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Examining Professional Learning Situated In An Elementary School Context: An Investigation Into Teachers' Practice And Learning In The Workplace
AuthorFeeney, Eric J.
AdvisorFerrara, Margaret M.
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The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' professional learning situated in a school context in an effort to reveal factors and conditions that both support and hinder how and what teachers learn in the workplace. Workplaces are considered to be unique and dynamic places for professional learning. In addition, the analysis included what teachers reported about the extent to which they believed learning experiences and activities were actually taking place in their school, in comparison to the degree to which they valued them. The investigation analyzed teachers' orientation to learning, examining beliefs, practice, and experiences about learning and the relationship to teacher learning and change in the workplace. Although qualities, characteristics, and types of learning experiences were explored as part of what is effective at facilitating change and improving teachers' practice, a deeper fundamental question was examined. This study provided evidence on the factors and forms of learning activities that appeared to strengthen an expansive learning environment and those which contributed to a more restrictive learning environment. A distinctive and important finding was that a teacher's orientation to learning is related to self-reported change. Another promising finding with the potential of better understanding the interrelated combination of how teachers' beliefs, practices, and workplace factors influence change was related to dissonance for learning. The implications for practice involved determining how to continue to support these practices to enhance and strengthen an expansive workplace learning environment.
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