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Personal journeys of teachers: an investigation of the development of teacher professional knowledge and skill by expert tertiary chemistry teachers
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Gwendolyn Lawrie, Madeleine SchultzMadeleine Schultz, Chantal Bailey, Bronwin Dargaville
Several common characteristics of the journey towards tertiary teaching expertise have been deduced through a detailed analysis of transcripts that originated from interviews conducted with ten recognised excellent tertiary chemistry teachers. The interviews were structured around Loughran's CoRe questions and yielded deep insights into the topic specific professional knowledge and reflective practice of the participants. The interview participants offered their insights into changes that occurred in their teaching strategies and practices as they progressed in their expertise. They also reflected on changes that they undertook over time within their teaching contexts in terms of engaging students and assessment, and what advice they wish that they had been given as new tertiary teachers. We have identified signposts of expert teacher professional knowledge and skill that further expand on our previously published outcomes including: seeking immediate feedback from students; a tendency to reduce total content to a critical minimum; reflective practice; and a willingness and ability to modify teaching approaches. The outcomes support our previous findings that tertiary chemistry teachers had primarily developed their PCK through their own teaching experiences and awareness of their own students’ outcomes, filtered by their individual beliefs and backgrounds. In this study, we provide new insight into the nature of inherent reflective practice that has evolved by experience rather than through formal professional development.