01 SES 06 A, Professional Identity
Teacher education policies and practices worldwide point to teachers’ central role in quality education and reform so as to promote a lifelong learning society (EU, 2009, 2010; OECD 2011, 2013; UNESCO 2012). Teacher education can no longer follow models and agendas where teachers’ educational experience and knowledge are pushed backstage. Sustainable educational change demands collaborative professional development through school-based enquiry informed by valid conceptual and ethical perspectives. This is potentially the case of professional learning communities (PLCs), which means that research into PLCs may help us understand the role of teacher agency in situated, purposeful educational change.
PLCs are commonly presented as powerful, collaborative learning sites capable of transforming pedagogic and organisational cultures (see Bolam et al., 2005; DuFour, DuFour & Eaker, 2008; Levine & Shapiro 2004; Little, 2012; McLaughin & Talbert, 2006; Retallick, Cocklin & Coombe, 1999; Sergiovanni, 1994; Stoll & Louis, 2007; Stoll et al. 2006; Vescio, Ross & Adams, 2008; Wenger, 1998). However, their empowering potential cannot be taken for granted as they may either foster or hinder the transformation of pedagogical and teacher development cultures. Actually, neoliberal policies and the increasing concern with transnational economic agendas may reinforce outcomes-oriented educational ideologies and undermine bottom-up initiatives based on humanistic values. In this context, PLCs may experience obstacles as regards teacher empowerment for democratic educational change.
The empowering potential of PLCs is the focus of the study here reported. Our research question is: to what extent can PLCs empower teachers to enhance democratic educational change? It is assumed that empowering professional learning presupposes a deep concern with promoting democracy in education through the enhancement of teacher and learner autonomy. Autonomy is here understood as a collective interest and also as a personal competence to develop as a self-determined, socially responsible and critically aware participant in and beyond educational environments, within a vision of education as (inter)personal empowerment and social transformation (Jiménez Raya, Lamb & Vieira, 2007).
The study investigates a particular PLC – the GT-PA (Grupo de Trabalho-Pedagogia para a Autonomia/ Working Group-Pedagogy for Autonomy) –, a multidisciplinary network of teacher educators and schoolteachers from various institutions, founded in 1997 at the University of Minho (Braga, Portugal) and coordinated by the second author. This community has strived to counteract the divorce between academics and schoolteachers in the production and dissemination of educational knowledge, and in the promotion of teacher and learner autonomy in schools (Fernandes & Vieira, 2013; Vieira, 2009). It seeks to establish a productive connection between continuing teacher development, pedagogical enquiry and democratic educational change. Its members negotiate agendas for action, develop and evaluate autonomy-oriented experiences in professional contexts, write narratives of practice and disseminate their work in scientific and professional conferences. The modes of participation, collaboration and professional learning within the GT-PA are flexible, allowing for differentiated engagement in the production of knowledge through diverse forms of inquiry, ranging from dialogue and reflective practice to empirical research. Continuing teacher development in this context is an outcome of working with and for teachers, rather than a programmatic activity with a pre-determined agenda. Teacher educators and teachers co-construct educational knowledge with a view to improving student learning.
Research into this community aims at understanding the potential of PLCs as regards teacher empowerment for democratic educational change, and identifying factors that may facilitate or hinder the growth of autonomy-oriented PLCs.
Bolam, R., McMahon, A., Stoll, L., Thomas, S., Wallace, M., Greenwood, A., Hawkey, K., Ingram, M., Atkinson, A. & Smith, M. (2005). Creating and sustaining effective professional learning communities. Research Report 637: University of Bristol. DuFour, R., DuFour, R. & Eaker, R. (2008). Revisiting professional learning communities at work: New insights for improving schools. Bloomington: Solution Tree. EU (2009). Council conclusions of 12 may 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020). Official Journal of the EU. 2009/C119/02. EU (2010). Teachers’ professional development. Europe in international comparison. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the EU. Fernandes, I. S. & Vieira, F. (2013). Professional development as empowerment? The case of learning communities. The International Journal of Adult, Community, and Professional Learning. 19(4), 1-16. Jiménez Raya, M., Lamb, T. & Vieira, F. (2007). Pedagogy for autonomy in language education in Europe – Towards a framework for learner and teacher development. Dublin: Authentik. Levine, J. & Shapiro, N. (2004). Sustaining and improving learning communities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Little, J. W. (2012). Professional community and professional development in the learning-centred school. In Teacher learning that matters, ed. M. Kooy & K. van Veen, 22-43. Oxon: Routledge. MacLaughin, M. & Talbert, J. (2006). Building school-based teacher learning communities. New York: Teachers College Press. OECD (2011). Building a high-quality teaching profession. Lessons from around the world. OECD Publishing. OECD (2013). Teachers for the 21st century. Using evaluation to improve teaching. OECD Publishing. Retallick, J., Cocklin, B. & Coombe, K. (1999). Learning communities in education. London: Routledge. Sergiovanni, T. (1994). Building community in schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Stoll, L. & Louis, K. (2007). Professional learning communities. Divergence, depth and dilemmas. Maidenhead: OUP. Stoll, L., Rolam, R., Mcmahon, A., Wallace, M. & Thomas, S. (2006). Professional learning communities: A review of the literature. Journal of Educational Change, 7, 221-258. UNESCO (2012). Unesco strategy on teachers (2012-2015). Unesco. Vescio, V., Ross, D., and Adams, A. (2008). A review of research on the impact of professional learning communities on teaching practice and student learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 80-91. Vieira, F. (2009). Enhancing pedagogy for autonomy through learning communities – making our dream come true? Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 3(3), 269-282. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: CUP.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.