chapter  13
8 Pages

The construct of pedagogical equilibrium

ByJennifer Mansfield

Pedagogical equilibrium emerged as a way of considering the progression and development of teachers’ professional knowledge of practice. This chapter considers the theoretical origins and development of pedagogical equilibrium. When teachers encounter situations that highlight knowledge in action, or the inability to enact their goals and intentions for teaching, or when they are surprised by the way they have implemented a lesson above and beyond what they had expected, unrest, surprise, curiosity, uncertainty and perplexity may ensue. When this happens, pedagogical equilibrium is challenged. This chapter considers how the idea of pedagogical equilibrium emerged from the notions of biological and cognitive disequilibrium, where challenges to equilibrium initiate the search for a steady state. When applied to a teaching context, teachers’ professional knowledge development can be conceptualised as the continual search for pedagogical equilibrium. As teaching landscapes are problematic, a steady state may be limited or transient and degrees of unrest may vary from mild to more severe depending on the nature of the situation. Beliefs and values are also influential on the manifestation of unrest and may influence the way teachers think about managing unrest, as beliefs and values are known to influence what teachers do and how they think.