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The temptations and failings of teacher effectiveness research: provocations of a ‘practice perspective’
chapterposted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Andrew SkourdoumbisAndrew Skourdoumbis, Julianne LynchJulianne Lynch
This chapter provides a critical appraisal of teacher effectiveness research (TER). Like others before us, we argue that TER employs a reductive view of teaching—narrowly focused on the agency of individual teachers’ classroom-based pedagogic behaviours; overemphasising the role these behaviours have on student achievement; representing these behaviours as assayable in unproblematic ways; and, potentially having negative impacts on teachers and teaching. We suggest that the theoretical sensibilities of practice theory support more productive engagements with the complexities of teaching, and we argue that this alternative theoretical framing is more likely to engage teachers in transformational agendas than those offered by current manifestations of TER. We do this by drawing on the practice writings of Reckwitz (2002), Thrift (1996, 2007) and Schatzki (2012), who provide analyses of commonalities to be found amongst diverse practice theories. We argue that a ‘practice perspective’ provides an affirmative engagement with the complexities of teaching practice and is more likely to embolden new interpretations of what teaching is and can be.