University of Oulu

Maija Lanas, Pauliina Rautio, Anne Koskela, Susanna Kinnunen, Elina Viljamaa & Jaana Juutinen (2017) Engaging with theoretical diffraction in teacher education, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 38:4, 530-541, DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2015.1126917

Engaging with theoretical diffraction in teacher education

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Author: Lanas, Maija1; Rautio, Pauliina1; Koskela, Anne1;
Organizations: 1Department of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-06-10


This article presents a study in which we began with a question ‘how to teach theoretical reflectivity in teacher education’, and ended with a sentence ‘there is theoretical diffraction in teacher education’. The research presented in this paper took place in the context of a university course in which we have been involved for the past two years. During the course we simultaneously aimed to teach theoretical reflection and to analyse what was happening as we taught theoretical reflection. For two years we asked: What are students doing while we are trying to engage them in theoretical reflection? We noted that students are engaged in theory, but not in ways easily readable to the educators, and that the process could be called theoretical diffraction rather than reflection. Theoretical diffraction during the course was patterned by existing discursive practices: (1) disciplining emotions and focusing on control and answers; (2) personalising school as the teacher, and personally defending it; and (3) prioritising practice over theory and seeing both as dogma.

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Series: Discourse. Studies in the cultural politics of education
ISSN: 0159-6306
ISSN-E: 1469-3739
ISSN-L: 0159-6306
Volume: 38
Issue: 4
Pages: 530 - 541
DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2015.1126917
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: The research has been funded by the Academy of Finland, project number 267166 and 264370.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 267166
Detailed Information: 267166 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
264370 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2015 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education on 29 Dec 2015, available online: