Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 27, Issue 1, Pages 10-20, (January 2011).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article describes a review of publications in Teaching and Teacher Education over ten years (2000–2010) on teacher professional development.
The first part synthesises production referred to learning, facilitation and collaboration, factors influencing professional development, effectiveness of professional development and issues around the themes.
The second part reviews more closely nine articles selected as being particularly illustrative of the thematic areas, and also representative of different geographic locations and contextual particularities.
The article concludes that what underlies the thematic emphasis of the studies reviewed is a recognition that teacher learning and development is a complex process.
This process brings together a host of different elements and is marked by an equally important set of factors. But also, that at the center of the process, teachers continue to be both the subjects and objects of learning and development.
The particular way in which background contextual factors interact with learning needs varies depending on the traditions, culture mores, policy environments and school conditions of a particular country. On the other hand, there is a similitude in the processes whereby teachers move from one stage to the next in different contexts, that appears to be supported in the research reviewed, although with different manifestations. The effort to construct models of teacher development is also a way of searching for unifying threads in the midst of diversity.
The power of teacher co-learning emerges very strongly from the studies reviewed.
In whatever way, the lesson learned is that teachers naturally talk to each other, and that such a talk can take on an educational purpose.
It also is true that in many places classroom teaching continues to be a solitary activity. Therefore to move from co-learning through talk to co-learning through observation and feedback is necessary as well as effective, as illustrated in experiences such as lesson study.