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Teacher Learning and Different Frameworks for the Classroom

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Korthagen talks about teacher learning and different perspectives that serve as frameworks for the classroom. The situated learning perspective and the traditional cognitive perspective are the two frameworks in which this chapter is based around. These two perspectives make it possible to create a context for teacher learning and education. Although these two views may show contrast, Korthagen explains a three-level model in which these perspectives can be integrated.

According to Clandinin, Connelly and Knight, “teacher learning is rational, temporal, and situational”. Experiences take place in social settings, they are framed through previous experiences and create new ones and furthermore; experiences are grounded in situations. So, let’s take a look at the situated perspective. According to the authors described in the chapter, this learning perspective shifts away from the traditional view of teacher education. In this view, learning is no longer an accumulation of information but a transformation of the student or individual. The situative perspective places its emphasis on context and looks at the educational process and how it is linked directly to real life situations. This approach characterizes a student’s development as a social learning experience and this experience often increases with a student’s desire to participate in school, work or family. In conclusion, the situated perspective looks at two ways in which learning is situated: one, knowledge is socially constructed by a community of practice i.e. with settings and applications that would normally include said knowledge. Two, learning often requires social interaction and collaboration.

The cognitive Perspective is built on the basis that people develop knowledge through “maps of reality”. The cognitive perspective studies how people acquire, perceive and communicate information. According to the chapter, the cognitive perspective has led to numerous applications in education. It has built upon this idea that teachers need to build on certain preconceptions that students may have when they come to the classroom. That is the key here, how to we teach our teachers? The final sections of this chapter talk about how to integrate the situative perspective and the traditional cognitive perspective in order to move forward with teacher education. For this, the authors came up with a three-level model in teacher’s professional learning. The three levels are the gestalt level, schema level and theory level. The gestalt level has to do with perception and lack of consciousness. The goal of this level is to understand now teachers guide their classroom when there is not much conscious awareness of what is actually going on. With the amount of information that is being given during a given lesson it can be impossible for a teacher to be aware of not only their students behavior but their own behavior as well. The author explains of this unconscious conglomerate which is often triggered by the many images, feelings, notions, values, needs and or behavioral inclinations. This conglomerate is what Korthagen calls a gestalt.

The second and third levels, schema and theory, differ fundamentally from a gestalt. Like I stated before a gestalt is more unconscious based, whereas the schema on the other hand is a “conscious mental map” that is easily accessible for reflection. In this level things become more rationalized as people become more conscious on their reflection. The schema builds up the third level of theory in that in this stage people focus more on logic and order. “The theory level makes it possible to logically understand and analyze a certain category of situations and answer the why questions”.

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