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Teachers’ lives, critical incidents, and professional practice

Tripp, D. (1994) Teachers’ lives, critical incidents, and professional practice. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 7 (1). pp. 65-76.

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Beginning from the premise that methods and outcomes depend upon the interests and intentions of the biographer, this article addresses several issues in the production of teachers’ life histories. Most of these have to do with the politics of the method, such as, “Who gets to say what about whom, to whom, and with what results?” The primary benefit of this type of research needs to be improvements to teachers’ professional lives, an outcome that is best achieved, not by producing holistic biographies, but through a piecemeal examination of teachers’ current practice to uncover professionally formative experiences. This means one cannot employ traditional biographical methods to produce continuous chronological accounts of whole lives, but should utilize a critical incident method that produces an ongoing and discontinuous account of fragments of the past. This approach is illustrated using an incident in the author's own biography.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Routledge as part of the Taylor and Francis Group
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