ERIC Number: ED225227
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Teaching Tales and Theories: An Ethnographic Next Step?
Smith, Louis M.
A number of methodological and substantive issues were raised by the ethnographic research for the book (coauthored by the author of this paper), "Teaching Tales and Theories: A Story and A Commentary on a Science Classroom" (1981). First, the origin of the "problem" came not only from earlier research but also from a serendipitous meeting with the other future coauthor, a high school science teacher. Another methodological problem involved the large volume of data generated by ethnographically following one teacher's class through one full semester; data collection included recording all verbal statements in the class, recording teacher comments before and after class, and taking field notes in all the classes. The research yielded, however, substantive steps toward a theory of teaching, involving concrete images about teacher-directed laboratory instruction in general science and the teacher's use of metaphors in thinking about teaching. Further research problems arose in getting the project finished: not only the coauthors' separate personal lives, but also the ethnographic method's demand for "grounded theory," complicated the analyzing, conceptualizing, and writing up the project. However, the ethnographic method also provided a collaborative relationship that led to other research opportunities and further insights on teaching. (RW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 19-23, 1982).