Source: Teaching and Teacher Education 59 (2016) 101-114
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The present study explores teacher educators' talk about student learning (TASL) in community in order to understand its characteristics and functions for professional development of this distinct population.
The study was based on six professional development communities (PDC). The communities aimed at teacher educators learning how to promote thinking skills and dispositions among students in their courses, in an education college in Israel.
The data collected through teacher educators' discourse. The discourse was drown from the communities sessions.
Discussion and conclusions
The findings revealed three genres of discourse:
The first genre was managing understanding – the authors argue that this aspect includes joint consideration of learning data, in which opinions are sought and considered, knowledge is publicly accountable and reasoning is visible.
The second genre was advisory talk, which refers to offering advice to peers about teaching practices in light of looking at student work.
The third genre was meta-analytic talk. This genre refers to teacher educators, who were motivated by TASL to better understand their students as learners, while at the same time they were interested in constructing their understanding based on theory.
The authors also explored not only the characteristics of TASL but also the functions that it serves for teacher educators’ learning.
Among the three functions, the authors found that awareness of the connection between teaching and learning is one such function. The authors found that this awareness connects to internalization of new practice, knowledge, and learning how to improve the students’ learning.
The second function was promoting an inquiry stance. The authors argue that TASL is in itself a process of inquiry, and because it relates so immanently to the central agenda of educators, it is viewed as a salient tool to improve their practice. Hence, the inquiry stance, modelled in the community around TASL, can become incorporated into discourse for both teachers and teacher educators.
The third function the authors identified was developing awareness of teacher educators’ own learning and their professional role as it affects the learning process both for themselves and for their students. The authors argue that the learning that takes place in the community when teacher educators engage in TASL is worthy of their attention. The participants have reported their need to reflect on their own learning as a central part of their professional development as in professional identity formation.