Learning to do, doing to learn: an exploration of teacher knowledge and learning through the narratives of trainees on a CELTA (Cambridge English Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course

Delaney, Jo-Ann (2015) Learning to do, doing to learn: an exploration of teacher knowledge and learning through the narratives of trainees on a CELTA (Cambridge English Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Abstract

It is a widely held view that theory and practice are the two core elements of a teacher’s knowledge. What is less defined is how the two interact during the process by which teachers learn to be teachers and whether a case should be made for one being more important than the other. Academics have sometimes queried the notion of practice being a part of knowledge because of the difficulty of quantifying it in a tangible manner. Instead knowledge constructs that are theory based are preferred. The practice of asking participants on a teacher education course to reflect critically on their classroom actions is often used to generate theoretical knowledge from the practical.

In my research I examine the nature of teacher knowledge from the perspective of participants on a teacher education course using interviews and email correspondence over the duration of the course and up to one year afterwards. I also explore the views of the researcher as teacher educator through a research artefact or scrapbook. From the data collected it seems that teachers undergo a continuous process of theory making from their practical experience and value this self-generated “practice theory” as the most important constituent of teacher knowledge. Their declarative knowledge is a way of acting in the classroom, but it goes beyond simple replication of actions they observe or are instructed to perform. A “practice theory” is constructed from moments of practice which are congruent with pre-formed views of teaching from their experience as learners and is validated by their personal constructs of success, including the response of their own learners.

In looking at how teachers gain this knowledge, this thesis questions the paradigm of co-operative social learning which is often assumed to exist on teacher education programmes. Data suggests that course participants act as individuals seeking to survive a difficult process and exhibit a loyalty to their peers which renders the learning relationship with tutors less benign than is often assumed. This in turn calls into question the acceptance of critical reflection as a key part of teacher learning. The thesis also examines processes which are common to teacher education programmes such as observation and structured practice, and proposes that learning teachers’ experience sometimes contradicts what is often assumed to be good practice.

The thesis highlights some considerations for teacher educators. It proposes an increased valuing of the practical and the existence of a practice theory, one that can provide knowledge constructs for teachers. In addition, it suggests a refocus for some activities on teacher education courses to make them more congruent with the real experiences of trainees.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education and training of teachers and administrators
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education and training of teachers and administrators > LB2165 Teacher training in universities and colleges
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0101 Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar
Divisions: Faculty of Education > School of Teacher Education and Development
Depositing User: Ms Jo-Ann Delaney
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2016 08:57
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2016 09:06
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/15043

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00