The Authority of Experience in Learning to Teach: Messages from a Physics Methods Class

Hugh Munby, Tom Russell
1994 Journal of Teacher Education  
This paper develops the idea of "the authority of experience" to explain the unease about teacher education represented in comments of 19 graduate students enrolled in a preservice physics education methods course which combined on-campus classes and teaching placements. Interviews with the student teachers after the first half of the year-long course are organized under four themes: expectations about learning to teach, observation skills, the credibility of a professor who teaches every day,
more » ... nd overall perspectives on teacher education. The study found that teacher education is a transition from being under authority to being in authority, and this is an uneasy transition: some students wished to be told what to do when they assume authority, and some did not; some students saw no point to classes that did not speak directly to what to do as teachers, and others found such discussions appealing; some found the professor to be authoritative because he was also teaching secondary school physics, while others found his colleagues no less credible for other reasons. The paper recommends that the authority of experience be brought to the surface so that it is not ignored by students. This can be accomplished through metaphor, life histories, narrative, and journals. (Contains 18 references.) (JDD)
doi:10.1177/0022487194045002002 fatcat:gknwyf7d2zellolb7aruf5ggzy