Coping with Ambivalence: Unanticipated Outcomes as Challenges for Experienced Teachers

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Within school establishments is almost frequent that one is involved in conflictual situations and interactions and in unanticipated developments which challenge the actor’s rationality and lead to innovative learning outcomes for the professional himself. Aim of this essay is to analyse such learning outcomes which grow up in professional situations full of ambiguity, contraddiction, ambivalence, in order to examine the role of teacher as a reflective practitioner. We assume that teachers, as other knowledge workers, are not able to became reflective practitioner in every situations, but they do it only under given conditions. The essay starts from the description of some study cases (teachers coping with unanticipated learning outcomes); deals with the concept of sociological ambivalence in R.K. Merton, and moves to an interpretation of the empirical cases by applying a model, in order to verify what kind of “oscillation” strategies teachers are able to use for balancing opposite values at stake (tradition/innovation; ripetition/variability, etc.).
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)136-150
Numero di pagine15
RivistaItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2009


  • ambivalenza strutturale
  • insegnanti
  • modernity
  • modernità
  • pratiche riflessive
  • raymond boudon
  • reflective practice
  • robert merton
  • structural ambivalence
  • teacher


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