«DOCUMENT RESUME ED 271 538 UD 024 997 AUTHOR Connelly, F. Michael; Clandinin, D. Jean The Role of Teachers' Personal Practical Knowledge in TITLE ...»
ED 271 538 UD 024 997
AUTHOR Connelly, F. Michael; Clandinin, D. Jean
The Role of Teachers' Personal Practical Knowledge in
Effecting Board Policy. Volume IV: Teachers' Personal
Practical Knowledge and Race Relations.
Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto.
SPONS AGENCY National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.;
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).
PUB DATE 84 410-80-0688-K1; NIE-G-81-0021 GRANT 62p.; For the other volumes in this series, see UD NOTE 024 994-996.
Reports - Research/Technical (143)
PUB TYPEEDRS PRICE MF01/PC03 Plus Postage.
DESCRIPTORS *Administrative Policy; *Administrator Attitudes;
*Curriculum Development; *Educational Administration;
*Educational Change; Educational Policy; Elementary Education; Foreign Countries; *Policy; Race; Racial Relations; *School Policy; Teacher Responsibility;
Urban Education Toronto Board of Education ON
RESEARCH SUPPORTFunding was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC), and by the National Institute of Education (NIE) through its grants for research on knowledge use and school improvement. NIE provided primary funding for the first two years of the project. During that time, the SSHRCC provided auxiliary support for areas not adequately covered by the National Institute of Education. The third year of the project has been fully supported by SSHRCC.
The major contributions of the SSHRCC for the first two years were support for graduate assistants, additional computer and word processing assistance, temporary secretarial assistance and travel to and from project schools. Graduate assistants have been involved in seven principal project activities. These included the drafting of papers, interviewing participants, analysis of board documents, participant observation at board-level meetings, participant observation in the school, computer entry of data, and development of computer methodologies for handling textual data. Details are provided in Chapter 2 in the section on project staffing.
SSHRCC is providing additional funding to support the continuation of this study (Grant #410-83-1235).
The Principal Investigators and Project Staff of this study gratefully acknowledge the funding received from the National Institute of Education and from the Social Scicnces and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This report reflects the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the granting agencies.
3 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
This study develops the concept of teachers' personal practical knowledge through a threeyear project undertaken in a Toronto inner-city elementary school. Using the method of participant observation, researchers carefully noted the practices of the school principal and teachers, focussing on one teacher in particular, to determine the key factors affecting their practice in school and classroom.
The central purpose of the study is to deepen our understanding of the practice of education by illuminating the actions of practitioners. What teachers and principals do in their schools is explained in terms of their personal practical knowledge, a concept that. includes the associated notions of image, narrative unity, ritual, and rhythm. These notions arose out of the researchers' close interaction with school practitioners over the period of study. The results of the project have important implications, not only for an understanding of practice, but also for an insight into how practitioners view school board policy and how they go about implementing it.
This report is organized into four volumes with a combined total of thirteen chapters.
Volume I, entitled Problem. Method and Guiding Conception, contains four chapters.
Chapter 1 provides an overview of the study, Chapter 2 gives a detailed summary of its activities, and Chapter 3 provides an account of its methodology. Chapter 4 presents an analysis of the various "images" people have of the relationship between theory and practice, and draws on the researchers' experiences in the present study to show how the images held by board and school personnel influenced its shape and direction.
Volume II, Development and Implementation of a Race Relations Policy by the Toronto Board of Education, deals with the specific policy selected for purposes of this study -- the Race Relations Policy. A history of the development of the policy is given in Chapter 5, along with an analysis and discussion of the concept of race that emerged during the process of development. Chapter 6 presents a detailed account of the implementation of the policy, describing the activities of the Race Relations Committee and interpreting its work as an agent of policy implementation. As well, the chapter describes the actions taken by board officials to ensure that the policy was reflected in the curriculum materials used in classrooms.
Volume III, Personal Practical Knowledge, develops the central concept of the study and introduces several associated concepts. Chapter 7 introduces the notion of personal practical knowledge, built up through close observation and interpretation of events in the inner-city school under study. Various associated concepts -- image, narrative unity, and ritual -- are 4 tt.
iii subsequently introduced to help explain their actions. The notion of image as a personal knowledge construct exerting a powerful influence on practice is developed in Chapter 8 in connection with one teacher's image of the classroom, and further elaborated in Chapters 9 and 10 in connection with the principal's image of community. Chapter 9 also discusses the function of rituals and personal philosophies in school practice, and Chapter 10 develops the concept of narrative ;lofty as a way of giving an account of a principal's school practices. The concept of narrative unity is then broadened to include cultural narratives, which provide a context for personal narratives. These notions are used to shed light on the relationship between school and community.
Volume IV, Personal Practical Knowledge and Ethnic Relations, begins with an account of the Board's Race Relations Policy as it is put into practice in the school under study, using the perspective of personal practical knowledge (Chapter 11 ). Chapter 12 shows how personal and cultural narratives are expressed through cycles and rhythms, which find their place in the interaction of these narratives. Cycles are shown to have an affinity to the broader societal context, and rhythms to the personal world of the individual. The role of cycles and rhythms in modulating school and community relations is described. Finally, Chapter 13 summarizes personal practical knowledge as the way that practioners "know" their school and classroom and the determining influence on how they deal with matters such as race and ethnic relations. The chapter closes with recommendations for using the knowledge gained in this study to enrich classroom practice.
We are most indebted to the staff of Bay Street School who worked with us for a period of more than three years on this research project. Without their willing participation in it, this study would not have been possible.
We would also like to thank members of our Reference Committee and express our
appreciation for their involvement in the study:
Dr. E. Wright, Director of Research for the Toronto Board of Education Dr. Ouida Wright, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Toronto Board of Education Mr. John Bates, Toronto Board of Education Mr. Tony Sousa, Race Relations Advisor, Toronto Board of Education Bay Street School Participants: Phil Bingham, Stephanie Winters, Ellen Bodnar, Cynthia Smith, Grace Anderson (all pseudonyms) The research team has varied in number over the course of the study. The contributions of
the following members are particularly noted:
Esther Enns, for her participation in the Race Relations Sub-Committee meetings and for her analysis of the work of the Race Relations Committee, presented in Chapter 6.
Dr. Siaka Kroma, for his analysis of the Concept of Race in the Race Relations Policy, presented in Chapter 5.
Mr. Jim Kormos, for his analysis of the History of the Race Relations Policy, presented in Chapter 5.
Mr. Claus Wittmack, for his participation in the project.
Miss J. Whyte, for her participation in project activities and for her analysis of the curriculum materials, presented in Chapter 6.
Dr. Miriam Ben-Peretz, for her advice and counsel on the project.
We would also like to acknowledge especially the assistance of Mrs. Rita O'Brien in keeping project staff on task throughout the study. Without her careful organization and assistance to all project members, the project would have been considerably less successful. Her assistance in working with the research staff in setting up the word processing and computer system is gratefully acknowledged. We would al..1 like to express our appreciation to Mrs. Margaret Heather, Mrs. Betty Martyn, Mr. Mark Belaiche and Mrs. Brenda Mignardi for their secretarial assistance.
The contribution of Mr. Frank Quinlan as editor of this report is also acknowledged.
The contribution of some of our consulting staff must be especially acknowledged. We
extend our appreciation to the following:
Dr. J. J. Schwab, Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago.
Dr. Mark Johnson, Philosophy Department, University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale.
Dr. Freema Elbaz, Israel.
Dr. Elliot Eisner, Stanford University.
Dr. David Hunt, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
In this final volume, we undertake the task of giving an account of the Race Relations Policy in Bay Street School from the perspective of personal practical knowledge. Our question here is, "How do we see the Race Relations Policy in the practices of the staff at Bay Street School? In order to answer the question, we need to summarize briefly our perspective on inquiry into schools.
11.1. THE NARRATIVE PERSPECTIVE ON INQUIRY INTO SCHOOLING
Our research seeks to give an account of school practices in terms of the participating individuals' narrative unities. Narrative unity has been defined in this study as a continuum within a person's experience; experiences are made meaningful through the unity they achieve for the person. Unity means the union, in a particular person in a particular time and place, of all that he has been and undergone in his own past and in the past of the tradition which helped shape him. Johnson, in a review of our work, remarks that understanding classroom practice "would involve examining the images and metaphors that structure, not just teacher's classroom knowledge, but also the personal knowledge and human affairs, personal past history, and so forth that any teacher brings into the classroom experience. That is, we need to begin looking at the dominant images and metaphors of the teacher's entire world, in and out of the classroom" (1984).
This notion of narrative unity and what it entails in inquiry expresses the narrative perspective on inquiry into schooling. We understand classroom actions as events invested with meaning through the images and metaphors developed through the teacher's narrative of experience.
The method is one in which increasingly more complex narratives are written. These are based on daily observations, interpretive accounts or them, 12 2 and dialogue with participants focussed on narrative antecedents to events described in the accounts. The data, gathered by participant observation, interview and text analysis methods, become telling as they acquire meaning within the context of the developing narrative. It is not easy to predict what will pass as telling data, nor is it easy to justify data gathered as telling. Any item of data, considered in isolation, could provide evidence for any number of possible narrative unities. The justification for the use of any item thus depends on the plausibility of the written narrative, and this plausibility depends, in part, on the way in which a complex web of observation and interview data is woven into the account.