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21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement
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21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement

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  • 1. 1 21st Century Teachers: Lead Learners for School Improvement Abstract Teachersmustbe leadlearnersfor 21st Century school improvement, where adaptability, resilience and professionalism will have fundamental importance. The discussion, in adopting a socio-cognitive perspective on learning, is developed in four sections. The introductionelaboratesthree propositionsinrelationtoteacherlearning: itoccurs along a continuum; it is deeply contextualised; and, it is a shared responsibility. The second section introduces some of the significant factors framing teacher learning in Singapore. The third section introduces elements of a cognitive view of learning, while the final sectionextends that discussion to a socio-cultural view of teacher learning. The value of thisdiscussionliesinitsbringing-togetherof otherwisedisparatediscussions which, while extremely valuable in isolation, once pooled offer a view of teacher learning that corresponds in its complexity to the challenges that face those who seek to promote teacher learning in the 21st Century. Introduction In the first decade of the 21st Century, the relationship between teachers/teaching and learners/learningisbeing re-developed. In the early 20th Century, when teacher education was an apprenticeship in the form of ‘pupil teacher’, the teacher was distinguished from the student primarily intermsof his/hercompetence inthe 3Rs. As teachingbecame more professionalised,the distinctionmoved to one of disciplinary expertise, with the teacher the expert, and that expertise was largelydevelopedduringinitial teachereducation(ITE). Thatexpertise hadcareer-longvalue,as the disciplinary knowledge of relevance to schooling was seen as consolidated and stable. Once curriculum development became less centralised, and the role of teaching expanded, teachers became the objectof learning.Teacherprofessional development(TPD) wasseenasanefficient and effectivemeansof upgradingthe expertise of teachers during their post-ITE career. In a sense, TPD was/isseenasa relativelystraightforwardmeansfortransferringexpertise fromthose with more to those with less through sharing best practice—‘levelling up’, as we say in Singapore. Here the teacher is recipient of what others have learned. The emergent relationship between teacher and learning recognises that in the 21st Century, the complexity of schooling demands a disposition to engage with greater complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty. Thus,the expertise of teachersisexpanding from disciplinary authority focused on the propositional knowledge that characterises a discipline, to the procedural and conditional knowledge associated with the limitations of existing knowledge and the development of new knowledge withinadiscipline. Forthisreason,teachers will needto become leadlearnersas well as lead knowers. Please note that we are arguing the need for both lead knowing and lead learning. Indeed,it can be argued that the capacities to enact and to meta-model lead learning (where they explain that enactment) will become core professional capacities of the 21st Century teaching profession. Thus, this discussion is an initial response to the need to develop an explicit view of
  • 2. 2 learningthatacknowledgesthe verycomplex nature andcontextof professionalteacherlearningfor this new role. The international research literature is ambiguous in relation to the association between teacher learningandthe improvementssoughtbyeducationalreforminitiatives. In her ‘anticipatory’ letter to the nextPresidentof the UnitedStates,AnnLieberman(2008) arguedthat teacher learning is the key to educational reform, and therefore to school improvement. In making this argument, she acknowledged that “professional development, while well intentioned, is often perceived by teachersas fragmented,disconnected,andirrelevanttothe real problemsof classroompractice” (p. 226). She is also implying that the concepts of teacher development and teacher learning are mutually constituted. This is an implication we accept in this paper. On the other hand, literature alsodocumentsregularlythe failure in reform efforts, particularly in the US (Putnam & Borko 2000, Slepkov2008). While we adoptthe paradoxical view thatbothversionsare true,we wanttosuggest that an understanding of teacher learning should inform efforts to achieve both teacher development and educational improvement. The focus of this paper is on teacher learning, viewed from a socio-cognitive perspective, but learning is always ‘of something’. It is generally accepted that teaching requires a professi onal knowledge base thatminimallyincludes:(1) contentknowledge,(2) knowledgeof the curriculum, (3) general pedagogical knowledge, (4) subject-specific pedagogical knowledge, (5) knowledge of students,(6) knowledge of educational goals, and (7) knowledge of other content (Shulman, 1987). In providing this set of categories over two decades ago, Shulman was also arguing that this knowledge must have an intentionality—effective educational practice. It is knowing-for-action rather than knowing-for-knowing’s-sake, an issue elaborated later in the discussion of ‘adaptive expertise’. The paper reflectsthree central propositions in relation to teacher learning. First, teacher learning occurs alonga continuum,the formal aspects of which begin with ITE, followed by both formal and informal elements of TPD throughout an individual’s career. Second, teacher learning is deeply contextualised. Third, teacher learning is a shared responsibility. Each is elaborated in turn. First,the learning continuum for teachers has both formal and informal aspects, with both aspects strongly associated with experience. Inevitably that includes an individual’s own experience of schooling, as well as later university education and life experiences, including professional experience asaneducator. The formal aspectof the learningcontinuumcommenceswithITE,which provides a basis for commencing that career and for ongoing learning. In-service learning, by contrast, anticipates and enables a progression towards ‘adaptive expertise’ on the part of those teachers whose teaching roles remain primarily classroom based. We use the term ‘adaptive expertise’torefertoa dispositiontoprofessional practice and learning that involves “intentionally seeking new challenges and insights rather than resting on one’s laurels” (Bransford 2007, p. 1). Thisis a viewof self thathas increasingvalue toprofessionalswhoare working in a rapidly changing world,where lessflexible formsof expertise maybecome impedimentsto professional competence. Indeed, Darling-Hammond and Bransford (2005), suggest that ‘adaptive expertise’ represents the ‘gold standard’ outcome for professional education. The development of adaptive expertise, as
  • 3. 3 representedinFigure1below,involvesanoptimal interaction between engagement in innovation, and the developmentof the pedagogical routineswhichare the basis for teaching efficiency. Other research on expertise suggests that this process is more punctuated than incremental—by implication periods of innovation should be followed by periods of consolidation, with the latter allowingthe refinementandautomationof the new routinesthatexpressthe particular innovation. Figure 1: The dimensionsof adaptive expertise(afterDarling-Hammond&Bransford2005, p. 49) In theircritique of stage modelsof professional development, Dall’Alba and Sandberg (2006) argue that a focus on ‘stages’ of step-wise development along that continuum tends to conceal fundamental aspects of professional skill development. They suggest that the development of expertise is embedded within the context of professional practice, and can be characterised in relation to two independent factors: embodied understanding of, and in, practice; and, skill progressionthatisassociatedwithincreasingexperience. Thus, Dall’Alba and Sandberg are arguing that professional development tends to follow relatively individual and contextualised developmental trajectories, trajectories as exemplified in Figure 2, below. Figure 2: Model of development of professional expertise (afterDall’Alba&Sandberg2006, p.400)
  • 4. 4 The four distinct trajectories represented in Figure 2 acknowledge that: skills can develop without substantive additional understandings – (c); understandings can develop without improvement in skills – (b); and, skilfulness can regress, while understandings improve – (a) – as is often the case withattemptsat innovation. Onthe other hand, (d) represents stasis in terms of the development of professional expertise, an unfortunate yet too common phenomenon. Each of these developmental pathways is available to those teachers engaged in professional learning. The second and related proposition underlying the paper is that teacher learning is deeply contextualised. Thatis,while “current teacher development theories put the teacher as learner at theircentre”(Slepkov2008,p. 86), we see this as a necessary but insufficient acknowledgement of the complex relationships between teacher learning, educational improvement, and the ‘local learning infrastructure’. We use this expression to represent site-centric cultures, structures and operational parameters, and the implications of those site-centric factors for the achievement of change in teacherpractices,andsubsequentimpactson student learning (see Sparks & Hirsh 1997). Change-relevantteacherlearningisnecessarilylocatedwithinthat‘local learninginfrastructure’,and change in practices is likely to require changes in that infrastructure. Third, responsibility for teacher learning is shared by a number of parties. The teacher, as one of theirprofessional responsibilities,mustbe opentolearning,andactivelyseekopportunities to learn inways thatwouldbenefittheir professional practice. That is, they must engage in and be models for theirownstudents,of continuousandself-directed learning in ways associated with the notion of adaptive expertise. Giventhatteacherswork collegially and collaboratively their own peers and supervisor/s have a responsibility to support and contribute to teacher learning. In all contexts specificagenciesare chargedwithprovidingopportunitiesforformal learning. These usuallyinclude boththe formal institutionsinvolvedinprovidingITE and TPD, as well as the employing authorities. Before leaving this introduction we want to define what we mean by ‘teacher learning’. We use John Biggs’ (1999, p. 13) cognitively-based and adult focused view that learning is: ...a wayof interactingwiththe world. Aswe learn,ourconceptions of phenomena change, and we see the world differently. The range of interactions that could contribute to teacher learning include, but are not limited to, experience itself, conversations with colleagues, reading, reflecting, experimenting. Not only can teachers‘see the worlddifferently’ as a result of such interactions, but as a result they can interact with it differently. For teachers this can result in two different types of outcomes. Learning can focus on improving what they are currently doing. For example, they can seek to improve the relevance to their students of a particular unit of work. This might involve attempting to see that aspect of the world more as their student see it. This improvement-focused learning tends to be incremental innature,andmostof practice-focusedlearning is of this type. Learning can also focus on changingwhatteachers do. Educational policies call for this second type of learning when they require teachers ‘to see the world differently’ in ways that depart from current practice. An individual’s ‘conceptions of phenomena’ are an outcome of learning. Gunnar Handal and Per Lauvås (1987) provide a representation of teacher knowledge that links ‘conceptions’ with interactions, and was one of the earlier expressions of the intellectual tradition which John Biggs (1999) draws on in his definition quoted above. Handal and Lauvås (1987) distinguished between
  • 5. 5 the conceptions associated with formal theories and those which are the basis of personal understandings,andwhichare the basisfordecisionmakingandaction.We refer to this knowledge as ‘personal-professional knowledge’. Figure 3, illustrates an adapted version of their discussion. Figure 3: Personal-professional knowledge(afterHandal &Lauvås 1987) Personal-professional knowledge is an outcome of both personal experiences and transmitted knowledge. Mostimportantly,ateacher’sattitudes,beliefsandvaluesare the filtersthroughwhich they give attention to those experiences and knowledge, and which frame the meaning that they attach to those experiencesandknowledge. (We returntothe issue of perceptual filtersinthe later discussion of Biggs’ ‘3P’ model of learning.) In a profound sense, teacher learning is the process through which an individual’s ‘personal-professional knowledge’ is updated. In summary, teacher learning involves the interactions with their world by which teachers develop the personal-professional knowledge that is the basis of their professional decision-making and practice, and through which they change that knowledge as a means to improve and/or change specific aspects of those decisions and/or that practice. Teacher learning in Singapore HarionSalleh(2008, pp. 88-92) identifiedthree landmark initiatives in terms of recent professional developmentinSingapore. The first involved the establishment on the Teachers Network in 1998. As a unit within the Ministry of Education (MOE) its vision and mission are to:  “builda fraternityof reflectiveteachersdedicatedto excellentpractice throughanetworkof support, professional exchange and learning”; and,  “serve as a catalyst and support for teacher-initiated development through sharing, collaboration and reflection leading to self-mastery, excellent practice and fulfilment” (Salleh 2008, p. 88). The bottom-up nature of these statements is indicative of a significant new approach to teacher learning, in contrast with the more traditional top-down approach. The personal and networked approach,combinedwiththe breadth of the Teachers Network’s mission, imply that the MOE, as a system, is supportive of a non-instrumentalist view of teacher learning.
  • 6. 6 The second landmark development can be seen to complement this view. This involved the introduction of the Enhanced Performance Management System (EPMS) in 2001. This provides “a comprehensive appraisal framework for all staff in education in accordance to the three tracks – Teaching, Leadership, and Specialist” – within which they are located. Within each track, “13 competencies are identified to be effective in raising the performance of the education officer” (Salleh 2008, p. 89). In a profound sense, the EPMS maps the limits of the desired outcomes for teacher learning. Put differently, the EPMS provides the ‘top-down’ targets for the ‘bottom-up’ learning. The third landmark,initiatedin2003, involvedthe call for“bottom-upinitiative, top-down support” (Salleh2008, p. 91). Thisis clearlyalignedwiththe firsttwodevelopments,inthatitidentifiesMOE’s responsibilityforprovidingthe necessaryflexibilityinsupporttoenable ‘bottom-up’learning “in the spirit of diversity and ‘peaks of excellence’” (p. 91). Collectively, these three developments mean that in Singapore, MOE and school leaders share responsibility for initiating and supporting teacher learning that addresses the needs of staff and students,tailoredtothe site-specific needs. While those ‘needs’ are often generated as a result of top-downpolicyinitiatives, the responses are intended to be ‘bottom-up’— teacher-initiated and site-specific. In a profound sense, this is a response to the much-discussed requirement for flexibility,initiative,diversityandexcellence ineducational practice necessary to national success as a knowledge economy. The more recent call by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for teachers “to teach less to our students so that theywill learnmore”(Lee 2004) provides a substantial addition to the top-down framing of teacherlearning. Thisnew frame, known as ‘teach less, learn more’ or TLLM, represents “a change on fundamental ideason epistemology” in a number of areas, as summarised by Ng Pak Tee (2008, 10-11):  Constructionof knowledge (notjusttransmissionof knowledge)  Understanding(notjustmemory)  Pedagogy(notjustactivity)  Social constructivism(notjustindividual study)  Self-directedlearning(notjustteacher-directed)  Formative assessmentandself assessment(notjustsummative grades)  Learningaboutlearning(notjustlearningaboutsubject). Ng cautionsthat,while the changesinepistemological beliefs associated with TLLMare intended to leadto changesinpedagogical practices, the question remains as to “whether the initiatives delve beyond the surface to change the basic philosophy and approach to education” (p. 13). While acknowledgingthatthispolicyisintendedtotransformSingaporeaneducationthroughtransforming schoolingpractices, the enormousdemandforandof,teacherlearning thatitrequiresalso needs to be acknowledged.
  • 7. 7 Elements of a cognitive view of teacher learning The literature on teacher learning has been subject to substantive consolidation in recent years. One of the most important expressions of that consolidation is the work edited by Linda Darling- Hammondand JohnBransford(2005). Inthat work,Hammerness,Darling-Hammond, Bransford and colleagues (2005), nominate three widely documented challenges for teacher learning. The first challenge is titled the ‘apprenticeship of observation’, first discussed by Dan Lortie in 1975. This refers to “the learning that takes place by virtue of being a student for twelve or more years in traditional classroom settings” (p. 359). This apprenticeship is the basis for the preconceptions, particularlythe tacitattitudesandbeliefs,thatall whobeginthe formal processof learning to teach, bringto that process. The secondchallenge, termed ‘the problem of enactment’ by Mary Kennedy in1999, requiresthose whoare learning to teach to develop the ability to “think like a teacher” (p. 359). In essence,thischallenge involves the need to enact in practice the new understandings that they develop during initial teacher preparation. The obverse of this is what Scardemalia and Bereiter referred to as ‘inert knowledge’ – knowledge that can be recalled but not applied in the contextof practice. The thirdchallenge involves‘the problemof complexity’. Thisinvolvesthe need to developbothbehaviouralroutines(basedonthe abilityto ‘think like a teacher’) and the capacity to interrupt those routines so as to adapt behaviour to specific student responses, “and the particular objectives sought at a given moment” (Hammerness et al 2005, p. 359). These three challenges reflect the limitations of our human capacity to think—our basic cognitive capacities.We wantto provide abrief overviewof the operationof those capacities. Inso doing we draw on the work of John Biggs, specifically his ‘3P’ model of learning. The model represents learningasan interactive system,identifying“three pointsof time atwhich learning-related factors are placed: presage, before learning takes place; process, during learning; and product, the outcome of learning” (Biggs, 1999, p. 18) – see Figure 4, below. Figure 4: Adaptedrepresentationof Biggs’‘3P’model of learning The original 3P model has been adapted to include:  the recognition that ‘the learner’ can be an individual, or a school community, or a larger community;
  • 8. 8  the recognition that learning is an ongoing process, so that with the passage of time, ‘products’ become ‘presage’; and,  the role of ‘attentional filters’ in the interactions between the two sets of presage factors, and the presage factors that are operationalised during the process stage. The notionof ‘attentionalfilters’wasaddedtothe original ‘3P’model toacknowledge the literature which suggests that the key ‘process’ actors tend to give differentiated attention to the presage factors—ignoring some while giving sustained attention to others. The 3P model represents any formal process of ‘instruction’ as an intervention in an otherwise natural and relativelytaken-for-grantedflow of experience. As such, all interventions represent an attemptto capture and/ordirectattention. Thiscan be done inat leastthree ways:the provision of content-like information – ‘learn this’ or ‘hear this’ – propositional knowledge; the provision of modelsorexemplarsof procedures –‘do itthisway’ – procedural knowledge perhaps accompanied by conditional knowledge; and, the provision of information about thinking and learning itself – ‘approach the issue in this way’ – meta-cognitive knowledge. As a result of this intervention, the presage conditions are changed. Thus, learning has to be understood as a cyclic process. Put this way, learning is initiated through an interruption of the relatively taken-for-granted flow of experience –whetherthatexperience is self-directed, or ‘other’ directed, and leads to a change in how the flow of experience is understood and/or engaged with. One of the key contributions of the ‘3P’ model is the attention it gives to the presage issues. Informal views of learning tend to treat the learner as a tabula rasa—the classic ‘empty jug’ into which information is poured. In our experience, many failures of learning are best understood in terms of a failure to engage with and address these presage issues. In particular, the ‘apprenticeship of observation’ noted above gives rise to particular personal-professional knowledge, as well as the benefits and limitations of particular enactments of that knowledge — beginningteacherstendto model themselves of their favourite teachers, and to overlook the fact that those teachers may not have been effective for all their peers. A key aspect of presage conditions, be they meta-contextual or learner-specific, is their relative ‘invisibility’. Beginning and experienced teachers tend to be relatively unaware of the personal - professional knowledge that influences their participation in any learning process. Similarly, the institutional culture tendstobe ‘recognised’bythose whoare new toit,but be takenfor grantedby those whohave workedwithinitforsome time. The literature on ‘conceptual change’, developed mostlyinrelationtothe teachingof science andmathematics,demonstratesthe powerof so-called naive understandings or preferences. That literature should serve as a warning that presage conditions,be theypersonalorsocial innature,have a remarkable resilience. One of the results of this resilience is the too frequent adoption of the so-called surface approach to learning, where a prime intention is to perform as though learning has occurred or that change has been achieved, when these performances have minimal, if any, impact on the original presage conditions. A socio-cultural view of teacher learning The literature on teacher learning is increasingly underpinned by socio-cultural views of learning. This is exemplified in the work of Darling-Hammond and Bransford (2005), and Putnam and Borko
  • 9. 9 (2000), as well as the rapidly expanding corpus that explores learning within professional communities, as exemplified by McLaughlin and Talbert (2006) and Stoll and Louis (2007). Putnam and Borko(2000) identifythree themeswithinthis work: “that cognition is (a) situated in particular physical and social contexts; (b) social in nature; and, (c) distributed across the individual, other persons, and tools” (p. 4). We briefly elaborate each theme. The process or activity of learning always takes place in a setting that has physical, social and affective characteristics. As humans we automatically attend to those aspects, as well as the more specificcognitiveinformationthatisprovided, or develops through that process. Those contextual aspectsare automaticallyintegratedwithinthe ‘content’. Integrationis sosignificant that the recall of content tends to be triggered by re-experiencing one or more of those contexts. For example, cognitive research suggests that our memory functions to automatically make available to us the informationthatthe physical contextimpliesthatwe will need. A common example is the memory of howto place the keycorrectlyina car ignitionsystemissomethingto which drivers who are very familiarwiththatcar needtogive no consciousattention. Similarly,studentsare advisedto prepare for examinationsinconditionswhichapproximate the expected physical environment of the exam, as this assists recall of that information during the subsequent exam. Cognition-as-social acknowledgesthe fundamental importance of language to conceptual learning, and that language, in turn, is a social convention. It is through describing and naming experiences that we developunderstanding. Putnamand Borko (2000) extend this argument to include cultural practicesbeyondlanguage itself,suggestingthat“learningis as much a matter of enculturation into a community’s ways of thinking and dispositions as it is a result of direct instruction in specific concepts, skills, and procedures” (p. 5). This position is expressed in the significance attached to communities of practice as sites of and for learning, as well developed in the literature on professionallearningcommunities,andinthe literature that critiques campus-based initial teacher preparation. Uwe Gellert (2008) extends this acknowledgement through research on pedagogical routines and collective orientations of mathematics teachers. In particular he argues the need for the focus of research to shift from individual teachers to communities of teachers in order to understandhowchange inpedagogical practice requiresbothindividual andcollectiveengagement. We wantto extendthe analysisof PutnamandBorko by drawing attention to the fundamental role of emotionsinattemptstorevise personal-professional knowledge. Immordno-Yang and Damasio (2007) suggestthat“the relationshipbetween learning, emotion and body state runs much deeper than manyeducatorsrealize andisinterwovenwiththe notionof learning itself” (p. 3). Drawing on findings from neuroscience, they argue that effective functioning in the ‘real world’ requires the integrationof emotional andcognitivethought. Indeed,theysuggestthatemotions direct effective reasoning, rather than vice versa: “the processes of recognizing and responding to complex situations...are fundamentallyemotional andsocial”(p.7).The acknowledgementof the ‘personal’ nature of the understandingsthatunderlieactionsisanacknowledgement that those theories have an affective as well as cognitive nature. By implication, the explanatory power of transmissible knowledge may appear of little value to real world functioning of teachers that ‘requires the integration of emotional and cognitive thought’. Indeed, the very focus on ‘rationality’ may contribute to the much-lamented theory-practice divide.
  • 10. 10 The linkbetweenemotionandcognitionrequiresacknowledgmentbecause of the central role of the teacheras an individual,aperson,asimpliedinthe earlierquotation:“currentteacherdevelopment theories put the teacher as learner at their centre” (Slepkov 2008, p. 86, our emphasis). There are two issues that have particular salience as a result of this acknowledgement: the moral nature of, and, the emotional labour that is, teaching. Robert Boody (2008) exemplifies the relationship betweenmoral purpose andprofessional learning,and illustrates the way that moral commitments tendto provide the motivationforundertakingthe riskybutrewardingworkof self-directedteacher learning. He usesthe expression‘toughlove’toexpressthissense of obligationandmoral response. Mary DixonandRose Liang(2009), in interviewing 75 Singaporean primary and secondary teachers, foundtheirindividual moral commitmentsgave profoundmeaning and direction to their education practices.Theysuggestthatthese individualsexperiencedconsiderable emotional stress as a result of the tension between their sense of personal moral purpose, and the prevailing (and necessary) systems-based approach to educational improvement. Few accounts of teacher learning acknowledge this personal and emotional element, or its significance. The complexityof some tasksrequires that their achievement involve contributions from teams of individuals, as well as physical and symbolic tools, often in the form of sensors attached to computers. Modern motor cars, for example, are so reliant on sensors and computer decision- systemsthatevenexperiencedmechanicsrequire additional computingcapacityto engage with the car’s own diagnostic systems. Similarly, there are consistent calls for inter-disciplinary and trans- disciplinary collaborations as a means to access the range of information needed to address any complex problem. The researchof Gellert(2008),referredtoabove,illustratesthe collective nature of learning (and not-learning) as teachers engaged in professional conversations. These three factorssituncomfortablywiththe relatively individualistic notions of learning that are impliedbymosttraditional formsof educational practice,includingprofessional development. This is most evident in the assessment practices associated with formal education, where open book examsandgroup workare viewedwithscepticism in terms of ‘measuring’ individual learning. The notion of ‘authentic’ assessment has been developed as a response to this perception, but even then, the focus of application tends to remain the ‘isolated cognitive individual’ rather than real world functioning that require recognition and response to complex situations in ways that are ‘fundamentallyemotional andsocial’. The significance of these three factors has to be addressed in any model of the processof teacherlearning. One accountthat approachesthis acknowledgement, represented in Figure 5 below, is provided by Peter Jarvis (2005). Social Situation (2) ( TimeTime The Whole Person – unchanged (4) The Whole Person – Body/Mind/Self –Life History (1) An Experience –(Episode) Socially constructed (3)
  • 11. 11 Figure 5: A model of the process of human learning(afterJarvis2005, p.8) While all models are simplifications, this model suggests that learning results from a complex of interactionsinvolving:the person’s life history; social situations; socially constructed experiences; emotion;action;and, thought/reflection. The topsectionof the figure implies that if an experience failstoengage emotionsandactionsandthought,thenitisunlikelytoleadtolearning. Thisinvolves the 1+2+3 subroutine that results in outcome 4. On the other hand, the 1+3+5+6+7 subroutine resultsin outcome 8, ie, a change in personal-professional knowledge. Jarvis argues that both the whole personandexperience as-a-unityare transformedasa resultof learning:“As time progresses and experiences are transformed, human beings are always in the process of becoming ... always emerging ” (Jarvis 2005, p. 13). In acknowledging the involvement of both external and internal contexts in learning, it also acknowledges that experience, in itself, does not necessarily lead to changes in personal - professional knowledge. Similarly, exposure to ‘transmitted knowledge’ (see Figure 3) or ‘professional development’, of itself, may not lead to learning. Significantly, the 1+3+5+6+7 sub- routine involvesengagement in and with, experience, reflection, emotion and action. It reflects a fundamental rejectionof aviewof humanlearningasstrictly rational. The latter view reflects what Gray (2002, p.64) refers to as a ‘cardinal error’—equating “what we know with what we learn throughconsciousawareness”. Our pointisthat a socio-cognitive view of learning neither implies nor requires rationality. It is, on the other hand, the basis for functioning as lead learners. Conclusion This discussion of teacher learning for school improvement can be summarised in terms of an adaptedversionof the three challengesforteacherlearningidentified by Hammerness et al (2005), discussedabove. Thisadaptationlocatesthosechallengesalongthe continuumof teacher learning, rather than within ITE. At a more generic level, these challenges are largely associated with the presage andprocessof learning,particularlythe former. Inthisbroadercontextthe ‘apprenticeship of observation’ includes observations and experiences of attempts at teacher learning for school improvement. In particular, we highlight the impact of negative experiences of this process in teachers’ preparedness to re-engage with this intention. Our experiences suggest that one of the best predictors of the potential for change in a school, are the outcomes of recent attempts to engage in change – positive presage can be built upon, negative cannot be ignored. Thought / Reflection (5) Emotion (6) Action (7) Time The Person(Body/Mind/Self) changed – changes ‘stored’ Person more experienced (8)
  • 12. 12 The belief systemsof individualsrepresent,asnoted earlier,a particularly important presage factor associated with the ‘apprenticeship of observation’. The beliefs, and related language patterns, developed through this apprenticeship serve to both anchor learning with particular patterns of experience, and to invite a miss-recognition by participants of richer theoretical ideas as having eithersimilarmeaning to an individual’s personal-professional knowledge, or no relevance in the context of their professional practice. Other research indicates that it is more difficult to change existing beliefs than to develop new ones. Again, this makes the challenge of refurbishing the personal-professional knowledge of those engagedinTPDvery difficult. The ‘take home message’is that teachers play a key role in their own learning through the individual personal-professional knowledge thattheybringtoITE andTPD. Of no lesssignificance isthe riskthatexperience tendsto consolidate those personal-professional theories, making subsequent changes in them more difficult to achieve. Thisis where the interactionsbetweenthe embeddedandembodiednature of professionalpractice, and the ‘local learning infrastructure’, and the intended outcomes, must be acknowledged and engagedwithin order to address ‘the problem of enactment’. The routines that express teachers’ personal-professional knowledge are bothcollegial andindividual. School improvement necessarily involveschangesand/orrefinementinthose routines. However,itisemotionrather than conscious decisionmakingthatdirectthose routines. The achievementof leadlearningwill require teachersto reflect,individuallyandcollectively,onthe affective underpinnings of their former practices, and to anticipate the affectiveconsequencesof the intendedpractices, for themselves, their students and increasingly, the parents of their students. This discussion anticipates the ‘problem of complexity’, here strongly associated with the requirementsof ‘adaptive expertise’. One responsetothischallenge involvesthe development of a ‘local learninginfrastructure’withinwhichindividual teachers are able toenacta largerrepertoire of pedagogical routines. The currentreality, reinforced by socio-political pressures for accountability and risk minimisation, is that these school-level infrastructures often exhibit profound disfunctionality in relation the notions of lead learning, and adaptive expertise. These desired outcomesinvolverisktaking,andhighlevelsof trustinteacherstomake professional decisionsinan iterative and developmental way. Accountability and risk minimisation too often point in the opposite direction—towardspedagogical practicesthatare predictableand highly aligned with pre- structured curriculum packages, and performance standards for both teachers and students. Successful engagement with complexity requires an environment of high trust, one where all key stakeholders engage in processes that are characterised by respect, structure, challenge, and a shared language that enables meaningful conversations about and through those processes. The view of teacher learning for school improvement presented here is, like the context within which it is located, characterised by complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty. Efforts to support teacherlearningwithinITEandTPD needtobe informedby, and to provide a meta-introduction to, this thinking if it is to be effective in terms of both direct contributions to the development of teachers’ capacities, as well as to a less-direct but more long-term contribution to teachers’ self- awareness. Mostdiscussionsof teacherlearningindicatethatreflectionisan essential tool for such learning,yettheytendtoignore the cognitive and social complexities within which such reflection necessarily occurs. Recent research, such as that of Asman and Markovits (2009) and Kaasila,
  • 13. 13 Hannula, Laine and Pehkonen (2008), illustrate the profound impact of personal beliefs and socio- emotional orientations on teachers’ attempts to engage in learning. This discussion and that research argue that a rational, linear-cumulative view of learning is an inadequate basis for the development of teachers for the 21st century. The value of this discussion lies in its bringing-together of otherwise disparate discussions which, while extremely valuable in their own right, once pooled offer a view of teacher learning that corresponds in its complexity to the challenges that face those who seek to promote teacher learningin the 21st Century. For teachers to be lead learners for 21st Century school improvement, where adaptability,resilience andprofessionalism have fundamental importance, teacher learning must be understood and located within social-cultural, emotional, and ‘local learning infrastructures’. Learning that helps to achieve change within a context of complexity necessarily involvesuncertaintyandrisk. This type of learning cannot rely on templates and/or processes that were developedelsewhere. The professionals best placed to engage with that uncertainty and risk are those whoworkwithin it—teachers who become lead learners can help achieve and lead local school improvement. While Singapore’sMOEknowsthis,its own efforts to support TPD need to be based on a more rigorous and robust understanding of the complexities of teacher learning. References Asman,D. And Markovits, Z. (2009). Elementary school teachers’ knowledge and beliefs regarding non-routine problems. Asia Pacific Journal of Education 29: 229-249. Biggs, J. (1999). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Buckingham: SRHE & Open University Press. Boody, R.M. (2008). Teacher reflection as teacher change, and teacher change as moral purpose. Education 128: 498-506. Bransford, J. (2007). Preparing people for rapidly changing environments. Journal of Engineering Education 96 (1): 1-3. Carless, D. (2007). Learning-oriented assessment: conceptual bases and practical implications. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 44: 57-66. Dall’Alba,G.andSandberg,J.(2006). Unveilingprofessional development: a critical review of stage models. Review of Educational Research 76: 383-412. Darling-Hammond,L.andBransford,J.(Eds.) (2005). Preparing Teachersfor a Changing World:What Teachers Should Learn and Be Able to Do. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Dixon, M. And Liang, R. (2009). Singapore Teachers’ Espoused Beliefs: Links to Practice. Final ResearchReportforProjectCRP 11/07 MD. Singapore:Centre forResearchinPedagogyand Practice. Gellert, U. (2008). Routines and collective orientations in mathematics teachers’ professional development. Educational Studies in Mathematics 67: 93-110. Gopinathan, S., Tan, S., Fang, Y., Devi, L. and Ramos, C. (2008). Transforming Teacher Education: Redefining Professionals for 21st Century Schools. Singapore: Nanyang Institute for Education, on behalf of the International Alliance of Leading Education Institutes. Gray, J. (2002). Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals. London: Granta Books.
  • 14. 14 Haggar, H., Burn,K., Muttton,T. & Brindley,S.(2008).Practice makes perfect? Learning to learn as a teacher. Oxford Review of Education 34: 159-178. Hammerness,K.,Darling-Hammond,L.andBransford, J. (2005). How teachers learn and develop. In Linda Darling-Hammond and John Bransford (Eds.) (2005). Preparing Teachers for a Changing World:WhatTeachersShould Learn and Be Ableto Do. SanFrancisco: Jossey-Bass. pp.358-389. Handal, G. and Lauvås, P. (1987). Promoting Reflective Teaching. Milton Keynes: SRHE and Open University Press. Immordino-Yang, M.H. and Damasio, A. (2007). We feel, therefore we learn: the relevance of affective and social neuroscience to education. Mind, Brain, and Education 1 (1): 3-10. Jarvis, P. (2005). Towards a philosophy of human learning: an existentialist perspective. In Peter Jarvis,P.& Parker,S. (Eds). Human Learning: A Holistic Approach. London: Routledge. pp 1- 15. Kaasila,R., Hannula, M.S., Laine, A. and Pehkonen, E. (2008). Socio-emotional orientations and teacher change. Educational Studies in Mathematics 67: 111-123. Lieberman,A.(2008). Teacherlearning:the keytoeducational reform. Journal of Teacher Education 59: 226-234. McLaughlin, M.W. and Talbert, J.E. (2006). Building School-Based Teacher Learning Communities: ProfessionalStrategiesto ImproveStudentAchievement. New York: Teachers College Press. Ng,P.T. (2008). Educational reformin Singapore: from quantity to quality. Educational Research for Policy and Practice 7: 5-15. Putnam,R.T.and Borko,H. (2000). What do new viewsof knowledge andthinking have to say about research on teacher learning? Educational Researcher 29 (1): 4-15. Salleh,H.(2008). Teacherprofessional development in the TSLN era: current challenges and future direction. In Jason Tang and Ng Pak Tee (Eds.) Thinking Schools, Learning Nations: Contemporary Issues and Challenges. Singapore: Pearson. pp. 87-103. Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review 57(1): 1-22. Slepkov, H. (2008). Teacher professional growth in an authentic learning environment. Journal of Research on Technology in Education 41 (1): 85-111.

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