In this article, Donald Freeman traces how the field of research on what teachers know and how they act in classrooms, including studies of teacher thinking, teacher learning, and teacher socialization, has assumed that words can represent thought, and have thus focused on language as a way "into" understanding the inner worlds of teachers. Freeman argues that this view of language as providing a vehicle for thought — what he terms a representational view of language data — only provides part of the story. Drawing on concepts from linguistic theory, he argues that a presentational view of language data is necessary as well if we are to more fully understand the concealed relationships and social context that language embodies. He proposes an integrated approach to research on teacher knowledge that uses both views to develop a fuller understanding of teachers in relation to social context, the ways in which their thinking changes and evolves, and the role that the research process plays in shaping the data as it is gathered and analyzed.

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