From Teacher Thinking to Teachers and Teaching: The Evolution of a Research Community: Volume 19


Table of contents

(39 chapters)

This volume, From Teacher Thinking to Teachers and Teaching: The Evolution of a Research Community, captures advances that have occurred in the thirty years that the International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) organization has been in existence (1983–2013). ISATT occupies an important place in educational history. It is the international birthplace of the paradigm shift that occurred in the field of education in the 1980s as well as the organization that helped transition the study of teacher thinking to the study of teachers and teaching in all of its complexities. ISATT, which began with a handful of members, now has a membership that hails from 45 countries. ISATT’s near-global representation shows how the organization’s reach has expanded over three decades.

The first part of this chapter addresses the history and development of the International Study Association of Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) and its engagement with the global educational community. We provide an account of the context and background against which ISATT developed as well as information about the founders’ orientations and the actions that led to ISATT’s birth. The second part of the chapter uses patterns of topic focus as graphic indicators of the evolution of ISATT’s research interests expressed through publication titles.

This chapter presents a personal account of ISATT from the perspective of the first elected chair of the organization. In this work, the 1980s backdrop against which ISATT came into being is instantiated. Further to this, a panoramic view of the literature is offered and an “oral history” approach is used. To end, an archival document – a selection read at the 1988 biennial conference held near Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, England – pays tribute to Rob Halkes, the person who, with the assistance of key others, birthed the international study association which is now globally known as ISATT.

In this chapter, the story of professional development of Barica Marentič Požarnik (Professor Emerita, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) is shared in an interview conducted by Barbara Šteh. Central to the story is the impact of her participation in ISATT together with other influences (organisations, projects, conferences, individual contacts) on her professional activities and beliefs. Through the telling, the Slovenian context, particularly in the areas of initial teacher education, continuous professional development, curricular reform and research practice, becomes visible. At the end, some remaining issues are revealed.

Teachers develop and use a special kind of knowledge. This knowledge is neither theoretical, in the sense of theories of learning, teaching, and curriculum, nor merely practical, in the sense of knowing children. If either of these were the essential ingredient of what teachers know, then it would be easy to see that others have a better knowledge of both; academics with better knowledge of the theoretical and parents and others with better knowledge of the practical. A teacher’s special knowledge is composed of both kinds of knowledge, blended by the personal background and characteristics of the teacher, and expressed by her in particular situations. The idea of “image” is one form of personal practical knowledge, the name given to this special practical knowledge of teachers (Clandinin, 1985; Connelly & Dienes, 1982). In this chapter I show how one teacher’s image of the “classroom as home” embodies her personal and professional experience and how, in turn, the image is expressed in her classroom practices and in her practices in her personal life. Using a variety of classroom episodes gathered over two years with two teachers, I offer a theoretical outline of the experiential dimensions of an image and, in so doing, present image as a knowledge term which resides at the nexus of the theoretical, the practical, the objective, and the subjective.

This chapter traces the development of teacher knowledge in the field of education from the 1970s onward. It pays attention to the conceptualizations of personal knowledge and personal practical knowledge and relates pedagogical content knowledge to the aforementioned concepts. It then moves on to the more expansive topic of teacher learning in community paying particular attention to dialogical and relational ways of knowing. The work covers intellectual ground that has been traveled and signals new areas where research is likely to be conducted.

This chapter briefly reviews the research related to the construct of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) over the past 25 years. Despite the remarkable implications of the PCK conceptualization, questions remain concerning the vagueness of the construct and the studies conducted on the PCK research line, questions which may lead to new developments in defining the nature of the conceptualization, its validity, and its utility. However, agreement exists concerning the need to portray specific cases of PCK of successful teaching. The work argues for a need to develop models of teacher learning and professional development that are subject matter specific. The chapter ends with a call for basing professional development on the conceptualization of PCK.

This chapter explains pedagogical content knowledge as a narrative way of knowing. It describes how narratives serve as a means of explaining that understanding to others. It discusses two San Francisco (California) high school teachers’ use of narrative in teaching. It concludes that, because teaching is like writing a story, understanding teaching is like interpreting a story.

This chapter traces the rise of narrative research as a method and form of inquiry in the field of education. While the work mainly focuses on the increased use of narrative in Finland, the fact of the matter is that the interpretative turn, which some call the narrative turn, has spread throughout the world and into almost every disciplinary area of study (medicine, law, religion, etc.). ISATT members internationally have played a key role in its development. The authors of this chapter claim that narrative not only instantiates people’s knowledge, experiences, and situations but also changes their lives. They aver that this constitutes the transformational power of narrative research and forms the essence of why it is being drawn in from the margins and gaining acceptance in mainstream discourse and society.

A review of publications in teaching and teacher education over 10 years (2000–2010) on teacher professional development is the subject of this chapter. The first part synthesises production referred to learning, facilitation and collaboration, factors influencing professional development, effectiveness of professional development and issues around the themes. The second part selects from the production nine articles for closer examination. The chapter concludes by noting how the production brings out the complexities of teacher professional learning and how research and development have taken cognizance of these factors and provided food for optimism about their effects, although not yet about their sustainability in time.

The studies considered in this review of research on teachers’ professional identity until 2004 can be divided into three categories: (a) studies in which the focus was on teachers’ professional identity formation; (b) studies in which the focus was on the identification of characteristics of teachers’ professional identity; and (c) studies in which professional identity was (re)presented by teachers’ stories. Four essential features of teachers’ professional identity could be derived from the studies. Many of the reviewed studies appeared to be studies on teachers’ personal practical knowledge. However, in only a few studies was the relationship between this knowledge and professional identity made explicit. It is argued that, in future research on teachers’ professional identity, more attention needs to be paid to the relationship between relevant concepts like “self” and “identity,” the role of the context in professional identity formation, what counts as “professional” in professional identity, and research perspectives other than the cognitive one that may also play a role in designing research on teachers’ professional identity.

This chapter provides a synthesis of the literature having to do with the moral matters of teaching. It is organized around three themes: (a) teacher’s professional ethics and values, (b) teacher’s moral sensitivity, action, and judgment, and (c) school ethos and community. Each theme is first dealt with separately. Then, the themes are related to one another to show the interconnectedness between and among them. Exemplars in this work are drawn from the authors’ and others’ substantial body of research conducted in Finland. The research findings, however, have an applicability that extends beyond national borders. The intent of this work is to stimulate discussion and to advance what is known about the moral nature of teaching through using a range of research methods and conducting studies in live school settings.

There are two central questions determining the pedagogy of teacher education: (a) What are the essential qualities of a good teacher; and (b) How can we help people to become good teachers? Our objective is not to present a definitive answer to these questions, but to discuss an umbrella model of levels of change that could serve as a framework for reflection and development. The model highlights relatively new areas of research, viz., teachers’ professional identity and mission. Appropriate teacher education interventions at the different levels of change are discussed, as well as implications for new directions in teacher education.

This chapter addresses the nature of reflective classroom practice in a Hong Kong setting where action research has been undertaken by both the student teachers and the teaching practice supervisor. It is based on a cross-case study of the processes through which student teachers learn to teach. Specifically, the analysis focuses on how student teachers reflect on their experiences in learning to teach. The data are based on student teachers’ reported thoughts about their learning over a period of 1 year. The results contribute to the understanding of reflective classroom practice by highlighting first, student teachers’ perceptions about learning to teach and second, their reviews on classroom practice. The discussion also adds to the literature on teacher development taken from the novice-expert research tradition. Accordingly, implications for curriculum development in teacher education are drawn.

Teacher education for the elementary level in Brazil is examined and the main problems school teachers and teacher educators face are discussed. Some current educational policies in Brazilian education are described and analysed.

The idea of reflective practice, a concept that is currently in vogue in educational circles, is taken up in this chapter. Having to do with training and research practices in the French community in Belgium, this chapter revolves around two major themes: an overview of training as approached in French-speaking Belgium and a summary of teaching and research issues addressed by researchers in this particular part of Europe. In the final analysis, important matters having to do with socialization and intelligibility and their relationship to reflective practice are probed. These considerations are of major significance to educators worldwide.

Over time, the orientation of educational leadership has changed as new paradigms have been introduced. These new paradigms have afforded increased insights into school milieus and actions and nonactions of teachers. The view of leadership that is currently in vogue connects acts of leading with acts of learning. According to this worldview, transformation occurs when students, teachers, and systems of education learn from experience in mutually beneficial ways. Strictly speaking, teachers are the true leaders of learning. As for school leaders, they facilitate student and teacher growth and take a reflective stance to issues at hand. In this scenario, school leaders as agents of change extend the reach of leading into the realm of leadership and learning.

In this chapter, the author, drawing on his extensive career as a researcher and teacher educator, examines variations in the work and lives of teachers and the educational backdrops with which they interact – what Ivor Goodson called the ‘genealogies of context’. His work develops Michael Huberman’s seminal research on the lives of secondary teachers and, in doing so, provides empirical evidence which challenges linear views of the development of teacher expertise and highlights the key roles of professional identity, commitment and school culture in career long effective and successful teaching.

The person of the teacher is an essential element in what constitutes professional teaching and therefore needs careful conceptualisation. In this chapter the author argues for this central thesis, presenting a wrap up of his theoretical and empirical work on the issue over the past decade. These studies have been inspired – both conceptually and methodologically – by teacher thinking-research as well as the narrative-biographical approach to teaching and teacher development. The result is an empirically grounded conceptual framework on teacher development and teacher professionalism. Central concepts are ‘professional self-understanding’ and ‘subjective educational theory’ as components of the personal interpretative framework every individual teacher develops throughout his/her career. This personal framework results from the reflective and meaningful interactions between the individual teacher and the social, cultural and structural working conditions constituting his/her job context(s). As such the framework is the dynamic outcome of an ongoing process of professional learning (development). Furthermore, it is argued that the particular professionalism or scholarship of teachers is fundamentally characterised by personal commitment and vulnerability, which eventually have consequences for the kind of reflective attitudes and skills professional teachers should master.

This chapter draws on a larger study on beginning teachers and on their experiences of becoming a teacher in unprecedented challenging circumstances in Portugal. The aim is to look at the ways in which changes in policy and school context, as well as in personal and professional context, impact teachers’ professional identity over time. Two beginning teachers’ accounts are used to illustrate the key influencing factors that have impacted the development of professional identities. Four main themes emerged: (a) the influence of context, both at a policy and social level and at a school level; (b) the importance of relationships in teaching, particularly with students and colleagues; (c) the emergence of inner tensions resulting from the mismatch between strong beliefs and reality; and (d) the role of emotions in (re)defining teachers’ practice of teaching and teachers’ identity development. The chapter concludes with the discussion of the findings and their implications.

This chapter explores the emotional struggles and professional dilemmas of teachers as they deal with the on going failure of their learners in a poorly resourced school serving a low socio-economic community in South Africa. The chapter illustrates the resilience of teachers who are torn between conflicting impulses: the desire for their learners to do well while simultaneously wanting learners’ failure to be acknowledged and the pressure to conform to curriculum demands while simultaneously wanting to teach and assess in ways that are more authentic to themselves and appropriate to the social context.

In this chapter, the author argues that only raising awareness about teaching techniques in short-term inservice teacher training programs is not sufficient. She calls for inclusion of practical guidance for systematic reflective practice that will help teachers become autonomous in the long term. As many developing countries are still deprived of formal teacher development faculty at educational institutions who can support teachers’ growth in-house, she suggests that inservice teacher training programs incorporate guidance for teacher reflection to assist practitioners’ ongoing learning when they return to their school settings.

This chapter links ideas about a key issue and a major factor in successful implementation of effective science education in Africa. It presents the Kenyan case as a prototypical African country. While located in the sub-Saharan region, Kenya shares similar national development plans and dreams as well as socio-economic conditions as most African countries. In this work, the current status of science education in Kenya [Africa] is explained, and a blueprint for successful science education relevant to any country in Africa is presented. This chapter argues for contextual and practical approaches to enhancing science teacher effectiveness. It is anticipated that discussions of this work will generate debate within and about science education in Africa and hopefully ignite cross border research on teachers and the teaching of science. Also, the question of quality science education in Africa and elsewhere will be raised locally and internationally.

This chapter is focused primarily on the detailed analysis of a segment of a single classroom exercise involving the use of a worksheet to reinforce the teaching of “surface area” by a seventh grade mathematics teacher and the classroom context in which the exercise occurred. The analysis examines traditional teaching and the engagement and respect for students’ own constructive capacities in relation to the individual teacher’s consciousness and motivation. The larger issue though is to better understand teaching as a unity in the person as a whole. How does the unity of connection to subject matter, deeper motivation for teaching, and care for student learning manifest in the classroom? This chapter looks at how one teacher goes about it.

The Chinese system of education is shifting from an examination orientation to a more creative approach in order to increase educational quality. The New Curriculum in China requires not only changes in content and form, but also sets higher expectations for teachers’ instructional strategies and quality course design. Against this policy backdrop, China developed and implemented the School-Based Instructional Research (SBIR) model to improve teachers’ professional knowledge and development. In this ISATT anniversary chapter, our discussion revolves around the theme of SBIR, including its origin, progression, process, elements, and methods. To end, we summarize the expectations and prospects for SBIR in the Chinese educational context.

This chapter examines the problem of teacher education as it unfolds in the Indian context. It focuses on the historical and cultural context in which teachers’ attitudes and identities develop. Attention is particularly paid to contextual factors that frame teachers’ actions beyond individual intentions. Possibilities for breaking these frames and engaging in new alternatives for action are imagined. An historical approach is employed to understand teachers’ current pedagogical beliefs and action, and its future orientation.

This chapter explores teachers, administrators, and subject area specialists collaborating in a nonthreatening environment leading to curriculum reform in India. It draws on teacher experiences that emerged from a 2007–2012 curriculum renewal project in the Nagaland Board of School Education. In order to illustrate the transformation, a case study about the growth of two teachers who participated in the curriculum development project is featured. This work takes into account the collaborative settings, the nature of teacher learning opportunities these settings provided, and the pace at which learning occurred for each of the two teachers. Though originally tried out in the context of an English language curriculum, the bottom-up approach of broad-based collaboration reform described herein may be relevant to other disciplines and other countries.

This chapter explores the idea of paradigm shifts and the changes that have taken place in the field of teaching and teacher education over the past four decades. The work unpacks how teachers, their practices, their professional development, and their education are conceived in the positivist and interpretive paradigms. The study of teaching and teacher education is likewise shaped by the ontological and epistemological underpinnings associated with different research methods and the paradigms with which they are associated. To demonstrate the influence of paradigms, this chapter concludes with a rich example of how the interpretive tradition has shaped a teacher education program in northern Finland.

Teacher education has long been criticized for having little apparent impact on practice. Despite the fact that the teacher education literature is replete with examples of alternative or restructured programs designed to better align teacher education practices with the anticipated demands and expectations of school teaching, principles of practice seem strangely absent. Principles of practice for teacher education programs must be at the heart of any attempt to construct a meaningful and relevant program that might realistically respond to the expectations, needs, and practices of student teachers. In this chapter, the authors develop a set of foundational principles based on teacher education programs in Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands, in order to initiate a renaissance of teacher education based on fundamental principles to guide the development of responsive teacher education programs that genuinely make a difference.

This chapter revolves around a decade of change and continuity in teacher education in one of the largest colleges in Israel. Through the action research method, field work collected over a decade was used to characterize how the particular School of Education transitioned from a craft orientation to a community of practice and then morphed to a collaborative community whose reach is continuing to unfurl. The work provides first-hand insights into the cyclical process of change and the conditions that prompt it. The live exemplar shows both sustainable and nonsustainable practices and how each, in its own way, contributes to “knotworking” within the organization and further fuels change efforts.

This chapter consists of two reflective accounts from Slovenia. Both accounts are connected with Barica Marentič Požarnik, who in Part I of this 30th anniversary volume directly linked her personal professional development to the International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) during its emergent years as an organisation. In this chapter in the fifth and closing section, Marentič Požarnik’s counterparts follow in the footsteps that their senior colleague and mentor planted and make tracks of their own. They crystallise how ISATT has affected their professional development and influenced their lines of research as they - and ISATT - press towards the future.

In this chapter, the relationship between self and community is addressed through inquiring into the impact of the International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) on the professional learning, teaching, and research of members specifically in the Asia-Pacific region. The authors employ qualitative methods, primarily self-study and narrative inquiry, and use descriptive statistics derived from survey responses to support their claims. The work not only speaks to ISATT’s significant shaping effects but also to historical and contemporary challenges the organization faces as it moves toward the future.

This chapter draws extensively on the keynote speech delivered by António Nóvoa, Rector of the University of Lisbon, at the fifteenth biennial ISATT conference held in Braga, Portugal, in 2011. Nóvoa’s talking points frame this reflective response. Like António Nóvoa, the author probes the meaning of the phrase, back to the future, as the increasingly global world presses forward in time and ISATT as a professional organization celebrates its thirtieth anniversary. The reflective work links the researcher’s life experiences with those of his daughter and students and weaves in understandings he has gleaned from other sessions and scholars who also helped to shape the contours of his knowing at his first ISATT meeting.

Beatrice Avalos, Ph.D., is associate researcher at the Centre for Advanced Research in Education, University of Chile. She has journal and book publications on teacher education, educational policy in developing countries and gender issues focussed particularly on Chile and Latin America. She has worked and taught in universities in Chile, Britain, Canada and Papua New Guinea, and carried out consultancy work in Bangladesh and several Latin American countries on issues related to school improvement, teacher professional development and teacher initial education.

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Advances in Research on Teaching
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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