A Study of Playful Pedagogy in Secondary Language Education and the Collaborative Action Research Partnership Behind It




Ferguson, Misty Michelle

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This collaborative action research (CAR) study explores what happened when a teacher adopted playful pedagogy as a response to "grim" secondary school culture (Fine, 2014; Garfath, 2015). During the academic year of the study, 25 hours of classroom video along with teacher reflection, both oral and written, collaborative planning materials, and student work artifacts were collected and used to improve the implementation of playful pedagogy in the pursuit of knowledge and change. This dissertation presents three post-hoc qualitative analyses of that data, examining the implementation of playful pedagogy in the classroom, the teacher's process of change, and the function of the collaboration in the project. The first essay explains that implementing playful pedagogy was an arduous process, resisted from a variety of directions but found to be a uniquely effective path toward connection in the classroom, a cornerstone for human well-being and achievement (Blum, 2005). The second essay demonstrates that when the teacher explored playfulness as an alternative, creative pedagogy, her process of learning was constrained by the gaze of powerbrokers (Foucault, 1971). As she gradually tuned in to the force of her own intention and to her students' deepest needs, her confidence about her pedagogical decisions increased. The third essay examines the collaboration of the teacher and researcher, offering a protocol for analyzing inside/outsider collaboration by evaluating and reporting it systematically, democratically, and ecologically outside the dichotomy of failure and success, which provides an opportunity to do better CAR projects going forward.


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Humanizing pedagogy, Intentional pedagogy, Language education, Playful pedagogy, Urban education



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies