University Of Tasmania

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The Knowledge Quartet: A “Fresh Lens” in the Analysis of Teachers’ Classroom Practice

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 19:07 authored by Ian HayIan Hay, Thomas, D, David ShorterDavid Shorter
A core task of Australian and New Zealand teacher education programs is the preparation of teachers who are able to effectively operate within a complex and dynamic set of student, context, content and pedagogical variables. Shulman’s (1987) seminal research has highlighted the importance of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and the analysis of teachers’ classroom practices. This paper outlines recent developments that have extended Shulman’s work and has the potential to provide a “fresh lens” in the analysis of teachers’ classroom practices. Developed by Rowland (i.e., Rowland, & Turner, 2007; Rowland et al., 2014) and called the Knowledge Quartet this model of classroom analysis has suggested that teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge for teaching can be separated into four areas identified as: (1) foundation; (2) transformation; (3) connection; and (4) contingency. All four of these elements are in action in each lesson.

Teaching students typically requires the teachers to deal with a range of contingencies and so requires teachers to access their foundation knowledge of the subject and their teaching strategies; to transform their teaching strategies and their content knowledge to better accommodate the students; to form new connections with the content being taught and the students’ level of understanding; and to deal with the unexpected. Rowland’s teacher knowledge model supports the premise that teaching students is typically competency based. As illustrated below Australian teachers’ pedagogical practices can be analysed using the Knowledge Quartet model and this analysis can create a professional communication with and between teachers that has the potential to be more holistic and informative. This analysis uses a naturalistic, observational, case study methodology of teachers, teaching his/her regular lesson. The obtained video transcript data from these lessons were coded using the Knowledge Quartet criteria. The lesson reported on below was conducted using the Australian University social science and education ethical protocols.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Proceedings of Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA) Conference




Faculty of Education


Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA)

Place of publication


Event title

Australian Teacher Education Association Conference

Event Venue


Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Pedagogy; Teacher and instructor development