Pedagogical knowledge and classroom practice : teachers' management of a disruptive classroom behaviour, talking out of turn
This study investigates teachers' management of a disruptive classroom behaviour known as "talking out of turn", and proposes that management practices are integral to teachers' pedagogical knowledge. The study explores the notion that pedagogical knowledge is socially constructed by staff, with influence being exerted by those high in the power hierarchy of the school. Talking out of turn is a pervasive and disruptive pupil behaviour which violates the turn-taking rules operating in the classroom. Previously it had been concluded that it is caused by teachers' or pupils' skill deficit, however this study shows that performance cannot be equated with competence, and that teaching involves more than the performance of observable technical skills. A total of twenty five teachers and six headteachers from eleven schools took part in the study. Data was collected in three phases, and comprises of audio recordings of teachers and their class groups at story time; structured interviews with staff and headteachers; two inservice sessions and individual feedback sessions with all the staff in one school. Micro analysis of the interaction cycles between teachers and their groups produced interesting data concerning teachers' management practices, and led to the delineation of the Non conversational and Conversational teacher talk registers. Discourse analysis showed that the pedagogic discourse of staff could be classified as "proactive" or "reactive". Results showed that talking out of turn occurred in every classroom studied and that there was a relational tendency between the frequency of talking out of turn, and the type of teacher talk register and pedagogic discourse articulated. This study found that heads tended to express the school's official discourse as slogans or fragmented prescriptions, rather than explicating pedagogical knowledge in a professional language. Evidence shows that teachers did not construct cohesive pedagogical theories, and it is possible that the lack of a shared language diminishes abilities to critically debate or reformulate the official discourse. It is suggested that teacher education institutions have a particular responsibility to enable teachers to articulate explict pedagogical theories in a professional language. Then teachers may be empowered to debate the dominant ideology, and this could result in the review of normative practices such as the management of talking out of turn.