“How Did I Get Here?

—Can We Talk About This?”


Jill Burton

School of Education (TESOL)

University of South Australia


19 April 2004



System-Based, Inservice Teacher Educator


Teacher as Researcher

Š              LIPT (Action Research)

I noticed how nervous teachers were of writing about their work for others. However, with project support and having surmounted the hurdle of starting, they tended to report the writing as the most meaningful part of their research.









Teacher as Writer

Š              Prospect

Š              National Curriculum Project Research series

Š              National Curriculum Project Curriculum Frameworks

Over this five-year period, I grew to find the editor–writer relationship extremely powerful and rewarding. Again, teacher-writers approached the writing and editing process with some alarm. Once more, however, teachers tended on completion to view the writing and editing process as productive; it seemed to be a step, if temporary and cumulative, in professional learning.




Teacher as Learner

Š              Teacher as curriculum developer

Š              The learner-centred curriculum

Š              Professional Support and Development Review of the AMEP

This same five-year period entailed a massive process of curriculum renewal in TESOL generally in Australia.

I found that teachers were comfortable being central to their own developmental processes; and that the educational systems didn’t always acknowledge and support teachers in learning and researching roles, though they were beginning to expect teachers to communicate and write using professional discourse.


University-Based, Pre- & In-Service Teacher Educator



Teacher as Researcher

Š              Classroom Discourse Project (Action Research)

Š              Qualitative research teaching (Thailand)

At this point, I moved into the tertiary sector in TESOL teacher educationin a South Australian university. I found that everything I was doing was beginning to link together in a focus

on teachers as professionals and professionals as reflective practitioners who took active responsibility for their own professional learning.

Now I try to work through narrative, and interactive journals with colleagues in the U.S, the U.A.E., South America, and Thailand to investigate how teachers experience writing about teaching.







Teacher as Writer

Š               Perspectives on the Classroom (CALUSA research volume)

Š              TESOL Journal

Š              English Australia Journal

Š              Asian Journal of English Language Teaching

Š              TESOL in Context

Š              Prospect

Š              On Cue

Š              Case Studies in TESOL Practice (20 vols)

Š              Making Sense of Language (3 vols)

Simultaneously I extended and deepened my roles in teachers writing for publication..

I continue to find the written word important, that how teachers write not only reflects but influences their thinking (Vygotsky’s theorizations of the role of inner speech and interaction are powerful in my experience), and to make this not only a contribution to TESOL as a profession but also as a personal research and learning process.


Teacher as Learner

Š              Doctoral supervisor

Š              Postgraduate coursework teacher and developer

I view researching and learning as part of teaching. There is no point teaching unless you want to learn. In all the teaching I do, I try to work from and through my students’ experience, because I view formal learning as a time when practitioners can make meaning of their professional lives.

I enjoy seeing my students give a first conference paper, publish a first journal article—seeing them, in fact, start to make their own connections and treading professional stepping stones.

I have found that valuing my students’ experiences has opened me to learning from them.

I worry about becoming fluent in reflecting and writing and thus losing the ability to be shocked or think anew.






= An imperative



= A support



= An outcome