Factors affecting teachers’ participation in professional learning activities

This paper describes two studies into teacher workplace learning

Kitty Kwakman


Scholarcy highlights

  • In the Netherlands, a large-scale educational reform is currently being implemented in secondary education
  • This reform aims at a major change in the secondary school curriculum, and is described as ‘teaching and learning for understanding’
  • Secondary schools have to bear their own responsibilities in this respect and are expected to prepare adolescents in acquiring basic competencies for lifelong learning
  • The interest in these learning competencies is closely linked to new theoretical insights in which learning is conceived as an active, constructive, collaborative, and context-bound activity. ‘‘Current theory holds that students learn best when they have the opportunity to actively construct their own knowledge’’
  • A possible explanation for this discrepancy is that teachers perceive professional learning activities in connection with different tasks that belong to the teaching profession
  • The majority of the sample is over 40 years of age, which means that in this respect the sample is not fully representative for the total population of teachers in the Netherlands. With respect to their primary subject area, the group is divided as follows: 174 languages teachers; 99 science teachers; 79 social sciences teachers; 76 teachers in arts or physical education; 60 teachers in vocational education; and 40 teachers in national curriculum subjects
  • Some professional learning activities did not fit into these empirical types, the idea that professional learning activities are embedded in different tasks, as perceived by teachers themselves, confirms the notion of situated cognition in which it is assumed that learning is embedded in everyday activities
  • Gender Subject matter Subject matter Subject matter Subject matter Professional experience Professional attitudes Feasibility of collaborative activities Feasibility of innovative activities Meaningfulness of activities Loss of personal accomplishment Pressure of work Emotional demands Job variety Management support Collegial support Intentional learning support R2

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