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Title:Teaching as Practice: Blending the Intellectual and Moral in Pursuit of Science Teachers' Practical Knowledge
Author(s):Salloum, Sara Labib
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Abd-El-Khalick, Fouad
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Sciences
Abstract:This study aimed to (a) explore and understand the intricacy of science teaching as a morally committed practice engaging teachers' practical knowledge; (b) explore science teacher practical knowledge by probing and understanding teachers' interpretations, commitments, and dialectic interactions between them; and (c) scrutinize science teachers' actions in terms of their interpretations and commitments as they go about realizing 'internal goods' of their practice and resolving dilemmas of everyday science teaching practice. Case studies of three physical science teachers in different socioeconomic contexts in Lebanon were conducted using ethnographic methods of indepth dialogues, observation, and artifact analysis. An interpretive approach to data analysis was adopted to ensure that the generated themes and assertions reflected participant teachers' interpretation and commitments. A commitment of preparing students for the official exams and doing well in them prevailed across the three contexts. This commitment originated from the teachers' interpretations of their duty as 'good' teachers who will not let students and the school down. In the public schools, teachers saw that students' passing the Brevet exams gains them a right of passage to a safe zone. In the private school, the teacher saw her duty to have student attain high grades in preparation for their future educational and career plans. Each teacher's case was described in terms of a teacher's standing commitments, associated interpretations, and manifestations in action. A characterization for each teacher's practice was offered in light of interactions between commitments, interpretations and actions. Characterizations that emerged included: a disciplining governess, role model with missionary tendencies, and good employee with a mission. The concept of gap-closing (between interpretations and commitments) was used to explain development of teachers' practical knowledge. Nature of gap closing and its forms are discussed in light of the case studies. A view of teachers' knowledge involving a practical moral dimension is discussed utilizing the concept of 'phronesis.' Phronetic knowledge is compared with other forms of teacher knowledge within major science education research traditions: Constructivism and sociocultural perspectives. Finally, implications of such a view of knowledge are presented as they pertain to professional development, teacher education, and research in science education.
Issue Date:2006
Description:316 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3223709
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2006

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