Knowing practice in English teaching? Research challenges in representing the professional practice of English teachers

Brenton Doecke, Bill Green, Alex Kostogris, Jo-Anne Reid, Wayne Sawyer

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Abstract

This article problematises representations of professional practice. It investigates assumptions behind received accounts of professional practice, including professional standards that purportedly capture what accomplished English teachers "should know and be able to do", "scientific" studies that construct accounts of classrooms from the standpoint of academic researchers, and narratives written by teachers that claim to explore dimensions of classroom teaching that elude outside observers. Especially significant are attempts by practitioner researchers to develop accounts of their professional practice vis-a-vis constructions of their work from other standpoints. We argue that it is timely for practitioner researchers to reflexively examine the conditions for producing such accounts, and to address the question of the validity of their knowledge claims. Yet this is also - crucially - more than a epistemological issue, but one that requires acknowledging the primacy of practice for engaging with the complexities of classroom settings. This article gives an account of our ongoing efforts to develop forms of representation that might begin to do justice to the complexities of practice in comparison with accepted accounts of what English teachers know and do. We intend it to be read as a position paper which outlines a framwork for research on English teaching as a dynamic culture practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-21
Number of pages18
JournalEnglish Teaching
Volume6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

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