ERIC Number: ED322088
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990
Ethnographic Portraits of Veteran Teachers: Portraits of Survival and Commitment.
Cohen, Rosetta Marantz
This paper offers a synopsis of the findings of a full-length ethnographic study which dealt with the phenomenon of the strong, veteran teacher who has succeeded in remaining enthusiastic over the course of a 30-year career. Subjects were five secondary school teachers of varied ethnic backgrounds representing a range of disciplines and teaching in widely divergent settings. Through open-ended interviews and participant observations, the study explored those factors in the home lives, career histories, and personalities of these teachers that have contributed to their resiliency and success over time. The study also explored the extent to which the beliefs and attitudes of these five subjects corresponded to the ones attributed to veteran experts in other literature in the area. Although the teachers varied widely in their teaching styles and personalities, key similarities were found among them. These included: retention of the novice perspective on teaching and an urgency and vitality in their approach to teaching; their emphasis on teacher control and consistent pursuit of self-actualization, with much less emphasis on student enablement; and low esteem for their own teacher preparation. These five teachers applauded recent attempts to reduce required classroom hours in education and refocus attention on academic coursework. What they described as lacking in their own education comes close to what has been called pedagogical content knowledge, i.e., subject knowledge presented ass it might be taught, with sensitivity to the structure of specific disciplines and the way learners assimilate those structures. (JD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 17-20, 1990).