How do teachers deal with uncertainty in relation to working with children with autism in the context of the introduction of a new technology tool?
This study is an exploration of how teachers deal with uncertainty in the classroom. The particular context of the European Commission funded HANDS project, which developed a mobile technology tool to help children with autism to develop social and life skills. The first prototype of the HANDS tool, running on smartphones, was tested at four special schools across Europe in the 2009/10 academic year. The context of teachers working with children with autism combined with the introduction of a
... chnology innovation is viewed as a fertile crucible for exploring teacher uncertainty. The concept of uncertainty is developed via an integration of Donald Schön's idea of reflection in action and Wilfred Bion's epistemology. In tandem, a psycho-social interpretivist approach to understanding the teachers' work in the classroom, based on infant observation, is developed and applied to a detailed consideration of the work of five teachers at the UK school using HANDS. Several areas of potential uncertainty are identified, including uncertainty relating to areas of practice including diagnosis, the relationship between expert knowledge and practice, the implications of autism for autonomy and agency, and uncertainties in relation to the understanding of and use of new technologies per se. Conclusions are drawn about teacher identifications to new technology, the potentially productive role of uncertainty in the intersubjective relationship between teacher and child, and the relevance of a psycho-social approach to considering professional thinking.