Pushing the field of practitioner research: Utilizing ‘reflective third spaces’ to explore educational practice

Document Type

Book Chapter

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Publication Title

Practitioner research in teacher education: Theory and best practices

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For decades, literature in the field of education has been rife with descriptions of the divides between theory and practice, research and implementation, and universities and public schools. Beginning with an examination of these divides, this chapter explores the ways that teacher educators can capitalize on their positioning in order to better understand educational practice. Following a brief introduction, an examination of third space theory and its usefulness to teacher educators— especially those engaged in practitioner research— ensues. Building on the work of early theorists in fields such as literature and cultural geography, third space theory has typically been used in educational research to address the gaps between home and school cultures. In this piece, however, third space theory is proposed as a theoretical framework for examining the disconnect between preservice teacher education and classroom practice. The chapter discusses the ways that third space theory can push the field of practitioner research to explore new pathways for understanding educational practice, to recognize the theoretical contributions of practitioners, and to address the ever-present divides that pit classroom teachers and university teacher educators against one another. By rethinking their positions and reimagining their roles within public school classrooms (the first space) and university settings (the second space), teacher educators can proactively create ‘reflective third spaces’ in order to initiate change in the first and second spaces. In addition, this chapter pushes for an expansion of third space theory in order to capitalize on the productivity of these ‘reflective third spaces.’


Version of record can be found through World Cat.