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This chapter begins by identifying Sternberg and Horvath’s (1995) ‘expert teacher prototype’ as an appropriate, flexible framework for researching and describing teacher expertise. The framework serves as a means to identify the ‘family resemblances’ among expert teachers rather than as a checklist of necessary and sufficient features. The chapter then reviews previously used criteria for identifying teachers for expertise studies, with particular attention to Palmer et al.’s (2005) review of these. The majority of the chapter is devoted to reporting the findings of a comprehensive systematic literature reviews of prior empirical research into teacher expertise, identifying robust findings from studies investigating six aspects of teacher expertise: the knowledge base, cognitive processes, beliefs, personal attributes, professionalism and pedagogic practices of expert teachers. The chapter then discusses what is missing from this expert teacher prototype as researched to date, identifying particularly the strong Northern bias in this research and why this is problematic. It reports briefly on the only detailed study found that researched expert teachers in a Southern context (Toraskar, 2015), which, due to the methodological difficulties the author encountered, is of limited use only.
This chapter offers a detailed description of important similarities and shared features among the eight teacher participants in the case study, discussing these commonalities as both a ‘quintain’ (Stake, 2006) and a ‘prototype’ (Sternberg & Horvath, 1995) of Indian secondary teacher expertise, offering extensive extracts from lessons and interviews to do so. It covers the participant teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning, their interpersonal practices, their languaging practices, how they managed their curriculum, prepared resources and planned lessons before offering a detailed description of aspects of their classroom practice, including lesson structuring, negotiation and improvisation, whole class teaching, learner-independent activities, teacher active monitoring of learners, assessment and feedback practices. Evidence is also provided on commonalities concerning their knowledge base, reflective practices and professionalism. The chapter closes by offering a number of brief examples that serve to relate the practices and cognition of these teachers to the contextual constraints, challenges and affordances typically experienced by teachers working in the global South.
This chapter compares the findings of the author’s teacher expertise case study, conducted in India, with those of prior teacher expertise studies to establish the extent to which ‘family resemblances’ exist within this wider, ‘fuzzy’ grouping of teachers identified as experts in varied contexts around the world. It does this for twelve categories: knowledge base, cognitive processes, beliefs, personal attributes, professionalism, interpersonal practices, languaging practices, lesson planning and preparation, structure and freedom, interaction dynamics, pedagogic strategies and assessment practices, each with extensive reference to the wider literature on teacher expertise. The chapter concludes by offering an analysis of the extent to which the practices of the eight expert teachers involved in my study are, or are not, consistent with conceptions and models of learner-centred education (LCE) as often promoted in the international development literature. It finds both similarities and differences to LCE, the former becoming particularly evident when their practices are compared with those of their peers, yet it would be an oversimplification to interpret their practices solely using this construct.
This chapter systematically analyses observed differences among the eight teacher participants in the case study, both to understand the nature of these differences and to investigate potential causes. It makes use of an analytical framework that emerged during data analysis to position the eight teachers on a two-dimensional field according to two broad areas of clinal difference theorised – ‘Conception of Subject’ and ‘Degree of Control’, which are partially analogous to Bernstein’s (2000) constructs of ‘classification’ and ‘framing’. More specific features of pedagogic practice where variation was evident were plotted on the field equidistant between teachers who shared them to find that the likelihood of a teacher engaging in each was well predicted by the two key variables. The chapter concludes by offering critical reflections on Bernstein’s sociological framework, arguing that while certain elements (e.g., classification and framing; performance and competence models) offer useful insights into differences in practices among Indian teachers, others (namely official and pedagogic recontextualising fields) fail to capture the complex, multiple layers and relations influencing classroom practice in basic education in India.
This concluding chapter recaps briefly on the key arguments presented in the book. It notes that Southern expert teachers are able to effectively facilitate learning regardless of the challenges of context that they face precisely because their expertise evolved in equilibrium with these challenges. Such challenges should, nonetheless, not be seen as acceptable in any context. The chapter argues that expert teacher studies deserve a more prominent place in international discussion on ‘what works’ in education in developing countries; their high ecological validity and potential for contingent generalisation mean that they can be of enormous use in developing models of appropriate pedagogy for both individual contexts and wider generalisation across the global South. The need for further expertise studies in Southern contexts is also underlined to help ‘flesh out’ the differentiated expert teacher framework proposed in Chapter 10, and it is argued that until we understand the practices of expert teachers in diverse contexts we cannot claim to truly understand teacher expertise itself.
This chapter provides a rationale for the book and the research that it presents. It documents the near complete absence of prior research into teacher or teaching quality in the global South and justifies specifically why teacher expertise research may be the most useful vehicle through which it can be studied. It argues that the contextually appropriate, feasible and sustainable pedagogic practices of expert teachers in any context can, if implemented more widely across the educational system, bring about significant increases in the quality of teaching and learning. The chapter offers a definition of ‘global South’ specific to the aims and contexts of the book and compares this with alternative ways of conceptualising the South. My background, as author of this book, is then presented, followed by an overview of the book that includes brief summary descriptions of the chapters that follow. The chapter finishes with a discussion of paradigmatic concerns that sets out the author’s own position as a multiple- methods, critical realist researcher who rejects the paradigm dichotomy between positivist and interpretivist approaches, instead preferring to view generalising and particularising tendencies in research through a continuum along which researchers are able to move flexibly, appropriate to the questions or problems of interest under investigation.
This chapter proposes a differentiated framework for understanding teacher expertise that identifies both the most commonly reported (often shared) features of teacher expertise and those features that seem to vary more, particularly in the global South. Commonly identified features are presented as ‘generalisable’ components alongside ‘variable’ and provisional ‘Southern’ components; elements that are likely to be more commonly encountered in the South due to the frequently shared constraints, challenges and affordances resulting from lower financial investment in education and income across Southern communities. It uses the same 12 structuring categories as Chapter 9 (knowledge base, cognitive processes, beliefs, personal attributes, professionalism, interpersonal practices, languaging practices, lesson planning and preparation, balancing between structure and freedom, interaction dynamics, pedagogic strategies and assessment practices), also justifying the components included in each category briefly. It concludes by discussing a number of potential uses of the framework in teacher education, curriculum development and future expertise research.
This chapter offers a detailed ethnographic description of one of the participant teachers in the study as a concrete example of how teacher expertise may manifest itself in one of the many challenging contexts frequently found in the global South. It begins by summarising key features of her contexts and the challenges she faced in her work, also offering an overview of her personal background and her beliefs about teaching and learning. The chapter then discusses her interpersonal practices (relationships with learners) and her languaging practices – the complex ways in which she and her learners made use of resources from varied languages in the classroom. After this, I discuss how she managed curriculum content, developed resources and planned lessons before offering a detailed account of her classroom practices – how she structured lessons, balanced between whole class and learner-independent activities and offered individual support to learners in large classes. It also offers an account of her knowledge, reflection and professionalism, and closes with brief comparison of her expertise with the findings of prior expertise research, identifying both important similarities and insightful differences. Numerous lesson and interview extracts are provided to support the discussion and claims made.
This chapter addresses two theoretical issues of importance to this book. The first involves ‘Southern theory’ in the social sciences, discussing the extent to which the author’s research may contribute in this emerging area. It argues that, by presenting concrete suggestions for how we may learn ‘from the South’ (not simply ‘about the South’), it may help to provide the foundations for what might be called ‘practical Southern theory’ in the social sciences. Example constructs and terms are offered for how this may be achieved, both from this study and others. The second area of theoretical interest involves how teacher expertise studies may contribute to a wider systematic and sustainable framework for building context-specific understandings of teacher expertise. The proposed framework is oriented around collaborative inquiry and practitioner research and may contribute both to the identification of appropriate good practices for a given context, and to supporting and encouraging practitioner-led (bottom up) teacher professional development within the wider educational system.
This chapter looks at the construct of expertise in detail, investigating how and why it is simultaneously useful yet problematic, arguing that it is, nevertheless, the most appropriate measure of quality among teachers. It begins by looking at prior definitions of expertise in education, identifying two key tendencies within these definitions – tendencies towards norm-referencing and criterion-referencing. Norm-referenced expertise is further subdivided into product-referenced (expertise as outcome) and community-referenced (expertise as role) expertise, and criterion-referenced expertise is subdivided into competence-referenced (expertise as attribute) and process-referenced (expertise as process/practice) expertise. The chapter then goes on to investigate two often-perceived proxies of teacher quality in educational research, teacher effectiveness and teacher experience. It provides extensive evidence to support the assertions that teacher effectiveness is too narrow a construct to encapsulate all that we value in teacher quality and that teacher experience is too wide, and does not correlate consistently enough with quality. It argues that there is a somewhat ‘fuzzy’ nature to the relationship between these three concepts, which necessarily overlap and exhibit porous borders. The chapter concludes by offering a working definition of teacher expertise that is capable of being sufficiently flexible to different communities and value systems around the world.
This chapter begins by exploring the methodological challenges encountered when conducting a teacher expertise study, particularly those challenges that become more prominent when researching in the global South. It then presents a set of minimum requirements for an appropriate, ethical study of expertise in the South, also discussing a continuum of participation from non-participatory to fully participatory research, rather than seeing these as dichotomous. The chapter then summarises the design solution adopted in my own PhD study, including one preparatory stage and seven main stages. As well as discussing participant selection criteria, data collection and analysis procedures, the details of the eight participant teachers and their teaching contexts are also provided. Towards the end of the chapter, full details are given on the quantity and type of data collected, the varied outputs of the study – including the publication co-authored by the eight participant teachers – and the research questions that were investigated. The chapter concludes with a revised and updated overview of participant selection criteria for teacher expertise studies in all contexts worldwide, based on a review of studies conducted to date, supporting Palmer et al.’s (2005) call for multiple criteria selection, yet recommending somewhat different criteria to theirs.
This chapter begins by describing the circumstances and challenges faced by teachers working in the global South, including challenges the learner faces, challenges the teacher faces, challenges within the school environment and challenges of the wider education system, to provide a rounded account of the characteristics that often typify educational systems in low-income countries. It also defines ‘effective teaching’ for this book. The chapter then provides a second detailed literature review, in this case documenting the findings of prior research into effective teaching in low-income contexts worldwide in an attempt to make sense of what research to date seems to tell us about appropriate good teaching practices in the South. It offers observations on aspects of teacher knowledge and beliefs, teacher professionalism and a number of areas of pedagogic practice reported from this body of literature. This review is then briefly compared with the expertise review in Chapter 3. The chapter closes with a critical conclusion, observing that the majority of research into teacher effectiveness in low-income countries either reports on the introduction of exogenous innovations and reforms or focuses on problems and inefficacies in existing provision, rather than attempting to seek out endogenous effective practice.