Teaching What They Learn, Learning What They Live How Teachers' Personal Histories Shape Their Professional Development
"Cogent, interesting, and provocative."-from the foreword by Ann Lieberman Teaching What They Learn, Learning What They Live explores the multiple social, political, and epistemological domains that comprise learning-to-teach. Based on a study of eight beginning English teachers at four different university teacher preparation programs, this book examines the ways in which beginning teachers' personal dispositions and conceptions combines with their teacher preparation programs' professional knowledge and contexts to form their understandings of and approaches toward teaching. Brad Olsen recasts learning-to-teach as a continuous, situated identity process in which prior experiences produce deeply embedded ways of viewing the world that go on to organize current/future experience into meaning. Since experience shapes learning and everyone acquires different sets of experience, no individual teacher's knowledge is exactly like another's. Yet Olsen shows also that the process by which a teacher constructs professional knowledge is common: the what of teacher knowledge varies, but the how remains the same.
“Reads like a fast-paced novel revealing layers of complexity. … Brad Olsen’s intelligent book … takes on the growth and development of beginning teachers, focusing on a broader view of what counts as teacher knowledge. … His analysis is grounded in two years of investigation providing us with a cogent, interesting and provocative explanation of the significant questions that he poses. His book enriches us all about the work that needs to be accomplished to improve teaching, teacher education, and, ultimately, our schools.”
—from the foreword by Ann Lieberman
“Brad Olsen richly portrays how beginning teachers draw on a range of knowledge sources — family, past schooling, and other personal experiences — to navigate the process of learning to teach. Teachers’ personal resources and dispositions loom large here, mediating or trumping the lessons of formal teacher education. Olsen’s illuminating account should be of interest to anyone seeking to influence what teachers know and do.”
—Judith Warren Little, University of California, Berkeley
“Who chooses to teach? Who stays? Who learns to teach well? Why? With another teacher shortage on the horizon, policymakers can learn a great deal from Brad Olsen. His up-close accounts of new teachers provide fresh and powerful insights into these critical education policy questions.”
—Jeannie Oakes, UCLA