Reflexive empathy as social relation: the case for contextualised professional learning

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This article conceptualises studies in professional learning through the novel lens of ‘reflexive empathy’. Reflexive empathy draws on Margaret Archer’s theory of reflexivity, and positions it as an enabler of empathy to support researchers’ approaches to providing contextualised, supportive professional learning for teachers who are involved in research studies. To argue this, we reflect on the results of a funded project, informed by Archerian reflexivity, which focused on improving writing in Australian primary schools. This article argues for the need to resist neoliberal approaches to professional learning by providing agentic, contextualised programs that value teachers’ individual emotional, social, and cognitive responses to their participation in research informed co-designed professional learning.

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