Teacher Constructed Theories for a Post-Method Paradigm

Teacher Constructed Theories for a Post-Method Paradigm

Natalie McKeba Harvey (The American School of Tampico, Mexico) and Nyree McLean McDonald (Fairfield Central High School, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9228-0.ch001

Abstract

Although there are many educational contexts that allow the freedom of an out-of-the-box approach in the transactions of teaching and learning, there are still many systems that are quite prescriptive. The very nature of teacher preparation, particularly in the Western world, lays out a prescriptive methodology that educators are told should be implemented in order to achieve results. Educators find it difficult to construct their own pedagogy given an unfamiliar context for fear of deviating from the way it should be done or has always been done. This chapter explores how educators can modify prescribed methodologies, as well as conceptualize and construct “intuitive pedagogies” based on Kumaravadivelu's three Ps: particularity, practicality, and possibility.
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Background

This chapter first discloses unfamiliar methodologies and the process used by the authors as they sought to adopt these prescriptive practices and adapt them to fit their teaching contexts. There is an exploration of how the authors fused experiences and expectations in order to be successful. Then, the chapter goes on to discuss the strategies that the authors used to reconcile their new teaching designation. There is a particular focus on the philosophical recalibration which the authors went through as their confrontation of their limitations led to the organic growth of impromptu PLCS. The heart of the chapter lies in the discussion of a variety of scenarios where the authors share their individual and combined experiences in constructing intuitive pedagogies and, through reflection, offer up a theory on the place of post method practices in modern day education.

The authors, Nyree and Natalie, were ELA teachers in Sumter District 2 Schools schools in South Carolina, USA, from 2006- to 2009. Nyree taught High school and Natalie, taught Middle school. It was an unfamiliar context in that some of the methodologies were new, but there was also unfamiliarity of culture and expectations. Test scores were important. Approaches, such as Mini Lessons, Reading, and Writing Workshops, The Balanced Literacy Model, Process Writing, and other such strategies were required. Some of these approaches were unfamiliar to the authors. They found the philosophy of teaching, which permeated the time and place, to be that best practices were embedded in the approaches and strategies themselves (the science of teaching) rather than growing out of the teachers’ own ideas and styles (the art of teaching). As the authors found themselves in such a prescriptive context, it became clear that some innovation would be required in order for the students’ interests to be repeatedly piqued. The repetitive nature of the required methodologies needed some novel entry points, not just for the sake of novelty, but also to meet a variety of learner needs. The authors unwittingly found themselves fusing two approaches together. The prescribed paths had to be followed, but it was to be influenced by their teacher preparation in a Jamaican context, former teaching experience, and plain old intuition. They realized that they had to rethink the strategies that were presented as best practices, and they had to discard some practices to which they were tied, and embrace new ideas and methodologies.

The realizations and pedagogical constructions to be discussed in the chapter grew out of the collaboration through informal professional learning communities (PLCs), which they formed in a transplanted community of what Kumaravadivelu (2001) calls post post-method learners. The social and cultural displacement that happened led to the formation of PLCs. These grew out of this shared set of circumstances and the construction, and implementation of intuitive pedagogy became more deliberate. PLCs and the encouragement of the formation of student-centered learning communities (SCLCs) also became embedded in their practice. The positive feedback to the approach emboldened the authors to move beyond the parameters of what was prescribed into an implementation of what was necessary. The demands of the unfamiliar methods that the authors often had to implement forced them to be reflective practitioners. This process is documented in the chapter as far as it relates to how reflection itself led to the construction of pedagogy.

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