The primary school teacher perspective: Using an ecological framework and complexity principles as the basis for analysing teachers’ professionalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

In recent years, professional learning has been recognised as a key feature of teacher education and increasingly as a career-long endeavour (Scottish Government, 2011). The traditional linear conception of professional learning, in which short continuing professional development, or CPD, ‘courses’ are delivered to teachers via one-off isolated sessions by ‘experts’, is now viewed as overly simplistic (Fleet & Patterson, 2001) as it ‘contradict(s) everything we know about the ways in which people are most likely to learn’ (Armour, 2006, p. 204). Contemporary approaches towards professional learning are subsequently being presented as a much more complex and dynamic phenomenon involving a wide range of activities concerned with increasing teachers’ knowledge bases, skill sets and attitudes (Sheridan, Pope Edwards, Marvin & Knoche, 2009, p. 385). To explore the complexity of the professional learning process, this chapter engages in a reflective critique of the non-linear and ‘messy’ trajectory of the professional learning efforts of the Developmental Physical Education Group’s (DPEG) at the University of Edinburgh. Stemming from more than 15 years’ work, this longitudinal project offers an insight into the complex, unpredictable and transformative nature of the professional learning process from both the perspective of the group itself and the teachers it has worked with over this time. As such, the chapter discusses the DPEG’s theoretical shift towards complexity thinking, how this impacted on the group’s own professional learning and the way it now approaches the professional learning of students and teachers in a more transformative manner.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransformative learning and Teaching in Physical Education
EditorsMalcolm Thorburn
PublisherRoutledge
Pages61-77
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781317232179
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Physical Education
  • primary education
  • teacher
  • curriculum

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