Postpositivist Research and Pre-service Teachers: The call to

Year: 1991

Author: McWilliam, Erica

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper challenges the dominant tradition of research in pre-service teacher education, and the epistemological assumptions on which it has been based. It is argued that this tradition has silenced the voices of pre-service teachers by failing to address the unequal relations of power in the research act itself. While recent challenges to the whole tradition of social scientific inquiry have brought the practice of research forward for scrutiny, this appears to have had little impact on teacher education at the pre-service level. The particular postpositivist methodology used in this study is a move towards educative rather than educational inquiry, inasmuch as it is a move towards an experience of research that is interventionist, interactive and humanly compelling for participants. The model of research which is elaborated applies neo-feminist theory, in particular the work of Patti Lather, Nancy Fraser and Elizabeth Ellsworth, to analysis of pre-service needs, attempting to work with and for pre-service teachers rather than on them.