The Negative Knowledge of Educational Counselors: Forms, Expertise-Related Differences, Contextualization, and Embeddedness in Episodes

Martin Gartmeier, Christina Papadakis, Josef Strasser


We investigate the negative knowledge of educational counselors, its development over their professional careers, and its contextualization in episodes. As a result of experiential learning, negative knowledge is knowledge about how something is not or which strategies are inappropriate for use in solving certain problems. It is assumed that this kind of knowledge is of particular relevance for the professional development of counselors. Data were collected through using a structured interview technique with 31 educational counselors. Analyses revealed discriminative and self-reflective forms of negative knowledge. In addition, they provide insights into transformations in professionals’ knowledge through various stages of professional expertise.


educational counseling; negative knowledge; experiential knowledge; learning from errors; counselor expertise