This study examines the perceptions expert teachers have about the ways the culture and the context of their schools influence their definition of expertise and their enactment of expert teaching. The teachers, nominated as expert by their respective school principals, teach in the same city, but in three schools with distinctly different contexts and cultures. The underlying assumption of this study is that expertise in teaching, in different school contexts and cultures, may present itself in distinct and particular ways.
The teachers are examined through case studies constructed with the use of interviews, observations, and school documents. Each teacher articulates qualities of expertise, which fall into three distinct categories. They describe personal attributes, perspectives on teaching and specific classroom practices.
The teachers were adept at acknowledging factors in their school culture and context that influenced their teaching and were aware of the organizational structures of their schools and the impact that brings to bear on their practice. They define qualities of expertise in their teaching practice that are more similar than different, yet their core educational beliefs and philosophies differ one from the other in substantial ways as does their teaching practice. Each believes that expert teaching practice requires distinctive teaching that best meets the needs of their very distinct populations of students.
One of the main implications of this study is that it may be easier to get teachers to generate characteristics of an expert teacher, but far more complex to explore a teacher’s personal vision and qualify a teacher’s commitment and motivation, which appear to be the true distinguishing characteristics of each of these teachers. These complex processes may need to be more thoroughly addressed in teacher education, school reform and educational research to gain a better picture of what comprises expert teacher practice.
|Advisor:||Zumwalt, Karen, Hatch, Thomas|
|Commitee:||Borland, James, Mensah, Felicia|
|School:||Teachers College, Columbia University|
|Department:||Curriculum and Teaching|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||School administration, Elementary education, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Expert teaching, Expertise, School culture, Teacher|
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