Peter Marx

Edited by Wolfgang Schneider


Edited by Mordechai Gordon and Thomas V. Brien

This book addresses both the concerns of teacher candidates and their misconceptions about the relation of theory and practice in education. The contributors to this volume share the belief that theories provide teachers with a frame of reference and a language with which to name and critically analyze many of the problems they face daily. The significance of theory is in its ability to define the problems that teachers face, clarify their confusions, and suggest possible solutions to these problems. Once educational theories are viewed as guides to thought and instruments of interpretation rather than as established facts, it becomes clear that they cannot simply be plugged into a particular classroom. Instead, a theory must be applied in more nuanced and contextual ways, taking into account the social-historical context in which it was created as well as the various particulars of each classroom situation. Experienced educators and scholars in the field have been recruited to write essays that speak to the relevance of different theories in philosophy, psychology, sociology, English, history, science, art, technology, and multiculturalism for the practice of teaching.
This book would appeal to teacher educators, teacher candidates, and teachers in general.

Doing Teacher-Research

A Handbook for Perplexed Practioners


Wolff-Michael Roth

There are many teachers who think about doing research in their own classes and schools but who are perplexed by what appears to be involved. This book is intended for these perplexed practitioners, to provide them with an easily understandable narrative about the concrete praxis of doing research in their classrooms or in those of their teacher peers teaching next door or in the same school. The fundamental idea underlying this book is to provide an easily accessible but nevertheless intellectually honest text that allows teachers to increase their agency with respect to better understanding their praxis and the events in their classrooms by means of research.
The author draws on his experience of doing teacher-research while being a high school teacher and department head. Roth uses six concrete research studies that he has conducted alone or with peers to describe the salient parts of any teacher-researcher investigation including: what topic to study; issues of ethics and permissions from students, school, and parents; how and what sources to collect; how to structure resources; how to construct data from the materials; how to derive claims; and how to write a report/research study. Roth chose the case-based approach because cases provide the details necessary for understanding why and how he, as teacher-researcher, has made certain decisions, and what he would do differently today. Using this case-based approach, he allows readers to tie methods choices to situations that they likely are familiar with.


Toward a Zen Mind in Learning and Teaching


Domenico Masciotra, Wolff-Michael Roth and Denise Morel

This book is addressed to all those in the field of education or related fields, including teachers, teacher-trainers, consultants, and researchers, who are interested in exploring the question, “What does it mean to know, to learn and to teach?” Contrary to popular conceptions, an enactive perspective assumes that knowing and learning are not disembodied operations that take place solely in a person’s head. Rather, they are a function of the whole person who is firmly situated in the world and who acts in the world to transform it, just as she is transformed by it. The dynamic and transformational nature of knowing and learning are reflected in the relationship between the person and her world, a relationship that evolves through acting in and with the world rather than abstracting oneself from it. Knowing develops as a function of the person’s availability, that is, her full involvement and presence in the here- and-now. The aim of education is thus to foster the development of this relationship in a never-ending quest for deep interiority with the world.
Drawing on their experiences as teachers, curriculum developers, students, Zen practitioners, karateka, bicyclists, hobby mathematicians, and gardeners, the authors provide many concrete examples of what it means to think about knowing and learning in terms of enaction and how teachers and curriculum developers who take enactivism seriously might go about designing and implementing lessons.

How should I know?

Preservice Teachers' Images of Knowing (by Heart ) in Mathematics and Science


Kathleen T. Nolan

Elementary preservice teachers’school experiences of mathematics and science have shaped their images of knowing, including what counts as knowledge and what it means to know (in) mathematics and science. In this book, preservice teachers’ voices challenge the hegemony of official everyday narratives relating to these images.
The book is written as a parody of a physical science textbook on the topic of light, presenting a kaleidoscope of elementary preservice teachers’ narratives of knowing (in) mathematics and science. These narratives are tied together by the metaphorical thread of the properties of light, but also held apart by the tensions and contradictions with/in such a critical epistemological exploration. Through a postmodern lens, the only grand narrative that could be imag(in)ed for this text is one in which the personal lived experience narratives of the participants mingle and interweave to create a sort of kaleidoscope of narratives. With each turn of a kaleidoscope, light’s reflection engenders new patterns and emergent designs. The narratives of this research text highlight patterns of exclusion, gendered messages, binary oppositions, and the particle nature and shadowy texture of knowing (in) mathematics and science. The presentation format of the book emphasizes the reflexive and polyphonic nature of the research design, illustrated through layers of spoken text with/in performative text with/in metaphorical text.
The metaphor of a kaleidoscope is an empowering possibility for a critical narrative written to both engage and provoke the reader into imag(in)ing a critical journey toward possibilities for a different “knowing by heart” in mathematics and science and for appreciating lived experience narratives with/in teacher education.


Patrick J. Lewis

If story is the basic principle of mind—then what are we doing in elementary schools? In this provocative exploration of narrative, the author writes from the idea that story is integral to the generation of meaning in human experience. Indeed, story plays a significant role in the formation of identity and the development of greater empathic understanding.
The text begins with a discussion of the epistemological and ontological nature of narrative in human understanding and then travels across the narrative landscape of the school setting. Through an examination of the impact of standards and accountability emphasis on curriculum, the author suggests current practice may be undermining student learning and engagement. Further, the author places oracy in temporary opposition to literacy, challenging us to rethink our assumptions about the role of literacy (ies) learning. Without negating the importance of literacy, attention is drawn to what is lost in chasing the assumed inherent good-ness of a text-based literacy and how this might hinder the growth of our children.
The value of narrative in developing teaching practice and promoting significant learning is brought to the foreground of the discussion, which naturally journeys into an exploration of curriculum raising serious questions about developmental approaches to curriculum construction. How we think but not in school will appeal to elementary teachers, early literacy teachers, teacher educators and those interested in narrative.

Postgraduate Programmes as Platform

A Research-led Approach

Edited by Jacqueline van Swet, Petra Ponte and Ben Smit

Typical of postgraduate courses for experienced teachers is the wealth of professional experience that the students bring with them. Such students can examine their own practice, for which they are fully responsible. Postgraduate programmes are, therefore, challenged to create a flexible and research-led infrastructure that can respond to developments in the educational field and relate these developments to educational, philosophical, conceptual, and moral issues. Through the creation of a platform for such activities, the professional development of postgraduate students can be enriched. Authors from diverse backgrounds address important aspects of the platform, such as the relation between tutors and students; teachers’ professional identity; the voice of pupils; the characteristics of teachers’ workplace of the participating professionals; the relationship between action research and teacher leadership. This book offers inspiring and thought-provoking ideas to all involved in postgraduate programmes in teacher education: teacher educators, policy-makers, researchers, administrators, and schools collaborating with staff of postgraduate courses and their students. The book is an initiative of the Research Group ‘Interactive Professionalism and Knowledge Development’ at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Department of Inclusive and Special Education, The Netherlands.

The Quality of Practitioner Research

Reflections on the Position of the Researcher and The Researched

Edited by Petra Ponte and Ben H.J. Smit

This book contains different perspectives on the quality of practitioner research or action research, and focuses specifically on questions of the relation between the researcher and (the field of) the researched.
The collaborative characteristic of research by practitioners is seen by many as crucial for the better understanding and transformation of practices. Those who are included in these practices are expected to be part of the research. The distance between researcher and researched should, therefore, be small; in fact, this distance is absent when practitioners do research within their own field, without the interference of researchers from outside the school. This raises fundamental questions about the relationship between the researcher and the researched or the field of the researched. The authors of this book share a concern about the popularity of uncritical and rather technical approaches to practitioner research or action research.
The book offers inspiring and thought-provoking ideas to all involved in research by practitioners, especially in education: researchers and facilitators in the field of practitioner research, action research, and qualitative research; teachers and other practitioners, philosophers of education, and postgraduate students.
Most chapters in the book are proceedings from the joint International Practitioner Research Conference and the Collaborative Action Research Network Conference 2005 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, organized by Fontys University (dept. of Inclusive & Special Education) and Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching (ICLON).

Shaping the Future

Critical Essays on Teacher Education


Edited by John Freeman-Moir and Alan Scott

World wide the production of teachers has become a sharp political issue during the early years of the twenty first century. Current systems for ensuring a supply of capable and knowledgeable teachers have come sustained under attack from politicians, economists, parents’ organisations and social critics alike. There is less agreement now about teacher education than in any time over the pass fifty years. Much of the debate in the public and political arenas has been driven by narrow and expedient consideration and too much of it demonstrates a poor grasp of the deep and complex issues which teacher education in a democracy must confront. At the same time there has been a serious educational debate which has focused on what a well trained teacher ought to be able to do, and what methods of training and education can produce competent teachers. The chapters of this book address these issues in a critical way asking what should the objectives of teacher education be. The authors demonstrate the international reach of the debate over teacher education and they ground their discussions within the national contexts of their own experience. All the authors share the view that teacher education involves much more than acquiring a set of skills and techniques. Important as these are the well trained teacher needs, for example, to have an understanding of the contexts of teaching, of the reasons why we teach, of the role of schools as institutions within political environments, as well as a coherent perspective on curriculum and the relevant bodies of theory which give overall point to what is being done. What teacher education entails will probably never be beyond contestation, at least not so long as it takes place within capitalist democracies. These democracies, with their tensions running between liberal ideals and economic imperative, push and pull teacher education in contradictory directions. At present educational ideals seems too quickly and too dogmatically to be traded for immediate fiscal policy. The authors of these chapters articulate the reasons why such short-term thinking will be detrimental to any approach to teacher education which commits itself to producing well rounded and comprehensively professional teachers.

Teachers Learning in Communities

International Perspectives


Michal Zellermayer, Elaine Munthe, Malka Gorodetsky, Frances O'Connel Rust and Lily Orland-Barak