The Contribution of Professional Learning Community of Pedagogical Instructors, Training Teachers and Teaching Students within a Clinical Model for Teacher Education to Their Professional Development

April, 2022

Source: European Journal of Educational Research, 11(2):1009-1022

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study was conducted within a learning community for teacher training in the elementary school track at Sakhnin College/Israel.
The research population consisted of 33 participants; pedagogical instructors from different teaching fields, experienced training teachers from diverse fields in elementary schools from various backgrounds, and students from different disciplines.
The research paradigm is based on the quantitative-qualitative approach.
The research uses questionnaires and feedback on open-ended questions.


Purpose and context of the study
The purpose of the study is to examine the contribution of the learning community of pedagogical instructors, training teachers, and teaching students, according to the clinical model in teacher training on their professional development.
This is carried out through examining a variety of dimensions: collaborative learning, personal responsibility, collective responsibility, reflective pedagogical discourse and action research, and development of knowledge process.
The research Questions:
1. What is the contribution of the learning community to the development of the reflective pedagogical discourse among its members?
2. What is the contribution of the learning community to the development of process knowledge among its members?

A hybrid learning community with pedagogical guidance developed following Corona at Sakhnin College for Teacher Training.
Great effort was invested in the establishment and maintenance of this framework that consisted of pedagogical instructors, training teachers and teacher students from different disciplines acts out of research and partnership in order to improve the quality of learning - teaching, creating a change in the perception of learning.
In this framework, there are disciplinary and pedagogical discussions and discourses that deal with issues that arise from the school environment.
This reality creates a pedagogical continuum between the college and the school, while building a common language and dynamic and flexible work patterns that require work-planning while in action, and building reality which enables conflict handling interactions and practice documentation.

The study involved 33 members of the learning community.
Eight of them were pedagogical instructors, fourteen training teachers and eleven teaching students.
These participants experienced teaching in various fields of knowledge, English, Arabic, mathematics and special education.
The participants share the training processes within eight primary schools of the Arab sector in the Northern District.
The participants were randomly selected.

Research Instruments and Data Processing
A multiple-choice questionnaire was developed for research purposes.
It examines the perceptions and attitudes of pedagogical instructors, training teachers, and teaching students regarding their professional development in their shared learning community.
The answers to the multiple-choice questions were based on a five-point Likert scale.
Upon completion of the questionnaire, community members: pedagogical instructors, training teachers and students were asked to complete personal feedback on open-ended questions indicating their satisfaction and contributions from their participation in the community in the five themes: collaborative learning, personal responsibility, collective responsibility, reflective pedagogical discourse, research, and development.
In the current study, the internal reliability of the scales Cronbach’s alpha ranged from 0.61 to 0.869 and the overall internal reliability Cronbach’s alpha was 0.941.

The quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS software while calculating averages and standard deviations and examining correlations between the variables and differences between: the six different categories in which community contribution is examined.
For this purpose, statistical tests that enabled obtaining averages, standard deviations and examining statistically significant differences and variance analysis tests were used.
In addition to the quantitative analysis, a qualitative analysis of the participants' reports was conducted.

Findings and discussion
The researchers classified the findings into six main categories: Cooperatives, Cooperative learning, self-responsibility, collective responsibility, reflective pedagogical discourse ,and process knowledge development (skills, capabilities and tools).
The findings of the study clearly showed notably high averages on a Likert scale of community contribution to its members in the six categories examined.
Moreover, the statistical analysis of the responses of the study group members does not show statistically significant differences in the overall averages of the community contribution in the six categories examined according to the community members' reports on these contributions.
The statistical analysis data show that the averages of the community contribution in the six categories ranged from (4.56) to (4.63) without statistically significant differences, due to differences in their role in the community (instructors, teacher or student) or as a result of the field of knowledge (Arabic, English, mathematics or education).
Hence, the findings show that no matter what role or field of knowledge the community members are engaged in, they reported a very high contribution in the six categories.
This means that the learning community had a significant and very high overall contribution to its members in the six categories examined.
In the category of partnerships, the highest averages were obtained on the Likert scale (M = 4.63) out of the six categories, but without statistically significant differences with the averages in the other categories.
The average in this category is that of the community members' reports in the following axes: the extent to which the community enables active personal involvement between the partners' self-efficacy, teamwork, and the ability to contribute and plan for a shared vision in the community.
This high average can be explained by the fact that partnerships were at the center of community members' attention.
When asked about community contribution, they highlighted the importance of collaborations in general and its place among the categories examined in the study.
The findings of the current study confirm the perception that there is a continuous reflective discourse between the college and the field in the learning community that was studied (Taylor, 2017), improvement in the teaching and learning practices of the participants, and allowing them to bridge the gap between theory and practice (Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005; Wenger & Wenger-Trayner, 2015).
The high overall average obtained (M = 4.58) in the quantitative finding of the category "reflective pedagogical discourse" and in the absence of significant differences between teachers and students, is similar to what was obtained according to the reports in the feedback.
The feedback reports of the community members confirm the prevailing view that knowledge acquisition cannot only be obtained through reading or passive viewing, but should be based on learning and experiencing in the community.
The participants activated reflective processes related to their training during the hybrid sessions; they evaluated the experience, asked questions and drew conclusions for the construction of a relevant knowledge and process.
Social learning skills are important in accessing the benefits of learning in teams and communities.
Research shows that cooperative learning, collaborative learning, project-based learning, and learning communities contribute measurably to improving student learning performance (Apple & Ellis, 2015).
The findings of the study indicate that the learning community is a significant tool for advancing significant pedagogical processes.
It has made a significant contribution to its partners in the areas of collaboration, collaborative learning, personal and collective responsibility, reflective pedagogical discourse and process knowledge development.
Moreover, the professional community in this study brought about significant perceptual and applied changes among the participants, and contributed to their development regardless of the field of knowledge and the role in pedagogical training.
In this community that is essentially based on the clinical model there was an expression of a new culture and environment that instilled confidence, encouraged reciprocity in the relationship, realized a shared vision and collaborative learning and created insights and assistance in the development of professional knowledge.
In the new culture developed in the community, the participants combined theoretical with practical knowledge to create unique new one that suited the needs of the partners and enriched their work.

Apple, D., & Ellis, W. (2015). Learning how to learn: Improving the performance of learning. International Journal of Process Education, 7(1), 21-27.
Cochran-Smith, M., & Zeichner, K. (2005). Studying teacher education: The report of the AERA. Panel on research and teacher education. Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.
Taylor, L. A. (2017). How teachers become teacher researchers: Narrative as a tool for teacher identity construction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 61, 16-25.
Wenger, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Wenger-Trayner. 

Updated: Jul. 17, 2022