Rationale and Brief Description of the Project
Research evidence over the past two decades suggests that teachers matter for student learning (Nye, Konstantopoulos, & Hedges, 2004; Rowan, Correnti, & Miller, 2002; Teddlie & Reynolds, 2000). In fact, teacher effects have been found to explain a higher percentage of variance in student achievement compared to school- and system-level effects (Scheerens & Bosker, 1997). Studies exploring teacher-level factors suggest that what matters most is teaching itself (cf. Cohen, Raundebush, & Ball, 2003) rather than teacher attributes, such as their beliefs or job satisfaction (Creemers & Kyriakides, 2008). However, the question, as Hiebert and Grouws (2007, p. 371) argue, lingers: "What is it, exactly, about teaching that influences student learning?" One way or another, this question has faced scholars since the 1970s. Earlier studies trying to answer this question (e.g., Brophy & Good, 1986; Creemers, 1994; Scheerens & Bosker, 1997), as well as some more recent ones (e.g., Charlotte, 2007; La Paro, Pianta, Stuhlman, 2004; Pianta et al., 2011) have mostly focused on generic teaching practices. After Shulman's plea (1986) for attending to the content itself, researchers have also turned to domain-specific practices. However, it seems that the research community has attempted to answer the preceding question in an "either/or" way: either looking at teaching generically or content-specifically. No attempts to synthesize these two perspectives or to understand whether and how they relate to one another seem to have undertaken.
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