•Montréal 2004-2008

Personnes accompagnatrices: Avril Aitken et Grant Hawley

Dates and Themes of the Sessions:

  • September 3, 2004: Introduction to Projet Accompagnement-Recherche-Formation, the links between accompaniment and the implementation of the Quebec Education Program

    Participants explored the question of why the QEP requires teachers to act differently. They shared the sense given to key words, ideas and concepts related to the orientations of the program. This was followed by clarification of the sense of "animation", "training", and "accompaniment" as they are understood by the Projet Accompagnement-Recherche-Formation (PARF). The notion of socioconstructivist accompaniment was introduced. Discussion that followed focused on what has been undertaken in the individual school boards toward implementation of the QEP. The session drew to a close with a discussion regarding possible directions for accompaniment for the group.

  • November 4-5, 2004: Questioning in the context of the implementation of the Quebec Education Program, the concept of questioning, ans an initial reflection on reflective practice
    In an exploration of the role of questioning in the accompaniment process, participants began by developineg questions that could be used in discussion about specific challenges faced in the implementation of the QEP. Through the process of developing questions, anticipating answers and contrasting answers suggested by others, participants made observations about the concept of questioning, its utility, the interaction between the questioner and the respondent, and the role that intention, interpretation and context play in the process. They defined what questioning leads to for those who are accompanied and identified the significance of questioning in the accompaniment process. The following day, participants explored what it means to reflect on one's own practice. They exchanged ideas on the ease with which reflection can be carried out individually, and with others, and then differentiated between the characteristics of an effective practitioner and a reflective practitioner. 

  • February 22-23, 2005: Metacognition in connection with questioning and reflective pratice

    The concept of metacognition was introduced by asking participants to reflect on the strategies they would use when engaged in a task that requires the management of their thinking processes. They were then invited to observe an individual as she voiced her/his thoughts while accomplishing a challenging task. Participants' observations and reflections provide a direct link to the key features of metacognition and the cycle of metacognitive activity. Following a reflection on the strategies used by the accompanists, participants reflected on the characteristics of questions that develop metacognition. A synthesis of the characteristics concluded the session for the first day. On the second day, participants were faced with a situation that created a cognitive conflict, allowing them to begin the day with a reflection on metacognition and cognitive conflict. The second activity required participants to distinguish between the cognitively active individual, the metacognitive individual and the reflective partictioner. Subsequently there was discussion regarding similarities in the processes of the metacogntive individual and the reflective practitioner, and the differences in the objects of their thinking. Participants brainstormed strategies to develop metacognition and reflective practice. In the final activity, groups developed specific and detailed strategies to develop individual's metacognition.

  • May 9-10, 2005: Metacognition in connection with competency development

    The session began with a reflection on metacognition, competency and the QEP, at which time individuals named three key words they associate with each of the three topics. Working initially in small groups, first with the concept of metacognition, participants compiled common key words. These were used to review the key features of metacognition and the cycle of metacognitive activity. Turning to the notion of competency, the key words generated were used to draw out the nature of competency. Participants then reflected on the characteristics of someone who is competent, and in small groups made connections between the characteristics of a competent person and the concept of metacognition.

    The reflection and discussion then moved onto the notion of distinguishing between competencies used and competencies developed. The cycle of competency development was introduced. Continuing the focus on competency development, small groups generated strategies to develop the competency Uses Information. Ideas were written on large chart paper. Groups exchanged sheets and named additional strategies that might be used to deepen the competency development made possible through the initial strategy. Groups presented their ideas and observations and the charts were posted around the room. Participant's attention was drawn back to the cycle of competency development. Keeping with the continued movement between the concepts of metacogition and competency development, small groups were then asked to consider how the suggested strategies might be used to develop students' metacognitive ability. The final activity of the day asked individuals to reflect on strategies to develop metacognition. Small group reflection and sharing were followed by a synthesis.

    The following day, small groups developed learning situations which would develop one cross-curricular competency; additionally they had to ensure that strategies were in place that would lead to the development of metacognitive ability. Each group worked with the QEP, the cycle of competency development, the cycle of metacognitive activity, ideas generated in the session, previously, and a newspaper article. They all used the same article, which had been taken from a recent paper. Each group selected their cross-curricular competency and created one or more activities to develop the competency while using the newspaper article. Groups presented their situations to the large group and received feedback in the form of questions related to the strategies used to develop metacognitive ability. The synthesis focused on the process of planning for competency development and for the development of metacognitive ability.

  • September 29-30, 2005: Planning evaluation in connection with competency development

    After review of the orientations of the accompaniment project, participants were put in small groups in order to prepare to create a 'learning' situation. They were required to first explore the Broad Areas of Learning in relation to an event in the news, which had been selected for use. After making connections between the BALs and the current event, they answered the following questions: Name two new thoughts that you had in relation to the broad areas of learning? What are the advantages of anchoring a learning situation in the BALs? What role do you believe the Broad Areas of Learning play in competency development? Small group discussion was followed by large group sharing of the observations.

    Groups were reformed according to the BAL of their interest, and each group was asked to create a learning situation that would be anchored in the Broad Area of Learning of choice, and that would develop one pre-determined subject specific competency and one predetermined cross curricular competency. The selected competencies were: Interprets a territorial issue (Geo) and Exercised critical judgment (CCC). Before beginning the task, activation of participants' prior knowledge of the elements of a situation that develops competency was carried out. A collective list of elements was established and connections were made to the cycle of competency development, which had been explored in a previous session.

    After constructing the learning situation as a group, individuals answered the following questions: In relation to the learning situation you created, What would you evaluate? Why would you evaluate? How would you evaluate? And What would you do with the information? This created the possibility of confrontation of perceptions around evaluation. Subsequently, participants read the section in the evaluation policy that refers to the evaluation process (p. 26-28). Small groups brainstormed actions related to each stage of the process; these actions were assembled as a collective list. Teams went back to the learning situation they had created, to discuss the role of evaluation in their situation and to build evaluation into it - in a way that respected the elements of the process described in the evaluation policy. The situations were presented the large group and small groups provided feedback to each other. Discussion followed, through which the following needs emerged: to understand the concept of regulation, to be able to distinguish between evaluation for learning and evaluation for recognition of competency, the significance of the orientations of the evaluation policy, the role and significance of professional judgment in the evaluation process.

  • December 1-2, 2005: Evaluation in connection with Professionnal Judgment and Cycle Team Work

    In this session participants began by reflecting on their beliefs around evaluation. After an exploration of the actions participants associate with the evaluation in connection with the Québec Education Program, they turned to the policy document. They read and discussed page 25 and 26 of Policy on the Evaluation of Learning, which refers to the two purposes of evaluation. At this point, participants reflected on their perceptions of the practices and beliefs currently in use in their milieus and they determined those which they believe correspond to the policy.

    Using a table of evaluation tools and methods as a point of reference, participants reflected on their own evaluation practices, distinguishing the way in which they made use of the tools and methods: for the support of learning, for recognition of competency. A global portrait was established for the group. Members of each group summarized their team discussion for the large group. A synthesis followed in which connections were made to chapter four of the Policy in which the purposes of evaluation and the fours steps in the evaluation process are described.

    Originally it was planned that participants would select a tool or method that they would like to see used more in their milieu. An intervention was to be developed and presented to the group for feedback. However, participant concerns regarding the process and purposes of evaluation were of greater significance to participants at that time. As a result, the planned creation of an intervention was set aside and a more detailed exploration of evaluation for the purpose of learning was carried out. Participants' prior knowledge of regulation was established; this was followed by a close reading of page 26 of the policy and an excerpt of the framework for evaluation which describes the three types of regulation. Participants explored their perceptions of their milieu's understanding of regulation. Given participant concern that individuals in the milieus understand evaluation for the support of learning, a list of strategies was compiled in connection with accompaniment of colleagues in understanding regulation.

    Teacher skills, attitude and ability in connection evaluation were at the forefront of the discussion, therefore the subsequent discussion of the expectations of a professional was appropriate. Participants brainstormed expectations, after which teams focused on making connections with one of three possible headings: characteristics you would associate in with a professional in the context of cycle-team work, professional judgment, or evaluation. Through sharing of the characteristics, key areas emerged: the intellectual component in connection with the knowledge and expertise required; commitment to standards, marked by rigour and coherence, and the need for self-critique and openness to the critique that others might bring to our work. The session drew to a close with reflection on the significance of the role of professional judgment and the need to develop professional judgment in connection with evaluation.

  • February 7-8, 2006: CATCH-UP Session (in connection with the Quebec City Group, for those who missed the Sessions in Septmber and December)

    The nature and sense of competency, competency development and evaluation of competency

    These two days served as a 'catch-up' session for members of the Montreal Group who had been unable to attend sessions in the autumn of 2005. The participants in question from the Montreal Group joined all members of the Trois- Rivières - Québec City group, who were reintroduced to the accompaniment project and process after an eleven month period during which they did not meet. Of additional significance is the fact that over the course of the session, teams worked on a complex task related to planning for the development and evaluation of competency. The situations that were created by the teams became the focus of further learning in the subsequent sessions for both the Quebec City and the Montreal Group (see: Montreal-February 15-16; Quebec City-March 22-23).

    The session began with an opportunity for participants to reflect on the steps they feel are needed to move forward with implementation. They also discussed the competencies that they feel they need to develop to assist with the implementation process. The discussion was carried out in small groups and key elements were shared with the large group; these elements were categorized and aligned with the intentions of the PARF.

    To prepare participants for the complex task mentioned in the introductory paragraph, they engaged in two activities in which they reflected on a series of questions related to competency. The discussion and sharing of ideas preceded a synthesis that drew attention to the key ideas related to competency and the cycle of competency development.

    In the next phase participants looked at the two pre-determined competencies with which they would be working (one cross curricular and one subject specific competency). They were required to consider how the presentation of the competencies in the QEP provides useful references in planning for the development of competency.

    Using the selected competencies as references, participants brainstormed activities that they felt would develop the competencies. In the next step, they ranked each suggested activity in connection with the degree to which it would develop the competency. This lead to a presentation and discussion of the terms: situations, tasks, learning activities and complex tasks. The characteristics of a situation that develops competency were drawn out of the discussion â013 and became part of the closing comments for the first day.

    On the second day teams worked on the development of a situation: a series of activities and tasks intended to develop two competencies (one CCC one SSC) and connected to a Broad Area of Learning. After sharing their situations and receiving feedback from other teams, participants reflected on the actions and conditions in connection with their situation that would contribute to the development of competency.

    Participant comments reflected their perceptions that the guided planning process had helped them have a more global view of the program and planning, it helped them make connections to prior understanding of the QEP, and make links between the component parts of the program. The concrete, hands-on aspect of the session was appreciated.

    In a final activity, specific attention was drawn to beliefs around evaluation; all participants were asked to consider the following questions in connection with the situation they had developed: What would you evaluate? How would you evaluate? What would you do with the information? This step was used to bring the session to closure as it the angle from which the team's situations would be picked up in the subsequent PARF session.

  • February 15-16, 2006: Evaluation for the support of learning in connection with competency development and the exercise of professional judgement

    The session began with a request for participants to establish a learning goal for the two days in connection with the plan that had been established. Goals were shared and categorized in connection with the intentions of PARF.

    In the first activity participants reflected on the factors that need to be taken into account when planning a learning situation that develops competency. Following a first round of discussion participants read an excerpt (Section 2.1) of the ministry text on planning (released at the Session de formation des Personnes-Ressources). Teams were asked to make connections to the text, and later reported to the group on the issues arising in their discussion. The need to distinguish and clarify the difference between learning activities and complex tasks was raised. The sharing period was followed by a synthesis in which the elements of a learning and evaluation situation were highlighted and linked to action taken to intentionally develop competency.

    In the next step, the group was divided into teams and each team was presented a situation that had been developed in the Catch-up Session (February 7-8). Following the presentations, each member of the team was asked to reflect on four questions in connection with evaluation of the situation that had been presented: What would you evaluate? Why would you evaluate? How would you evaluate? And What would you do with the information? While team members reflected, shared and discussed their ideas â013 the individuals who had presented their situations (who had attended the catch-up session) formed a separate group to discuss the adjustments they would make to the situation, based on the elements that had emerged from the previous discussion regarding learning and evaluation situations.

    Many questions and concerns arose in the discussions around evaluation in connection with: what is evaluated, what tools are used to carry out the evaluation and how is the data that is collected, tracked over time.

    In order to deepen understanding of two purposes of evaluation, on the second day, participants read excerpts of the policy and framework which refer to evaluation for the support of learning. Following discussion, participants reflected on 1. How would they characterize the level of understanding of the members of their milieu in connection with evaluation for the support of learning, and 2. As a accompanist, what strategies would they use to increase their milieu's understanding and use of evaluation for the support of learning? A general list of accompaniment strategies emerged from the discussion.

    Participants spent the remainder of the morning of the second day working in teams on an accompaniment plan for the people they accompany. Plans were presented to the large group for feedback. It had been one of the intentions of the session to move into professional judgment in connection with ideas that emerged from the discussion around evaluation. However given the rich discussion and reflection in connection with the accompaniment plans that were created, the session was wrapped up with a discussion of when and how the plans would be implemented.

  • October 11-12, 2007: Accompanying Professional Judgment in Evaluation

    This session, the first of the 2007 â013 2008 year, began with a welcome for the participants who were new to the group; these new adherents numbered nine out of the twenty three in attendance. New members included those who were joining existing teams, as well as two teams that were new to the accompaniment training. There was an obvious need to induct the new members and insure that they were aware of the aims of PARF. Thus, there was an introductory interactive presentation that allowed all participants to reflect on their understanding of the intentions of PARF, of socioconstructivist accompaniment and the need for an accompaniment process in connection with the implementation of the QEP.

    After a discussion of the project, the intentions of the session were presented to the group and all participants were invited to identify a personal learning goal. Signficantly, despite the media coverage of the changing and contradictory Ministerial directives concerning evaluation and reporting, participants' personal goals were linked to their desire to take action as accompanists, â01Cenrich[ing] strategiesâ01D, developing a â01Cplanâ01D, assisting others to â01Cconstruct meaningâ01D and â01Cdevelop the reflective practices to plan the learning of the students with the end in mindâ01D.

    The reflection and discussion began with the question: â01CHow would you answer a colleague who asks you, 'What is a competency scale?' â01D Participants worked with the documents that their colleagues would be using as references and explored the terms found therein. Their observations included the notion that the terms must be understood by everyone and that it is through dialogue with colleagues that you can construct a shared understanding of the language. Additionally, participants examined the notion of the process of constructing judgments for the purpose of reporting on status of competency development and level of competency development; afterwards, they worked in their teams on the development of one (or a series of) accompaniment activity(ies) that would assist members of their milieu to understand the process of constructing professional judgments for the purpose of reporting.

    December 10-11, 2007: Development of Professional Competencies for Accompaniment: The Use of Questioning [Accompaniment Projects]

    As this is the final year of the Accompaniment Project, an intention that is a "connecting thread" for the remaining sessions is to ensure that participant teams develop an accompaniment project for their respective milieus. Thus, this session focused primarily on ensuring that the teams took steps to begin to develop [or continue development of] their projects. In our accompaniment we focused on the use of questioning as a strategy to initiative and develop the discussion of the projects; this permitted participants to further explore the concept of questioning which had been introduced in one of the early session in the first year of the project.

    The session began with the presentation of the intentions and the opportunity for participants to identify their own learning intentions for the two days. Participants' personal intention included a focus on the self-this was the case for those new to accompaniment as well as the seasoned participants. Comments on the general overall development of professional competencies of accompaniment included the desire, "to discover appropriate means within the structural and time limits to be an effective accompanist", and "gain insight as an accompanist". The need to understand the "role" to be played repeated itself among participants, as did intentions that focused on establishing a plan, and increasing specific abilities connected to specific strategies.

    Among the initial activities, participants listed the accompaniment actions that they had taken between the last session (October) and the current session. Afterwards, everyone drafted questions they would ask of others regarding their accompaniment. The questions were listed and were categorized as an initial step in exploring key concepts related to the questioning. Most of the questions were of the order of "seeking information"; the differing degrees of the complexity of the questions was noted by the participants. The potential of some of the questions [more than others] to stimulate reflection was also noted, as was the language: "How" and "What" questions generate different types of responses than "Why" questions.

    Using the list of questions, participants also identified the one that each found to be particularly significant. Among these were the questions that focused on how to identify readiness and account for individual differences when planning accompaniment activities. Additionally, a question that required participants to self-evaluate was viewed as significant: "What is an action that you have taken that is [or is not] successful? Why?" Teams then chose a question regarding their accompaniment practices to which they would like to respond; this allowed the group to explore the notion of the questioner's intention and interpretation of the question by the respondent, as well as the notion of anticipated answers. Significantly, some teams chose to answer a question that was particularly challenging, as a means to further their personal reflection on their practices. Of the seven teams, three chose the following question: "How do you measure the impact of the [accompaniment] actions taken in your milieu?"

    At this point teams were given a prompt to help them to formulate their accompaniment intentions for the rest of the year: "You are asked to prepare a short description of what needs to be done this year in accompanying your staff. What would you reply?" The activity helped to focus their attention on long term intentions. Significantly, the groups' answers included attention to development of teacher professional competency, and to specific knowledge and skills that would be required to ensure that implementation of the QEP takes place, and that the results have repercussions on student learning.

    At this point, we moved into a discussion of the characteristics of accompaniment projects. Once the characteristics had been identified, a discussion of the significance of a socioconstructivist approach ensued. Through discussion, participants noted parallels between an LES and an accompaniment project.

    In the final activity of the first day, four of the booklets, Accompanying Evaluation of Learning in Quebec Schools, were distributed to the participants. They were instructed to review the booklets during the evening, identify sections and questions that were pertinent to their accompaniment projects, and return to the session on the second day, prepared to share what they had identified.

    Day Two began with a brief review of the intentions of the two days. This was followed with an exchange among group members regarding what they had noted as pertinent in the booklets. Comments regarding the booklets (specifically the questions in the booklets) included the degree to which some participants felt overwhelmed by the complexity of the ideas presented. A more seasoned participant noted that some of the questions were so complex that they would create too great an experience of cognitive dissonance for those being accompanied. This lead to continued discussion of questioning and the need to understand the context and the individual needs of those accompanied.

    The participants then reflected on the following: "What is the value of questioning as a strategy for changing professional practice?" After individual and shared discussion, participants named the key elements of the discussion. The elements that emerged were synthesized into a rough 'model' of questioning as a relational process that requires understanding of the context and those accompanied, as well as a degree of pedagogical expertise, all of which shape the development of the questions, and the ensuing process. It was suggested that such a process assists the individual who is accompanied to internalize the questioning process, resulting in increasing autonomy as a learner.

    During the remainder of the morning, the teams worked on their accompaniment projects. Brief presentations took place in the afternoon, and individual commented on their process as individual and as a team. One of the newer members described his learning in the following way: "I was at a point where I didn't know enough to know what I didn't know. I have taken a step...a clearer understanding of where to go...I have found more clarity, more focused framework and structure. "This increased sense of direction was mirrored by another new member, "I find that I've got a better understanding not only of my own role in the team, but also of the larger picture in the school. As well, I know (see) how the knowledge has to be constructed rather than being delivered. Furthermore, we need to rejig our structures within the school to bring about change." Among those who were not new to accompaniment, the comments were equally focused on new clarity: "I now have a plan", "[I am] better equipped to participate in the planning of accompaniment at [the school]; better equipped to discuss needs and responses to those needs."

  • May 22-23, 2008: Development of Professional Competencies for Accompaniment: Awarness of the Affective Domain & Summary of Personnal Learning

    In this, the final accompaniment session, participants had an opportunity to take a retrospective look at their growth, as well as anticipate their future as accompanists. The learning goals they set for the session reflected this. One wrote of the intention "to consolidate [the] learning, over the past four years"; another aimed to "solidify planning for next year"; a third signalled the significance of the end of the accompaniment-training with the goal to "set [him]self up for the future without these sessions".

    Two factors influenced the decision to examine the affective domain during these, the final two days. The significance of affective domain associated with accompaniment had arisen in the previous session in connection with questioning and the disequilibrium it might provoke for those accompanied. Additionally, during that session, members of a school team introduced a reflection tool they had begun to develop that makes an explicit link between the five stages of grief (Kubler-Ross) and the teacher experience of the changes associated with the implementation of the QEP.

    As has been the case previously, once the intentions of the session were presented and personal goal setting carried out, participants were asked to list the accompaniment actions that they had taken between the last session and the current session. A second question was posed along with the first, as was the case in the prior session. At that time participants were asked to explain how they determined what accompaniment actions to take. This time they were asked to identify the most successful accompaniment action of the previous five months, and identify why they would characterize it as such. Our intention was to draw out the criteria that participants used to judge their success.

    Small group discussion focused on sharing of responses to the second question. Participants were asked to state the reason for judging the success of the selected action. These were listed on an overhead transparency that was reproduced and distributed to the participants. They were invited to begin carrying out a synthesis as the list was created. The resulting syntheses were expressed in a range of formats: visually, in point form or as definitions. They were posted for gallery-style viewing. One definition captured the key elements that appeared in most representations, "A successful accompaniment process contains three key features: it meets the needs of the teachers at that point in time, it secures and empowers them and it leaves them with a new level of understanding or awareness." The representations, as one participant noted, showed that they perceived accompaniment as a "participant-centred" process. Less evident was the element of self-assessment that would be part of the accompaniment process, where-in the accompanist would, as was stated, "assess" their ability to use the strategies, assess their degree of confidence or assess their understanding of the knowledge required to accompany effectively.

    The significance of "meeting needs" as a criterion for success was coherent with the participants' assertion during the previous session that effective planning for accompaniment had to target the needs of the group. While the nature of those needs was not always identified, the cognitive and affective domains were clearly identified: 1. Evidence of participant learning, and 2. Evidence of team building, positive accompanist-participant relationships, and demonstrations of trust, confidence, pride and excitement. Significantly, of the criteria for judging success that were named, those connected with the affective domain were the most numerous.

    Following an exchange on common elements of the syntheses, participants were asked to self-assess their satisfaction with their ability to synthesize in action (++ + - -- ). An increase in the degree of satisfaction was noted between this session and the last session. Participants remarked on the synthesizing they do daily, and notably, the teacher participants mentioned how they call on students to synthesize in the course of learning and evaluation situations.

    Given the fact that the notion of positive emotions had emerged through the first reflection and discussion, it was possible to extend the discussion to negative emotions associated with accompaniment and their possible causes. Three causes for negative emotions were identified: discomfort associated with the proposed theme, the demand to change, or the perception of an unresolved problem. As participants noted, the context of educational change is one that calls into question the "core identity as a professional," or one's "sense of self". Notably, they did not mention that the accompanist or other participants can also generate negative affective reactions.

    Attention turned to the following questions: In what way can a disagreeable emotion have a positive impact on the accompaniment of an individual? In what way can an agreeable emotion have a negative impact on the accompaniment of an individual? The following general points arose in the discussion: A certain degree of discomfort can be associated with cognitive dissonance, which, in a supportive context may lead to reflection, which may lead to new understanding and the possibility of change. Additionally, negative emotions, when expressed, can reveal obstacles and can present starting points for change. Negative emotions be identified and strategically addressed, leading to relationship building. Alternately, positive emotions may represent self-satisfaction and a lack of movement out of areas of comfort. Positive emotions may also negate others' perceptions, prevent the accompanist from assessing the degree of understanding, or indicate understanding that is, as one remarked, "superficial".

    The discussion was followed with an interactive presentation of the PPT : Affective domain in accompaniment : Conceptual elements. The day ended with comments that underlined the significant role that emotions play in a context of prescribed change and in the accompaniment process. As one participant explained, emotions have been the albatross in the corner of the room that often goes unacknowledged. Choosing to take a cognitive perspective in explicitly addressing those emotions, allows the accompanist to better understand the participants and assist those they accompany to understand and manage the emotions they are experiencing.

    The second day began with an examination of scenarios developed in connection with events currently taking place in the different milieus. Emotions or their manifestations were an element of each the three scenarios. Teams were each assigned one scenarios; they discussed it, proposed possible causes for emotions arising, and generated strategies to address the emotions. Each team presented their scenario and the strategies they generated. While all groups established the importance of being aware of the affective domain, and regulating in action (Level 1 â013 see PPT), there were few suggestions related to demonstrating to those accompanied that the accompanist was taking the affective domain into account (Level 2).

    The resulting large group discussion of the professional competency associated with the affective domain was a useful point from which to shift attention to the set of professional competencies for accompaniment. While the participants have understood that they have been developing their professional competencies for accompaniment, a detailed examination of each of the competencies had not taken place. Thus, as a starting point, participants were asked to name a competency they associated with accompaniment. Individuals exchanged ideas in teams, and each team offered a few suggestions that were listed on an overhead transparency. The suggestions aligned with the eight themes for which a professional competency of accompaniment has been identified through PARF. Significantly, reflective practice was identified unanimously; this was followed in importance by the use of a socioconstructivist approach, which included understanding of the learning process and the ability to assist a team to construct knowledge.

    In preparation for identifying future goals, participants reviewed the characteristics of socioconstructivist accompaniment: Interactions during activities, participant reflection, questioning, modeling, feedback to the learner, regulation of learning (proactive, interactive, retroactive), process of individual and collective construction, openness/flexibility, ensuring complexity of situations, participant action, and balance between theory and practice. Using the star process of assessment ( * ** ***) participants were asked to indicate their degree of comfort/ability in employing the characteristics when accompanying others.

    The next step required participants to identify how they will respond to their needs as they continue to develop their professional competencies for accompaniment. The participants named specific actions that they will take; these fell neatly into four categories: 1. Increasing their knowledge base; 2. Taking time to reflect on their learning and track their personal growth; 3. Continuing to take action as accompanists-using and refining their skills and 4. Collaborating with others.

    Individuals contributed up to four actions that were described as interrelated; that is, the statement that one needed to add to one's knowledge base was followed by a statement about the need to make use of the new resources, in an accompaniment situation. Significantly, the four categories that emerged through the reflection can be mapped onto models of competency development [three interrelated dimensions: action, reflection, mobilization of resources; development of collective competency].

    Several participants stated that this accompaniment group had become a learning community/ community of practice. The other members concurred and a discussion of how to sustain the community arose. One participant mentioned that discussion has already taken place to seek release time [PDIG] to support continued collaboration. The use of an e-learning platform to sustain the collaboration was also discussed.

    While much attention was placed on the scope of the knowledge and skills that the participants felt they had constructed, participants were enthusiastic about the degree of self-awareness that they had developed, and their perception of being involved as a life-long learner. As one long-term participant described it, the process had heightened self-awareness, but also had influenced "all interactions" and while the process stimulated the desire to continue learning "for the self" it had a direct impact on every interaction with others, not only those associated with accompaniment.

    * Return to previous page