Internship Possibilities in Teacher
Education: An Interpretive Exploration of the Action Research Pathway
By David W. Friesen
SSTA Research Centre Report #93-03: 58 pages, $14.
|Introduction||The literature is an attempt to show that an inquiry orientation toward professional development, becoming a teacher, teacher evaluation, and supervision presents a new paradigm for teacher education.|
|Professional Development: Inquiry into Practice|
|Learning Teaching: The Struggle to Create a Teacher Voice|
|Evaluation and Supervision: Problematizing Teaching|
|Action Research: An Inquiring Way of Being|
|Toward the Possibility of Inquiry-Oriented Teacher Education|
|An Excursion into Hermeneutics|
|Conversation: Pursuing the Question|
|Exploring the Action Research Pathway|
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This interpretive study attempted to discover how participants experience an inquiry-oriented undergraduate internship. Action research was used to structure the internship for collaborative inquiry. The study was accomplished by nurturing a number of collaborative action research projects involving cooperative teachers, interns, and the faculty advisor, engaging in an extended conversation with the participants, identifying practices that appeared to present new possibilities as the projects unfolded, and developing compelling themes through reflection to express new meanings for these possibilities.
The literature review is an attempt to show that an inquiry orientation toward professional development, becoming a teacher, teacher evaluation, and supervision presents a new paradigm for teacher education.
Experiences from the internship were portrayed in six reconstructed accounts each followed by interpretative reflective themes. Together these constitute a constellation of standpoints from which to examine action research. This constellation forms a "picture of possibilities" that break through the common problems of internship.- the difficulty of forming community, the absence of the collaborative interpretation of practice, the persuasiveness of technical as opposed to reflective oriented supervisory practices, the strong socialization of the intern to conventional teaching practices, and the lack of emphasis on interns developing an attunement to the "other" -their pupils.
Six possibilities provide new perspectives on these perennial problems of internship practice. Action research is portrayed as capable of providing a space in which to develop a community of collaborative learners, to understand pedagogy through the interpretation of practice, to practice supervision as conversation, to establish nonhierarchical pedagogical relationships, to thoughtfully explore progressive teaching practices, and to facilitate an attunement to pupils. The action research standpoints allows new insights to come to the foreground.
A hermeneutic perspective was employed, not to explain, predict or control, but to excavate meaning that participants make of their experiences with action research. The interpretive theory of Hans-Georg Gadamer, which focuses on developing understanding, provided a conceptual framework for hermeneutic inquiry. Conversational interviews were used to encourage participants to reflect on their experiences with the action research projects. From the interviews six accounts were reconstructed. Each account reveals several themes which were written to express new insights concerning action research.
This study will provide new insights to teacher educators exploring inquiry-oriented field experiences. The possibilities portrayed for action research will be appreciated by those who are interested in its claims. It will also be of interest to researchers oriented toward interpretative studies in education.
A Question Emerging From Practice
The study is an attempt to discover the meaning that an inquiry-oriented internship holds for the participants as the internship shifts from the traditional focus on the performance of the intern, to collaborative inquiry into teaching by the triad. It is an attempt to discover if action research is capable of creating the space for the emergence of new understandings and practices to evolve in which each member of the triad, not only the intern, experiences professional learning during the internship.
Student teaching has consistently been accused of promoting strong socialization of the student teacher to the status quo of schools and classrooms rather than promoting change. As well, few faculty advisors report that working with student teachers contributes to their own professional development. Because of the differing perspectives including the student teacher's intention to obtain the best possible evaluation for employment purposes, the cooperating teacher's desire to acquaint the neophyte to the "real world" of professional practice, and the faculty advisor's preoccupation with getting educational theory implemented into practice, the triad of student teaching is often a place of conflict rather than collaboration. This study is an attempt to build a learning community - an educative community - in which the participants learn teaching together by engaging in action research projects.
The following question guides this inquiry. "What possibilities emerge from an inquiry-oriented internship structured by action research, and what meaning do these have for the participants?" The question is particularly interested in what new understanding p of internship practice is action research capable of revealing. These practices include building community, understanding pedagogical tensions of teaching, reconceptualizing supervision, developing pedagogical relationships in the triad, implementing change in teaching practices, and fostering the relationship of interns to the "other" - their pupils. Each of these practices is explored to reveal new possibilities for the internship.
Making Sense of the Teacher Education Literature: Presence to Possibility
Educational work reflects a set of connected (and relative) trends, from a law-seeking to an interpretive aspiration in inquiry; from a concern for universal principle to a concern for particular relationships; from the positivist stance of an observer on the scene to the pragmatic stance of the actor in the situation; from authoritative transmission to mutual exploration of knowledge; from conditioned behavior to meaningful action as a model for teaching and learning; from a cooler appraisal of teaching as knowledge and technique to a more passionate consideration of teaching as moral agency; from vision as a metaphor for knowledge to speech as the literal means for constructing meaning; and from lecture to conversation as the mode of interaction between professors and teachers. (Sykes and Bird, 1992, p. 465)
This rather lengthy quotation captures two paradigmatic discourses of teacher education, the normative and the dialogical (Britzman, 1991, p. 239). The normative has been privileged until the recent emergence of a dialogical view taking contingency into account, and attending to "changing ourselves and transforming our circumstances" (p. 239).
In my search for understanding field experience, I am drawn to the literature concerning professional development, learning teaching, supervision and evaluation, action research, and inquiry-oriented teacher education. This chapter develops an interpretation of the thinking in each of these areas which shows a departure from the traditional paradigm. It is not a "review of the literature" in the usual sense. Rather, in the spirit of pragmatic research, I look to the possibility of desired consequences for new thinking in each of these areas. The literature is read as z search for opportunities to promote what I believe to be the "good" for teacher education - collaborative inquiry, educative community, and "other" centeredness.
The title of this chapter expresses the kernel of my interpretation of the literature. The "presencing" of a normative discourse is gradually giving way to a dialogical discourse as a new possibility for teacher education. In this review, I develop this thesis in the areas reviewed.
Table of Contents
How can student teachers become life-long learners? Is it possible to reconceptualize this process as beginning in preservice teacher education and extending into the induction year and beyond? The literature on professional development shows a shift toward a different paradigm which values mare meaningful interactions between preservice and inservice. theory and practice, and university and schools.
In response to calls for reform in education, there has been a recent preoccupation with the technical conception of teaching manifested in the "overregulation" of teacher behavior, prescriptions for effective teaching, the "overstandardization" of curriculum, and "measurement driven instruction" (Zumwalt, 1988, p.149). These efforts, have led to further devaluation of the work of teachers as increasingly reflected in poor status and remuneration (Feiman-Nemser R Floden, 1986).
The prevailing conventional paradigm of learning teaching, rooted in a technical, prescriptive approach, must be open to question if future teachers are to address the lack of confidence in the profession, resist the move toward more technical models. and arrest further devaluation of teaching. Deficit models of professional development originating in preservice and extending into inservice teacher education perpetuate an image of teacher-as-technician, an uncritical and subservient implementor of prescriptive curriculum. A constructivist paradigm of learning teaching, on the other hand, promotes images of the teacher-as, -intellectual, -researcher, -inquirer, and - curriculum planner (Connelly k Clandinin, 1988).
Why should this paradigm shift appeal to teachers? Macdonald (1988) suggests that the fundamental human quest is the search for meaning and the basic human capacity for this search is experienced in the hermeneutic process, the process of interpretation of the text (whether artifact, natural world, or human action). This is the search (or research) for greater understanding that motivates and satisfies us. (p. 105)
Professional development in a constructivist paradigm, it seems, promotes the predisposition toward inquiry into and interpretation of educational situations. This orientation stands in opposition to the traditional deficit orientation, which marginalizes the quest for understanding.
Lieberman and Miller (1990) very nicely describe the notion of professional development that searches for understanding as "continuous inquiry into practice" (p. 107).
In this construction of professional development we see the teacher as a "reflective practitioner," someone who has a tacit knowledge base and who then builds on that knowledge base through ongoing inq[uiry and analysis, continually rethinking and reevaluating values and practices. Teacher development is not only the renewal of teaching, but it is also the renewal of schools - in effect, culture building. (p. 107)
Professional development as inquiry into practice involves learning from teaching as opposed to learning to teach (Zumwalt, 1988). This approach privileges teachers as "the primary knowledge generators of the profession" (Lambert, 1988, p. 667); professional development and teacher research are closely woven in this "systematic and intentional inquiry carried out by teachers" (Cochran-Smith, 1990, p. 2).
The new paradigm of professional development for teachers recognizes that the interests of others are being served when teachers are the targets of "applied approaches."
Rather than engaging in rational processes of resolving problems by choosing from available "received" knowledge, teachers are raising questions about the relevance of such "applied" approaches, and whose interests are being served by it anyway. Practitioner-generated knowledge that is embedded in and emerges out of action, is coming to be seen increasingly as the basis for a new and emerging paradigm in teaching. (Smyth, 1991, p. 333)
This view of professional development has at its center, the purpose of increasing to some extent "choice, authority, and responsibility" in exercising teaching duties (Lambert, 1988, p. 666). Learning from teaching is the antithesis of popular forms of staff development that have "colluded with the forces that would continue the colonization of teachers" (p. 666). In the process of inquiring into their practice, teachers determine the focus of reflection and action.
The teacher-as-researcher image requires frameworks to facilitate inquiry into practice. These frameworks range from collaborative research by university researchers focusing on teachers' understandings of their practice (Lieherman, 1986), to collaborative action research which also seeks to improve as well as increase understanding of practice (Oja, 1989). Practitioners who inquire into their practice need to view curriculum as problematic and therefore open to inquiry. They also require knowledge of processes such as collecting and analyzing data needed to conduct inquiry (Tickle, 1987, p. 43). These frameworks and the required processes should perhaps he developed in preservice education if they are to be functional in subsequent practice.
Meaningful professional development requires a supportive culture. One particular conception for such a culture is that of an "educative community" of practitioners engaged in dialogic learning (Bullough & Gitlin, 1989; 1991). Studies verify the importance of informal collegial interaction as one of the most important aspects of professional development (Holly, 1989). Holly makes the point that "teachers view colleagues as a valuable resource drawing heavily on them for ideas, techniques, support, and inspiration" (p. 196). Lieherman and Miller (1990) emphasize "networks, collaborations, and coalitions" (p. 115) as crucial to providing support to practitioners examining their practice.
Can a constructivist approach to professional development address the problem of teacher resistance to changes in teaching practices? Gitlin (1990a) provides a model for change which appears to be compatible to professional development as inquiry into practice. He compares an evolving "productive model" to the traditional "consumptive model of change" (p. 538). Consistent with the notions of the conventional or normative paradigm of professional development, the consumptive model introduces "new practices and structures without giving consideration to the way teachers and others understand schooling" (p. 538). It ignores the vast knowledge base teachers bring to any reform attempt. The productive model on the other hand. utilizes practitioner knowledge. "New structures and teaching methods are not thrown at practitioners but rather emerge from and take into consideration teachers' ever developing understanding of schooling" (p. 538). Student teachers require experiences in which they come to understand the need for change as a result of inquiry into their own practice. This will presumably motivate them to search our relevant and meaningful alternatives to taken-for-granted practices.
What significance does this constructivist conceptualization of professional development have for teacher education? Understanding and articulating the process as teacher directed, sustained by inquiry into practice, reflective, and dialogical, demands a change in the common approach to preservice teacher education. A reorientation from the preoccupation with prescriptive theory, to include a process of inquiry into teaching practice as life-long professional learning, seems necessary if change in the form of the continuous development of constructions about teaching and learning is to occur. Student teachers learning teaching in this manner would experience,
particularly during field experiences, the role of teacher-as-researcher, producers as well as consumers of professional knowledge.
Table of Contents
What does it mean to learn teaching, not just the "how" which deals primarily with technical means, but also the "why" which deals with the moral aspects and purposes? The call to reform in education has renewed interest in the reconceptualization of teacher education. A fresh examination of the myth that students learn solely by "gaining experience" in the field experience opens up new understandings of what it means to learn teaching.
Beyond Personal Myths: Constructing teacher Identity
Teacher education programs have, for some time, used a vocational model which "poses the process of becoming a teacher as no more than an adaptation to the expectations and directions of others and the acquisition of predetermined skills - both of which are largely accomplished through imitation, recitation, and assimilation" Britzman, 1991, p. 29). Knowledge is conceived of as an entity to be transferred to student teachers who are viewed as empty receptacles. This form of functional socialization has been described by a number of researchers as commonplace in teacher education, serving the interests of cultural transmission and social reproduction. Recently, deeper understandings of the persistent problem of teacher socialization have begun to emerge in the literature.
A common observation of beginning student teachers is than they bring into the program "some general conceptions of the teacher's task" (Calderhead, 1988, p. 52), a result of their long apprenticeship as students in schools. Teacher education programs find it difficult to deconstruct these conceptions which have a marked effect on the student teacher's classroom practice, which over time, becomes increasingly conservative and custodial. Calderhead suggests that these conceptions of teaching which accompany the student teacher might explain the "unquestioning confidence" some students exhibit and the view of teaching as "an extended form of parenting" (p. 52). Teaching is perceived as easy. Common conceptions or images students possess are those of guide, friend, and confidant which are usually derived from memories of good teachers. Images of teaching represent not only knowledge about teaching, but also "act as models for action" (Calderhead k. Robson. 1991, p. 3).
Britzman (19863 refers to these preconceived conceptions about teaching as "cultural myths." Basically, her thesis is that "the underlying values which coalesce in one's institutional biography" need to be examined, otherwise, the cultural myths will "propel the cultural reproduction of authoritarian teaching practices and naturalize the contexts which generate such a cycle" (p. 443).
Unfortunately these conceptions about teaching are misconceptions because they have been "simplified to mere classroom performance" (p. 446) or the means of teaching. Students do not enter into the teachers' deliberations about purposes or ends since these do not appear in overt behavior. This utilitarian stance, which dwells on the technical aspects of teaching, maintains the status quo with its emphasis on certainty, control, and individualism.
Three myths are identified. First, everything depends on the teacher. This myth reinforces teacher control - "instilling knowledge" (p. 444). Second. the teacher is an expert, which reinforces the notion of certainty - knowledge residing in textbooks. Third. teachers are self-made, which discounts their professional training - teaching is learned by experience. An apparent effect of these myths is to "valorize the individual and make inconsequential the institutional constraints which frame the teacher's work" (p. 448). As part of the social context, according to Britzman, the biography of the student teacher needs to be uncovered to explore the common myths.
In a study which takes into account the student's role in the socialization process, Crow (1986) found that "first hand experience in the field, without preparatory skill development or follow-up reflection and analysis, was almost the exclusive instructional strategy for novices to learn the teaching profession" (p. 21). Trial and error learning in the field appears to be a common way of learning to teach. Referring to personal perspectives as "an established perception of the ideal and average teacher" which arises out of previous school experiences, Crow notes that a teacher role identity establishes a filter through which university theory and classroom practice are interpreted. This filterning process, mediated through the teacher role identity, establishes the context of socialization for the students, enabling them to put up with the teacher education pogrom. Teacher education programs must foster reflection on the teacher role if students are to develop a teacher identity which is able to transcend their past experiences.
The literature on general teacher conceptions, images, identity, and myths, particularly reveals the belief by student teachers that the best way to learn teaching is by experience. What the work cited above reveals, is that experience generally reinforces the perspectives student teachers already have before they enter teacher education. Theory is therefore devalued and practice glorified. Teachers discount their professional training at the university and rate the field experiences as most significant in learning to reach. However, as Britzman (1986) notes, experience should be a means of understanding the work of the teacher, nor an end.
Calderhead (1988) provides some insight into this dilemma. Experience, he hypothesizes, is structured by a set of mediating metacognitive processes needed in "thinking about, evaluating, structuring, comparing and developing images of practice for particular individuals, situations and contexts" (p. 57). He suggests than the professional learning process consists of metacognitive processes such as "abstraction, comparison, analysis, and evaluation" (p. 60) operating on the
various images or on the various knowledge bases in order to produce useful practical knowledge. Metacognitive skills may also be necessary in the process of analysis and evaluation of a student's teaching through the comparison of different images of practice, comparing one's performance to an ideal, or considering "the appropriateness of particular activities or how one's teaching compares with particular teaching principles" (p. 61).
Calderhead speculates that a further "organizing structure" over the metacognitive skills might be the "conception that students have of the process of learning to teach" which could influence the "type and extent of metacognitive skills that are employed" (p. 61). For example, if the student believes that prescriptive teaching skills without any form of analysis constitutes how one learns to teach, they may well employ them in inappropriate situations. He claims that students need to know what conception of learning to teach is being used in a teacher education program. This suggests that if field experience is to go beyond "experience," it should provide the acquisition and use of the metacognitive skills within an explicit conceptual framework of learning to teach.
Although learning teaching obviously involves the acquisition of the various knowledge e bases, it more importantly involves the construction of a teaching identify which is able to manipulate the various knowledge bases in different contexts. Britzman (1991) envisages learning teaching as the formation of the subjectivity's of student teachers which develop through experiencing and interpreting contradictory realities of teaching. These include knowing and being, thought and action, theory and practice, knowledge and experience, technical and existential, and objective and subjective. Positioned in a dialogic relationship, these realities change through social interaction. What Britzman is advocating in this dialogical view of learning teaching is that
teaching must be situated in relationship to one's biography, present circumstances, deep commitments, affective investments, social context, and conflicting discourses about what it means to learn to become z teacher. With the dialogic understanding, teaching can be reconceptualized as a struggle for voice and discursive practices amidst a cacophony of past and present voices, lived experiences, and available practices. The tensions among what has preceded what is confronted. and what one desires shape the contradictory realities of learning to teach. (p. E)
Learning teaching, according to this view, involves an interactive dialogical process between the subjectivity of the student and the contradictory realities of teaching. It is a social process which allows the teacher to find voice in the process of becoming a teacher. It is "an idiosyncratic process" (Bullough, 1991, p. 48) reflecting differences in biography, personality, conceptions of teaching, and context.
In a study focusing on the emergence of teachers, Bulloug h, Knowles, and Crow (1992) portray learning to reach as a quest to find a comfortable place in teaching through the negotiation of meanings and relationships. The process of "fitting in" as they call it, is "inherently conservative and conformist in nature, although there is always a degree of 'wiggle room'" (p. 179). They see the role of teacher education as helping student teachers negotiate "institutionally productive and personally satisfying teaching roles" (p. 187) through the use of biography, metaphor analysis (Bullough, 1991), classroom ethnography, and action research.
Learning to teach has taken on new meaning from the recent proliferation of naturalistic studies. It appears to be a process highly influenced by the subjectivity of the student teacher and by the context The suggestion that it is a constructivist process from which a teacher identity emerges implies that finding a teacher voice relies less on learning prescriptive techniques, than on developing an inquiry orientation toward biography and context. Teacher education which responds to this new path is more likely to devise ways to help students become aware of the conflicting realities of teaching and to help them negotiate a place in which their voice can be heard. The process of becoming a teacher, rather than the adoption of a prescriptive identity, seems to be a process whereby student teachers find a teacher voice by recreating "institutionalized teacher roles in their own image" (Bullough, Knowles, & Crow, 1992, p. 12).
Reflective Practice Beyond Technical Rationality
For almost a decade the focus on educating the reflective practitioner has captivated the imagination of teacher educators. Just as the reconceptualization of the field of curriculum was a reaction to the technical Tylerian approach Pinar, 1988), the overwhelming acceptance of the notion of reflective teaching is a reaction to an increasingly strong orientation of policy makers in education toward a prescriptive view of curriculum and a technical view of teaching. Teacher education aimed at developing the reflective practitioner has at its core a fundamental commitment to the professionalization of teachers. This approach values education "as a process in which inquiry, judgment, questioning, and discovery lead to the personal development of individuals" (Tickle, 1989).
Reflectivity in teacher education has been categorized by three orientations (Bullough @ Gitlin. 1989) that result in particular forms of action. These are the technical orientation reflected in the work of Cruikshank, the critical stance found in the work of Zeichner and Liston, and the interpretive approach of Carson (1990a). Smyth (1989) reminds us that our conceptualization of teaching "whether a set of neutral, value-free technical acts, or as a set of ethical, moral. and political imperatives holds important implications for the kind of reflective stances we adopt" (p.
A critically reflective position subscribes to a view of the professional as including "an expanded role for teachers: more discretion and autonomy in their classroom role, and a larger role in activities beyond the classroom, such as developing curriculum and determining school policies which have an impact in the implicit and explicit curriculum" (Zumwalt, 1989, p. 182). This perspective has been overshadowed by the technical reflection, which maintains a decidedly training orientation characterized by prescriptive practices for the purposes of making instruction more efficient.
The interpretive reflective approach envisages the process as "a form of interpretation" which is the "focus of the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics" (Henderson, 1988, p. 13). This perspective has shifted attention to the philosophical concerns of epistemology and ontology. Tom (1985), as an example, in his conception of teaching as a "moral craft," attempts to construct a view of teaching that moves beyond the applied science view of teaching to a consideration of the alternative purposes of teaching.
An essential characteristic of reflection, evident in the proliferating literature on the subject, is the questioning stance facilitated through the process of inquiry. Distinguishing between "learning-for-coping" and "learning-for-
teaching" (p. 101), Tickle (1989) argues that the "interrelationship between the academic, professional and practical elements hinges on using the classroom as the focus of study for professional development" (p. 106). The attention to the investigation of classroom practices by teachers, he claims, leads to judgments about changing practices. This development of the ability to appraise oneself produces professional growth. Lieberman and Miller's (1990) image of the reflective practitioner is one who values "continuous inquiry into practice" (p. 107). Proposals for reflective teacher education programs, not surprisingly, are often framed within an inquiry approach.
Collaborative action research is becoming a popular framework to structure inquiry-oriented teacher education (Clift, Veal, Johnson, k Holland, 1990; Tickle, 1987; Ross, 1990; Noffke 8c Brennan, 1991). Inquiry, within this framework, is not solely for purposes of finding meaning in classroom practice, but is also a way to change practices. A view of knowledge as socially constructed, tentative, and therefore open to scrutiny and change underlies the inquiry approach.
Noffke and Brennan (1988) point out that the language of reflection, though in opposition to technicity, has an agenda of its own. Sensing a harmful discounting of the technical and practical aspects of the world of the teacher in this language, they suggest that a better understanding of the teacher's practical world and the ways in which teachers make ethical and moral choices is needed This approach suggests a possible integration of the three forms of reflection rather than a hierarchy which treats the technical insignificantly.
Carson (1990b) elaborates further on the problematic aspect of the discourse of reflection. He suggests that the "uncertainties of the historical moment in which teachers are now being educated" (p. 2) should question the privilege given to the language of reflection over other marginalized discourse, the voices of teachers and student teachers. Carson, in writing about the two opposition discourses of technicism and reflection, states that teacher educators "remain caught within the web of two alternative discourses, both of which speak in some sense to teacher education, but neither of which hears the voice of teaching" (p. 12). In breaking down the binary opposition, he envisages room for both discourses thereby living "in the tension of vulnerability and competence" (p. 15). Carson concludes that:
Reflectivity in teacher education means that we hope that students will be becoming aware of themselves becoming teachers. As they record and recall the difficulty of becoming teachers, they come to accept that there are many roads than the journey might take and the journey is never over. As teacher educators we have a responsibility to sustain students in their difficulty by encouraging their conversations and by helping to build within our classrooms the contexts that will support them. (p. 15)
Reflection on teaching experiences takes place in the practical world of the teacher. An experiential orientation to learning teaching holds premise for teacher education. Reflection on practice from different perspectives should promote integration of the technical, interpretive, and critical perspectives.
Developing Personal Practical Knowledge From Practice
A teacher educator's epistemology is crucial in that the "conception of knowledge can promote a view of the teacher as either technician or intellectual, and the extent to which values are rendered explicit can either inhibit or encourage a more critical pedagogy" (Britzman, 1986, p. 444). A logistical view of theory and practice (Butt, Townsend, Bc Raymond, 1990, p. 255) permeates courses in teacher education presenting theory as truth and denying both the social construction of reality and the subjectivity of the students. Theory is perceived as separate from and superior to experience. This perpetuates a traditional view of knowledge as objective, static, and derived from authorities, ensuring the maintenance of present structures and interests in schools. This technological view of knowledge treats prepositional knowledge as privileged and nonproblematic, usually in the form of "putting into practice of research findings" (Grimmett, Mackinnon, Erickson, & Riecken, 1990, p. 23).
Prescriptive theoretical knowledge about teaching frames a particular discourse that negates problematic aspects of teaching. Learners consume knowledge rather than critically identifying and examining the privileged discourse. Pedagogy becomes dichotomized focusing on knowledge transmission and not on the learner's understanding. Consequently, getting through the text takes precedence over the construction of knowledge. In the process, authorship of learning is lost.
Another mode of knowing, termed deliberate (Grimmert et al., 1990, p. 25), understands the relationship between theory and practice to be dialectical, treating "theory and practice as different but equal aspects of the same phenomena. each being capable of informing the other" (Butt et al, 1990, p. 255). Competing views of teaching are considered by the practitioner in light of the context of practice. knowledge is authority-oriented. informing rather than directing practice.
Finally, a problematic view of knowledge "holds the practical problem in a specific context as the focus for deriving both situation-specific theory and practical action" (p. 256). Since knowledge is subjectively constructed and personal, a compatible pedagogy aims at making tentative knowledge explicit and useful to the learner. As knowledge is reconstructed, the learner functions as a generator of knowledge. Smyth (1989) sees the distinction between receiving knowledge and creating knowledge as Friere's "distinction between the pedagogy of the question and the pedagogy of the answer" (p. 226). The form of knowledge generated is personal in nature and therefore useful in transforming practice.
This latter view of knowledge, increasingly prevalent in the literature in teacher education, is often referred to as "personal practical knowledge" (Connelly & Clandinin, 1988), or "craft knowledge" (Grimmett k. MacKinnon, 1992), which is "time bound and situation specific, personally compelling and oriented toward action" (Feiman-Nemser Ec Floden, 1986, p. 512). Because of its complexity, some researchers view it as organized nonlinearly according to rules of practice, practical principles, and images (Elbaz, 1991). It is an "embodied" (p. 12) integrated knowledge which is "simultaneously emotional, evaluative, and cognitive" (p. 13), permeated with personal meaning. Personal practical knowledge is contextual and therefore useful to the teacher's practice, interactive in that it is developed in the teacher's practice, and speculative in that it is subject to change (Clark & Lampert, 1986).
Narrative and biographical forms of research are emerging to uncover teachers' thinking about teaching. "More and more often researchers seem to be telling stories about teaching" (Elbaz, 1991, p. 1). As an alternate form of knowledge representation, the teachers' story is able to most adequately present teachers' knowledge because "the story is the very stuff of teaching" (p. 3). Elbaz goes on to emphasize this point.
This is not merely a claim about the aesthetic or emotional sense of fit of the notion of story with our intuitive understanding of teaching, but an epistemological claim that teachers' knowledge in its own terms is ordered by story and can best be understood in this way. This constitutes an important conceptual shift in the way teachers' knowledge can be conceived and studied. (p. 3)
This emerging view of knowledge in teacher education requires that theory as presented in the preservice program be treated as problematic, and that the cultural, social, political, and economic forces shaping various discourses be examining Theory, rather than construed as imposed, superior, and separated from practice, gives way to knowledge as constructed by those who practice. The practice of theorizing teaching is returned to the lived world of the teacher.
A number of knowledge bases have been proposed as necessary for the practicing teacher. Goodlad (1990) identifies "knowledge of a nation's government and its expectations for citizens, "intellectual tools to participate broadly in the human conversation," "pedagogical knowledge and skills necessary to arrange optimal conditions for educating the young," knowledge e of "the commonplaces of schooling" such as pupils, goals, organization, evaluation, curriculum, instruction, and "promising alternatives" (p. 186). Shulman (1987) identifies a similar set of knowledge bases. However, these are not readily translated into classroom action. For example Calderhead (1988) notes that the "translation of subject matter knowledge into practice requires interaction between this knowledge and other knowledge such as that concerning children or teaching strategies. And it seems likely these transactions are highly complex" (p. 58).
The knowledge bases as outlined by Goodlad, Shulman and others should not become prescriptive decontextualized content in preservice programs. Teacher educators need to allow for the interaction of students' personal practical knowledge and the knowledge bases in the real world of teacher practice.
Student Teaching. A Space for Creating Teacher Voice
The literature on student teaching is replete with the shortcomings of this widespread practice
(Guyton and McIntyre, 1990). Its propensity to cut off the dialogue between theory and practice,
thereby reproducing the status quo through socialization of the student teacher, has been the major
criticism hurled of field experiences (Zeichner, 1984). Because schools are portrayed as
conservative and very resistant to change, student teachers predominantly spend time gaining
experience in the classroom rather than inquiring into teaching. The lack of agreement concerning
participant roles in student teaching reinforces division rather than collaboration. The focus of the
experience tends to be on the performance of the student teacher, especially in the area of pupil
Student teaching is also criticized for "lacking a theoretical and conceptual framework" (Guyton
k McIntyre, 1990, p. 515). It seems that the function of field experiences to control entry into the
profession is prevalent in field programs. Even though cooperating teachers do the vast majority
of the work with student teachers, faculty advisors tend to control the evaluation of the student.
All of these shortcomings suggest the need to reconceptualize field experiences. Students in
education, in spite of the problems, consider the experience to have the most significant influence
on their development as teachers (Miklos L Greene, 1987).
Perhaps it is time to look at the internship in ways that are congruent to more recent
understandings about professional development, learning to teach, and the relationship between
theory and practice. It seems that the process of professional development as curriculum inquiry
should begin in preservice if students are to develop an approach to professional learning which
will extend career-long. Faculty advisors should provide support and assistance with investigative
techniques allowing students and cooperating teachers to conduct inquiry into practice.
Although the literature on student teaching fails to identify work with students as professional development for cooperating teachers, a recent study of an internship in Western Canada reported that ninety-six percent of cooperating teachers surveyed indicated that working with an intern had an impact on their professional development (Tymchak, 1988). As an informal and voluntary activity, working with student teachers fosters the interaction of cooperating teachers with colleagues, the time to visit other classrooms in order to obtain ideas, and an opportunity to focus on the classroom as an observer.
The strategic position of a school-based internship as part of the undergraduate program, preceding induction into the profession, seems to suggest a most useful place to establish new patterns of professional development with the student teaching triad.
From the preceding discussion, it appears than learning teaching requires an environment of practice in which inquiry into and dialogue about practice is the "conception that students have of the process of learning to teach" (Calderhead,1988, p. 61). This process fosters the development of personal practical knowledge required to manipulate the various knowledge bases. A teacher identity is constructed based on inquiry into practice and exploration of personal biography rather than on preconceived myths affirmed and insued through mindless practice. Dialogue that questions the prevailing discourse of knowledge and of the social institution, creates possibilities for a critical pedagogy.
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The ongoing debate over the merits and methods of teacher evaluation continues to rage into the nineties. a rather substantial focus in education, repeatedly demonstrating its capability of polarizing educators and the public. At the heart of the debate ate conflicting beliefs about teacher autonomy and public control and their relation to the quality of education. As Gitlin and Smyth (1989) state it
The struggle is between two paradigms - on the one hand, a process of control and surveillance exercised through hierarchical and bureaucratic means, and on the other, a process of creating educative relationships in which teachers, students, and parents can develop the space within which to create self-knowledge. Among other things, the contrast is between the managerial relations of inspection, domination and equality control, versus the educative relations of collegiality, reflection and empowerment. (p. 42)
Some tension is probably healthy as long as teachers are in a position to enter into the debate. However, it may be that technically-oriented teacher education, so popular during the past few decades, does much to prepare teachers for evaluation which is externally controlled, instrumentally-oriented, and certainly deprofessionalizing if not dehumanizing. How should supervision and evaluation be carried out in the internship in order to prepare teachers to engage in a more collegial form of evaluation?
The Preservice/Inservice Dichotomy
The purposes of preservice teacher education have, for the most part, been treated as distinct from inservice teacher education. Preservice has traditionally existed to maintain professional standards by presumably fully preparing teachers for licensing, and for the "rigorous application of standards of practice" (Bernier L McClelland, 1989, p. 20). It does this by providing them with the knowledge and the status to teach. On the other hand, inservice professional development as informal learning, is the primary way of teacher learning. The expansion of the knowledge base, increased demand on education by society, the need for school change, and increased research on staff development, all serve to increase the necessity for continuous professional development in the future.
Because "all fields are moving towards a continuous professional development model" (p. 35) in a rapidly changing world, preservice teacher education needs to be reconceptualized. Credentialism as the focus of preservice will be forced to give way to professional development as a process of learning from practice if the gap between preservice and inservice is to be eliminated. The ability to adapt to charging societal conditions increasingly demands a professional who continues to learn and change. Expertise is no longer guaranteed by the initial professional licensure.
Evaluation based on prescriptive criteria appears to be incongruent to a new constructivist paradigm of professional development. There is a need for a model of evaluation which is collaborative, teacher-directed, and growth-oriented. It needs to begin at the preservice level in order to bridge. the preservice/inservice gap.
Issues in Teacher Evaluation
The socio-political context is crucial to any discussion of teacher evaluation according to Haney (1990). Particularly relevant to today, he claims than in times of impending teacher shortage. "broad social and labor market forces may influence the supply of teachers to a much greater extent than any formal mechanisms for evaluating teachers at either the preservice or inservice levels" (p. 47). Therefore, it is suggested that to improve the quality of teachers, it makes more sense to invest in "efforts to enlarge the size of the pool of applicants to teacher-education programs" (p. 57) rather than proposing new and more rigorous forms of evaluation. College grades and even practicum assessments have not been useful in predicting success in teaching (p. 56).
Although my experiences with field experiences tell me that field practicum success is related to success in teaching, it does appear that increasing the pool of applicants holds the most promise if the quality of student teachers is to be enhanced. Since evaluation has played such a minor role in the improvement of teaching, it seems that teacher educators have reasonable grounds to move to a developmental approach which is aimed at fostering self-evaluation and life-long professional development.
However, since teacher education has been entrenched at the university for several decades, it is locked into the paradigm of the academy and a grading system which is largely eliminative in order to reduce numbers. A concerted effort needs to be made to establish pass/fail grades in the components of the program that deal with teaching process. As well, real efforts to employ criteria other than grades must be made in selecting applicants into the program.
Another major issue in the evaluation of teachers is the problem of appraisal of competence. A quantitative approach measures amount but not quality. Also, it can be reasonably assumed that "professional students behave in accord with their perceptions of how they will be evaluated" (McGaghie, 1991, p. 6). Evaluation practices do shape the learner. McGaghie reports "widespread dissatisfaction with professional competence evaluation procedures" (p. 4). This is due to a number of reasons including claims that competence evaluation looks at a "narrow range" (p. 4) of situations, even though professional practice is complex, it favors academic knowledge as opposed to the diverse skills required of practice, and personal and professional qualities are not considered. Somehow the professional assessment focuses on information that "experts think beginners should master" (p. 5) rather than considering the "nature of the professional role a candidate will fill" (p. 5).
Elliott (1989) claims that informal teaching methods promote the higher level qualitative aspects of teaching such as creating understanding. "Competent teaching, informal teachers may argue, is a matter of establishing the conditions which enable pupils to learn things in an educationally worthwhile manner" (p. 242). The criteria for this kind of learning are more akin to learning how to learn, developing inquiry, and learning with understanding. "Teaching is not a matter of causally determining what pupils learn but of enabling them to take responsibility for their own learning" (p. 242). The teacher, in this light, is an enabling influence not an effective technician. Evaluation which focuses on the causality of teacher behavior and student performance neglects this higher order teaching.
A process model of teacher evaluation is proposed by Elliott. It envisages teaching as a moral activity. As "practitioners of an ethic," teachers translate a set of practical principles into action. These principles are ethical in the sense that they are derived "from some conception of 'human good'" (p. 249). Elliot uses inquiry and independent thinking as examples of such principles. Professional judgment is required to implement the ethic in different contexts.
The competent practice of a professional ethic, therefore, rests essentially on an ability to translate reflectively ethical principles into concrete practices which are appropriate to a given situation (that is, on the ability to judge which actions conform to the principles in a particular situation). (p. 250)
As an inquirer into practice, the line between inquiry and evaluation becomes quite blurred since the research is ongoing and embedded in the practice context. Teaching as inquiry into practice produces a form of self-evaluation.
In an article dealing with teacher rating scales, Good and Mulryan (1990) point out that there are "simply too many aspects of classroom instruction to allow the development of a single, systematic observational scale that could comprehensively assess teaching" (p. 209). However, descriptive systems, they believe, can stimulate reflection on teaching as long as teachers are allowed to develop their own rating scales which specify aspects of teaching of interest to them. Good and Mulryan claim than this exercise can enhance teacher action research skills. Teacher rating scales seem to be more useful in promoting self-assessment than external assessment.
Beauchamp and Parsons (1989) suggest that the forms used in the assessment of student teaching actually "create knowledge and curriculum" (p. 125). Their study, which is an analysis of a particular evaluation form, shows how the technological metaphor is embodied in the language of the form.
Similar to all curriculum, the curriculum displayed on these forms represents ideological and cultural biases which come from somewhere. Conceptions of student teacher competence, good performance, and proper behavior are not free-floating ideas; each is a construct laden with values. (p. 125)
As a curriculum, student teacher evaluation forms contain a philosophy of teaching and education. They seriously challenge teacher educators to examine the curriculum embedded in the forms they use.
Finally, the issue of whether evaluation for assessment and evaluation for professional development can occur simultaneously needs to be addressed. Duke and Stiggens (1990), on the basis of four years of research, suggest than they "are less certain than one system simultaneously can ensure accountability and promote growth" (p. 127). They raise the question whether the evaluative visits for purposes of accountability are worth the investment of limited evaluation resources. It appears as though this form of evaluation, which is based on minimum competency, is done at the expense of professional growth. Additionally, systems that mix accountability and professional growth tend to reduce risk taking required for professional growth.
This brief discussion suggests that assessment in teacher education, particularly in the field experiences, would do well to move toward self-assessment as a form of professional development. Such a view, seems most suitable to approaches in which student teachers are encouraged to examine their practice in becoming students of teaching, rather than technicians practicing prescriptive skills. Somehow the focus on evaluation in the field experiences must shift from student performance to professional development, so that the ethical practice of teaching, which examines both techniques and purposes, assumes primary importance. Perhaps an approach such as this will have more meaning for the life-long professional learning of teachers than a preoccupation with teacher appraisal checklists and their predetermined and external criteria.
Supervision: Problemizing Practice
Clinical supervision conjures up images of instrumental approaches than characterize its use. The spiral of plan/act/observe/reflect has been largely reduced to a technique to evaluate specific skills of teaching. This use is congruent to a deficiency-oriented view of the improvement of teaching. Supervision in the constructivist paradigm, developed in this interpretation of the literature, need to go beyond such instrumentalism to encourage the improvement of practice through improved understanding. One such reconceptualization portrays clinical supervision as a process that problematizes teaching (Smyth, 1991).
The collaborative, questioning, and problem-posing possibilities fostered in clinical supervision relationships when pairs of teachers work together in establishing dialogical communities, is the kind of arrangement that fosters fundamental changes in the pedagogical nature of teachers' work.... It means teachers engaging in systematic, individual as well as social forms of investigation or inquiry into the origins and consequences of their everyday teaching so they can overcome the fatalistic view that change in teaching is "impossible for me," and seeing that circumstances can be different from what they are. (p. 322)
He suggests that of a practical level emphasis is placed "in the analysis of teaching not on reaching predetermined objectives set by others, but teachers engaging one another in an educative and inquiring view of teaching" (p. 324).
Rather than discounting clinical supervision, he attempts to reconceptualize the cycle as a heuristic device by "recapturing and building upon the original intent of clinical supervision" (p. 324). He suggests four aspects to this: "problematizing teaching," "observing and creating text about teaching," "confronting biography and history," and "refocussing and action" (p. 324).
This conceptualization goes against the prevailing notions of supervision in teacher education.
The issue is whether clinical supervision should be construed only in instrumental terms as a way of fine-
tuning teaching, or whether it is a way for teachers to challenge and transform not only their teaching, but the social and cultural circumstances in which they do it. (p. 333)
Supervision should not be so overly concerned with correcting deficiencies in teaching, that thoughtful reflection upon actions is neglected and marginalized
Supervision in teacher education needs to provide a context in which student teachers learn to problematize their practice in order for them to take on the responsibility to transform their own practice. This process involves creating a text of some aspect of teaching, which becomes the focal point for the interpretation of practice. Personal biography and professional history are also confronted to determine the origin of certain ideas about teaching.
In the internship, this kind of supervision requires a community in which it is normative to inquire into practice and in which the dialogue is as much about teaching as a moral act as it is about an individual's performance.
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Gauthier (in press) claims that it is more worthwhile to look of what action research is capable of doing than trying to define its essence. According to him, different kinds of research hold different views of the relationship between theory and practice. For example, fundamental research attempts to understand reality because it sees theory as the reproduction of reality. Applied research attempts to apply fundamental theory in technical applications. Operational research is concerned with the most efficient ways of transforming reality through the application of theory. However, action research views theory and practice as two totally independent discourses, the former concerned with description, the latter with prescription. Cherryholmes (1988) portrays theoretical knowledge as generalized, articulated, systematic, scientific, objective, abstract, and disinterested. Practical knowledge, on the other hand, is ideographic, tacit, nonscientific, subjective, and interested in terms of values, ideologies, and political commitments. Action research is concerned with the moral question of the diffusion of theory. It does not presuppose the "rightness" of theory. It sees no logical relation between descriptive theory and prescriptive practice. "The most important thing in action research is to determine what one must do" (Gauthier, in press, p. 337).
What is action research capable of? A number of educators claim it is useful for purposes of understanding and improving educational situations, while promoting professional development (Oja. 1989; Tickle, 1987; Day, 1987, Tripp, 1987). It appears to foster professional development as a learning process characterized by inquiry into teaching practice. As a learning process it is "capable of empowering individual action and contributing to the dialogue of dialectical change" Tickle, 1987, p. 46). Information emerging from inquiry guides curricular decision making and improvement through action. It is this relationship between inquiry into teaching practice, in order to determine "what one must do" and the resultant professional learning, which holds promise for action research as a framework in the internship.
Action research is a way of working out the differences in the rhetoric of institutions and the reality of actual practices by focusing upon specific individuals in their particular situations. It is a way of problematizing the taken-for-granted, or making the familiar strange, in order to come to understand and improve a situation. New knowledge in the form of reconceptualizations of ideas and processes is generated from the multiple plan, act/observe, and reflect cycles. This new knowledge is manifested in the changes made in the language and discourse used, in the new activities in which the participants engage, and in improved social relationships.
Three different action research approaches have been conceptualized 0/(Curcheon & Jung, 1990; Grundy, 1982; Carson, 1988). The technical action research approach involves the implementation of an "outside" idea in a predetermined fashion. Commitment may be difficult to engender due to the absence of ownership by the insiders. This approach has been criticized because it fails to uncover the meaning of experience or to empower participants to improve practices on the basis of deeper understandings.
Practical or interpretive action research seeks to improve practice "through the application of the personal wisdom of the participants" (Grundy, 1982, p. 357). The participants use their practical wisdom to reflect on their present situation bringing about increased understanding and improvement. This form of research probably engenders commitment from teachers because it recognizes teachers' personal practical knowledge. The "situational interpretive inquiry orientation" (Aoki, 1985, p. 14) holds to a view of knowledge as actively and subjectively constructed by individuals within their understanding of the context. Rather than the application of theory, this approach considers theory to reside in the practice of teaching. "Theory is a matter of the systematic structuring of the teacher's understanding of his/her work" (Tickle, 1987, p. 47). The "interrelated sets of beliefs and practices" that teachers develop though practice. "constitute personal theories of practice" (McCutcheon & Jung, 1990, p. 144). Personal theories may be difficult to articulate, and yet function to guide action.
A final form, emancipatory action research, employs a critical intent to emancipate the participants Mm tradition and habit of taken-for-panted social structures. It assumes that the social milieu imposes itself on practice and arrests the attainment of the good in a situation. Through the process of reflecting on theory and practice, theoretical theorems are created which allow participants to come to an enlightened idea of their practice leading to specific emanciparory
There are increasingly more concerns with this last form. The theory of critical action research has not been developed by, is probably not understood by, and is not in the language of teachers (Miller, 1990). Concepts like emancipation and empowerment are foreign to their categories of thinking about classroom practice. It seems that the action researcher needs to be very careful not to reify political ideals at the expense of understanding the teacher's concerns which are rooted in their experience. Kemmis and Dichiro (1988), in identifying contradictions in action research practice, point out that many projects become technical because of a preoccupation with the spiral technique. However, it may just as well be the foreign and unfamiliar political language imposed on these projects which prevents them from being more critical.
Action research is "a collegial enterprise, a partnership" (McElroy, 1990). Participants are not expected to be critically reflective without the outside researcher doing the same. This is particularly suited to the internship. The faculty advisor-as-researcher working along with the teacher-as-researcher and the intern-as-researcher, becomes a "co-inquirer" (Oberg, 1990). A collaborative partnership presents the possibility of creating a dialogue between theory and practice, university and school, as well as novice and expert dichotomies. Collaboration isn't just "being together." It appears to be the flexible enactment of various roles including leadership in order to meet both individual and group needs and goals (Oja, 1989).
Action research appears to provide a promising framework for collaborative inquiry into teaching. It permits the diverse elements of teaching, learning to teach, and learning about teaching to converge. Collaborative inquiry into "the nature of learning, teaching, and school contexts, and the relationships between them, would be better understood in order that all three might be improved" (Tickle, 1987, p. 48). Collaborative action research particularly seems promising as a structure for conceptualizing a career-long model of professional development that is able to transcend the artificial boundaries of preservice, induction, and inservice.
Finally, and most importantly, action research holds promise as an interpretive way of "being" in the internship. By adopting a critical stance toward both teaching practice and educational theory, it permits the act of interpretation to take place. By problematizing teaching it places the practitioner in a tension between theory and practice, a place in which dialogue between the independent discourses can occur. New meanings are given space to emerge and new practices become possible.
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This rather wide sweeping review of the teacher education literature portrays movement from a normative prescriptive and conventional paradigm entrenched in a training orientation, toward a constructivist paradigm in which teachers "become simultaneously students of schooling and architects of their own professional development" (Bullough, Knowles, & Crow, 1992, p. 190). The new paradigm recognizes that meaning develops in context and that teachers need to "recognize themselves as centers of meaning-making, as producers of legitimate knowledge that is worthy of being shared and deserving to be acted upon" (p. 190). An inquiry orientation to teaching subscribes to the notions that the teacher is a center of meaning-making, and that meaning is constructed within context. Inquiry into the teacher's biography as well as the teaching context is essential to the development of deeper understandings of teaching.
Inquiry-oriented teacher education has been defined by Tabachnich and Zeichner (1991) as follows:
This general approach to preparing teachers emphasizes the development of knowledge, skills and dispositions by prospective teachers and teachers that enable them to be reflective about their teaching and the social contexts in which their teaching takes place (e.g., the classroom, the school, the local community, the society). (p. ix)
The use of several action research and case methods approaches in teacher education are reported in their book Issues and Practices in Inquiry-oriented Teacher Education.
A foundational approach to teacher education claims that theory can be applied directly to practice. Within this normative paradigm the work of theorists is the substance of teacher education course work The field experiences provide an opportunity to apply these theories to practice. Teaching methods are treated as prescriptions for effective practice.
Situated in the dialogical paradigm, inquiry-oriented teacher education is more of a sense-making of practice recognizing than any teaching situation is open to multiple interpretations because of varying perspectives. It encompasses a wide array of "kinds of conversation and thinking" (Sykes and Bird, 1992, p. 478) which compose "knowledge in themselves" (p. 479). The "pragmatic mode" involves exploration of problems of practice with recourse to abstract knowledge as it is useful The "narrative mode" envisages inquiry as the sharing of stories of practice in order to excavate meaning. The "casuistical mode" relies on the comparison of traditional cases and the case at hand. These three modes, according to Sykes and Bird, have been marginalized by the "foundational mode" in this century.
Grimmett and MacKinnon (1992) conceptualize teaching as craft, and the learning of teaching the craft as contingent on experience. Teaching as craft relies mare heavily on the professional judgment of teachers than on the "packaged and glossy maxims that govern the 'science of education'" (p. 437). The notion of craft knowledge is predisposed toward "student-focused reflective inquiry" (p. 438). It fits into the paradigm of "enhancing independent thought and analysis" (p. 433) as opposed to prescribing codified knowledge. Experienced teachers do not continue to learn teaching by focusing on the technical aspects of teaching, but rather by focusing on the pupils and ways to promote their learning. Student teachers learning teaching need to experience this way of knowing.
The representation of theory in practice has failed to solve the persistent problems of situated practice. Reflective practitioners are needed who can understand and change their practice in an ever shifting society. The horizon of inquiry-orientation needs to gain of least an equal footing with the traditional normative horizon in teacher education in order to create a space in which new possibilities can emerge.
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Throughout our investigation it has emerged that the certainty achieved by using scientific methods does not suffice to guarantee truth. This especially applies to the human sciences, but it does not mean that they are less scientific; on the contrary, it justifies the claim to special human significance that they have always made. The fact that in such knowledge the knower's own being comes into play certainly shows the limits of method, but not of science. Rather, what the tool of method does not achieve must - and really can - be achieved by a discipline of questioning and inquiring, a discipline that guarantees truth. (Gadamer, 1989, p. 490)
What meaning does action research hold for participants in the internship and therefore, what is it capable of? This is the most fundamental question that can be asked of action research, a practice which posits strong claims for teacher education. However, researching a meaning question presents methodological problems. How can a researcher get to these meanings? To go beyond the theoretical claims of action research, it was necessary to engage in the internship as a participant in order to initiate the action research projects, following them as they unfolded in order to reveal new meanings for the practices of internship.
Hermeneutics has its roots in the Greek word. hermeneia meaning "interpretation." Hans-Georg Gadamer advanced hermeneutics as a theory of understanding. Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics asserts that all understanding results from our prejudices. As Gadamer so ably stated it, "Prejudices are the biases of our openness to the world. They are simply conditions whereby we experience something - whereby what we encounter says something to us" (Gadamer, 1977, p. 9). We are constituted by our prejudices which in turn enable us to understand. The hermeneutic experience is nor one of objectively examining that which stands outside of us as an object, but rather recognizing that which is already a part of us.
Philosophical hermeneutics works against the methods of science, which attempt to sterilize the biases and prejudices of the knower. The process of excavating productive questions which originate in the imagination of the knower marks hermeneutic scholarship. Beginning with our familiar experience permits us to move towards the alien with a subsequent enriched understanding of the world Understanding, for Gadamer, is not the reconstruction of the author's intention for a text. but instead a "mediation or translation of past meaning into the present situation" (Gadamer, 1977, p. xvi). In this light, understanding can be said to be productive as opposed to reproductive. The hermeneutic process is a creative endeavor that serves to reveal possibility.
Gadamer's theory of understanding, which attempts to show the general process involved in the transmission of meaning, is captured in his notion of "fusion of horizons."
The event of understanding can now be seen in its genuine productivity. It is the formation of a comprehensive horizon in which the limited horizons of text and interpreter are fused into a common view of the subject matter - the meaning - with which both are concerned. (Gadamer, 1977, p. xix)
This theory helps us to see the past, not as an object of investigation, but as "an inexhaustible source of possibilities of meaning" (p. xix).
For Gadamer, the fusion of horizons is the realization of the best hermeneutic experience, the "historically effective consciousness," (Gadamer, 1989, p. 340) where we experience an openness to the Other. This is an experience in which we are aware both of our own and others' prejudices in order to reach a better understanding." As such, hermeneutics is a way to the Other, a way which inherently moves away from the self. Interpretation in hermeneutics is more than the proliferation of possible interpretations; it is an orientation to the Other.
It would be easy to fall into the trap of portraying hermeneutics as a technique fostering the evolution of meaning in some ordered sequential way resulting in a cumulative understanding which comes closer and closer to some idealized truth. Rather, hermeneutics works to break through taken-for-granted understandings through occasional bursts of insight which go beyond what has been previously understanding It is not a progressive movement forward but a deepening of ourselves.
Language occupies a central place in philosophical hermeneutics for it is not z technical system of signals, but "the fundamental mode of operation of our being-in-the-world and the all-embracing form of the constitution of the world" (Gadamer, 1977, p. 3). "Understanding is language-bound" (p. 15). Since language constrains infinite possibilities, hermeneutic dialogue has access to unlimited horizons of meaning. Language is not a means of representing truth that is already known, but rather, is a means of discovering that which is not yet known. Coming to understand is essentially linguistic. The fusion of horizons can only come to be if the text is made to speak making interpretation possible. Language mediates between the text and interpretation.
By using two commonly understood human experiences as analogies, conversation and game, Gadamer brings us to a deeper understanding of his theory which posits that the irreducible experience of human beings in the world is dialogical. Both of these analogies contain the idea of an active back and forth movement which characterizes interpretive interaction between the text and the interpreter. In both of these analogies, the knower is engrossed in the play of the conversation and game. The text is allowed to speak.
The dialogical character of interpretation is subverted when the interpreter concentrates on the other person as such rather than on the subject matter - when he looks at the other person, as it were, rather than with him at what the other attempts to communicate. Thus the hermeneutic conversation begins when the interpreter genuinely opens himself to the text by listening to it and allowing it to assert its viewpoint. It is precisely in confronting the otherness of the text - in hearing its challenging viewpoint - and not in preliminary methodological self-purgations. that the reader's own prejudices (i.e., his present horizons) are thrown into relief and thus come to critical self-consciousness .. This awareness of our own historicity and finitude - our consciousness of effective history - brings with it an openness to new possibilities that it is the precondition of genuine understanding. (Gadamer, 1977, p. xxi)
Rationality for Gadamer is not technical but dialogical and communicative. There is no higher principle than human beings maintaining an openness to the conversation.
This "play" is an inter-play between the parts and the whole, the practical and the theoretical The "hezmeneutic circle" captures the notion of the movement involved in interpretation between the parts of the text and the whole, which is more than a sum of the parts. Because "we are essentially beings constituted by and engaged in interpretive understanding" (Bemstein, 1983, p. 137), there is no real difference between interpretation and understanding. Hermeneutics situates rationality beyond objectivism and relativism by recognizing, that as interpretive beings, we are in the process of developing living traditions through the building of community characterized by dialogue, conversation and c[questioning. The play of hermeneutics works against "the irreducibility of conflict grounded in human plurality" (p. 223).
What is the way of hermeneutics that is capable of helping us understand action research as it is experienced by the participants in the internship? It is not the way of positivist thought searching for cause and effect. It is not the way of determining one correct meaning. It is not the way of delegitimizing our lived experience by proposing totalizing schemes. It is not a method guaranteeing correct meaning. Rather it celebrates our prejudices as necessary for real understanding to take place. It allows us to go beyond our preunderstandings by confronting us with an alien text. Because it works at the frontiers of our understanding, hermeneutics is capable of penetrating the borders that safeguard our understandings.
Hermeneutics is an openness to new horizons, "an engaged encounter with the Other, with the othemess of the Other, that one comes to a more informed, textured understanding of the traditions to which 'we' belong" (Bernstein, 1992, p. 66). As such, it is an openness to alternatives, to ways that are alien and not within our own horizons. In this sense, it is an openness to the "Other" in all its strangeness. Bernstein (1992) captures the dialogic way of hermeneutics as follows.
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The internship seminar served as an excellent opportunity to establish a community which was free to explore the novel discourse of action research. Action research was introduced to cooperating teachers and interns as a process to structure inquiry into classroom practice. The language of the seminar began to change with the introduction of two new ideas - educative community and action research. These ideas allowed the notions of nonhierarchical relationships, collaborative inquiry, a community of difference, and constructivism in learning, teaching, and knowledge to emerge.
The group decided to meet every Monday at noon. A willingness to change without the compulsion to do things identical to others was perceived as a necessary attitude in an educative community. Because the weekly meetings involved the community, they were not focused exclusively on intern teaching performance. The relationship between each intern and myself was enhanced by the weekly meetings since I was perceived as less of a threat. The discourse of action research legitimized an inquiry-orientation for the internship.
The new discourse, which evolved at the seminar, provided the space in which a discussion about changing classroom practices could take place. The teachers particularly wanted to discuss how their classroom practice, not only the way they work with interns, might change as a. result of building educative community. Working with an intern was seen as an opportunity to get into other classrooms to see how things might be done differently.
The discourse of action research shaped new roles for participants in the internship. Participant roles are clearly spelled out in the internship manual. The discourse that has been employed for close to two decades emphasizes the professional growth of the intern through the development of teaching capabilities, and the helping role of the cooperating teacher who assists the intern in than development. The faculty advisor role, which facilitates the process employed by the school-based dyad, is more peripheral. A hierarchical structure, although based on humanistic values, flows from this discourse. Close attention is paid to the evaluation process by the faculty advisor thereby accentuating the focus on the performance of the intern.
What changes in practice take place in the context of the new discourse? A first time cooperating teacher suggested that "it's not really breaking down roles; it's establishing ideas about roles." Not only is an awareness of the undesirability of hierarchical relationships revealed, but also an awareness of the institutional context and the constraints that it imposes. A "real educative role" was suggested as a possibility for the faculty advisor role by the cooperating teachers. It appears that a major shift in the function for the faculty advisor was conceptualized as being a resource person at the weekly seminar meetings.
This exploration of the internship seminar suggests that it may provide an opportunity to construct rather than perpetuate discourse. The prevailing discourse privileges notions of discrete teaching behaviors called targets, data collection dependent on observable behavior, and intern performance measured by the evaluation instrument It is a discourse of intervention that assures enhancement of practice by basing "its claim to authority upon expert knowledge that can promote a notion of progress" (Popkewitz, 1992, p. 14). However, the discourse of action research introduced at the seminar is nor. based on the implementation of another system claiming to have the answers, but rather attempts to legitimize the questioning of hierarchical views of authority, knowledge and power.
It is a taken-for-granted assumption that the intern will become more competent and knowledgeable during internship. But what about the cooperating teacher and the faculty advisor? A truly educative community should ensure the professional development of both the cooperating teacher and the faculty advisor as well.
The community formed at the seminar functioned to get interms to know one another better both professionally and personally. The weekly meetings were also appreciated by the interns because they provided a forum to maintain those relationships with other interns that were developed at the seminar. It was not only the interms that recognized that the seminar promoted an educative community in which they could learn from one another. Cooperating teachers also identified the Internship Seminar as extremely important in establishing community. One teacher commented that both the group development and inquiry project had begun at the seminar. However, establishing community seemed to be somewhat dependent on the competency of the intern in the classroom. Once the intern was perceived as being competent, a major hurdle to collaborative inquiry was removed.
After the internship was over, Alana reflected on an article about action research in the light of her experiences. She recognized that belonging to an action research community had expanded her understandings about teaching. Alana appears to have become more pedagogically oriented through her involvement in the project. Internship was different from other kinds of professional development for Alana. because of the intensive interaction with another person. For her, professional development seemed to be more meaningful when it took place in community.
Richard also recognized that as a cooperating teacher, he also had learned from the experience. He saw himself as part of a team involved in mutual learning rather than in one way learning characteristic of many internships.
One of the interms identified educative community, not as a structured community, but as the ongoing dialogue among a group of teachers who know one another and who share a basic common goal of making the school a better place for students.
The community that developed over the course of internship defied a uniform and crystallized form. Rather, being more fluid, a variety of forms of community emerged. For example, the possibility of two interns team teaching evolved because of their association at the seminar and in the meetings. One of the interms considered the informal interactions about professional matters in the staff room to be indicative of an educative community. Several o f the teachers involved in the research pursued a common interest in global education.
Just as the weekly meetings were an extension of the conversation that began at the internship seminar, so too, the weekly meetings precipitated a conversation that was carried on in the day-to-day interactions among the participants.
Educative community in the internship appears to break down the dominant hierarchical structure in which an intern as novice learns only from the cooperating teacher as expert. It establishes a place in which different configurations of participants emerge to explore practice. It privileges dialogue about practice over judgment of performance. Although the participants were united by a general goal of making the school a better place for students, they were here to pursue this in diverse ways. However, educative community appeared to create a forum that privileged a conversation about practice in which interms, cooperating teachers and the faculty advisor were able to contribute and learn.
In an apprenticeship-oriented internship the emphasis is on sameness. The intern attempts to perform like the teacher. There is little purpose in establishing a community in which intern and cooperating teacher learn from one another. In this study, however, the action research approach demanded the formation of a community in which individuals could question their own practice rather than simply replicating existing practice. The surfacing of differences was inevitable in this process.
The action research group appeared to possess both the seeds of constraint and possibility. There were obvious differences in subject area. specialization, and in teaching experience. There may have been less recognizable differences in commitment to internship, in deep seated beliefs about teaching and learning, and in teaching practices. However, the commitment to meet as a group on a regular basis arose spontaneously from the group during the seminar in spite of their differences. The focal point for the group was expressed as "aiming at a plan of inquiry for the school and group members." The recognition that it "helps to have time to clarify ideas and discuss with colleagues" motivated particularly the teachers to consider an additional time commitment
The seminar discloses that the participants held remarkably similar philosophies of teaching, learning, and knowledge, but recognized "a great deal of difference" in the "degree to which we are ready or willing or able to implement that philosophy." In a discussion centering around the humanization of the classroom, some real disagreements surfaced around the notion of acceptable student dress in the classroom. This tension emerged from the conflicting realities of personal preferences, values, and institutional norms. The sharing of different views was a highlight of the seminar for several members. Democratization of the classroom was understood differently.
The dialogical conversation of practice that interpretive action research provides space for, takes place within a community that is characterized not only by the unity of a common discourse, but more importantly, by the diversity of interests, abilities, and commitments to teaching that are allowed to surface in that conversation. The participants are exposed to a broader range of views and interpretations on teaching resulting in mutual learning for cooperating teachers and faculty advisors, as well as interns.
An action research community cannot assume sameness for its members. It is formed to promote a conversation related to the individual interests of its members. It provides a forum in which these interests can be shared. Members of the community recognize that the project they collectively set out to pursue will be constructed and interpreted differently by each participant. Rather than concern itself with the implementation of a preconceived idea or practice, the community is free to explore individual interests.
Tensions and contradictions belong to the pedagogical experience. (van Manen, 199I, p. 61)
Teachers experience a host of tensions that characterize teaching. Because of the intensity of the internship experience that is embedded in the world of practice, there is little time to reflect on these tensions. Limited understanding of teaching situations may lead to feelings of personal inadequacy, or alternately, of reliance on pedagogically unsound teaching practices. An explanation of these tensions is central to understanding teaching.
This second part of the study takes place from the standpoint of the weekly meetings. It provides an account of the weekly discussions in order to explore this question: Is action research capable of fostering a deeper understanding of pedagogy?
At the seminar, participants set the overriding "thematic concern" for the internship - enhancing democracy in the classroom. The nine weekly meetings provided a forum to explore this notion. Over the course of the meetings, a number of tensions emerged from the discussions about democratic teaching. These tensions were experienced in practice as struggles, in varying degrees, by both interns and cooperating teachers. My interpretation of the discussions suggests that four sets of tensions capture the struggles that participants experienced in the internship. The two themes which follow an overview of the four tensions, constitute a deeper interpretation of the possibility action research holds for understanding pedagogy in the internship.
The first tension involved the conflict between beliefs and practices. Teaching beliefs initially surfaced at the internship seminar during discussions in which participants examined and shared their notions of knowledge, teaching and learning. There was a remarkable consensus an a constructivist view of learning and a facilitative view of teaching - providing experiences for learners to construct their own reality. A democratic and humanistic classroom was envisaged as the most appropriate environment in which this could occur. Democracy in the classroom was equated with giving pupils some choice in decisions related to their education.
Upon returning to the classroom from the internship seminar, the interns found it difficult to live up to the ideals expressed there. The pressure to demonstrate teaching competencies was considered to be a force working against using practices congruent to the beliefs expressed at the seminar.
In spite of the difficulties, the interms did experiment with innovative methods but experienced surprise that students did not respond enthusiastically to their approaches, which were intended to give them more choice. They encountered resistance from the students to the new methods. The interns reacted to their lack of success in various ways. In some cases they began to question their teaching beliefs. They attributed their lack of success to the fact that students were "too lazy to make the choices" and that "they would rather you structure everything for them." The frustrations of these interns related to the unwillingness of students to grasp the opportunity to take control of their learning by making responsible choices. However, rather than abandoning their beliefs, interns, quite admirably, generally took up the struggle to experiment with innovative methods congruent with their own teaching beliefs.
The second tension that interns experienced involved exercising teacher authority while building relationships. They experienced a need to exercise authority in the classroom to ensure that students engaged in learning activities. They recognized that they were "expected to be the parent or the authority figure." However, the interns believed that the authority role created a barrier to establishing good relationships with the students. Interms were initially quite uncomfortable with the role of authority. They expected to reduce the need for authority by encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning.
Coming to grips with the tension, meant for interns, recognizing the limitations of the teacher's role. The tension could not be resolved by an either/or decision. Maintaining a position of authority without struggling to get the students to act responsibly was seen to be untenable. However, they recognized that it was unrealistic to think that all students would respond.
A third tension experienced by interms, with which cooperating teachers could identify, was the pressure to cover the prescribed curriculum, and yet at the same time to facilitate meaningful learning. Meaningful learning, according to the teachers, included teaching the processes students need to know in order to be independent learners.
Methods such as cooperative learning were found to take too much time and as a result were avoided when interns began to accept the "authoritative discourse" (Britzman, 1991) of the curriculum. Rather than question the authority of the curriculum, the methods that were congruent to their beliefs about teaching were questioned. Interns reported a positive side to the pressure of the curriculum in providing a time structure for them and reducing management problems.
Pupils were also resistant to new approaches to curriculum. In the weekly discussions it was often reiterated that students have been conditioned to follow a prescribed routine.
The fourth and final tension identified involved the desire to change practices within the constraints of the institution. Throughout the discussion, the participants suggested that the relationship of the teacher and pupil is heavily determined by the institution. It was their opinion that this relationship in a school setting is characterized by a power struggle. They wondered whether the institution allows for meaningful relationships to develop between students and teachers.
There were different perceptions of this tension shared within the teacher group. Some saw the structure of the institution as acceptable and necessary for schooling to occur in an orderly way. Others saw it as an unhealthy repression of new ideas.
The weekly meetings provided a forum for an extended dialogue about the pedagogical tensions rooted in the lived experiences of the participants. The two themes that follow theorize about what the struggles of teaching, and the dialogue that revealed these tensions, mean to interns and cooperating teachers. They portray learning to teach in the internship as a struggle to understand teaching situations. This coming to understand teaching is shown to take place within an interpretive community.
Pedagogy, as defined by van Manen (1991), "refers only to those types of actions and interactions intentionally (though not always deliberately or consciously) engaged in by an adult and a child, directed toward the child's positive being and becoming" (p. 18). In this study, the definition of pedagogy is expanded to include the unique relationship between an experienced cooperating teacher and an inexperienced intern in which the former is responsible for the "positive being and becoming" of the intern.
Understanding teaching for the interns involved an engagement in a struggle to understand, not necessarily resolve, several tensions of practice. The struggle was protracted. because the tensions could not be satisfactorily resolved in an either/or fashion. The tensions, described in the previous section, commanded the attention of the interms because they recognized that the teachers were experiencing the same tensions and had no real answers for them.
Coming to understand pedagogy as an intern means to engage in the struggle to find one's place in promoting the being and becoming of students. initially the struggle was one in which the intern, because of progressive educational beliefs, assumed that each of these tensions could be resolved by his or her own efforts. This was a struggle to teach according to one's beliefs, to nurture student responsibility, to effect meaningful learning by modifying the curriculum and instructional practices, and finally, by attempting to change the institutional context. There was a certain blind acceptance of progressive ideas and a "will to power" to implement them. These beliefs, although progressive, were somewhat taken-for-granted.
As the internship progressed, understanding pedagogy shifted quickly from an abstract thinking activity initiated at the internship seminar, toward z daily struggle of practice. Interms specifically wanted to know how best to act in situations of practice. In this sense, understanding practice was becoming a moral activity.
The struggle to understand pedagomr is an interpretive activity. The obvious impossibility of choosing one action over another without understanding how it will promote the child's being and becoming, suggests that coming to understand pedagogy is not a decision making process. It is not a matter of selecting "effective" means without considering the ends. It is more of an interpretive activity. The interpretation that takes place is an interpretation of the experiences of practice. In the internship, interpretation of experiences within a community allows for an increased understanding.
And this is what makes the struggle a struggle. There is no correct answer, there is no ideal to be approximated. It is too simple to suggest that implementing one side of the dichotomy over the other will result in more democratic and humane classrooms. To struggle to understand pedagogy is to struggle with interpreting the ever changing situations of practice in order to choose to act in a more thoughtful way in the future.
Action research, which incorporates an ongoing conversation within a community, appears to provide a space in which pedagogical tensions are allowed to surface. Since experiencing the tensions that characterize teaching appear to be normative, interns, cooperating teachers, and faculty advisors share a common experience which is natural to z good conversation about teaching. These tensions provide a common focus for discussions aimed at understanding practice. The space provided by action research in the internship allows for collaborative interpretation because of its conversational process, giving each participant an opportunity to participate regardless of role.
According to Gadamer (1988), interpretation is the most basic way of being m the world and cannot be reduced to anything simpler. Learning to teach is an ongoing process of interpretation of practice. This appears to be normative for interms, cooperating teachers, and faculty advisors. The contingency of practice demands that educational situations be continually interpreted for new meaning. Learning to teach requires immersion in the "real world" of practice, not just for "experience" but for the development of interpretive experience in the "teaching world." However, this teaching world, in which the intern and cooperating teacher dwell, is riddled with tensions.
In dialogue, and only in dialogue according to Gadamer, do we use language to "go to the essence of the matters themselves." Dialogue is interpretation.
In dialogue we are really interpreting. Speaking then is interpreting itself. It is the function of the dialogue that in saying or stating something a challenging relation with the other evolves, a response is provoked, and the response provides the interpretation of the other's interpretation. (p. 63)
Learning to teach requires an extended dialogue among the participants in order to share interpretations of pedagogical situations by "building a common language, so that of the end of the dialogue we will have some ground" (p. 63). The central task in constructing the internship in a teacher education program is to provide structures that privilege dialogue.
The weekly meatiness provided a forum for participant dialogue which focused on the common experience of internship. The extended dialogue was an interpretive activity which seemed to naturally gravitate toward the lived experiences of teaching - the personal struggles in making sense of pedagogy.
Although there are multiple interpretations of any practice situation, not all interpretations are equally informative or instructive about pedagogy. Action research may hold possibilities for the practice of interpretation of pedagogical situations because it occurs in community in which ideas and views can be tested. The projects attempted by pairs in this study generally involved a common focus. However, in the triads at least three different perspectives were present for consideration.
Action research does not promote an abstract analytical kind of interpretation of practice. Instead, it allows the practitioner to act on the interpretation in order to change practice. The alternating action and reflection components of the action research approach promote acts of interpretation than are linked to the practical situations in which interms are integrally involved.
The inquiry projects initiated by the various pairs of interms and cooperating teachers were action oriented. Specific situations of practice were modified through the plan, act, observe, and reflect cycles. In comparison, the weekly meetings did not have the action orientation characteristic of the action research projects. Since all of the projects were related to experimenting with innovative instructional approaches, these experiences became the content for the weekly meetings. At these meeting s, the experiences of the participants became part of a larger interpretive activity - the struggle to understand pedagogy.
Action research provides a structure in which plans for change can be made, action taken, observations recorded in a text, and reflection on the change carried out. Dwelling interpretively in the midst of pedagogical struggles means that no simple answer is expected to eradicate the struggle, but rather, through inquiry, the problem will be better understood, not as an abstract problem, but as a problem of practice - one that has been experienced.
We say that we "conduct" a conversation, but the more genuine a conversation is, the less its conduct lies within the will of either partner. Thus a genuine conversation is never the one that we wanted to conduct. Rather, it is generally more correct to say that we fall into conversation, or even that we become involved in it. The way one word follows another, with the conversation taking its own twists and reaching its own conclusion, may well be conducted in some way, but the partners conversing are far less the leaders than the led. No one knows in advance what will "come out" of a conversation. (Gadamer, 1989, p. 383)
Monitoring intern performance is the most common focus of supervision in the internship. Striving to maintain an objective stance, so called effective teaching competencies are prescribed for practice and measured to varying degrees in the evaluation process. Faithful to the basic goal of supervision, improving teaching, supervision in the spirit of this model appears as a remedial approach designed to remove deficiencies. As such, it focuses on the technical performance of the intern at the expense of promoting the interpretation of practice within a community of practitioners. The question which invites us is: Is action research capable of creating a space in which supervision promotes interpretation through reflection on practice as well as enhancing proficiency?
A number of action research projects evolved over the three semesters that constitute the study. In this third standpoint, one of those projects, involving an intern, her cooperating teacher, and myself as the faculty advisor, provides a standpoint from which to examine the notion of supervision. In this turn toward one project, the possibility of action research serving as a. heuristic for restructuring the practice of supervision in the internship is explored.
The thematic concern which emerged from the group at the week-long internship seminar was the democratization of the classroom and humanization of teaching. Under this umbrella, each of the pairs planned to identify and explore a specific teaching practice in order to bring about classroom change in the direction of this broadly defined goal One of the interns, Marian, had indicated at the seminar that she was interested in exploring independent learning as a. possible means of giving students more choice in her classes.
Two weeks after the internship seminar, during my first school visit to Marian, I observed her introducing an enrichment project assignment to twenty-four grade ten students in the computer applications class. This class is an introduction to word processing, databases, and spread sheets. One of the other computer science teachers had been discussing the use of enrichment projects in order to encourage students to apply computer knowledge and skills in an integrated way. Alana, the cooperating teacher, and Marian were interested in exploring the use of this approach with their students as well, because they believed that it could serve to involve them in independent learning. Students could achieve up to eighty percent of their course grade through the regular in-class world The remaining twenty percent of the cause could be obtained by completing three optional out-of-class projects. These projects required the application and integration of the regular course work
During the internship semester, the triad shifted the focus from the performance of the intern to the three projects. The intent of the action research project was to understand independent learning as it is experienced by high school students. This collaborative effort involved planning together, carrying out the plan, and assessing results.
As I return to reflect on the experience, I particularly notice that the inquiry process drew us together into a conversation about teaching. This development gradually changed my supervisory focus from the evaluation of intern performance, toward a collaborative exploration of a specific teaching practice that was compelling for each member of the mad. I am drawn to the notion of conversation as a compelling metaphor to portray intern supervision.
The three themes that follow develop the notion of supervision as a pedagogical conversation, a new possibility for the role of the faculty advisor in the internship.
Gadamer (1989) reminds us that we do not control a conversation bur in fact are led by it; it is something we fall into. As such, "the partners conversing are far less the leaders than the led." In true conversation the outcome is not known in advance because of the twists that conversation takes. However, for a conversation to be "genuine," the conversation cannot be in the control of either partner. The point of this is that "conversation has a spirit of its own" (Gadamer, 1989, p-383) and therefore is not conducted by the participants.
Conversation, according to Gadamer, is "a process of coming to an understanding" (p. 385). It is an act of interpretation which takes place in language. It involves sharing a common language so that one individual can come to know what the other says. It also involves a readiness in both partners to try "to recognize the full value of what is alien and opposed to them" (p. 387).
The subject matter of the internship, teaching practice, was brought into language through conversation. Coming to understand a specific aspect of that practice collaboratively was facilitated by sharing a common discourse about action research, and by finding a question that was mutually engaging. It also involved sharing the language of "independent learning" the specific subject matter for the ongoing conversation.
It is a taken-for-panted practice in internship to focus primarily on the performance of the intern. This preoccupation jeopardizes a democratic relationship in the triad by reinforcing hierarchical roles of power based on expert knowledge. "Investments and consequences are not equal" (Gore, 1991, p. 263). The action research project provided a framework in which the conversation could evolve. The topic of the conversation or focus of inquiry, facilitating independent learning though enrichment projects, was of interest to the cooperating teacher, intern, and faculty advisor. As such, the focus for the partners in the conversation was the subject matter, teaching practice, not the performance of the intern as one of the partners in the conversation.
Initially in the internship, the conversation did not have a particular focus. The focus of inquiry seemed to, m Gadamer's terms, "come out" of the conversation about teaching that had begun at the internship seminar. Through the cycles of plan, act/observe, and reflect, we were drawn further along in the conversation never knowing what the outcome of this inquiry would be. The conversation was kept open by questions that seemed to lead to problem posing and the opening up of questions about practice, rather than problem solving and final answers.
Jardine (1991b) claims that "interpretation is pedagogic at its heart" (p. 4). The pedagogic nature of interpretive action research is promoted by the dialogical relationship fostered by conversation. A technical approach to action research may very well promote the expert status of the researcher as she attempts to implement some preconceived and generalized notion of practice. In interpretive work, however, questions of practice arise from all of the participants. Concern for the intern's proficiency in the enactment of prescriptive teaching skills, gives way to the collaborative exploration of practice.
Interpretive work is also pedagogic because it involves '"the transformation of self-understanding" (p. 29). This is an entirely different notion than that implied by many definitions of pedagogy that stress the transmission of information. The pedagogic conversation allowed to erupt within the space provided by action research facilitates "communicative competence" (Rogers, Noblit, k Ferrell, 1990), "the recognition of the taken-for-granted in teaching, a dereification of knowledge" (p. 182).
As the project progressed, Marian became more and more aware of student differences and the peculiar needs represented by each of them. She was curious when only a fraction of the assignments were handed in. She was also motivated to explore ways to identify reasons for the student results and ways to overcome the problems of the enrichment assignments. Her concerns were about student learning. A strong commitment to independent Learning was maintained throughout the internship, and toward the end of internship she claims to have made progress in this area. "It's nice to see how they've progressed, actually. I can see that. They've gotten used to being more independent learners in the total classroom, I think, most of them."
As the faculty advisor, I experienced the pedagogical relationship farmed with the intern and the cooperating teacher as one. of partnership rather than hierarchy based on expertise. I considered myself to be an inquirer along with them. My specific pedagogic role involved asking questions about practice in order to carry the conversation along. I encouraged them to ask questions. I prodded their interpretations of their practice. My pedagogical responsibility, it seemed to me at the time, was to open up space for the intern and cooperating teacher to question teaching practice rather than for me to "teach" pedagogical wisdom to them.
According to Gore (1991), cooperating teachers often privilege personal relationships with student teachers over pedagogical ones in an effort to make the experience a pleasant one. Although Marian does make reference to the trusting relationship with Alana, she alludes frequently to the pedagogical relationship.
A compelling question such as the one which interested Alana and Marian, precipitated a conversation that included the faculty advisor. The question drew all of us into a. relationship that was focused on practice. Although we contributed from different perspectives, we participated in a common process of inquiring into teaching, a pedagogical activity.
The term "supervision" vividly suggests the nature of the corresponding practice. "Super" conjures up images of hierarchy; the supervisor is above the supervised presumably in knowledge but also in status and position. Expertise resides in the person who is above, whose position is superior. Super-visors in education are in a privileged position to exert power through generalized expertise over teachers who possess the specific knowledge of their particular craft.
In the internship, a hierarchy commonly exists, which assumes the teacher as super-practitioner and the faculty advisor as super-theoretician. The intern as novice teacher assumes a sub-mission, a mission of compliance, consent and obedience. That compliance is realized often in a schizophrenic tension between imitating the practices of the cooperating teacher and implementing the often opposing theoretical prescriptions of the faculty advisor. Critical thinking about substantive issues is marginalized The intern is a recipient of knowledge as opposed to a constructor of knowledge.
The root word. vision, is equally problematic. Levin (1990) explains that modernity is the "age of the hegemony of vision" (p. 89).
We modems have tended to see things as objects, thereby establishing our visual control over things. This relationship is one of opposition; subject and object are positioned opposite one another. (p. 88)
Vision, then, favors the will to master and dominate. The propensity to control the intern is always there during "observation."
In combination, "super-vision" may produce and legitimize approaches like the Hunter approach which "is hierarchical, judgmental, excessively proceduralised, measurement-oriented to the exclusion of all else, and it endorses individualistic relationships based on highly questionable claims to certainty" (Smyth, 1991, p. 329).
Conversation literally means "to dwell with." The faculty advisor as conversationalist is one who dwells with practitioners in their context. It implies a form of interaction than is dialogical and nonhierarchical. It suggests reciprocity rather than expert prescription. To converse implies listening as well as speaking. Not being an expert in Business Education or enrichment projects, required that I listened to the talk - the questions, the interpretations, and the plans. This listening was interpreted by Marian as support in helping her come to clearer understanding.
Super-vision reconceptualized and practiced as conversation is a "pedagogic way of being" Bergman, Hultgren, Lee, Rivkin, & Roderick, 1991, p. 25) as opposed to a way of knowing and doing. The faculty advisor and the cooperating teacher cease to be identified solely by what they know or do, but by who they are.
The central task in the conversationalist role of faculty advisor in action research is to help interns and teachers problematize teaching - to enable them to reframe experience. This role involves a great deal of listening in order to find a compelling question of practice. Initiating a conversation about practice with Alana and Marian involved listening for a question. It was during a classroom visit that the question of independent learning surfaced. Prom this point in the internship, the conversation became a reframing of experience from the perspective of independent learning.
"Participation" is a strange word Its dialectic consists of the fact that participation is not taking parts, but in a way taking the whole. Everybody who participates in something does not take something away, so that others cannot have it. The opposite is true: by sharing, by our participating in the things in which we are participating, we enrich them; they do not become smaller, but larger. The whole life of tradition consists exactly in this enrichment so that life is our culture and our past: the whole inner store of our lives is always extended by participating. (Gadamer, 1988, p. 64)
The literature concerning the student teaching triad relationship, can be conveniently captured by an image of a game in which the faculty advisor and the cooperating teacher sit on the sidelines watching the intern's performance. This image could be compared to a spectator sport entirely focused on the single player rather than on the play of the game. The concept of the game is a useful one to look at the possibility action research holds for developing nonhierarchical relationships in the internship. Is action research capable of changing the focus from the player to the game? Is it capable of enticing the cooperating teacher and the faculty advisor into the game in order for it to be better understood by all of the participants? Can a less hierarchical relationship be established in the triad?
If the focus of the game continues to be on the intern, there is little hope that the internship will become the site for the professional development of the cooperating teacher and the faculty advisor. Furthermore, the nature of the relationship within the triad will continue to be hierarchical. The cooperating teacher role will dominate the relationship while the faculty advisor will continue to play a minor supporting role.
This fourth part of the study, like the third, is from the standpoint of the action research projects. It is intended to further an understanding of action research as a possibility to provide the place in which meaningful pedagogical relationships within the triad can develop. The relationships that are desired are those which accomplish the being and becoming of all members of the triad. not only the intern.
Two accounts were constructed in the dissertation. They were reported in order to show the possibility of a triad collaboratively exploring teaching practice. The first involved Gerry, a very experienced cooperating teacher who had worked with more than fifteen interns. His intern Todd was required to repeat his internship, which had been unsuccessful in the preceding semester. The account in the dissertation describes how they worked together to explore the notion of a token economy to improve classroom behavior. It provides an example of an action research project in the internship.
The second account describes an action research project in an eight-week practicum. Ryan and his cooperating teacher Cal together explore the possibility of making curriculum more meaningful This account provides another example of the use of the action research process in the internship.
The three themes that follow portray an action research oriented internship as a game in which the cooperating teacher and faculty advisor enter the play along with the intern. The faculty advisor plays an important pedagogical role ensuring the fairness of the play.
Gadamer (1977) uses the metaphor of game to portray nonhierarchical and dialogical relationships. He suggests than there is a certain arbitrariness associated with the game, which is a result of its back and forth movement. This aspect gives the game "a peculiar freedom and buoyancy that determines the consciousness of the player" (p. 53). It is Gadamer's view that the game "embraces even the subjectivity of the one who plays it" (p. 53). The game is not an act of subjectivity. To experience the game, players must yield to it, must relinquish their own will to it. There is a loss of self rather than increased self-understanding in the game that Gadamer calls a "self-forgetting."
Gerry used the metaphor of the game to describe his experience of internship. The action research project, according to him, created a 'level playing field." He no longer directed the play from the sidelines but instead entered the game as a participant. His role changed from a coach, an expert who knows and directs the play, to a. player who engages in the buoyancy and freedom of the game. Gerry used the game metaphor language on a number of occasions referring to "playing the same game on the same team" and illustrating the sharing of leadership by stating that "he [Todd] was the quarterback for a while, and I was the quarterback for a while."
The action research project became a strong focal point for the internship. Because the project was not a preconceived idea of the cooperating teacher, he experienced a less hierarchical relationship with Todd. The action research project created a shared focus for the cooperating teacher and the intern.
From the perspective of the cooperating teacher, the focus of the internship shifted from the intern and his performance, to a specific classroom practice, the implementation of a token economy. Gerry recognized that it was the inquiry project that enticed both him and his intern to explore teaching together. It required that they collaborate throughout the day so that their responses to the students would be consistent with their plans. Gerry did not sit on the sidelines; he got into the play. Todd was not an object but rather a partner.
In comparison to the many internships in which Gerry had been involved, this one structured by action research resulted in a much less hierarchical relationship between teacher and intern. Gerry claimed that the common focus on a teaching practice and its effect on pupils allowed him to establish a relationship characterized by professional dialogue about the project. Todd came to be viewed more as a colleague than a student
Decreasing the traditional hierarchy of the triad in the internship implies that the cooperating teacher and intern relationship becomes less expert to novice oriented. Todd experienced the shift of the hierarchy to a. more collegial relationship as "team teaching." His understanding of team teaching demanded a common focus of exploration.
In comparison to his previous unsuccessful attempt at internship, Todd. viewed this one as very collegial He attributed this in part to the action research project that took the focus off his performance. This allowed him to pursue practice, not as a lone player, but as part of a team. He felt less vulnerable about the outcome of the game - the effect of the token economy.
Action research appeared to highlight the game, the learning process as it is experienced by the participants, not just the performance of the intern. Gerry indicated that supervisory conferences, which tended to focus on intern performance, began to evolve into conversations about the project and the transformation of the students in the classroom. Gerry's involvement in the project, along with his intern's experiences, became a part of the ongoing discussions about teaching.
What is the pedagogical nature of the action research game? Action research has no predictable outcome. Each cooperating teacher and intern may choose an entirely different focus which is appropriate to their classroom. The more compelling the topic, the better the chance that the pair will work together over a period of time to pursue it. It is impossible to predict the end of the action research pathway. Action research appears to provide a structure within which the path unfolds, a path that has no determined route. The structure demands a problem of practice rather than the performance of a participant as its focus. Although it can be used by an individual, it appears that it is capable of promoting pedagogical relationships within the student teaching triad which are characterized by dialogue and collaborative inquiry.
Pedagogy, within the action research game, is more concerned with the focus of the game than with the performance of a specific player. The game requires the active participation of all players in order to achieve the goal of the game, improved understanding of practice. By participating together, the knowledge and skills of all of the players are enhanced. Pedagogy is more z matter of enhancing the being and becoming of each member of the triad than ensuring the efficient transfer of knowledge and skills from the cooperating teacher and faculty advisor to the intern.
The action research game provided a shift in focus from the teaching performance of the intern to the collaborative exploration of the play of teaching. This shift in focus had repercussions for the intern's sense of "belonging" in the internship.
Before the pair had implemented the token economy, they were regularly employing the Professional Development Process. Todd selected various targets, or teaching behaviors, and Gerry provided him with feedback using a predetermined data collection instrument. The targets selected tended to be basic teaching competencies. With the advent of the project they also began to change. First, the targets became much more complex and related to the project Second. the targets were not selected by the intern but by both the cooperating teacher and the intern. The focus shifted from the performance of the intern to a specific teaching practice that both were using - the token economy.
It appears as though the shift was one that was less concerned with the performance evaluation of the intern than it was with understanding teaching through a dialogical process.
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A focus on the intern's performance of teaching skills can quickly revert to a very technical approach to the internship. The process becomes means oriented and takes the prescribed skills for granted. The moral aspect, which is more concerned with ends or purposes, may m fact be neglected. By shifting the focus to the project, Gerry and Todd were confronted with questions of rightness of the token economy approach. Is it right to award pupils extrinsically?
Action research seems to be capable of shifting the focus of the game from the performance of the individual players to the play itself. It is able to accomplish this by providing a common focus for inquiry as opposed to concentrating on intern performance. Todd appears to belong to the internship game along with the intern.
Pedagogy, according to van Manen (1991) "describes all those affairs where adults are living with children for the sake of those children's well-being, growth, maturity, and development" (p. 28). Although the term androgogy has been coined to describe the teaching of adults, I continue to use the term pedagogy to discuss the special relationship found among cooperating teachers, their interns and faculty advisors. This relationship is concerned with the formation of the intern's identity as a teacher as it unfolds under the care of an experienced teacher and faculty advisor.
Faculty advisors play a new role in action research projects which involves moving the participants toward a mutually designed research project that they choose, and which is not imposed by the faculty advisor. An important part of this process involves recognizing when the cooperating teacher has determined that the intern is ready for this type of inquiry. Another critical part of the process involves discovering a common interest that both find compelling. Finally, the faculty advisor must find a place to enter the inquiry together with the cooperating teacher and the intern.
The role of the faculty advisor becomes much like the referee in the game whose purpose is to ensure fair play. In the project with Gerry and Todd it was important to see that the focus was of mutual interest and that the experienced cooperating teacher's voice did not dominate.
The evaluation of an intern or student teacher is a common institutional requirement in field programs. The role of the faculty advisor as referee of fair play is particularly crucial at this stage. Evaluation, in the eight week practicum in which Cal and Ryan were involved, was supposed to take the form of separate evaluations by both the cooperating teacher and the faculty advisor. Early in the practicum I suggested to Ryan and Cal that we establish a more collaborative evaluation involving one form with all three involved in order to establish a more collaborative working relationship. I also suggested that we tentatively complete the evaluation at the midpoint of the practicum so that we could concentrate on professional growth.
Cal was an experienced cooperating teacher who was willing to reflect on both his practices as a teacher and as a cooperating teacher. He made specific moves to reduce the student teacher's perception of him as an evaluator. Cal ensured fair play by exposing his own teaching to observation and analysis. However, rather than functioning as an objective referee, he counted himself as a player. The experience as a cooperating teacher was considered to be professional learning.
In any new game, the participants need to learn about the rules and need to experience how the game is played. Faculty advisors committed to the action research approach need to expose participants to the ideas of action research so that they are able to decide on their involvement The role of faculty advisor becomes one of monitoring the play to ensure that it is fair rather than solely monitoring the performance of one of the players.
The symbol of the triangle is used by Jennifer Gore (1991) to portray the student teaching triad. She suggests that the symbol is not an equilateral triangle for a "triad is made up of different parts, parts which are not the same." Her point is that "the triad gets its strength from the difference of its components" (p. 268).
Perhaps concern for the triadic relationship has focussed too much in the past on equality in relationships, making the triangle equilateral, rather than establishing relationships where the different strengths work toward a common goal. Action research appears to be capable of creating a space in the internship in which participants work toward a common goal. It creates a space in which the faculty advisors role becomes facilitative and supportive. Each of the participants are given room to uniquely participate in the game working toward the common goal.
The following two standpoints from the dissertation have not been included in this paper.
5. 9, The Path of Becoming: The struggle to Implement Change
This standpoint examines the struggles to implement a progressive teaching strategy.
D v 6. w A Path of Discovery: in the Identity/Otherness Tension
This standpoint examines the process whereby interns become more other centered.
Thus, pedagogical reflection on action serves to make subsequent action more mindful and tactful. (van Manen, 1991, p. I17)
What has the journey down the action research pathway been like? What are some of the new understandings about action research, field experiences, research methods, and about myself as a teacher educator that have surfaced? This part of the paper is an attempt to summarize these reflections.
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Action research is not a scheme or answer that will change nonreflective student teachers into reflective practitioners. It cannot be reduced to a technique that can be applied to ensure more effective field experiences in teacher education. As a structure, it cannot, in and of itself, "produce" understanding or effect meaningful change in teaching practice. However, it does constitute a pathway that provides a different vantage point from which to survey teaching practice. As a new path, it is capable of commanding attention by stimulating a fresh look at taken-for-granted practices.
In this study, the action research pathway revealed several different faces when examined from the six standpoints in the constellation. One of those faces involved the structured cycles of planning, acting/observing, and reflection. Another face involved the participation of cooperating teachers and interns involved in collaborative projects. Still another involved all of the participants in the internship seminar and the weekly meetings. Finally, the action research pathway involved individuals trying to make sense of their practice outside of the group. The multifaceted nature of action research provides a place to dwell, which not only compels the participants to explore teaching through a common focus of inquiry, but also structures the way people should dwell together. It is normative in that it speaks for a natural way-of-being-
in-the-world. That way is dialogical. Action research is an attempt to return life to its most basic way of being with others - interpretive conversation.
By appropriating a dialogical orientation, action research is a way to return teaching to its original difficulty. It does not attempt to offer easy explanations, predictions, effective techniques, or quick fixes. Instead, it offers the difficulty of coming to understand what one does and who one is, of struggling to know the Other in all their otherness, and of learning to dwell within the difficulties of practice without losing hope of finding new possibilities.
This study concerned itself much more with the process of collaborative action research than with the actual results of the process. Indeed, the actual research results of the projects may not be that earth shattering. However, this study does attempt to show the deeper meaning that the process yields. Research results relate primarily to the technical methodological aspect of action research - the cycles. The process. though, goes far beyond these cycles especially when it is geared toward creating understanding.
The most significant idea about action research revealed in this study, was that it provides a space in which the members of the triad could dwell. This space facilitated a dwelling that helped the cooperating teachers, interns, and faculty advisor to become something different. Action research protected the space of internship practice in such a way that it freed the participants to become what they could be. Dwelling in the midst of the lived world of internship became more than putting up with difficulties of practice, or with the blind acceptance of prescriptions to ease the difficulties of teaching. Dwelling became a way of collaboratively discovering what we could become in the internship. A creative rather than passive dwelling was experienced by participants engaged in the action research projects. The action research pathway became a way of caring far a space in which the being and becoming of the participants was able to flourish. As such, the way was pedagogical because it contributed to the thoughtfulness of the participants.
Action research as a dwelling in the flux of practice, is a hermeneutic endeavor. The collaborative reading of the signs of teaching is an interpretive act "the exploration of possible worlds of meaning" (Jardine, 1988, p. 34). In this sense action research is regenerative and capable of changing understanding and practices. This is in direct opposition to a technical form of action research bent. on control, manipulation, and prediction. It is not a means to accomplish some other good. It is an interpretive way of being with others in order to develop understanding. It is essentially a sense making activity. As such, it is difficult to reduce it to a set of principles (Mc Taggart, 1991) with which to measure how true a particular project is to the ideal.
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I have a more acute sense of what the topos of the field experience component is really like in teacher education. It is less a place of the "best" experience in learning to teach, although it is that to student teachers, than it is a place of struggle - a struggle to create a teacher voice amidst a cacophony of pedagogical tensions.
The struggle to become a teacher should not be viewed as something to eradicate but rather to be explored. In fact, the tensions of socialization/change, prescription/inquiry, technical/interpretive-critical are irreducible - they defy totalization. In this light, the work of the faculty advisor must be focused on helping student teachers understand these tensions and their practice in the context of these tensions. This can only be accomplished by dialogue. And dialogue takes time.
It was apparent in this study that interms had to become comfortable with the routines of the classroom before moving on to action research projects. They had to convince themselves and their cooperating teachers that they were competent in teaching. This competence is related to the fundamental techniques of teaching being in place before they could progress to action research. Proficiency in the technical aspects expected by teachers was informally assessed early in the internship.
Perhaps a model for internship can be constructed that integrates the learning of technical competencies with action research. In an internship of sixteen weeks, it seems reasonable to devote the first six weeks to becoming comfortable by working on the technical aspects of classroom teaching. During this time the routine use of the clinical supervision approach may serve to establish a process in which the intern analyses the text created by the cooperating teacher on her teaching. The process is similar to the action research cycle of planning, acting, observing, and reflecting. After the first six weeks, the focus could shift to inquiry projects to allow sufficient time for the triad to explore a question of practice. A both/and rationality must evolve if creative possibilities are to emerge for internship.
In the course of the study, I spent considerably more time with the interns and cooperating teachers than normally occurs. It reaffirmed my belief that intensive involvement in field experiences is the primary way that I identify as a teacher educator, it is not through the courses that I teach or the research that I do. And yet the general design of teacher education programs, which has been compromised because of the tentative acceptance of teacher education in the academy, has marginalized this role while privileging objective research on teaching. The important work with student teachers requires an enormous amount of time if it is to be dialogical and inquiry-oriented. Unfortunately, most programs have assigned this central work of teacher education to faculty associates. The work with student teachers is usually conceptualized as the "supervision of student teaching" which tends to involve judgmental evaluation of technical skills based on an inadequate number of visits.
Teacher educators must begin to argue for increased resources for this valuable component of teacher education programs. Inquiry-oriented teacher education conceptualizes the field component as much more complex than the implementation of theory into practice. Learning to make sense out of practice requires intense and time-consuming reflective coaching. Although it may be labeled "clinical," the work of teaching is indeed intellectual work of the highest order. It should not take second place to the abstract and theoretical work of studying teaching.
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Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this journey for me as a researcher was to learn to trust myself ahead of method. There was a constant temptation to find a method that would simplify the research process.
A major detour to explore hermeneutics gradually convinced me that my embeddedness in the world of teacher education was vital to my research and could not possibly be bracketed. I became more confident to think about the research transcripts in the light of both my experience and my reading related to this study, so that themes could surface. I began to write as ideas emerged. The research process became a thinking process not a technical procedure. For example, the notion of "struggle," which is so pervasive in and relevant to this study, would not, in all likelihood, have emerged from a rigorous adherence to a method restricted to "coding the data." The experience "spoke to me" not only from the taped conversation transcriptions bur from my interaction with the ideas that emerged from the experience. The research became for me as much an exercise in understanding interpretation as it was the practice of interpretation.
Hermeneutic inquiry revealed itself to be a way to reflect on the world of practice in which I already dwell. It became a way, not of forgetting my embeddedness in the language, history, and culture of field experiences through distancing methodologies, but of renewing my commitment to field experiences through the emergence of new insights into familiar practices.
This kind of research pushes the borders of established methods of educational research. Hermeneutic inquiry in this study brought forth new understandings that scientific studies in the past have concealed. Juxtaposed to "action" that causes an effect, the action of action research, in the form of hermeneutic inquiry, is thinking.
Both quantitative and qualitative forms of educational research seem to have exhausted the insights that its methods reveal The big ideas of education have been relegated to the background in favor of questions concerning schooling. We seem to spend our time implementing ideas from other fields and evaluating teaching practices rather than generating new possibilities. Research, to my mind, must cease the quest for knowledge to be applied to classrooms and instead pursue meaning questions. This means that educational researchers will need to act more like educated beings than technicians who are adept at research methodologies.
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Max van Manen (1991) uses the concept of "pedagogical fitness" (p. 122) to describe the ability to respond tactfully in pedagogical situations. Tactful action is thoughtful in the sense that it does not distance itself from the situation. This study for me has been an exercise in pedagogical fitness, an exercise that has made me more thoughtful about and mare tactful in my practice.
The thoughtfulness and tactfulness experienced in this study has been particularly oriented tow and the struggles that interns experience in the internship. My practice as a faculty advisor is now much more attuned to this struggle and to an awareness that I need to work to restore teacher education to its original difficulty by engaging in the struggle, not by attempting to fix it through technical approaches. Careful to avoid a reverse hegemony, I want to avoid marginalizing the need for technical skills in the classroom. Again there is the tension to dwell thoughtfully within the tension rather than privileging one side over the other.
"What is field experience?" is the question which has motivated me to pursue this study. The meaning that internship as an extended field experience has for me now goes beyond the notion of the predictable socialization of the student teacher. Internship is the place in the teacher education pogrom where the practical questions confront the student teacher creating a struggle e to make sense out of practice. The struggle is affected by a host of factors such as the student teacher's biography, the institutional norms, the subject area, and pertinent to this study, the approach taken to learn teaching. Internship in an inquiry-oriented approach is not a method to eradicate the struggle. It is a way to engage the tensions characteristic of that struggle in a deeper way.
As a participant in the role of faculty advisor, the meaning that restoring teacher education to its original difficulty has for me relates specifically to my understanding of pedagogical responsibility. To be able to respond pedagogically in the internship means to engage interns and cooperating teachers in an interpretive dialogue about the struggles that they face in teaching. This process privileges the democratic sharing of diverse viewpoints within a community that is unified in its commitment to explore its own practice.
The practice of internship in teacher education demands a reconceptualization if the experience is ever to become a way of fostering pedagogical thoughtfulness and tactfulness. If this study has been even a small step toward rethinking what we do in the field experiences, then it has been successful.
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