ERIC Number: ED177041
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Mere Ethnography: Some Problems in its Use in Educational Practice. Occasional Paper No. 15.
The document discusses limitations of the current practice of educational ethnography and suggests that ethnographers could best help teachers through more participation and less observation. Ethnography is the process of describing reality from the point of view of the participant through direct observation of social behavior. Some weaknesses relevant to the utility of this approach include the time required for fieldwork and report writing and the questions of superficiality, validity, and adequacy of evidence. Major limitations include the tendency to emphasize the descriptive scope at the expense of the specific, the bias toward the typical, and the tendency to characterize the individual as a passive object who receives influences from a diverse field of external forces. In other words, the written description often depicts a static event by omitting an account of action and the process of reflective thought. Thus, in order for ethnographers to assist school practitioners, it is necessary for them to join with teachers and administrators in their daily work and in the transformation of that work. Ethnographers must get involved in schools as workers and citizens. In this way educational ethnography will allow itself to be transformed to an analytic tool by its use within the life of everyday practice in schools. (Author/KC)
Descriptors: Administrators, Attitude Change, Cooperation, Educational Anthropology, Educational Practices, Educational Researchers, Elementary Secondary Education, Ethnology, Participation, Research Needs, Research Problems, Teachers
Institute for Research on Teaching, College of Education, Michigan State University, 252 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, Michigan 48824 ($2.00)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.
Note: Funding information on inside Title page has been removed by ERIC