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Personal Practical Knowledge: A Study of Teachers' Classroom Images

D. Jean Clandinin
Curriculum Inquiry
Vol. 15, No. 4 (Winter, 1985), pp. 361-385
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
DOI: 10.2307/1179683
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1179683
Page Count: 25
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Personal Practical Knowledge: A Study of Teachers' Classroom Images
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Abstract

Teachers develop and use a special kind of knowledge. This knowledge is neither theoretical, in the sense of theories of learning, teaching, and curriculum, nor merely practical, in the sense of knowing children. If either of these were the essential ingredient of what teachers know, then it would be easy to see that others have a better knowledge of both; academics with better knowledge of the theoretical and parents and others with better knowledge of the practical. A teacher's special knowledge is composed of both kinds of knowledge, blended by the personal background and characteristics of the teacher and expressed by her in particular situations. The idea of "image" is one form of personal practical knowledge, the name given to this special practical knowledge of teachers (Clandinin, 1985; Connelly and Dienes, 1982). In this article I show how one teacher's image of the "classroom as home" embodies her personal and professional experience and how, in turn, the image is expressed in her classroom practices and in her practices in her personal life. Using a variety of classroom episodes gathered over two years with two teachers, I offer a theoretical outline of the experiential dimensions of an image and, in so doing, present image as a knowledge term which resides at the nexus of the theoretical, the practical, the objective, and the subjective.

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