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Reflective Practice: International andMultidisciplinary PerspectivesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/crep20
Teachers' intuition-in-action: Howteachers experience actionThorbjrn Johansson a & Tomas Kroksmark ba Gteborg University , Swedenb Jnkping University , SwedenPublished online: 18 Aug 2010.
To cite this article: Thorbjrn Johansson & Tomas Kroksmark (2004) Teachers' intuition-in-action: How teachers experience action, Reflective Practice: International and MultidisciplinaryPerspectives, 5:3, 357-381, DOI: 10.1080/1462394042000270673
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Reflective Practice, Vol. 5, No. 3, October 2004
Teachers intuition-in-action: howteachers experience actionThorbjorn Johanssona* and Tomas KroksmarkbaGoteborg University, Sweden; bJonkoping University, Sweden
Reflection is frequently used and plays an important role in teachers work, but the concept ofreflection is not always clear. In this article the focus is on the (re)introduction of intuition inteaching. We examine and make explicit different ways of using and understanding reflection andintuition, concentrating on the essentials of the two concepts. The concept of intuition is knownand used all over the world. In this particular study, it is necessary to limit the historicalconceptualization to western philosophy and also to its use in Swedish philosophy and pedagogyin the twentieth century. The aim is to conceptualize teachers intuition through analysis ofqualitative interviews. Data is collected from 13 interviews with professionally active primary andsecondary school teachers. The study is carried out within the framework of phenomenology. Theprincipal methodological source of inspiration is Herbert Spiegelberg and the definite framepresented in his work The phenomenological movement (1984, pp. 678719) With that as base, anumber of different items are adopted to describe and analyze the experience of teachers. Theresult shows that the concept of teachers intuition-in-action contains an extremely evidentdimension in the teachers work. This dimension is conceptualized in a qualitative area andorganized into the themes of the how and what aspects of intuition. The result also indicates thatteachers are more inclined to talk about teachers intuition-in-action than about teachersreflection-in-action when articulating the practice of teachers. In the discussion we argue for theimportant content-aspect of teachers own experience captured in the concept of teachersintuition-in-action. Using a stricter definition of both intuition and reflection their obviousrelation is discussed. Finally we try to highlight the necessary and integrated conection intuitionhas to teachers work, how it enrichens and widens the understanding of pedagogical practice andthe important impact it should have in teacher education.
Afterwards, you wonder where on earth you got that from  if you sit down and wonder
(Teacher in the study)
Every teacher is usually (more or less) well prepared for her own teaching, for longterm as well as short term planning. She plans the content of each lesson, the bestconceivable disposition, the best way to encourage students to learn, and the best
*Corresponding author: Department of Education, University of Goteborg, Box 300, 405 30Goteborg, Sweden. Email: email@example.com
ISSN 1462-3943 (print)/ISSN 1470-1103 (online)/04/030357-25 2004 Taylor & Francis LtdDOI: 10/1080.1462394042000270673
358 T. Johansson and T. Kroksmark
possible way to make the content exciting and interesting. This takes place prior tothe lesson through pedagogical predictions, which later turn out to be right or wrongin the actual activity. In cases where the planning does not work, the pedagogicaldisposition is turned off, and the teacher has to depend on her practical andprofessional qualities. Lately many researchers have interpreted this sequence ofeventsby way of the so-called Schon traditionas teachers reflection-in-action(Zeichner, 1984; Lauvas & Handal, 1993; Alexandersson, 1994a). This may be anexpression of an exaggerated expectation of what teachers are capable of doing, apedagogical desk product, a model which has been imported from disciplines withother professional realities than those of teachers.
Stuart Parker claims that the concept of reflection is used too vaguely in connec-tion with teachers work. According to Parker (1997, p. 30), it refers to thinking ingeneral terms. In this sense we can probably agree that teachers reflect when they actas well as when they do not. In a stricter definition of the concept of reflection(Bengtsson, 1995, pp. 2332), it seems considerably more complicated to talk aboutteachers reflection-in-action. Is it at all possible to reflect in a professional work-dayas nuanced and complex as the teachers? Can you have dialogues, themes and/ordistance to the ongoing pedagogical action? Can you freeze the actions of chalkdust? In previous studies (Johansson, 2000) and in conversations with teachers(Johansson & Kroksmark, 2000; Kroksmark, 2004), we have noticed that teachersare more inclined to talk about teachers intuition-in-action than about teachersreflection-in-action.
It is possible to talk about teachers intuition in cases when it is identified byteachers in action. The question is what is meant by an intuitive pedagogical action,how this is related to the current opinions of the concept of intuition in philosophyand what implications it may have on teacher education (Schon, 1987) and theunderstanding of teachers practice. In this article we will describe an empiricalstudy carried out to conceptualize teachers intuition-in-action through analysis ofqualitative interviews (Fontanta & Frey, 1994).
The word intuition comes from the late Latin word intuitio meaning gaze,consideration. It is built from the classical Latin verb intueri, a compound of thepreposition in, directed towards, and the verb tueri, to see. Gradually themeaning has extended to mean not only seeing with the eye but also with theintellect, that is to perceive, to understand. This is the basis of the philosophicalconcept of intuition.
The concept of intuition is known and used all over the world. In this particularstudy, it was necessary to limit the historical conceptualization to western philosophyand also to its application in Swedish philosophy and pedagogy in the twentiethcentury. We have very briefly described some of the questions the concept ofintuition give rise to, how the concept was treated during a particular historicalperiod, how these same questions appeared again several hundred years later andhow these concept was treated in philosophy and pedagogy at that time (Larsson,1925a). Despite this limitation the area is enormous. Please note that philosophyrelates to intuition in a general sense, while our study is directed towards intuitionwithin a specific professional area, primarily teachers intuition-in-action.
Teachers intuition-in-action 359
The history of intuition in western philosophy may broadly be outlined as in thefollowing extremely condensed version. Plato (428345 BC) defines four kinds ofknowledge: imagination, persuasion, discursive knowledge and intuition. Throughintuition, knowledge is completed and the individual gains insight into the world ofideas which Plato perceives as the supreme kind of knowledge. In Bauch deSpinozas (16321677) philosophy, knowledge moves from experience, adequateknowledge over to intuition. The intuition results in an insight that the worl