Sustaining a program of action: A case study of a successful teacher's situation awareness
AuthorRichards, D. Joel
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this project was to explicate specialized knowledge a successful teacher utilizes while making decisions in complex classroom environments and obtain her professional explanation of how she employs this knowledge in these same complex situations. This research is based on teacher narrative and story about managing events that occur in classroom settings and contexts, the enacted curriculum. This is similar to research and practice that has been progressing in medicine and aeronautics concerning "naturalistic decision making" and "situation awareness." In these fields case method has been used to examine, illustrate, or tap stores of knowledge that have remained secluded. Although intended for use by doctors or pilots the theoretical parallels are compelling for research in teaching and exposition of specialized teacher knowledge. Such research and specialized knowledge might be employed by the novice professional/practitioner or even by experienced individuals in quickly changing, dynamic classroom systems and environments. Issues of perception, cognition, and decision making processes in contexts which contain elements of risk, complexity, and constant change are central to this research. In addition, the unique capability of cases, story, and narrative to give individuals (particularly female professionals) voice, and their ability to get at and unpack specialized knowledge is utilized. For this project narrative data were collected in stimulated recall interviews about thirty different contextual case decisions a first grade teacher made during the course of a regularly occurring, two-week curriculum unit. These data were then transcribed for use in various steps of a cognitive task analysis similar to Critical Decision Method. Findings demonstrated evidence that this teacher recognized and described external and internal cues possessing potential, perceived, or real influence on the situation in which she intended her program of action to be enacted. In the narrative, these cues were reported by the teacher as knowledge that had undergone processes of "chunking" and "differentiation," processes which order and assign immediate or long term significance to events/cues in teacher's knowledge schemata. It was also found that this teacher utilized stories as a means of ordering and making sense of cues in her event structured knowledge.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching and Teacher Education