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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Joe Elliott

Elliott, J., Stemler, S.E., Grigorenko, E.L., Sternberg, R.J. & Hoffman, N. (2011). The socially skilled teacher and the development of tacit knowledge. British Educational Research Journal 37(1): 83-103.

Author(s) from Durham


Skilled interpersonal relations are crucial for effective teaching and learning but much professional knowledge here is tacit and thus not easily communicated. This article presents the results of a study that examined the tacit knowledge of trainee and experienced teachers in relation to various problematic interpersonal aspects of school life. Trainee (n = 501) and experienced (n = 163) teachers in secondary schools were presented with a series of hypothetical vignettes and asked to rate each of 128 potential response options. Trainees completed the survey at the beginning and end of their professional training year. It was found that experience appeared to be related to the capacity to identify 'bad' responses, but there was little difference in relation to the identification of 'good' responses. Further differences between novice and experienced teachers in relation to preferred strategies are reported. Implications for teacher education and for future research are identified and discussed.