01 SES 01 B, Models and Theories in Teacher Professional Development: Professional learning and development in different national contexts in Europe Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 01 SES 02 B
This proposal is about a critical approach to understanding the dynamic between theoretical models and cultures of professional development (PD) and learning in continuing teacher education in Europe. Findings of a study exploring the roles played by enquiry and collaborative knowledge work in PD and learning to teach for inclusion and diversity in Romanian schools are presented as departing point. Inclusion is a profound endeavour, requiring holistic school development, visionary school leaders, a support system, professional development. Unpacking what lies in the deep strata of the non-linearity of teachers’ learning for fostering increasingly responsive effective actions to issues of diversity and inclusion in the classroom requires looking beyond the common understandings depicting teachers’ learning as a straightforward, patterned focus on self-image, procedures, and management. This requires a progressive change of perspective, shifting away from understanding professionals as “heroic individuals who are given status through their ability to work autonomously” (Edwards, 2010, p.61). Our work shows that the application of approaches that are generally recognized as effective in promoting and supporting inclusive teaching, such as cooperative teaching, classroom management, peer tutoring among students and collaboration among teachers can result challenging in many educational contexts. This happens in particular when PD is associated with the introduction of strongly centralized curricular approaches, where the educational process can sometimes clash with timely curriculum delivery and assessment (Mitescu Manea, 2016). Understanding and acknowledging the cultural aspects of the landscape of educational practice had long been recognized in the literature as one important factor for successfully implementing educational policies and for effectively translating theoretical models of teaching, learning and assessing to schools and teachers. But all this seems increasingly difficult to be applied to the rationales of the contemporary continental context of education, having yet to decide which way to go: towards hegemonies of cultural fixtures or towards idiosyncratic, dialogical cultures of continuing professional learning and development? It is further argued that a dialogical approach to understanding and acknowledging the cultural and historical dimensions of continuous PD models and practices in Europe could be beneficial to foster collaborative approaches in promoting continentally relevant educational actions and reforms. The current understanding and approaches to dialogical action on the educational macro-scene (political, scientific, organizational) are being discussed in an attempt to move reflection past the what and why works and onto further understanding how culturally informed participation to dialogical enquiry in education on the continental scene is conceptualized.
Edwards, A. (2010). Being an expert professional practitioner: The relational turn in expertise (Vol. 3). Springer science & business media. Mitescu Manea, M. (2017)Teaching For Diversity And Inclusion: An Exploratory Approach To Understanding Teachers’ Perspectives, The European Proceedings of Social & Behavioral Sciences, pp. 756 -764.
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