Teacher Knowledge: An Ideal Typology

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Michaloski, Gordon Anthony
Valli, Linda
ABSTRACT Title of Dissertation: TEACHER KNOWLEDGE: AN IDEAL TYPOLOGY Gordon Anthony Michaloski, Doctor of Philosophy, 2009 Dissertation directed by: Professor Linda Valli, Department of Curriculum and Instruction This collective case study examined the possible roles for received knowledge and classroom experience in the formation of an ideal typology for teacher knowledge. The problematic nature of teacher knowledge development was examined with regard to behavioral, psychological, and social influences. Theoretical underpinnings drew principally from schema theory and formative theory about the nature and development of teacher knowledge. The compatibility of tacit and codified knowledge about teaching was a key concern. Special attention was given to examining how teachers integrate received knowledge with classroom experience and the frequently reported discord between the two. Other issues addressed included teacher compliance and the effectiveness of teacher preparation. An initial conceptual framework founded upon possible roles for received knowledge and classroom experience was expanded into an ideal topology for teacher knowledge when combined with a concern for personal versus collaborative processes. Data suggested four ideal types: a) personal-experiential, b) personal-received, c) collaborative-experiential, and d) collaborative-received. The qualitative research design involved open-ended questionnaires, in-depth interviews, and lesson plan documents from 14 classroom teachers in the mid-Atlantic region. Participants were chosen from public and private schools, and were diverse in ethnicity, gender, years of experience, teacher preparation, and grade levels taught. The purpose of the study was twofold: a) to arrive at a better understanding of the relationship between received knowledge and classroom experience in the formation of knowledge about teaching, and b) to contribute toward general theory on teacher knowledge and its development. The study is significant in that a better understanding of how teachers integrate classroom experience with received knowledge may contribute to a more workable model for teacher knowledge development and thereby contribute toward more effective planning of teacher education, professional development, and graduate level coursework.