The role of intuition in pedagogical tact: Educator views

Gerbert Sipman*, Jürg Thölke, Rob Martens, Susan McKenney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)


Pedagogical tact concerns a teacher's ability to adequately handle complex classroom situations that require immediate action. As such, pedagogical tact can be viewed as an enactment of teachers’ intuition. While most teachers, teacher educators, educational leaders and scholars readily recognise the importance of pedagogical tact (and by extension, intuition), few pre-service or in-service programmes devote explicit attention to developing this important teacher quality. This study set out to understand why. Specifically, data were collected to investigate how educators perceive intuition, and its role in teacher pedagogical tact. Ten focus group discussions were held with school board members, teacher educators, school principals, in-service teachers and pre-service teachers. Participants recognised two types of intuition commonly described in the literature (local and nonlocal), and affirmed the importance of intuition for teacher pedagogical tact. These educators also noted that teachers are rarely if ever encouraged to make conscious use of their intuition, let alone develop it. There was consensus that teachers differ in how well they are able to tune into their intuition. Though the scale of the study is small, the findings suggest that more attention should be given to developing teacher intuition and pedagogical tact than is currently the case.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1186-1202
Number of pages17
JournalBritish educational research journal
Issue number6
Early online date11 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • pedagogical tact
  • teacher development
  • intuition


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