Situated teacher learning as externalising and mobilising teachers’ tacit knowledge through talk in a language teacher professional community

29 May 2018

This paper reports on a study that looks at the micro-processes of teacher learning in a language teacher professional community in China. Following the tradition of ethnomethodology, teacher learning in this paper is conceptualised as interactional accomplishment of negotiation of practice through talk. Based on a purposively selected discourse sample, this paper illustrates the trajectory of how the differences in the understandings of creativity among a small group of language teacher educators (or ‘teachers’ thereafter) were taken up, talked through and finally resolved (or not). The research demonstrates that teachers’ tacit knowledge was distributed among individual members of the professional community where different pedagogical understandings existed. The micro-analysis also shows that teachers’ talk created a dialogic space for the participants to externalise and mobilise their tacit knowledge for negotiation. Implications are drawn which point to the importance of creating opportunities for teacher collaboration and teacher talk as part of professional development.