Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Tacit Pedagogical Knowing: At the Core of Teacher's Professionality

Auli Toom

Doctoral dissertation, December 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Department of Applied Sciences of Education.

The purpose of this research was to examine class teachers' interactive pedagogical thinking and action, in other words their tacit pedagogical knowing. Tacit pedagogical knowing was defined as a process in interactive teaching situation, through which a teacher finds solutions to surprising and challenging situations, pedagogical moments, so that the lesson continues. Teachers are able to describe their tacit pedagogical knowing afterwards and also find some reasons for it as well. More specifically, the aim was to study, 1) how does a class teacher's tacit pedagogical knowing appear in teacher's actions, and 2) what kinds of contents include in class teacher's tacit pedagogical knowing.

The research material was gathered from four class teachers by videotaping their lessons and by stimulated recall interviews. In addition to this, the researcher spent a relatively long time in the research participants' classrooms. She conducted initial interviews and orientating observations by means of participant observation in order to get to know the participants and their contexts better. A phenomenologically oriented approach, which proceeded by following abductive logic, was used in the analysis procedures of the videotaped and stimulated recall data. In addition to this, correlation examinations were used in the validation of stimulated recall data analyses. The appearance of the tacit pedagogical knowing was observed in the videotaped data. The contents of tacit pedagogical knowing were defined by the analyses of stimulated recall data.

According to the research results, a class teacher's tacit pedagogical knowing appears in the maintenance of the pedagogical relation, the teacher's relation to content, and the didactical relation. The contents of class teacher's tacit pedagogical knowing were many sided. The maintenance of the pedagogical relation, the teacher's relation to content, and the didactical relation were elements of the contents as well. In addition to these, the maintenance of teacher's pedagogical authority, the maintenance of the student's role or pedagogical authority, and the awareness of the nature of the content of instruction are included in the contents of teacher's tacit pedagogical knowing. The phenomenon of tacit pedagogical knowing was observed to be clearly a process-like and relational phenomenon.

Based on the research results, a model of teacher's tacit pedagogical knowing was developed. Using the model, it is possible to illustrate the factors that are at the core of teacher's professionality. This model could be used in the context of teacher education, supervision, or in-service training.

The title page of the publication

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Last updated 27.11.2006

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