TitleToward a theory of the educational interruption
NameHeavers, Katherine Mary (author); Giarelli, James M. (chair); Gosselin, Colette C. (outside member); Hansen, David T. (outside member); Rutgers University; Graduate School of Education
Other Date2012-05 (degree)
SubjectSocial and Philosophical Foundations of Education, Teaching, Teaching--Methodology
Extentx, 184 p.
DescriptionClassroom experience for students and teachers alike is dictated by bureaucratic structures and curricular requirements and interruptions are something that teachers are expected to eschew. However, recent research reveals that the “interruption is at the heart of the educational matter” (English, 2007, p. 138). This study sets out to define the teacher-generated interruption and to determine the nature of the space it opens for learning. This philosophical investigation analyzes phenomenological data in two textual forms: student interviews and excerpts from six autobiographical novels about teaching. The model of the educational interruption resulting from this analysis is called “the telling break.” The dimensions of this conceptual model are derived from the philosophical literature on interruptions and applied to the data to offer a more complete picture of the role interruptions play in the educational process. This dissertation argues that the telling break is a phenomenon that, far from being on the periphery of the learning experience in classrooms, is at its core. A telling break is almost always a spoken interruption in a school classroom. Everyone in the room feels it as a break in the continuity of instruction and learning. The single most defining feature of the telling break is that it opens up a space in which everyone involved, both the teacher and the students, exists in a new state of “perplexity,” (Dewey, 1910/1997, p. 117). Teachers and students alike realize that a “genuine perplexity” has “laid hold of their minds,” (Dewey, 1910/1997, p. 207). The telling break “pulls us up short,” creating the space in which existence becomes shared presence (Kerdeman, 2003, p. 294). We wake up and are reminded that we are alive and open to growth. This model is intended to help educators think deeply about the ways telling breaks rupture the classroom experience; we can consider how the space changes, depending upon the nature of the interruption that creates it. The model is intended to inspire discussion among educators about the ways we can break through the “manacles” of “inflexible bureaucratic standards” (Garrison, 2009, p. 76). Teachers who open themselves up to possibilities that the telling break can render will be better able to integrate the symbolic universe of the school with the real life experiences of those it is designed to educate.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Katherine Mary Heavers
CollectionGraduate School of Education Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.
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