Getting a Grip on the Classroom: From Psychological to Phenomenological Curriculum Development in Teacher Education Programs

Mar. 10, 2014

Source: Curriculum Inquiry, Volume 44, Issue 2, pages 141–168, March 2014

A major field of psychological research in education concerns the relationship between teachers' beliefs and their practices. A contested yet fairly consistent assumption underlying this literature is that the beliefs that teachers hold concerning the educational profession directly and/or indirectly affect their practices in actual classrooms. Because of the assumed causal power of beliefs, teacher education programs should therefore help students clarify their beliefs concerning best practices, which in turn will help foster more consistent and reasonable practices in their future classrooms. Thus the underlying model of excellence is a critically self-reflective teacher.

Using a phenomenological lens, the authors argue that this approach to teacher education is flawed in two respects: (1) the intellectualist approach misses prepropositional forms of meaningful coping and dealing with an environment that define everyday teaching and (2) does not adequately describe what constitutes “excellence.”

In conclusion, they suggest teacher education curricula shift from promoting teaching as critical self-reflection to promoting tactful coping.

Updated: May. 04, 2016