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The role of contingency and tension in the relationship between theory and practice in the classroom

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The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the effect of teaching practice on the teacher's perspective on teaching. It argues that there is often a mismatch between a teacher's explicit beliefs about teaching and the practices in which she engages in the classroom. Teachers often find themselves engaged in practices which they do not believe in. In order to develop a greater harmony between teachers' explicit beliefs about teaching and their practices in the classroom teacher educators need to be cautious about epistemological and disengaged rationalist ways of teaching the ideals of good teaching and develop an appreciation of the ways in which the tensions and stresses of everyday practice inform teachers' beliefs about teaching. What if teachers, recognizing the uncertainty in their work, raised their voices instead of growing silent? And what if theorists recognized that intimate knowledge of this uncertainty was exactly what was missing from both their theories and the policies these theories provoke? (McDonald in Floden and Buchmann 1993:221)

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 1998

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