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The explication of working knowledge within a teacher's self-evaluation of her teaching

Hall, Susan H. (1994) The explication of working knowledge within a teacher's self-evaluation of her teaching. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This dissertation is a report on an ethnographic case study of a teacher's (Ellen's) formative evaluation of her literature teaching in a Year 7 primary school class over the course of a school year. The study had two broad aims. The first was to identify the relationship between Ellen's explication of her working knowledge and the quality of her literature lessons in terms of student interest. The second aim was to develop an holistic method for exploring a teacher's world of work, including a way of accounting for how the conduct of the study impinged on its findings.

The method for doing the fieldwork was participant observation which included observation, document analysis, interviews, and individual and group discussions. It also included the examination of samples of student work, Ellen's evaluation records, and her responses to regular verbal and written feedback on the observations made. The fieldwork was conducted within a co-research relationship where Ellen’s self-evaluation project and this study were conducted concurrently.

An approach to developing grounded theory (adapted from Glaser and Strauss, 1967) was used to produce two main findings. The first finding was that there was a positive relationship between Ellen's explication of her working knowledge and the effectiveness of her teaching; that is, as Ellen increasingly explicated her working knowledge of her teaching the students became more interested in the literature lessons. This change coincided with the students becoming more emotionally involved in the lessons and with Ellen gradually integrating her knowledge of various aspects of her teaching. Furthermore, the increased explication coincided both with Ellen becoming more conscious of her working knowledge and more deliberate and selective in applying it.

The other principal finding was that the epistemological framework used, the collaborative-reflexive framework, was a suitable one for conducting an holistic study of a teacher's world of work. In particular the co-researcher and reflexivity components enabled an insider's view to be portrayed along with an account of the researcher's involvement (and possible influence) in the setting.

The dissertation has implications for future professional development programmes for teachers. It is also a contribution to knowledge about methods for conducting research on teachers' work, collaborative self-evaluation of work practices, classroom ethnography, collaborative co-research with teachers, and the development of grounded theory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Straton, Ralph and Tripp, David
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