Guide for CTL (e-book) »  What is Collaborative Teacher Learning?

2.1  What is Collaborative Teacher Learning?

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Conceptualising collaborative teacher learning

In the first section of the EFFeCT paper, titled What is Collaborative Teacher Learning?, written by Professor Philip A. WOODS, PhD FRSA and Amanda ROBERTS, fundamental issues concerning the content and the process of learning are discussed before concluding with a definition of collaborative teacher learning. The second section elaborates on the values-stance that is an integral part of the definition by explaining the four features of a good practice.

In the daily process of teacher activity and professional development, learning is cognitive, affective and practical. It concerns what the teacher thinks, feels and does, and these aspects interconnect to constitute learning. This is consistent with an ‘integrated approach to professional learning’ that combines theory and practice. (…)

The process of learning concerns how learning takes place. We discuss learning as both an individual and a social process, and two contrasting pedagogical models.

Pedagogical models of learning

There are different conceptions of how learning comes to take place, reflecting different philosophical views of how we conceive of and are able to know the world. A still influential model is the transmission model of learning in which an authoritative holder of knowledge passes on that knowledge to a learner lacking in it. Also referred to as an 'acquisition model of learning’, the person who is learning in this model is conceived as a passive recipient. (…)

A contrasting model is the participative or constructivist model of learning. In this, learners are actively engaged in working with others (teachers and other learners) in developing knowledge. Teacher learning, in this model, involves teachers being active co-creators of the knowledge they seek through their professional development. (…)

All in all, learning is to some degree the outcome for the individual through their self-activity. Such individual self-activity, however, is embedded in a social context: interaction and exchanges of ideas between people circulate learning and both enhance individual learning and generate emergent learning such as joint products and new knowledge arising from the group, network or organisation. The participative model of learning accords well with seeing learning as an emergent product and teacher learning as being embedded in the social, professional and organisational context of teachers. It is the more convincing model to frame thinking and practice about collaborative teacher learning.

Features of Good Practices in Collaborative Teacher Learning

The EFFeCT project elaborated on the values-stance model of CTL that was an integral part of the partnership's work just put forward. We did this through a discussion of good practice and by setting out four features that were suggested by the UK partner and those are essential components of such practice. The four features of collaborative teacher learning were formulated to guide the identification and examination of cases of good practice. These four features are:

  • participative professionalism
  • deep level collaboration
  • equity
  • deep learning

The study, written by Philip Woods and Amanda Roberts, defines these terms, also in the Glossary the terms are explained in turn cited form this EFFeCT paper.

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