Conceptions of teachers as experts : a narrative inquiry.
Tuta, Christopher Lungile.
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This study explores conceptions of teachers as experts through memory work within the Pinetown district. The main purpose was to gain a deeper understanding of who is an expertteacher and what attributes do expert teachers have? Furthermore, how do these attributes inform what knowledge teachers acquire in the process of becoming experts? And how and where do expert-teachers acquire their knowledge to become experts? This is a qualitative study underpinned by an interpretive paradigm using narrative inquiry as a methodology. Four teachers at different levels were selected for this study. The participants are qualified teachers employed by the department of education. Using multiple methods that included open-ended unstructured interviews, portfolio inquiry, artefact inquiry and collage inquiry, data was generated to reconstruct four storied narratives of each teacher, about their lived experiences as experts. The analysis found that expert-teachers have different attributes based on personal and professional knowledge that warrants them to be classified as experts. The study also found that expert-teachers have a sense of resilience as well as a passion for teaching and learning. They also value result-driven practice, possess a winning mentality, are able to win the hearts and minds of their learners, are intuitively inquisitive, have a sense of responsibility, always searching for more pedagogical knowledge, are always hungry for content knowledge, act as agents of change and are humble and exemplary in nature and in their professional capacity. The study revealed that expert-teachers have content, curriculum and pedagogical knowledge, learned the value of education from an early age from their parents, family and community members, possess organisational knowledge, as well as knowledge of networking and of working through professional clusters. The study also revealed that teachers develop as a result of the space given to them. They learn through the process of induction and mentoring, professional development programmes, expert supervision, motivation by their school management teams (SMT), school culture and an emotionally friendly and healthy environment that allows them to engage in the process of development to the level of becoming an expert.