Teachers' intuition-in-action: how teachers experience action

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Abstract:

Reflection is frequently used and plays an important role in teachers' work, but the concept of reflection is not always clear. In this article the focus is on the (re)introduction of intuition in teaching. We examine and make explicit different ways of using and understanding reflection and intuition, concentrating on the essentials of the two concepts. The concept of intuition is known and used all over the world. In this particular study, it is necessary to limit the historical conceptualization to western philosophy and also to its use in Swedish philosophy and pedagogy in the twentieth century. The aim is to conceptualize teachers' intuition through analysis of qualitative interviews. Data is collected from 13 interviews with professionally active primary and secondary school teachers. The study is carried out within the framework of phenomenology. The principal methodological source of inspiration is Herbert Spiegelberg and the definite frame presented in his work The phenomenological movement (1984, pp. 678-719) With that as base, a number of different items are adopted to describe and analyze the experience of teachers. The result shows that the concept of teachers' intuition-in-action contains an extremely evident dimension in the teachers' work. This dimension is conceptualized in a qualitative area and organized into the themes of the how and what aspects of intuition. The result also indicates that teachers are more inclined to talk about teachers' intuition-in-action than about teachers' reflection-in-action when articulating the practice of teachers. In the discussion we argue for the important content-aspect of teachers' own experience captured in the concept of teachers' intuition-in-action. Using a stricter definition of both intuition and reflection their obvious relation is discussed. Finally we try to highlight the necessary and integrated conection intuition has to teachers' work, how it enrichens and widens the understanding of pedagogical practice and the important impact it should have in teacher education.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1462394042000270673

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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