Dignity and Democracy: An Exploration of Middle School Teachers' Pedagogy

Vagle, Mark D.
April 2006
Research in Middle Level Education Online;2006, Vol. 29 Issue 8, p1
Academic Journal
In an effort to learn more about pedagogy in the action present moments of teaching and in response to Schön's (1987) call for a "phenomenology of practice," this phenomenological study explored the pedagogy of 18 middle school teachers. The researcher selected participants with a purposive sampling procedure. Participants taught for at least three years in a middle grades school — defined as any school that includes students 10-14 years of age and employs at least two structures in support of middle school philosophy. Fourteen participants chose to participate in a conversational interview about moments they recognized and responded to when a student did not understand something during an instructional activity. Four participants chose to write a lived-experience description of this same moment. The researcher identified meanings through phenomenological readings of the data. Meanings in this paper focus on the response portion of the experience and are discussed using Beane's (1997) notion of high pedagogy. Findings indicate that responses are experienced in continuous recognition-response processes, which often include a positioning that takes place prior to recognition. Furthermore, responses have a certain feel or manner, and are based on the teacher's perception of how a student will feel as a result of the response.


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