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Tacit Knowledge? Or Beliefs and Values?

Posted By: Judith Yero on July 5, 2006
There is another way to perceive the "if, then, because" statements identified by the authors as tacit knowledge. I would suggest that many of the "I think" and "you have to" statements made by the researchers are beliefs rather than "knowledge." The beliefs are based on values that the researchers sometimes state and of which they are often unaware. Comparing those beliefs and values to the beliefs of less effective researchers would add much to our understanding of "effective" thought processes.

The ephemeral "dispositions" required, but inadequately defined by NCATE, apply to people in all areas of education, not just teaching. Researching the beliefs and values that underlie people's actions is a messy business...but ignoring them surely fails to address the underlying 'causes' of behavior. Beliefs shape perceptions and perceptions drive behavior. Efforts to transfer "what works" for one teacher or researcher to others will ultimately fall short unless we also get serious about the studying the underlying "mindset" of the person for whom it "works."

Recent research has shown that you can't directly predict the effectiveness of teachers by evaluating their years of training or the number of degrees and certificates they possess. Certainly, knowledge of one's subject is necessary, but it is not sufficient. Why people make the choices they do is a huge piece of the puzzle...a puzzle that will remain poorly understood until researchers are willing to enter the messy subjective realm of personal beliefs and values.

Judy Yero
Teacher's Mind Resources
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 Tacit Knowledge? Or Beliefs and Values? by Judith Yero on July 5, 2006
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