Enhancing dialogic learning and school collaboration in rural Mexico

  • Helen Coker (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


Rural education in Mexico has a long tradition. For generations, it has been instrumental in bringing education to people living in remote and disadvantaged areas. It has also benefited from the intellectual contribution of recognised Mexican educators. However, it has not yet accomplished social mobility and emancipation of rural dwellers who still lack the freedom to choose from varied life and work opportunities. This workshop aims to capitalise on a diverse range of Mexican as well as international experiences that focus on the promotion of dialogic learning and school collaboration. Dialogic learning involves egalitarian dialogue between teachers and students focusing on the critical analysis of their social realities. School collaboration allows schools to take ownership of their plans for change, facilitates innovation and allows the possibility of new ways of working between schools. The aim is to support universities and teacher colleges to enhance innovative educational experiences that have been directed to Mexican rural schools but that have failed to be consistently applied at the classroom level. Examples of such experiences are the establishment of rural microcenters where a small group of tutors from nearby communities reflect on their teaching practices, the itinerant directors and specialised teachers sharing their expertise across communities as well as initiatives of dialogue, collaboration and peer tutoring amongst tutors and students. These experiences resonate remarkably with international literature on dialogic learning and school collaboration. Critically reflecting on them contributes in the short term to the exchange of good practice and the identification of current challenges. In the long term, it can help to promote critical thinking amongst rural inhabitants that can translate into the development and wellbeing of their communities. The collaboration will allow the Lead Institutions to extend their existing links and create new projects for the development rural education as well as interested urban schools in Mexico in the long term.

Workshop aims
The workshop has four key objectives:
a) Share best practices on dialogic learning and school collaboration currently taking place in rural schools in Mexico and the UK.
b) Identify key challenges that hamper dialogic learning and school collaboration.
c) Recommend improvements for policy and practice.
d) Design strategies for universities and teacher colleges to become a platform of development of dialogic learning and school collaboration.
All of you participating in this workshop (academics, rural educators, students, educational authorities, NGOs representatives and participants in general) are invited to contribute to the workshop discussions. The objectives will be achieved through interactive networking activities organised during the workshop and through the contribution made by the British mentors.

British mentors
Dr Paul Armstrong, University of Manchester
His research interests are educational leadership, management and school collaboration. He is also interested in the growing influence of business practices in education and subsequent changes to the composition of the school workforce. Recent research projects have focused on notions of professional identity formation amongst school business managers and school to school support within a competitive system both located within the English school context.
Dr Cath Gristy, University of Plymouth
Her research interests are education research in rural contexts, inclusion and exclusion in school contexts, supporting teachers engaged in school based research and the development of collaborative, co-operative ways of working and researching in education.
Dr Helen Coker, University of the Highlands and Islands
Her research interests are education, online pedagogy, agency and collaboration. She is interested in the potential of technology to enable collaborative learning experiences in rural areas.
Workshop overview
Day 1: Dr Paul Armstrong’s presentation
School (and practitioner) collaboration: theory and practice
Day 2: Dr Cath Gristy and Dr Helen Coker
Seven principles of dialogic learning and Collaborative enquiry
Day 3: Dr Paul Armstrong, Dr Cath Gristy and Dr Helen Coker’s presentation
Developing structures to support collaborative and reflective practice
Period22 Jan 201825 Jan 2018
Event typeWorkshop
LocationMexico City, MexicoShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational