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Tensions in communication – Teachers and academic facilitators in a critical friendship

Zimmerman Nilsson, Marie-Helene, Wennergren, Ann-Christine, Sjöberg, Ulrika

Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)


This paper concerns the complex relationships between external facilitators and tea- chers in action research, as they work in a critical friendship to develop interaction in specific ways that open up rather than shut down communication and learning. The aim is to contribute with knowledge about interpersonal communication between academic facilitators and teachers in a development process where the teachers had a lack of influence in the initial phase of the project. The findings reveal that communication in a context of incompatible positions and professional distance did not lead to further communication, whereas communication in a context of confidence, mutual reliance, and challenge opened up possibilities for further dialogue. We identified three aspects affecting communication: absence of ownership of specific problems, trust without relationship, and courage before trust. Implication for the action research community is the importance of making strategies for critical friendship explicit. This assists for teachers to internalize the role. © The Author(s) 2016

Nyckelord: Critical friendship; courage; ownership; shadowing; trust; academic facilitator

Citera: Zimmerman Nilsson, Marie-Helene, Wennergren, Ann-Christine & Sjöberg, Ulrika, Tensions in communication – Teachers and academic facilitators in a critical friendship, Action Research., 16:1, s. 7-24, 2018