S.2 – Views of Teaching


Session 2: Exploring Perspectives of Teaching

The overfamiliarity of the teaching profession is a significant contradiction affecting those learning to teach. We have all played a role opposite teachers for a large part of our school lives. It is taken for granted that we all know what a teacher is and does. This knowledge is based upon years of observation.”
~Deborah Britzman, Practice Makes Practice: A Critical Study of Learning to Teach (2003)

Session Overview

What is the role of the teacher? What does it mean to learn to teach? What does teaching do to the teacher? These are not uncomplicated questions, and answers to them may well be more of a journey than ends in themselves. The views we hold about what it means to teach – and how we learn to do it – contribute to the identities we construct about our role as teachers. This session is intended to serve as a starting point to begin exploring the perspectives you hold about teaching, and to discuss those with your peers. Through this discussion we will work to recognize that there are multiple and legitimate views on what constitutes the practice of teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this class session you should be able to…

  • Articulate your perspective of teaching based on a review of your profile from the Teaching Perspectives Inventory.
  • Begin to recognize the tensions, contradictions and complexity among the variety of perspectives that constitute what it means to teach.
  • View the beliefs, values and assumptions you hold about teaching as a site for critical reflection.

Key Questions

  • How do beliefs, values and assumptions shape our perspectives of the role of teachers?
  • How does teacher identity inform the practice of teaching?
  • What experiences shape what it means to be a teacher (faculty member) in higher education?



1) Participate in discussion (small group / whole class) about key questions related to the role of teachers.

2) Review and discuss the “Five Perspectives” found in the TPI.

3) Engage in a peer reflection exercise comparing your TPI profile with another member of the class.



1) Complete assigned readings.

2) Synthesize ideas from readings and class discussion and make a post to your learning journal.

3) Make book selection for the Exploring Scholar as Teacher assignment.

Suggested Readings

1) Begin reading your selected book.

2) Development and Use of the TPI – Pratt, Collins, Selinger