Conceptualizing Teacher Professional Learning

Sep. 01, 2011

Source: Review of Educational Research, 81(3): 376-407, (September 2011).

In this paper, the authors adopt a complexity theory framework to review the literature on teachers’ professional development practices, the generative systems of these practices, and the impact that learning experiences have on their knowledge and changes in classroom practices.

The review brings together multiple strands of literature on teacher professional development, teaching and learning, teacher change, and organizational learning.
The review demonstrates the ways the elements of three subsystems-the teacher, the school, and the learning activity- interact and combine in different ways and with varying intensities to influence teacher learning.
The limitations of studies focusing on specific elements or subsystems are highlighted.

The authors conclude that to understand teacher learning, scholars must adopt methodological practices that focus on explanatory causality and the reciprocal influences of all three subsystems.

Updated: Apr. 24, 2012