Teaching as a social practice

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This article expands upon current educational research on teachers as important actors for children’s learning and well-being, but it also questions a linear relationship between learning and teaching, addressing the question, “What is teaching in practice?” The theoretical framework for this work is the concept of social practice as presented by Dreier, Lave, Axel and Jensen, among others, and a critical psychological understanding of subjectivity as presented by Holzkamp and Dreier. Additionally, the work is framed by learning theory informed by social practice theory, recognizing that learning is neither exclusively caused by nor the result of teaching. By focusing on everyday teaching, this paper examines what it really means to teach in everyday life. The analysis is based on participant observations in two Danish primary schools and on interviews with four teachers over a period of two years. The analysis strengthens the argument for focusing on teachers as intentional, attentional subjects who act in reasoned ways. The main conclusion is that teachers must do more than “consider social conditions” as a set of circumstances to contend with. Instead, we must recognize that teaching is itself a social practice that inevitably constitutes an integral part of everyday school life.
TidsskriftNordic Psychology
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)3-16
StatusUdgivet - 2019

Bibliografisk note

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached document: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Nordic Psychology on 16 Apr 2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/19012276.2018.1457451”


  • teaching
  • social practice theory
  • dialectics

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