Meaning-making from CPD – developing practice in own classroom and as a peer in the local science PLC
Continuous Professional Development (CPD) can be crucial in qualifying teaching, and student learning. Extant research suggests consensus pertaining to the core features of effective CPD including content focus, active learning, coherence, duration, collaborative activities and collective participation. This paper presents findings from a case-study in the frames of a large scale, long term CPD program designed according to these criteria. Science teachers from 42 schools participated from 2012-15 in CPD-activities changing rhythmically between network seminars, collaborative inquiries organized by the local professional learning communities, and individual trials. The research examined the development over time of the case-teacher’s reflections and new enactments in own classroom and in collegial interactions. A multiple methods design with repeated observations and interviews was applied. Findings reveal a development where the teacher’s reflections in relation to teaching primary science grew to be more confident and personalized, including experiences from her own class, and more detailed regarding supporting student learning. Furthermore, over time, a closer connection between the teacher’s reflections and enactments in own classroom could be identified. Decisive aspects were about 1) alignment between the teacher’s beliefs and the approaches taken in the CPD program, 2) the support to try out new approaches in own classroom and in collaboration with colleagues, and, 3) the autonomy handed over by the school-leader e.g. to develop the local science team to also involve primary science teachers. The case-study exemplifies the complex interplay between individual and collaborative agency among teachers, and contextual factors like leadership, in starting and sustaining a positive spiral.
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