Professional Knowledge Contexts

We all work in professional knowledge contexts where we bring our personal practical knowledge. What happens in the knowledge contexts may shape our personal practical knowledge and change it in ways that we may not have thought or intended to happen.

I went back and reread a study that Craig (1995) wrote about knowledge communities where she documented such a case about a beginning teacher and his experiences. In his first year of teaching he felt overwhelmed by the number of activities in which he participated outside of his teaching. With Craig, he began speaking about wellness and his concern for his teaching because of the excessive amount of commitment and time that the activities required of him and his fellow colleagues. However, when the next year came around, he found himself supporting the activities and the leadership role that he had assumed in some of them.

His personal practical knowledge informed his thinking during his first year and continued to do so. However, the professional knowledge context shaped his thinking, too. Craig gives some reasons as to why this might have happened and possibly explains why teachers might find themselves on a treadmill (a term that her participant used in this study). Don’t be surprised by the study’s date: 1995! You might find that it is in some ways fresh reading.

Craig, C.J. (1995). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know in their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151-175.