27 July – Exploratory Practice symposium at the AILA Congress, Rio de Janeiro

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Extracts from the Symposium handout in italics below are mixed with video and powerpoint slides to provide a detailed record of this interactive symposium. Four brief inputs were followed by parallel discussion in four corresponding groups — reports from the groups follow on here from each paper. For more on Exploratory Practice and for references below, see page 2 of the Symposium handout.


In the past two decades, Exploratory Practice, an ethical and inclusive form of practitioner research, has been advancing innovative and epistemological contributions to the field of contemporary Applied Linguistics, both in Brazilian and international contexts (Miller et al., 2008; Miller, 2010, 2013; Allwright, 2006; Allwright & Hanks, 2009; Hanks, 2017). This symposium discusses illustrative Potentially Exploitable Pedagogic or Reflective Activities (PEPAs or PERAs) that were developed in diverse Brazilian contexts by practitioners who plan their work for understanding puzzles that have been emerging in their daily routines (Allwright, 2005).

Inés Kayon de Miller introduced the symposium (powerpoint slides below): 

Powerpoint slides


Potentially exploitable pedagogic activities in the context of schools and language institutes Maria Isabel A. Cunha (CAp UFRJ, Brazil), Ricardo Benevides Silva de Oliveira (CEFET/ RJ, Brazil), Mara Regina de Almeida Griffo (Associação Educacional Miraflores, Brazil), ), Andréa Houara Lordello Lima (IPEL Línguas/PUC-Rio, Brazil), Clarissa Xavier Ewald (Escola Alemã Corcovado, Brazil), Cristiane Cerdera (Colégio Pedro II, RJ, Brazil); Evellyn Juliane da Rocha Brandão (C.E. Machado de Assis, E.M. Ronald Callegário).

This presentation highlights how EP finds a fertile ground in schools and language courses, contexts in which PEPAs are being created by teachers and learners. These activities have an exploratory orientation that encourages learners to act as knowledge producers and developing learners and an ethical stance that helps practitioner researchers develop their questioning, agentivity and critical thinking (Barreto et al, forthcoming).

This presentation was led by Maria Isabel (Bebel) A. Cunha (slides below):

Powerpoint slides

Later, Group 1 discussed ideas and issues arising from this presentation, and reported back as follows:


Exploratory narratives as opportunities to (re)construct reflections about life in the classroom. Inés Kayon de Miller (PUC-Rio, Brazil), Walewska Gomes Braga (E.M. Santo Tomás de Aquino, Brazil), Maria Cristina de Góes Monteiro (PUCRio, Brazil), Beatriz de Castro Barreto (PUC-Rio, Brazil).

The aim of this paper is to search for deeper understandings about life in the classroom through writing exploratory narratives, which have been socialized by Facebook and analyzed collaboratively in weekly (future) teacher-research sessions. We turn our investigative look to the narratives produced by a group of future teachers and supervising teachers, all fellows of the Government Grant Program for Initial Teacher Education (PIBID/ CAPES/ PUC-Rio).

Poweropint slides

Later, Group 2 discussed ideas and issues arising from this presentation, and reported back as follows:


Activities for teacher development: fine-tuning our senses to quality of life in the classroom Isabel Cristina Rangel Moraes Bezerra (UERJ, Brazil), Gysele Colombo Gomes (UERJ, Brazil), Renata Lopes de Almeida Rodrigues (UERJ, Brazil).

This paper is presented by teacher educators of a public university, who have been developing their daily practices inspired by the Exploratory Practice principles, which propose a sustainable way of integrating teaching, learning and researching in the language classroom to prioritize ‘quality of life’ (Allwright, 2008) and the ‘work for understanding’ within an inclusive and collegial frame.

Isabela & Gysele slides

Later, Group 3 discussed ideas and issues arising from this presentation, and reported back as follows:


Exploratory work for understanding: the lived experience of researchers in a post-graduation program Sabine Mendes Lima Moura (PUC-Rio, Brazil), Thelma Christina Ribeiro Côrtes (PUC-Rio, Brazil), Diego Fernandes Coelho Nunes (Mestrando PPGEL, PUC-Rio, Brazil), Carolina Apolinário de Souza (The British School, Brazil), Bruno de Matos Reis (Colégio Pedro II).

This paper discusses how PEPAs or PERAs may provide interesting paths to reflect on scientificity in academia. We also present academic research that has seriously grappled with the issue of balancing contextual demands, the search for understanding and quality of life. Presenters will relate their activities to a continuum of discursive actions for understanding.

Sabine slides

Later, Group 4 discussed ideas and issues arising from this presentation, and reported back as follows:


The whole session ended with an interesting final general discussion!