What geography can tell us about teachers’ practice? Networks, knowledge and expertise. A rural education case study.

Authors: Victor Salinas-Silva*, UCL Institute of Education
Topics: Geography Education, Rural Geography, South America
Keywords: Geography education, rural geography, rural education, teachers’ expertise, networks.
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Wilson A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper explores the distribution of teachers’ practices in rural spaces across one province in Chile. It focuses on the state and process of geographical differentiation among teachers and their capacity to host specialised functions within a particular school context (Pumain and Saint-Julien 2014).

Teachers answered a paper-based questionnaire about their teaching practices, each from a different rural school in the Cachapoal province. The analysis involved grouping teachers as spatial units based on attribute similarity. “Similar” in terms of attribute values, not pattern analysis.

Initial findings provide evidence that teachers’ practices do not fit clearly within the formal scheme created by schools’ regulation and their governing bodies (Ehren et al. 2017), as it forms part of an informal network without structured agreements on collective action. However, a second set of findings suggests that teachers’ communication to NGOs and state agencies is fluid, providing with shared experiences and common codes that circulate among these networks as a commodity for teaching.

Performing at these many levels is evidence of teachers’ multi-layered expertise (Childs 2014) and simultaneous influences on teachers’ profession (Brooks 2016). This links to current discussions on how educational systems have stretched the role and responsibilities of teachers at school (Ball et al., 2012). It also refers to the interaction of teachers with members of their schools and external agents such as examiners, partners and networks at the local level. This is a key role to achieve teachers’ pedagogical aims but not sufficiently recognised as part of teachers’ current practices.

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