Intuition and Reflexivity: The Ethics of Decision-Making in Classroom Practitioner Research
Keywords:decision-making, ethics in practice, pedagogical tact, person-focused approaches, reflexivity
In this conceptual paper I discuss some ethical complexities in conducting classroom practitioner research on the psychology of language learning and I analyse the potential role of intuition in handling these complexities. I begin by developing the ethical argument for taking a person-focused rather than systems-based approach to researching the psychology of language learning in the classroom. I make the case that practitioner research lends itself particularly well to a strongly person-focused orientation to exploring psychological perspectives in the classroom, since it is typically motivated by a desire to bring about positive change or enhance the quality of classroom life within a specific teaching and learning community. In the core part of the paper, I focus on the role of intuition in the decision-making processes that practitioner researchers undertake as teachers and researchers. In particular, I discuss some potential ethical complexities in how they navigate their dual roles in the classroom and manage their evolving relational work with students, and I consider the contributions and pitfalls of intuition in handling these ethical complexities. Drawing on the work of Guillemin and Gilham (2004), I argue that both intuitive and reflexive forms of thinking are essential to good ethical practice and decision-making when teachers research their own classrooms.
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