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Professionalism under fire: Whatever happened to teacher autonomy, judgement and intuition?

Knight, Benjamin



The article is an overview of a study examining teacher action in the moment; teachable moments (TMs). Literature on teaching is dominated by the organisation of learning and general principles of classroom management and can easily overlook the detail of how teachers operate from moment to moment, exercising their professional judgement and intuition during the flow of classroom activity. The study looks at how teachers adapt ideas, follow their instincts and respond to uncertainty, idiosyncrasies and contextual features in everyday practice; Teachable Moment Behaviours (TMBs). It examines factors, at classroom, institutional and political levels, which influence TMs and TMBs.
Looking firstly through the theoretical lenses of Structurism and Agency, and later using Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of Flow and ideas about the nature of expertise, it draws on the experience of three primary school teachers as they reflect on their own professional practice. The findings provide support for the notion that the dynamic nature of teaching and learning, teacher autonomy, judgement and intuition are facets of expertise that can be easily eroded by the inert instruments of surveillance and scrutiny against which teachers are appraised.


Knight, B. (2012, September). Professionalism under fire: Whatever happened to teacher autonomy, judgement and intuition?. Paper presented at NaPTEC

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name NaPTEC
Start Date Sep 1, 2012
End Date Sep 1, 2012
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords structuralism, agency, professionalism, judgement, autonomy
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : NaPTEC