Edev_502 response wk7_6

Thanks for reposting your model about factors that influence education. There is no doubt that the learning/ teaching process is messy and that the interactions between the variables can result in so many possible outcomes. Much work has been done to date on these variables, but the lack of any prescriptive and decisive methodology points to both the possible philosophical stances on theories of learning and teaching and to the—as yet—underdeveloped state of research into the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

Given the tight restrictions on word limits, it’s difficult to explore what I attempted to outline in my last post, but I’d like to investigate just one under-researched element in the move from novice to expert teacher and what role learning styles and other theories play in that.


Figure 1: Factors in experience

Omitting any defence of my novice/expert definitions while recognising this very large field, my current view is that factors (2) ~ (6) are internalised by teachers more weakly than factor (1) which is arguably the strongest influence on the development of teachers. If anyone knows of good research on this topic, please let me know[1]. This depends on many aspects, but it is factor (1) that I wish to consider.

My belief is that teachers build up modes of practice based on what works for them in the classroom more than the influence of theory. If a teacher experiences success (which can be interpreted in many ways), they will repeat that technique. However, there is a weak interplay between technique and teachers’ conceptual developmental stage regarding their view of SoTL. Inexperienced teachers do encounter successes in the classroom. These successes form the basis for their increased confidence. Arguably, it is this confidence that produces higher student achievement than the actual teaching method. Very few willingly abandon successful working practices even if the weight of research is against that practice. Another way of putting this is that teachers who experience success with a theoretically flawed method will ascribe that success to the method without necessarily attempting to investigate more robust rationales for that success. The eventual development of experienced teachers that ascribe their skills to what is known as unscientific is not only possible but highly evident in many today and arguably most prior to Vytgosky.


[1] Huberman (1995) and others describe the life trajectory of teachers (Day, 2013). Often these reports feature ethnographic accounts at different stages of development (Krátká, 2015). What is missing are detailed accounts of theoretical positions and beliefs held by teachers and how those impact on variables in SoTL.

Day, C. (2013). The new lives of teachers. In Back to the future: Legacies, continuities and changes in educational policy (pp. 57–74). Sense Publishers. doi:10.4324/9780203847909

Krátká, J. (2015). Tacit Knowledge in Stories of Expert Teachers. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 171, 837–846. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.199

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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