Knowledge construction and learning to teach about teaching

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Abstract

In recent times there has been a growing interest in the notion of a knowledge base for teaching, and, just as this development has partly been in response to the need to better value teaching, so too the same has applied to understandings of practice in teacher education. One upshot of this has been the development of self-study of teacher education practices (S-STEP). Selfstudy has captured the imagination of many teacher educators as they have sought to research and better understand the complex nature of teaching and learning about teaching in ways that might be informative for their own practice and articulable and communicative for others. Self-study has grown from the common roots of reflective practice (e.g., Dewey, 1933; Schön, 1983, 1987), action research (e.g., Kemmis & McTaggart, 1988), and practitioner research (e.g., Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993; Day, Calderhead & Denicolo, 1993), and builds on earlier calls for studies into teaching about teaching involving teacher educators themselves (e.g., Lanier & Little, 1986). Although there is no simple definition for selfstudy (Bullough & Pinnegar, 2004) it is reasonable to suggest that, in many instances, it involves a closer scrutiny of one's own pedagogy in teaching about teaching in order to enhance the development of knowledge about such practice. For many teacher educators, a catalyst for self-study revolves around dilemmas of practice, or what Whitehead (1993) describes as the recognition of being 'a living contradiction'. However, as explored in detail through the International Handbook of Self-study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices (Loughran et al., 2004), self-study must go beyond personal reflections of practice and begin to question theoretical underpinnings and illustrate rigour and systematic method in researching pedagogical concerns in order to add to the knowledge of teaching and learning about teaching. In so doing, the knowledge base of teacher education might then be both better recognized and valued through an articulation of a pedagogy of teacher education (e.g., see Russell & Korthagen, 1995; Loughran & Russell, 1997; Samaras, 2002). In this way teacher educators' attempts to challenge 'traditional' approaches to teacher education may be better documented so that the subsequent knowledge of more meaningful and appropriate forms of teaching about teaching might be available to others.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeacher Professional Development in Changing Conditions
EditorsDouwe Beijaard, Paulien C Meijer, Greta Morine-Dershimer, Harm Tillema
Place of PublicationDordrecht Netherland
PublisherSpringer
Pages27-41
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)1402037007, 9781402037009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

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