University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Thesis: Second Language Teacher Educator’s Pedagogical Practices: A Cultural Historical Approach to Synchronise Theory and Practice in the Learning Environment
Research supervisors: Dr. Letitia Hochstrasser Fickel & Dr. Jane Abbiss, PhD

I am a second year PhD Candidate at the College of Education, Health and Human Development at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. My research investigates how teacher-educators (TEs) align formal theories of learning with everyday practice in the classroom. My name is Osmith Vides Contreras.

By attending this seminar, I seek to achieve three major goals. Firstly, I would like to receive constructive feedback about my approach to data analysis. Secondly, I would like to gain a deeper understanding of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) contributions for understanding how people and organisations transform their practices. This would be invaluable for refining my data interpretation. Thirdly, I would like to engage in interdisciplinary academic dialogue with peers who may be facing similar challenges. Encountering different approaches and views regarding CHAT and its analytical use would broaden my perspective on my methodological design.

At present, I am at the stage of data analysis. My great struggle is to know if the approach I am using is consistent with the CHAT perspective of what it means to transform working practices. Because this is my first time using CHAT both as a methodological design and an analytical tool, I am always hesitant if my reading of the data aligns with the fundamental principles of the theory.  The Summer University could offer the opportunity to meet other specialists in CHAT to address my questions about the interpretation of data. In short, I wish to ensure that my interpretation is consistent with the theory and that my reading of data will meet the standards of trustworthiness and reliability of any qualitative research.

As an interventionist researcher, I owe it to my participants the highest level of rigour of these standards. Also, though mine is a case study and I do not presume to seek generalisation of my findings, I am almost certain the methodological design of my research can be reproduced to benefit teacher educators’ pedagogical practices in a similar context.This can only be achieved if my data analysis endures the test of such standards.

Since I started learning about CHAT, I took the serious decision of exploring its richness in future research projects in the area of teacher-educators’ practices and learning. I expect that my present PhD research will be the beginning of more extensive work-based projects that I will undertake in the future. I would also like to attend the Summer University in Moscow because this is the home of Lev Vygotsky, whose theories are the foundation of CHAT. The Summer University would not only be highly beneficial to my research, but also meaningful because of what Vygotsky represents for me as an educator. For these reasons, attending this seminar will be another step to achieving my goal.

As you can see, my interest in attending this seminar is both for academic and personal reasons.  I would like to add that if the first CHAT seminar I attended last year gave me clarity to refine the design of my methodological design, this one will provide me with better tools to investigate and interpret my data. I hope you will take my application into consideration and give me the opportunity to enrich my experience as a researcher at your university.