International Doctoral Intensive Researching Professional Practice: Spectator and Participant Perspectives

December 6-10, 2010

An International Doctoral Institute on Researching Professional Practice was convened by Professor Stephen Kemmis of the Research Institute for Professional Practice Learning and Education (RIPPLE), Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia and by Professor Karin Ronnerman of The University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Barbara Conlan and Professor Stephen Kemmis receive flowers

Professsor Karin Ronnerman with doctoral intensive participants


This intensive learning experience was offered to doctoral students interested in the engagement of international perspectives on researching professional practice. The doctoral intensive was held over five days, from December 6th to 10th, 2010 at Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia. Scholars and doctoral candidates from Australia, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Norway, The Netherlands, and the UK participated in the event. Interactive dialogue sessions were organized around recent publications of international scholars. Professors facilitating sessions at the event included Bill Green, Jo-Anne Reid and Stephen Kemmis from Charles Sturt University, Australia; Karin Ronnerman from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Petra Ponte and Jan Ax from Utrecht University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, and Elizabeth Anne Kinsella and Allan Pitman from the University of Western Ontario.

Discussion facilitator Shanon Phelan with Associate Professor Elizabeth Anne Kinsella

Associate Professor Elizabeth Anne Kinsella and doctoral seminar participants in a classroom session


INSPiRE, The Health Professional Education field of HRS, the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Education partnered to offer travel grants for doctoral students from Western to participate in this intensive learning experience.  

Five doctoral students from the University of Western Ontario took part in week long educational opportunity: Farrukh Chishtie (Education), Jodi Hall (Health Professional Education), Marie-Eve Caty (Health Professional Education), Shanon Phelan (Occupational Science), and XiaoXiao Du (Education).  Doctoral students took an active role in the institute, which was founded on a participatory philosophy. Students acted as discussants and moderators for the sessions and presented their own research, and responded to one another’s research proposals.

Associate professors Jan Ax and Petra Ponte in a classroom session

Doctoral seminar participants in an outdoor small group discussion


The doctoral institute took place at the expansive Wagga Wagga campus. The campus is renowned for its winemaking facilities and hospitality school. Mixing pleasure with scholarship, some students made a trip to the winery to celebrate the conclusion of the intensive!

Marie-Eve Caty, Shanon Phelan and Jodi Hall at the Charles Sturt Winery

XiaoXiao Du and doctoral intensive participants at the Charles Sturt University campus


Research Interests of doctoral students

The research interests of doctoral candidates from Western who participated in the intensive are listed below:

MARIE-EVE CATY

I am a second year Ph.D. student in the Health Professional Education Field, of the Graduate Program in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Health Professional Education field) at The University of Western Ontario. During my professional practice as a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and as a clinical supervisor a number of observations and questions arose which inform the research that I am pursuing in my graduate work. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which reflective practice (Schön, 1983, 1987) contributes to the professional knowledge and professional practices of SLPs. The purpose of my study is to systematically examine SLPs processes of reflection in everyday health care practice and the relationship to the generation of professional knowledge and to actions in professional practice. My research question is how do SLPs enact reflective practice to develop professional knowledge in the context of head and neck cancer rehabilitation practice? My doctoral work adopts a grounded theory approach to inductively develop theory about this topic. The aim of my research is to contribute to knowledge about how RP is implicated in the generation of professional knowledge in SLP, and to make a contribution to the emerging body of empirical research on reflective practice.

FARRUKH CHISHTIE

I am a fourth year PhD candidate at the Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario. My areas of research interest are mathematics, science, medical and health sciences education at the level of professional practice.

XIAOXIAO DU

I am a second year doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario. My research area is language and literacy (including learning and teaching), international (comparative) education and heritage education. I am interested in teachers’ or educators’ professional practices such as pedagogical philosophy, instructional decisions, and professional development. My doctoral thesis proposal is about Chinese immigrant children's literacy learning and professional practices of mainstream classroom teachers in Canadian public primary schools. Canada is a multilingual and multicultural country and Canadian classrooms are increasing diverse. It is important to investigate teachers’ professional practices in their classrooms in order to further support the linguistic and cultural diverse student population at all levels.

JODI HALL

My name is Jodi Hall and I am a doctoral candidate in Health Sciences – Health Professional
Education. My background as a women’s abuse counselor, childbirth educator, former midwifery student and political activist combine together to inform my interest in exploring the ways in which the body ‘knows’, and to consider how such knowing informs professional practice. My own doctoral research project entitled Embodied knowledges, discursive performances & pelvic teaching: A critical ethnographic study explores from a (post)critical feminist perspective, pelvic teaching in medical schools that utilize in their teaching the ‘warm bodies’ of standardized patients. My research considers how such teaching potentially (re) produces through the transmission of various pedagogical practices, particular and normative ways of (not)knowing women, health professionals, and bodies. My research project draws on a variety of methods, including the use of my own critical narrative, and photo solicitation to ‘tap’ into the embodied knowing amongst research participants.

SHANON PHELAN

I am a fourth year doctoral candidate, working with Dr. Kinsella, in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program, field of Occupational Science. In 2005, I completed a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. I practiced as a pediatric occupational therapist for two years, in both school and home environments. Social issues related to occupation, participation, choice, and identity emerged as prevalent concerns in my work. With these experiences, I began to question how children with disabilities construct their identities through occupation, and how socio-cultural issues are implicated in this process. The intention of my doctoral work is to examine: 1) how identity is shaped through engagement in everyday occupations in the lives of children with physical disabilities? and 2) how socio-cultural factors are implicated in children with disabilities’ opportunities to engage in childhood occupations? Using grounded theory methodology, I intend to generate theory that may inform professional practice for occupational therapists and potentially other health and education professionals working with children with disabilities. I am particularly interested in critical reflexivity as it pertains to my doctoral work. I have engaged with critical reflexivity to investigate my experiences as a practitioner and to situate myself with respect to my research questions. I have adopted a socio-cultural lens and a critical disability lens to apply to my research. In addition to my doctoral work, I am interested and involved in several research projects relating to narratives of professional practice, reflective practice, and health care ethics.