Extending the 4 walls of the classroom
: a return to the classroom to affirm my assumptions, values and knowledge in practice

  • Lorraine Betty Connell

    Student thesis: Professional Doctorate - CDU

    Abstract

    This research focuses on my personal journey into the primary school classroom. After a thirteen-year absence from teaching in a primary school while lecturing in a preservice teacher education course I felt my lack of recent classroom experience was becoming apparent. I wanted to return to the classroom to find out if I was still the teacher that I thought I was. I needed to explore how my personal and professional experiences had affected my assumptions and values. Had they altered because of my continued life experiences or were they still essentially unchanged.

    In this thesis I will explore how experiences since leaving the classroom have affected my assumptions, values and knowledge. These experiences include the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, computers and parents. When I was last in the classroom the Theory of Multiple Intelligences and computers were unfamiliar and I had not used them in my teaching and learning with children. I left the classroom to become a parent and so my experiences as a parent of school children impacted upon my assumptions, values and knowledge. By returning to the classroom I would use the Theory of Multiple Intelligences as a teaching and learning strategy, computers as a teaching and learning tool, and parents and the community as integral aspects of the learning environment.

    I envisaged that these new approaches to my teaching would help to extend the 4 walls of the classroom so that teaching and learning could be more relevant and accessible to the children and their families. By returning to the classroom I could research my own practice using Action Research methodology and add to the body of knowledge about teaching. To some extent I was the teacher that I thought I was. However, I discovered that the demands of the profession meant that I had little time for personal reflection as the classroom teaching threatened to overwhelm me. Teachers need time to to reflect and determine who they are as teachers and people. They need time to reflect and embrace new ideas and teaching strategies so that new knowledge and experience can become part of the teacher's assumptions and values. Extending the 4 walls of the classroom to include the wider community and create learning communities can assist in this process, but ultimately it involves the teacher acknowledging and participating in change.
    Date of AwardNov 2001
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDarol Cavanagh (Supervisor)

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