ELLIS, V. 2009. Subject knowledge and teacher education: the development of beginning teachers’ thinking, Continuum Intl Pub Group.
My purpose here is to explore, though at other times I will simply review and annotate.
The point of interest here is the nature of teachers’ pedagogic knowledge. At times this is presented as if there is subject knowledge and pedagogic knowledge as distinct and separate things. Ellis is attempting to sophisticate this view. She does not explicitly mention Schon, though clearly his theories are of relevance here and will be explored and connected at a later stage.
The main pointers here are:
Teachers beliefs, values, conceptions of purposes for teaching their subject
This is something other than what their subject is; the discussion I have so far had about literacy / literacies has tended towards a reified notion of it is or is not something – but this sense of pedagogic purpose is perhaps as important as pedagogic subject. I think that SfL not only shapes the discourse within which we frame what we teach, it also strongly constrains our sense of purpose.
Pedagogic knowledge is a specific construction not entirely bound to subject knowledge
That there seems to be a particular construction of pedagogic knowledge that is specific to practice and not based on subject knowledge as a distinct category, p43 – teacher test and research that suggested teachers who did poorly on abstract tests of say grammar, but did particularly well on the knowledge they were able to deploy in their teaching.
Knowledge that is brought into being by the nature of the learning context itself.
Nature of teacher knowledge:
Less fixed than ‘disciplinary’ knowledge – it is ‘totally embedded in subject knowledge’. It is less stable and more situated.
There is some Hattie like taxonomy of ‘effective teachers’ I note here that Elis refers to research suggesting that effective teachers of literacy – strong and coherent personal philosophies about teaching literacy; placed greatest emphasis on ‘purpose, communication and composition.’
All of this is good. All of it. What I am still unsure of and can find no direct reference to is: what and how teachers develop this beliefs about; and how they make connections between their own beliefs abut teaching as a pedagogic subject (albeit one defined in the moment) and their own experiences of being literate.