Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

The “Job Filter”: A Critical Agent of Change in Teaching

Dr Tim Walsh.

Teacher educators need to understand how teachers from diverse backgrounds acquire, develop, and implement their knowledge of their field. The presentation responds to this need by describing a case study of three American teachers as they finished graduate study for a degree in TESOL, the teaching of English to speakers of other languages.
Participating teachers encountered numerous obstacles to the implementation of their newly acquired knowledge. The researcher discovered two epistemological phenomena present in the experiences of all three women that help to explain the role of these obstacles in the teachers’ changing professional lives. One, the "participant knowledge system," enabled teachers to integrate academic and personal experience with their teaching experience. The other, the "job filter", inhibited teachers’ application of their knowledge to their tasks as teachers.
Using an overhead projector, the presenter will first examine excerpts from “stories of practice” written by the teachers involved in the study. Next, he will briefly discuss general characteristics of the research design. He will then focus on the the two epistemological phenomena, and implications of the study for teacher educators, worldwide. A handout will include a brief bibliography and examples of teacher-supplied data.
As a result of attending the presentation, participants will gain insights into the personal yet systematic adaptations of academic theory that classroom teachers make, as they engage in action research in cross-cultural environments. They will also understand new theoretical models applicable to changing events in teacher education.


Dr Tim Walsh  (United States)
Assistant Professor of Practice, Language and Education
Department of Arts and Humanities, TESOL Program
Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Walsh has trained teachers in ESL literacy pedagogy in the United States, Mexico, and the Philippines. His research interests include aesthetic and literacy education, and he has taught graduate education students at the City University of New York, New York University, and Teachers College, Columbia University, where he currently works with pre-service and in-service TESOL teachers.

  • Epistemology
  • Action Research
  • Teacher Education for Change
  • ESL Teacher Education

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)