A Study on Teachers’ Practical Knowledge
|School||East China Normal University|
|Course||Curriculum and Pedagogy|
|Keywords||teachers’ knowledge teachers’ practical knowledge teachers’practical professional development of teachers|
In the past thirty years, great changes have taken place in the research of teachers’knowledge. People began to study the teachers’ practical knowledge rather than academic knowledge. And this change, which has a deep foundation of philosophy, psychology and education, is the response to the practical problems of education. Why the top-down curriculum reform can’t achieve the desired effect? Why the normal education can’t guide teachers to better understand the application and limitations of academic knowledge? In fact, it has become a common problem for teachers and scholars that the theory taught at Universities can’t guide the teaching practice. So the research on the problems, such as,"What knowledge do teachers know?""How do they know the knowledge?""How do they express the knowledge?" that is, teacher’s practical knowledge, take on an added importance. In this study, teachers’ practical knowledge is defined as:the teachers’ experience accumulated in the school and classroom, pointing directly at the education problems in teaching and guiding the teachers’action; the situation-oriented integrated knowledge, running through the teachers’daily teaching practice and influenced by the teachers emotional attitudes. Research on Teachers’ practical knowledge will have certain guiding significance to the professional development of teacher and the theory and practice of teacher Education.Mixed research method is used in this study. Questionnaire investigation is the major method, and interview survey is subordinate. Through the questionnaire investigation, this study will answer "what" the structure of teachers’ practical knowledge is,"what" the influencing factors of teacher’s practical knowledge are, and "what" the way to promote the teacher’s practical knowledge is, aiming to reveal the teachers’ practical knowledge structure, influence factors and improving ways. Through interview survey, this study will get further verification about "how the teachers generate and develop the practical knowledge in the particular context, to make up for the lack of questionnaire investigation."The results of quantitative research indicate:(1) the "most important", the "most helpful" and the "most needed" knowledge perceived by teachers points to different content. And the three kinds of "most important" practical knowledge are the knowledge about pedagogical content knowledge(PCK), knowledge of curriculum and knowledge of subject matter. The "most helpful" practical knowledge perceived by teachers is knowledge of self, knowledge of students, knowledge of instruction. The teachers think, the "most needed" knowledge is knowledge of instruction.(2) The components of the teachers’ practical knowledge in China has four dimensions, which is knowledge of curriculum, knowledge of instruction, knowledge of subject and self knowledge. Among them, knowledge of instruction contains knowledge of students; knowledge of subject contains knowledge of subject matter, and PCK; self knowledge contains knowledge of self and knowledge of milieu.(3) The gender, age, education, job title, region and school type affects the structure of teachers’ practical knowledge.(4) The teachers with different seniority, educational backgrounds, titles have different ways to promote practical knowledge.The results of quantitative research indicate:(1)Among the four dimensions of Chinese teachers’ practical knowledge, knowledge of curriculum and knowledge of self are quite different from the original "general connotation" which is obtained by combing documents. Knowledge of curriculum of Chinese teachers has two contents:one is the understanding of curriculum policy; the other is the understanding of subject content, knowledge relation and students. In knowledge of self, Chinese teachers focus on the "micro-environment", including their classes, teaching situation, and their students, and form the notions of their own characteristics, teaching styles, and teaching profession.(2) Teachers’ practical knowledge is influenced by teachers’ learning experience, personality, emotions, beliefs and other individual factors. But this doesn’t mean that the teachers’ practical knowledge is personal and unique, and it can be communicated in the teacher community. The most obvious characterization is that some experience proved by teaching practice can be communicated directly in the teacher community during the teaching research activities.(3)The attitude, emotion and responsibility consist of a dynamic mechanism of the planar structure of teachers’ practical knowledge. Emotion and responsibility are the very important sources of teachers’ practical knowledge development, and they are playing a complementary role in the practice of teaching in China.(4)Teachers’ practical knowledge is influenced by the individual and environmental factors, but the two factors in the formation of teachers’ practical knowledge interact with each other and can’t be split, so as to promote the generation of practical knowledge.(5) The generation of practical knowledge not only relies on experience alone, but also need the reflection steps in, and rebuilds the original knowledge structure systematically.Finally the article puts four suggestions on how to improve teachers’ practical knowledge:(1) holding the discussions on the theme of "students’ knowledge";(2) improving the teachers’ level of teaching reflection and enhancing their consciousness of using teaching methods in teaching practice;(3) creating a professional learning atmosphere to support the teachers’ emotion in teaching;(4) clearing up the teachers’ concept of designing education programs to provide a professional foundation for the development of teachers’ practical knowledge.