UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The nature of teacher expertness and its attainment Rowles, Elizabeth


The purpose of the study was to explore the nature of teacher expertness and its attainment. The study was founded upon studies of expert teaching practice and studies of cognitive development. Data for the study were collected from forty secondary school teachers in one large school district in British Columbia. Data analysis involved two procedures. The first was a form of content analysis designed by the researcher to examine teachers' explicit and implicit descriptions of teaching practice. The second, done in order to gain insight about the nature of expert teachers, was an adaptation of Baltes’ method of identifying five wisdom criteria. These criteria are factual knowledge, procedural knowledge, contextualism, relativism, and uncertainty. Some themes that were found to pervade teachers' discussions were also reported and discussed separately. It was found that listening to expert teachers as they discuss their practice confirms what is known about expertness in a number of domains as well as what is known about expert teaching practice. New insights about expert teaching practice are yielded by paying attention to what is implicit in teacher-talk. It was also found that the model developed by Baltes and his associates was useful in extending knowledge of the teaching domain and might well be applied to studies of experts in other domains. Three principal conclusions were drawn. Expert teachers are prepared to assume responsibility for their own continuing development They appear not to be prepared to assume that responsibility for their less expert colleagues. It was also concluded that administrative officers in secondary schools do not increase the expertness of teachers through the supervision of instruction and that the practice of instructional supervision for this purpose requires further study.

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