Understanding teachers' pedagogical choice: A sociological framework combining the work of Bourdieu and Giddens

Year: 2012

Author: Burridge, Peter

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


The persistent challenge to improving the learning of young people in secondary schools is encouraging teachers to review and change their classroom practices. For the past 20 years in Australia and around the western world, education authorities have attempted a range of strategies to improved the teaching and learning in secondary schools, but have achieved little success. Without understanding the influences on teachers' pedagogical choice, encouraging a change in practice remains a process of trial and error.

This paper presents a sociological framework developed from the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Anthony Giddens which can be used to explore the complex social interactions which affect teachers work. The framework examines peoples' potential to act knowledgeably and intentionally and how this action can lead to unintended consequences. Both the intentional action and the unintended consequences of action affect teachers' work and student learning.

Application of the framework to analyse teachers' pedagogical choice is presented through two school case studies. The environment that encourages teachers' to actively review their teaching practices is revealed. It is support of the reflective process which is the first step in teachers' choosing  pedagogies which will enhance the learning of young people in secondary schools.