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

  • Jennifer Feldman Stellenbosch University
  • Aslam Fataar Stellenbosch University
Keywords: pedagogical change, pedagogical habitus, professional learning communities


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.
Research Articles