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Improvisation and teacher expertise: a comparative case study

Sorensen, N (2014) Improvisation and teacher expertise: a comparative case study. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

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Abstract

This thesis reports on an enquiry into the nature of teacher expertise which pays particular attention to its improvisatory nature. The study draws on three main areas of literature and theory: critical studies in improvisation; expertise and expert practice and organisation theory. These are used to present a model of teacher expertise that is derived from grounded theory. The data is taken from a series of comparative case studies of seven experienced teachers working in secondary schools in the South West of England and who have been identified as being expert within their school setting. Constant comparative methods of analysis have been used to draw out themes from the data. This has contributed to a grounded theory that identifies the nature of teacher expertise. The findings that arise from the data are that teachers' expertise is best expressed as continually evolving practice, a process as opposed to an end state. Advanced professional practice is best described as a 'teacher with expertises' and this is preferable to the term 'expert teacher'. The data shows that teacher expertise is fundamentally improvisatory and that this has a positive impact on the quality of teaching. The improvisation nature of teacher expertise is derived from four processes: the expression of tacit knowledge, relational and interactional practice, personalisation of the learning environment and self reflection leading to the continual adaptation of pedagogy. The resulting model of teacher expertise casts new light on how we understand advanced professional practice and this has implications for school leaders, teachers, researchers and those with responsibility for the initial training and the continuing professional development of teachers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2014 11:45
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2014 11:45
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/5128
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