Research Conversations with Classroom Teachers
Chapter 7: The Journey from Positivism
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The Journey from Positivism
In Chapter 5 we recorded some of the struggles that our teachers experienced with What If Learning and particularly noted the sense of weirdness that emerged for them in their attempts to integrate Christian ethos with the professional responsibilities of teaching a subject discipline. This sense of weirdness resonates with the comments made by the lecturers that Lynn Revell interviewed. David Smith argues that people are shaped by the mindset of their professional guilds (see Chapter 2) and that being asked to work within a mindset that contradicts that of one’s guild can be a deeply unsettling experience (Smith 2011). We suggest this clash of habitus accounts for the sense of weirdness and bafflement that was reported by the teachers and lecturers in our research. This is because the reimagining of one’s professional work required by What If Learning is not simply a mental shift within an accepted paradigm, but is rather an identity shift that puts one outside one’s community of practice. It is not surprising that this is experienced as weird.
Our teachers’ feelings of weirdness related first to their sense that their subject disciplines ought to be independent of religious faith, so trying to teach their subject Christianly was perceived as a violation of the subjects’ integrity, and secondly to their sense that their professional role requires them to be non-directive and non-confessional when it comes to matters of Christian faith....
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