Types of knowledge teachers use when solving educational problems: A case study of the implementation of the promoting alternative thinking strategies (PATHS) program

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Abstract

Many schools are introducing programs for promoting students' social and emotional learning (SEL). However, evaluations often report that intended outcomes have not been achieved, attributing this to teachers' poor adherence (fidelity) to a program's goals, structures, and processes. We propose an alternative view of teachers' involvement in curricula delivery. We position teachers as critical and reflective practitioners who use their professional knowledge and experience to solve educational problems, adapting methods of program delivery, differentiation, and contextual fit as one of their problem-solving processes. In this chapter, we report our findings from of interview data from 106 teachers involved in implementing Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies (PATHS), an SEL program, in 23 primary schools in Greater Manchester, England. We used Shulman's (1986, 1987) categories of teachers' knowledge to explore the types of professional knowledge that underpinned teachers' problem solving and subsequent adaptations to the prescribed curriculum. Our analysis revealed that teachers frequently drew upon identifiable components of professional knowledge, particularly pedagogical content knowledge and knowledge of learners and their characteristics, to solve educational problems during their delivery of PATHS.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProblem Solving for Teaching and Learning
Subtitle of host publicationA Festschrift for Emeritus Professor Mike Lawson
EditorsHelen Askell-Williams, Janice Orrell
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis
Chapter11
Pages140-156
Number of pages17
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9780429400902
ISBN (Print)9780367001834
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • social and emotional learning
  • SEL
  • Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies
  • PATHS
  • pedagogical content knowledge
  • learners
  • programs
  • teachers

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