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Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice
Wednesday, June 17 • 12:00pm - 12:30pm
CON02.04 - Tuning in on tacit knowledge

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Tuning in on teaching practice in any discipline may well run up against a problem of tacit knowledge--knowledge crucial to the discipline’s ways of thinking and practicing, but by nature obscure. Teachers who omit to make their tacit knowledge explicit in the classroom cause learning bottlenecks for their students. Tacit knowledge can be made explicit to its teacher owner, with positive effect on her teaching, in an interview that invites her to address how she thinks and practices in work her students, lacking her tacit knowledge, find impossible to master (Middendorf & Pace, 2004). We have conducted half a dozen such 90-minute to two-hour interviews with university teachers in different disciplines. We present qualitative analyses of those interviews which find across disciplines common themes and elements in teachers’ tacit knowledge and common impacts on teachers’ practice and thinking when tacit knowledge becomes explicit. Quoting from our interviews, we show through different analytical lenses, including phenomenology and narrative identity theory, how teachers regardless of discipline gravitate to intrinsically hermeneutic understandings of their disciplines, instinctively value provisionality of judgment, assume crucial disciplinary relationships of parts to wholes, embody in Heideggerian terms their ways of thinking and practicing (Van Manen, 1990), implicitly trust key disciplinary processes, willingly inhabit liminal spaces and, in recalling how they came to the understandings their students find so difficult to master, surface crucial aspects of their professional identities. We seek discussion with our audience of the effects on teaching and learning of unearthing and variously analyzing tacit knowledge across many disciplines.

Middendorf, J. & Pace, D. (2004). Decoding the disciplines: A model for helping students learn disciplinary ways of thinking. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2004(98), 1-12. 

Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. Albany, NY: State of New York Press.



Wednesday June 17, 2015 12:00pm - 12:30pm
Seymour Room

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