Toward Scholarship in Practice

Aug. 01, 2012

Source: Teachers College Record,Volume 114 Number 8, 2012

Over the past decade, scholars of teaching and teacher education have concluded that the field lacks a common conceptual vocabulary to undergird systematic investigation of practice. Absent a shared language, we can neither articulate common questions nor establish common tools—essential elements for building knowledge and advancing practice.


In this article, the author argues that succeeding in the quest for a shared language in teacher education requires both refocused lines of research and the cultivation of scholarship that makes visible the interplay of reasoning and action underlying skilled work of professional preparation.

Such scholarship should provide well-articulated and examined models and tools to support the development of prospective and practicing teachers—resources that can be evaluated and built upon.
The goal of this article is to establish a conceptual framework to support such a system.

Research Design
Drawing on philosophical and empirical inquiries into the nature of practice and practical reasoning, as well as the efforts to expand definitions of scholarship, the author conceptualizes this distinct form of work as “scholarship in practice.”
The author then posits a set of criteria by which scholarship in practice might be assessed, illustrating these through two extended examples and considering implications for peer review.


The author concludes that advancing scholarship that capitalizes on the expertise and talent of faculty who not only understand but also skillfully enact the work of preparing teachers is vital to the progress of the field.
Moving forward with this agenda requires that faculty in schools of education take the time to establish shared understandings of the nature and possibilities of this kind of scholarship, clear expectations regarding quality, and infrastructure to support development, review, and feedback.

Updated: May. 28, 2012