The professional craft - Sample Essay

PART B. I previously outlined that every teacher is a theory builder, and all teachers desire to make changes to, or fine-tune their teaching methods. There are some areas of strength, limitations, and areas of concern, involved in this theory. Areas of strength As Schon observed, “teachers do know more than they can say, articulate, or put into words. ” Schon, D. (1987). This is because what they know is embedded in their performance. It is a tacit or implied kind of practical knowledge, which is know-how we develop from engaging in practical activity.

It is the knowledge that we use to get things done. “This kind of knowledge has also been referred to as craft knowledge. ” Brown and McIntyre (1988). “It can also be seen as working knowledge. ” Yinger, Hendricks- Lee and Johnson (1991). In the early 80s, Schon (1983) drew attention to a problem that was beginning to emerge in the professions. He noted that “the professions were experiencing a crisis of confidence in their ability to make an effective contribution to the well-being of society.

” Schon (1983) His conclusion was based on analyses by leading professionals in a number of fields of the relevance of their professional knowledge bases to practice. Oneimportant cause of this crisis of confidence, in his view, was that the knowledge base on which professionals relied, and which they had acquired during their university courses, did not provide adequate answers to the everyday problems they were encountering in practice.

Put bluntly, ‘the kinds of knowledge generated by researchers and academics did not, in his (Schon’s) view, provide answers to the everyday problems confronted by practitioners because the problems of practice were different from the problems addressed by research’ Marland (1997, p. 52). In fact, Schon contended that the problems arising in practice were often not known by academics and researchers. The problems of practice had unique features, because theystemmed from unique events in unique contexts.

The knowledge produced by researchers andacademics was generated by addressing questions or problems of interest to them, but thesewere often very different from the problems that arose in practice. Teachers and student teachers have long been aware of the differences between researchers and academics on the one hand, and teacher practitioners on the other, in respect of problems and questions that beset and intrigue both groups and of the knowledge needed to address those problems and questions. They sometimes speak deprecatingly of the knowledge generated in research for its lack of relevance to their practical problems.

If this is so, where should teachers begin their quest for knowledge relevant to the problems they face in their schools and classrooms? The answer that Schon gives to this question is that teachers must individually and collectively solve the problems that arise in practice. They need to define and re-define their problems; plan and implement trial solutions to those problems; and review and revise their solutions. In short, they need to be what Schon calls reflective practitioners.


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