Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published (as Chapter 15) in J. Loughran & M.L. Hamilton (eds.), International Handbook of Teacher Education (Springer, 2016), pp. 3-33.

DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-0369-1_1


Copyright © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Singapore. Used by permission.


We introduce the notion of personal practical knowledge (PPK) and, then, explore complexities of knowledge and knowing in the lives and work of teacher educators. To do so, we draw heavily on existing literature based upon and addressing personal practical knowledge (Connelly & Clandinin, 1988) to better understand tensions at play in the field of teacher knowledge, and to offer research literature and methods that value, document, and fold in details of teachers’ experiences to inform understanding of the work of teacher educators.

We begin with a definition of the term ‘personal practical knowledge’, proposed by Connelly and Clandinin (1988), as an epistemological stance whereby teachers are recognized as knowing and knowledgeable. An epistemological stance wherein knowing is practical grounded in experience and best captured narratively. This stance conceives of teachers as both knowing and knowledgeable. Connelly and Clandinin (1988) argue in this framework that knowledge grows out of experience and that teachers construct knowledge through their interactions with students, teacher colleagues, parents, and others within and beyond their classroom and school contexts. This body of ‘teacher knowledge’ (Clandinin & Connelly, 1996) gained through personal and professional experiences termed ‘personal practical knowledge’ (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990) differs from the ‘knowledge of teachers’ (Clandinin & Connelly, 1996) gained from expert sources such as professional documents and sources in that it is unique to the circumstances and contexts of each teacher. This conceptualization of teacher knowledge melds epistemology and ontology; thinking and being are intertwined within the individual, and grounded by the premise that who we are is what we know. Such knowing is visible in the stories teachers live, tell, retell, and relive in their classrooms (see Clandinin & Connelly, 2000).