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Constructions of professional knowledge among student and practising primary teachers: paradigmatic and narrative

By C. Burnett


<p>The way in which professional knowledge is presented in initial teacher education (ITE) in England and Wales is significant. Not only is it emblematic of the way teaching itself is conceived, but it is likely to influence the way that students engage with their development. The following analysis therefore describes and critiques the kinds of knowledge presented within the predominant model of primary ITE in England and Wales. Bruner's concepts of paradigmatic and narrative modes of thought are used to frame this analysis. Firstly, the presentation of professional knowledge within different dimensions of primary ITE is examined: in the curriculum; in higher education institutions; and in school. Next, life history research from the last 20 years is used to explore what practising teachers have seen as significant in the formation of their professional knowledge in order to create a critical perspective on the kind of knowledge evident in ITE. Various tensions between paradigmatic and narrative orientations towards knowledge located within both ITE and within teachers' lives are explored and ultimately seen as contributing in complex and ambiguous ways to what Clandinin and Connelly refer to as a 'professional knowledge landscape' (1998). Ultimately, it is argued that recognizing this notion of a 'professional knowledge landscape' is useful in framing the kind of teacher professional knowledge required in ITE. The implications of this for primary ITE programmes are also discussed.</p

Year: 2006
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