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Tuesday, July 2 • 11:45am - 12:25pm
Practice or personal? Pre-service teachers giving peer-feedback

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When teachers, as members of a practice, are providing one another with peer feedback, on what grounds do they legitimise their contributions? What knowledge counts when recognising the quality of the work of other teaching professionals? The conceptual tools offered by LCT are useful in analysing the grounds on which teachers legitimise their evaluation of another’s practice. The knowledge bases that are employed by differently qualified preservice teachers in order to engage in pedagogical reasoning of preservice teachers are the focus of this paper, developing the central argument that differently qualified pre-service teachers, drawing on different grounds of legitimation for their judgements on an artefact of practice call into question whether teaching is seen as a professional or highly individualised practice.

This paper explores an empirical study into the contributions that groups of student teachers, who have followed different qualification routes to become a teacher, make in providing feedback to a novice teacher. Contributions ranged from merely contributing popular maxims about teaching, to the personal recollection of the practices of own teachers, to learning during pre-service courses. While all participants in the study were quite convinced of the value of their contributions, all needed to be prompted to consider the grounds on which these judgements were legitimised. The implications of this prompting was that participants were required to actively consider the knowledge that legitimated their judgement on practice.

A question arises about what each of these grounds of legitimation contributes to the conception of teaching as a professional or a highly individualised practice. As such, this study requires the construction of a translation device that draws on the specialisation and semantic codes in order to develop an explanatory framework for exploring the knowledge bases that differently qualified pre-service teachers draw on to legitimise their feedback to a colleague. The use of semantic codes opens up possibilities to explore the extent of networked ideas (or ideas with many nodes of meaning) in the justification (using semantic density), as well as the extent to which the justification draws on experiential or contextual knowledge (using semantic gravity). The specialisation codes open up possibilities to explore the location of the justification (using epistemic relations), as well as the distance from the self that the justification is articulated (using social relations). In this paper, I present a sample of responses from across a spectrum from very personalised to the responses that relied less on personal, experiential, knowledge, but vested the authority of the knowledge of the practice within others, and within theory.

I conclude by briefly exploring the implications of these grounds of legitimation in terms of the quest to professionalise teaching practices by strengthening the epistemic relations (communally owned practice with codified knowledge base), and the tension this has with teaching as seeking to develop teachers as expert knowers (strengthening the social relations). The possibilities for a code clash or shift in this regard are considered.


Tuesday July 2, 2019 11:45am - 12:25pm SAST
Room B45

Attendees (5)