15 SES 08, Case Study
In my research and PhD thesis, I cope with the question about changes in education, about stable anchored customs and practice in teacher life and in their daily work in the elementary schooling. I have conducted research in the three countries: Poland, Czech Republic, and Portugal. In my comparative study are indicated and searched the possible effects of post-authoritarian regimes on education and compared teachers’ practices in three different countries. Most importantly I highlighted the current teachers' view - to what extent they are aware of the power of tradition from these times and how they are inclined to current, innovative trends. One of the inspiration for this work was the “ grammar of schooling”, the concept from the article by Tyjak and Tobin. They describe attempts to fundamentally change methods of schooling in history and explain the reasons for their acceptance or non-acceptance.In Poland and the Czech Republic, the biggest changes that inevitably affected education grew out of the change of social, political and economic system in 1989 following the democratic revolution. This systematic transformation influenced every sphere of life. Like many other Eastern European countries, Poland and the Czech Republic had to open the way toward democracy and capitalism. The challenge of change in society and in education was enormous; educators had a chance to be inspired by different approaches, schools, systems and offered the possibility to learn and take from Western countries. In Portugal started rebuilding education 15 years early, after Carnations revolution, where overall emerging democratic principles aiming to a new education were really attractive for a changing society. A lot of teachers feel domesticated in everyday school practices they are used to, even though the social and political context has changed. This dilemma – between the comfort of the customary and the challenge of innovation is one of the sources of “the grammar of schooling.”
What changes should be exactly done in creating a curriculum for teachers? How should the much-discussed ratio of practice and theory in the curriculum for young teachers be divided? Teachers’ answers in my research could be helpful in providing answers to these questions. They could point out problems, things they are missing in their practice, issues which they attempt to solve. In elementary education teachers are crucial creators of school culture, with great influence on pupils and other participants of the children’s learning process. A conceptual framework for my project is provided by David Tyack and William Tobin’s “Grammar of schooling,” which they define as “the regular structure and rules that organize the work of instruction,” including standardized organizational practices such as “dividing time and space, classifying students and allocating them to classrooms and splintering knowledge into ‘subjects’ ” (Tyack and Tobin, 1993, p. 454). Tyack and Tobin try to illuminate why some educational reforms take stronghold, while other efforts at changing what they call “the grammars of schooling” – the way the schooling process is organized and proceeds – remain unsuccessful. I will address my main research question: how does the “Grammar of Schooling” transform teachers’ awareness of democratization of educational interactions among subjects of education, including students, teachers, and parents? In other words: What kind of “Grammar of Schooling” is internalized and practiced by teachers in the Polish and Czech schools?
In my phenomenographical research, I seek to identify in interviews with primary teachers during their daily practice, the main problems articulated by my respondents. I am interested in their reactions to changes in the education system they have been gone through during their practice, and also their opportunities and willingness to participate in these changes – their points of view, how they reflect possible changes and the current trends in education. I will supplement phenomenography grounded primarily in interviews with an observation of everyday school life, namely space and time organization, ways of communication and other school-based processes and phenomena. As the main purpose of my research, I would like to learn from teachers their very subjective feelings and opinions about their work. My intent as a researcher conducting qualitative research is to use a variety of techniques and methods to investigate and describe how people (teachers in my case) perceive, experience and create social reality (Švaříček, 2007). By its very nature, qualitative research uses multiple methods (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003). If we want to understand a phenomenon in depth, then it seems necessary to use the various data sources available to us. I rely on: phenomenographical interviews, observations, written narratives, and analysis of the documentSemi-structured interviews also allow subjects the freedom to express their views in their own terms (Gill, 2008). The set of carefully open-ended key questions was designed so that it relates both to the general life of the teacher and his / her professional career, and at the same time reflects topics related to the apparently discussed problems of education in the given country. As a researcher and a former teacher, I am aware that I can be influenced by my own perceptions, my own views. According to Marton, phenomenographical interview is a productive interaction, where the experiences and understanding are jointly constituted between interviewer and interviewee (Marton, 1996). Teachers for the research were selected from elementary schools in three countries. I conducted the interviews with 10 teachers in Poland, 10 teachers in the Czech Republic and 5 teachers in Portugal.
I have divided the potential changes in education into two groups. The first comes from above, suggested by politicians, influenced by general changes throughout the EU, or other countries, on behalf of emancipation, equal opportunities, etc. What kind of “Grammar of Schooling” is an effect of bureaucracy (administrative decree)? The second group consists of changes the teacher can realize alone within the school conditions, in the system, often based on the above primary changes or those to which teachers progressed during their practice. Teachers can change their attitudes toward teaching for different reasons – actual classes, particular conditions in the school, parents, new methods in pedagogy – when we see the change in a positive way. Within my comparative study, I want to describe the opportunities of teachers in the Czech Republic, Portugal, and Poland; their attitudes in dealing with small and large changes and putting them into practice. I describe the condition for applying changes in teachers’ practice and the possibility of changing their consciousness from established traditional practices to progressive changes in teaching. In my research, there is one main variable: the grammar of schooling in teachers’ consciousness and practice. I want to address what determines the adherence to certain well-established rules, and vice-versa, what makes certain changes possible.
Arbelaiz A.M., Gorospe M.C., (2009). Can the grammar of schooling be changed? In: Computers & Education, 53:1, pp.51-56 Ashworth, P. & Lucas, U. (2000). Achieving empathy and engagement: a practical approach to the design, conduct and reporting of phenomenographic research. Studies in Higher Education. 25: 3, 295–308. Czerepaniak-Walczak, M. (1997). Aspekty i źródla profesjonalnej refleksji nauczyciela. Toruń. Entwistle, N. (1997). Introduction: Phenomenography in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 16, pp.127-134. Freiere,P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum books. Hanesová, D. (2016). Teachers under the microscope. AuthorsHouse UK. Gill, P., Stewart, Treasure, Chadwick.(2008). Methods of data collection in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups. British Dental Journal, pp.204, pp.291-295 Marton, F. (1981). Phenomenography: Describing conception of the world around as Instructional Science, 10:2, pp. 177-200. Marton,F. (1986). Phenomenography - A research approach investigating different understandings of reality. Journal of Thought, 21, 28-49. Marton,F. Booth, S. (1997). Learning and awareness. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Schon, D. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith. Sjöström, B., Dahlgren, l.o. (2002). Applying phenomenography in nursing research [Electronic version]. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 40, pp. 339-345. Symanyuk, E.., Pecherkina A..,(2010). A Study on the Components of Teachers’ Professional Competence. The New Educational Review, 44:2 pp. 198-210. Švaříček, R., Šeďová, K. a kol. (2007). Kvalitativní výzkum v pedagogických vědách. Pravidla hry. Praha: Portál. Tyack D. a Tobin,W. (1994). The "Grammar" of Schooling: Why Has It Been So Hard to Change? Source: American Educational Research Journal, 31:3, pp. 453-479
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