Teach teachers to think about work;Letter

1st October 1999 at 01:00
IN READING your article "Teaching wisdom that stays silent" (TES, September 3) I wonder what the researchers mean when they say that the best teachers "do not express their practice of their professional knowledge in precise, technical ways".

Is this because they failed to look at teacher practice and knowledge from the point of view of teachers' perceptions and beliefs?

My research into science teachers shows that once they are given the chance to reflect extensively, on their practice and knowledge they can explain it very well.

With continuous discussion and interviews that explored existing literature and their own perceptions of expert practice and knowledge, in three years the teachers developed a language which was suitably articulate to identify expertise.

The response given by Sylvia Donna in her letter (TES, September 10) has merit, particularly the use of videoed lessons. However, teachers watching colleagues is only a start. More exposure to the skills and abilities of other outstanding teachers from different schools is needed.

At Sheffield's centre for science education we are attempting to develop a project that will create a community which will provide support, resources and a forum for science teachers.

I agree with the Apple Project team when they say that teachers are "potentially one of the most precious resources in the whole education enterprise". We need to help teachers to realise their expertise and not dismiss their rich knowledge base.

Stuart Bevins

Centre for science education

Sheffield Hallam University

City Campus, Sheffield

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