathan retorted in disbelief,

"Michael, you have been in this system for twenty years and how many of our kids have you helped? You sit here talking as if these students' lives are worthless? These students are worthless, is that what you are implying? Answer me this question: although you are a teacher, how is it that you have no hope for your students?" [26]

The heated conversation continued until finally, after one furious interaction, Michael stood up, and yelled "How dare you! I will not be lectured to. I am going to report this to the Board of Education and The Teacher's Union," Michael then turned and stormed out the room. [27]

5.7 By far, it was our most productive meeting of the year

In my opinion, it was one of the best meetings our staff has had in several years because of its sheer honesty. Many of the teachers have become so entrenched in their unconstructive view of the students that they explain their lack of pedagogical results in the same manner. In the case of Michael and Nathan, a good argument served to unmasked the tightly held facades of some of the teachers. And although some from teaching team were visibly uncomfortable with such argumentative interactions, Michael and Nathan had started a long overdue process of talking about their very different philosophical and pedagogical perspectives. [28]

Often in the process of coteaching, the differences appear so pronounced—as in the case with Michael and Nathan—that participants would prefer not to discuss their individual perspectives. This uneasy peace between coteachers is attained at the expense of open communication and possible collaborative third-space discourse. Both Michael and Nathan later admitted that they would have preferred if their argument had not occur so explicitly in the school's community setting. However, they both realized that their philosophical differences were internally festering and understand why it detonated publicly. [29]

6. Theorizing One-on-one Cogenerative Dialogues

Some of Ken TOBIN's recent writing speaks to the ways that one-on-one cogenerative dialogues can be used to discuss problems that are occurring between students and teachers in the classroom. Drawing on TOBIN's work, one-on-one cogenerative dialogues can also be used for co teachers to talk across any number of differences. Although this practice may bear resemblance to a discussion, mediation or arbitration, one-on-one cogenerative dialogues should not be confused with these types of interactions. A one-on-one cogenerative dialogue is different from all three in the way that its respective field is structured. For example, in both mediation and arbitration, a third person is present to help order these negotiations and no set resolution needs to be produced; except in arbitration where a solution is forced upon the participants by the arbitrator. Additionally, in a regular discussion, the social actors do not need to follow any rules and there are no set in-field configurations to facilitate collaboration. And although, mediation, arbitration and a discussion all look similar to this practice, a one-on-one cogenerative dialogue differs significantly in its formation and its subsequent enactment. [30]

A critic of this practice could intelligently claim that these differences are semantic. However, seeing the yielded results of this method, I am persuaded that the rules that preconfigure one-on-one cogenerative dialogues make this a useful tool for navigating differences. In the process of one-on-one cogenerative dialogues, participants agreed to (a) respect each other, (b) not interrupt one another, and (c) a cogenerated solution must result from the interaction. These informal rules allow for social actors greater flexibility in arriving at a collective solution. [31]

6.1 Cogenerating with enemy: speaking across social boundaries

A few days after their outbursts, Michael and Nathan sat down to talk about their differences. In the context of a one-on-one cogenerative dialogue, both men expressed their regret but more importantly they started to discuss why their coteaching arrangement was not working. In the process of the conversation, both men came to realize the particular social space that the other represented. To both Michael and Nathan, each embodied the ideological other. In a bifurcated manner, Michael could not see Nathan as anything other than different from himself and the same was true for Nathan's conception of Michael. Before the one-on-one cogenerative dialogue, Michael saw Nathan as an enemy who was fundamentally "othered." In Michael's view, Nathan was a "black radical" who attributed each student problem to American racism. Michael also was angered that Nathan publicly confronted his deficit understanding of the students. As revealed in later one-on-one cogenerative dialogues, Michael was embarrassed about his own deficit-based student commentary and was honestly searching to change his low expectations for Liberty students. Although understandable abashed, Michael disillusionment was now revealed and he needed help confronting both his narrow-minded understanding of the students but also, his ineffective manner in the classroom. [32]

6.2 Enactments of cosmopolitanism moves Nathan from justifiable rage to supporting Michael's growth

Similarly, Nathan viewed Michael as personifying the problems that exist in New York City's Public Schools. From Nathan's understanding, Michael was a white teacher who was not vested in the success of his students who primarily are young people of color. Although he did not openly call Michael's comments racist, Nathan revealed that he construed the negative comments about the students as overtly bigoted and offensive. To Nathan, Michael could not understand the plight of urban youth and would not be able to effectively help them. In spite of the disagreement, the two had a long history of working together and Nathan purposefully initiated a one-on-one cogenerative dialogue to discuss their differences. [33]

By using one-on-one cogenerative dialogue, Michael and Nathan were able to deal with the important responsibility of effectively teaching their class. Additionally, and unlike most ideological clashes, Michael was able to talk about his problems relating to Liberty's students and why he had become so disenchanted. Because of his own maturity and concern for his colleague, Nathan showed grace and understanding to Michael even though he concurrently hated his prejudiced perspectives. By embodying a cosmopolitan ethic, Nathan was able to assist Michael in his own growth. In the process of one-on-one cogenerative dialogue, Nathan afforded Michael respect and positive regard, even though Michael did not deserves these graces. By treating him well conversation ensued and Nathan gradually was able to see the cracks in Michael's pretenses. Due to a host of non-school related problems, Michael has become disillusioned with his ability to reach students and openly questioned his effectiveness. Nathan, seeing a teachable and compassionate moment, used the one-on-one cogenerative dialogue to support his colleague and to share with him many of the students' needs. [34]

6.3 Employing the cosmopolitan ethic to find collaborative third-space discourse

As I previously discussed in a coauthored article with Christopher EMDIN (2006), cosmopolitanism is a philosophical approach positing that all of humanity is a member of a single community. Although Kwame Anthony APPIAH's (2006) perception of cosmopolitanism is too rigidly tied to moral absolutism, I consider many of the philosophical tenets of the practice as socially transforming. For example in coteaching partnerships in schools, the notion that community members can be collectively obligated to each other is potentially revolutionary. In the previous example, Nathan was able to utilize the structures of one-on-one cogenerative dialogue as a didactic opportunity that could have an important impact on Michael. In the course of the conversation due to collaborative third-space discourse, Michael and Nathan cogenerated future plans of action that will help their coteaching relationship and their joint effectiveness in reaching Liberty's students. [35]

6.4 Extending cosmopolitan practice to ideological foreigners

When the bonds of family, friendship, and camaraderie are extended to philosophical strangers, the possibilities for dramatic change also exist. In the use of one-on-one cogenerative dialogues, when opportunities for collaborative third-space discourse emerge, cosmopolitan practice can help facilitate partnership. As seen when he applied the cosmopolitan ideal to his interactions with the "ideological othered" Michael, Nathan created opportunities to talk across a range of social differences. [36]

7. Coda

In this paper, I have dealt with one possible solution to the contradictions experienced when multiple stakeholders enact desperate philosophies of coteaching by encourage participants to utilized coteaching's recursive counterpart, cogenerative dialogue. [37]

Acknowledgments

The research in this paper is supported in part by the American National Science Foundation under Grant Number ESI-0412413 and DUE-0427570. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American National Science Foundation.

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Tobin, Kenneth; Zurbano, Regina; Ford, Allison, & Carambo, Cristobal (2003). Learning to teach through coteaching and cogenerative dialogue. Cybernetics & Human Knowing, 10(2), 51-73.

Author

Ed LEHNER is a New York City Public School Teacher and a doctoral candidate in Urban Education at the Graduate Center of City University of New York. He currently teaches high school in Brooklyn where his research considers how cogenerative dialogues can be used to improve academic achievement across the high school curriculum.

Contact:

Ed Lehner

PhD Candidate in Urban Education
The Graduate Center
City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue
Fourth Floor
New York, NY 10016, USA

E-mail: Ed_Lehner1@yahoo.com

Citation

Lehner, Ed (2006). Creating Collaborative Third-space Discourse to Address Contradictions in Coteaching [37 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(4), Art. 19, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0604198.



Copyright (c) 2006 Ed Lehner

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