Embodying pedagogical habitus change: A narrative-based account of a teacher’s pedagogical change within a professional learning community

Jennifer Feldman, Aslam Fataar


Situated in the context of teaching in South Africa, this article narrates the journey of pedagogical change and
adaptation of one teacher who participated in a professional learning community (PLC). It discusses the
durability and malleability of this teacher’s pedagogical disposition by arguing for a conceptualisation of
teacher change that moves beyond a cognitivist approach, i.e. one that is driven primarily by knowledge
acquisition, to one that engages the embodied practices of teachers in the light of the shifts and adaptations
that they undergo when trying to establish augmented pedagogical approaches. Drawing on Bourdieu’s
concepts of habitus, field, bodily hexis and doxa, this article argues that sustained pedagogical change
involves an engagement with the teacher’s embodied pedagogical habitus which has formed over time given
the educational spaces they have inhabited. The article is based on data collected over a two-year period from
PLC transcripts, observational school visits and multiple in-depth interviews with the teacher. This article
describes the constraints or ‘hardness’ of change as the teacher engages with his embodied pedagogical
habitus which has developed over time. However, this article further argues that possibilities of embodied
pedagogical adaptation and change exist in the reflexive, on-going dialogical space that a professional learning
community offers.


pedagogical change; pedagogical habitus; professional learning communities

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Copyright (c) 2018 Jennifer Feldman, Aslam Fataar

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Journal of Education