Exploring Learning in Practice to support Construction Teachers’ Professional Development

Prof Doc Thesis

Durrant, KK (2015). Exploring Learning in Practice to support Construction Teachers’ Professional Development. Prof Doc Thesis London South Bank University School of Law and Social Sciences https://doi.org/10.18744/PUB.002000
AuthorsDurrant, KK
TypeProf Doc Thesis

I am a teacher trainer. I work for an FE institution that specialises in construction
education. In this study I report on an action research project carried out with the coparticipation
of the construction teachers (my students) with whom I work. I engage
with my students as I set out to nurture a professional development community of
practice, seeking to free them from conventional teacher development practices.
My informal approach to professional development, based on the principles of
theories of situated cognition, suggests learning through abstraction can occur in
formal and informal contexts and traverse contexts. At the start, I asked my students
to volunteer to work with me. On recruitment, I explained the purpose of my
research and discussed what I saw as the key ideas of communities of practice
explicitly. This provided the initial abstraction. Activity developed co-participants’
understanding of communities of practice, leading us to identify communities of
practice that we saw as influencing their developing teacher identity. Co-participants
then used this understanding in lesson-study activity. As we progressed, we agreed
that we had become a professional development community of practice.
Membership encouraged a proactive positive teacher identity, equipping coparticipants
with new tools for teaching. Co-participation was empowering. It
inspired the creation of innovative teaching resources (in-tune with their students’
identity) for proactive learning. Our powerful teaching community of practice formed
out of the initial abstract concept I provided, in collaborative negotiated activity.
Those co-participants who had recently completed formal teacher training became
central to our professional development community of practice. The engagement of
others was more peripheral. Co-participants who were more central had a greater
understanding of learning and were better equipped to teach their own students.
Legitimate peripheral participants learnt from these co-participants. At the same
time as my approach develops individual mental processes, it enculturates teachers
into our college. The project supported the development of critically reflective and
reflexive practitioners, with what look to be sustainable effects. Data provides insight into the bridges and barriers to establishing a professional development community
of practice and teacher identity formation.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.18744/PUB.002000
Publication dates
Print01 Feb 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Mar 2018
Publisher's version
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