Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘professional learning communities’

Collaborative Learning Processes in Teacher Training: Benefits and Costs

Ellen Aschermann and Jennifer Klenzan

Abstract: The current pedagogical discussion emphasizes self-determined and cooperative forms of learning. The theoretical background stems from constructivist theories of learning, which interpret social exchange and reflecting on one’s learning pathway as crucial points for construction processes. Consequently, self-regulation turns into a central condition for scholarly learning. This includes setting goals, planning and conducting the learning process as well as the evaluation of results. This paper focusses on the processes secondary school teachers use to implement newly acquired knowledge on self-regulated learning in their lessons. By means of qualitative research methodology, we wanted to explore how experienced teachers develop their own abilities for self-determined learning while teaching their own pupils to do so. Method: In a transdisciplinary research-project between a secondary school and a university, a group of mathematic teachers participated in a two-day training course on self-regulated learning during which they discussed and developed ways to enhance self-regulation of learners. They were then tasked with implementing their newly acquired knowledge during their maths lessons (number of pupils = 270, 4 – 5 lessons per week) with eighth graders in the course of a twelve week teaching period. Two separate groups of teachers were asked to put their newly acquired skills into practice. The first group (N = 6) used a collaborative setting in which tasks, teaching activities and performance reviews had been clarified and discussed within the group. The second group (N = 4) fulfilled these tasks individually without seeking assistance. The teaching strategies were assessed by means of multiple semi-structured interviews and observations of classroom activities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the teachers prior to the training and after 12 and 32 weeks respectively to explore their understanding of self-regulated learning and their experiences during implementation. A thematic analysis approach was used to identify the factors relevant for the implementation from the teacher’s perspective. Observation sessions of classroom activities were undertaken four times during the project period in each class. Results: Both groups stated that the focus on self-regulated learning inspired them to change some of their habits in their own teaching. Teachers in the cooperative group increasingly reported a growing awareness for details of their own preparations when planning lessons or grading, more so than the teachers in the supervisory group. In the collaborative group concrete attempts were made to change some organizational factors so that collaboration could continue for a longer period. Conclusion: The distribution of didactic innovations such as the implementation of self-regulated learning in teaching contexts requires a two fold perspective. Not only the teachers and their individual teaching have to be taken into account but also the school conditions under which the teachers work. The integral perspective on the analysis of these implementation processes proved to be fruitful.

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