ERG SES E 12, Professionalism and Education
The theme for this article (abstract) are professional learning communities in schools, and how collaboration between teachers can help strengthen teachers 'teaching skills and to improve students' learning outcomes. Professional learning communities are based on the assumption that teachers who cooperate can achieve more together than if they were working on their own in order to support teachers' learning and knowledge and educational development more generally (Helstad, 2013; Vescio, Ross & Adams, 2008).
The theoretical framework for this research is rooted in a sociocultural and constructivist tradition. Within sociocultural thinking is learning situated in that learning occurs in a physical and social context, and all development in this perspective is understood to be founded in interpersonal activities and reflections on this (Alexander & Winnie, 2006; Dysthe, 2001; Korthagen, 2001; Slavin, 2006; Säljö, 1999: Vygotsky, 1978). Professional learning communities can according to Vescio, Ross & Adams (2008) anchored in two conditions. Firstly, it is assumed that learning is situated in the daily practice. This means that it is believed that the knowledge wich is learned happens in a physical and social context, and that the practice can best be understood through critical reflection with colleagues who share the same experiences. The situation where learning takes place and how knowledge is learned, is an integral part of what is being learned. Secondly, it is assumed that teachers are active and participating to increase their professional knowledge and improving their practice.
In my research, I am particularly concerned about the conversations that take place in teachers' professional learning community, and particularly reflection conversation. Dewey (1933) makes it clear that if it should happen learning, it must be reflected over the actions that happen and how actions have led to changes. Dewey hereby emphasized that reflection related to shared experiences and reflected thinking that addresses the practical exercise of the teaching profession is essential for teachers' development. Zeichner & Liston (1996) points out that reflection on the teachers' own practice may prevent the teaching profession are reduced to pure goal-agent business. For that reflection conversations should be meaningful and contribute to learning, it is assumed that teachers share a common experience or a challenge they struggle. Teachers and the school of development also depends on the school has a culture that legitimizes a critical reflective attitude to educational practice. To develop the critical reflective conversation and critical reflective attitude is a constructive element which is necessary to obtain a positive development and to get changed practice (Senge, 2006).
My research questions have emerged during the cooperation I have had with the school I cooperate with. After reading reflection notes from teachers, participated in reflection conversations with teachers and interviews with teachers, I seem to see that many reflections are related to a form of summary or review of the teaching action and less about the actions in light of the challenges or research questions teachers had. Many states also that the reflection calls and critical reflection is difficult and challenging. On the basis of collected data, I have come to this research question: how to ensure that reflection talks moves beyond the actual situation and action? In the article I will discuss how educators can collaborate in professional learning communities to develop their profession and to further develop the ability of reflection and critical thinking. Dewey points out the importance of reflection and if the reflection talks are to contribute learning and knowledge sharing among teachers, it will be important in this research project to find out how these calls can be improved. Areas for improvement are mentioned below expected outcomes.
Alexander, P. A., Winnie, P. H. (2006), Handbook of Educational Psychology, Mahwah, New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Dewey, J. (1933) How we think. A restatement on the philosophy of education New York: The Maximillian Company Dysthe, O. (2001), Dialog, samspel og læring. Abstrakt forlag AS Engeström, Y. & Sannino, A. (2010). Studies of expansive learning: Foundations, findings and future Challenges .Educational Research Review 5(2010) 1-24 Fernandez, C. (2002) Learning for Japanese approaches professional development. The case of Lesson Study. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(5), 393-405 Helstad, K. (2013) Kunnskapsutvikling blant lærere i videregående skole. En studie av et skoleutviklingsprosjekt om skriving i og på tvers av fag. Doktorgradsavhandling. Universitetet i Oslo Korthagen, F. A. J., (2001). The Pedagogy of Realistic Teacher Education, Mahwah, New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Lewis, C., Perry, R., & Murata, A. (2006) How should research contribute to instructional improvement? The case of Lesson Study. Educational Reaseacher, 35 (3), 3-14 Lewis, C. & Tsuchida, I. (1997). Planned educational change in Japan: The shift to student-centered elementary science. Journal of Educational Policy, 12, 313-331. Revans, R.W. (1982). The origins and growth of action learning. Bromley: Chartwell-Bratt. Senge, P. (2006) The fifth Dicipline: The Art and Practice of the learning organization. New York: Dubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc. Slavin, R. E. (2006) Educational Psychology – Theory and Practice, Eight Edition Pearson Education Inc Steen-Olsen, Tove & Postholm, May Britt (2009); Å utvikle en lærende skole, Aksjonsforskning og aksjonslæring i praksis. Høyskoleforlaget, Norwegian Academic Press, Kristiansand Stigler, J.W., & Hiebert, J. (1999). The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world's teachers for improving education in the classroom. NY: Free Press. Säljö, R. (1999). Learning as the use of Tools. A Sociocultural Perspective on the Human-Technology Link. I K. Littleton & P. Light (red.), Learning with Computers. Analysing Productive Interaction, s. 144-161. New York: Routledge. Vescio, V., Ross, D., & Adams, A. (2008) A rewiew of research on the impact of professional learning communities on teaching practice and student learning. Teaching and Teacher Education 24. s. 80-91 Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society. The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press Zeicner, K.& Liston, D. (1996): Reflective Teaching: An Introduction, New Yersey, Lawrence Erlbaun Associates
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