Teachers’ Professional Learning in the Context of Implementing Project Based Learning in a Secondary School
Keywords:teacher learning, inquiry-as-stance, practice
Teachers’ professional learning (TPL) involves a stance of inquiry, with particular habits of mind and ways of being as educators. To explore this premise, our study focused on the experiences of two teachers implementing a curricular innovation, project-based learning, in their classes. We used a phenomenological approach to capture the essence of TPL through the voices and narratives of teachers engaged in this process. Data from interviews and observations was analysed, leading to the development of concepts associated with TPL: collaboration, learning from professional development workshops, a learning mindset, shifts in practice, and liberation. These concepts helped to clarify inquiry as a stance in teacher learning. Our research has implications for teachers’ professional development and for teacher education.
Adams, P., Momborquette, C., & Townsend, D. (2019). Leadership in education: The power of generative dialogue. Pearson.
Anderson, L., & Olsen, B. (2006). Investigating early career urban teachers' perspectives on and experiences in professional development. Journal of Teacher Education, 57, 359–377.
Allen, C. (2015). PBL planning guide: A planning, resource, and reference companion to the Intro to PBL workshop. PBL Consulting, Inc.
Attard Tonna, M., & Shanks, R. (2017). The importance of environment for teacher professional learning in Malta and Scotland. European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(1), 91–109.
Avalos, B. (2011). Teacher professional development in Teaching and Teacher Education over ten years. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(1), 10–20.
Bakkenes, I., Vermunt, J. D., & Wubbels, T. (2010). Teacher learning in the context of educational innovation: Learning activities and learning outcomes of experienced teachers. Learning and Instruction, 20(6), 533–548.
Ball, D. L., & Cohen, D. K. (1999). Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward practice-based theory of professional education. In G. Sykes, & L. Darling-Hammond (Eds.), Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice (pp. 3–32). Jossey Bass.
Berliner, D. C. (2004). Describing the behavior and documenting the accomplishments of expert teachers. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 24(3), 200–212.
Bo, J., & Li, L. (2015). Teacher as a Designer of Project-Based Learning Practice. Us-China Foreign Language, 13, 437–441.
Britton, V., & Sivia, A. (2019). Kaleidoscope of orientations: A model of professional development for practicing teachers. Teacher Learning and Professional Development, 4(1), 1–14.
Campbell, C. (2017). Developing teachers’ professional learning: Canadian evidence and experiences in a world of educational improvement. Canadian Journal of Education, 40(2), 1–33.
Campbell, C., Osmond-Johnson, P., Faubert, B., Zeichner, K., & Hobbs-Johnson, A. (with Brown, S., DaCosta, P., Hales, A., Kuehn, L., Sohn, J., & Steffensen, K.). (2017). The state of educators’ professional learning in Canada: Final research report. Learning Forward.
Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. (2009). Inquiry as stance: Practitioner research for the next generation. Teachers College Press.
Cochran-Smith, M. & Lytle, S. (2011). Changing perspectives on practitioner research LEARNing Landscapes, 4(2), 17–23.
Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage.
Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches (2nd Ed.). Sage Publications.
Creswell, J. W. (2008). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.
Creswell, J.W. & Poth, C.N. (2017). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches, 4th edition. Sage Publications.
Dahlgren, M.A., Castensson, R., & Dahlgren, L.O. (1998). PBL from the teachers’ perspective. Higher Education, 36(4), 437–447.
Darling-Hammond, L. & Richardson, N. (2009). How teachers learn. Teacher Learning: What Matters?, 66(5), 46–53.
Day, C., & Gu, Q. (2007). Variations in the conditions for teachers' professional learning and development: Sustaining commitment and effectiveness over a career. Oxford Review of Education, 33(4), 423–443.
Day, C., Sammons, P., Stobart, G., Kington, A., & Gu, Q. (2007). Teachers matter: Connecting lives, work and effectiveness. Open University Press.
Emerson, R., Fretz, R., & Shaw, L. (1995). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. The University of Chicago Press.
Goodnough, K. (2018). Addressing Contradictions in Teachers’ Practice through Professional Learning: An Activity Theory Perspective. International Journal of Science Education, 40(17), 2181–2204.
Gusky, T. R. (2002). Professional development and teacher change. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, (8)4, 81–91.
Hardy, I. (2010). Critiquing teacher professional development: Teacher learning within the field of teachers’ work. Critical Studies in Education, 51(1), 71–84.
Hargreaves, A. & O’Connor, M. (2018). Collaborative professionalism: When teaching together means learning for all. Corwin Press.
Hovey, K.A., & Ferguson, S. L. (2014). Teacher perspectives and experiences: Using project -based learning with exceptional and diverse students. Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, 16(1–2), 77–90.
Husserl, E. (1970). The idea of phenomenology. Nijhoff.
Katz, S. & Dack, L. (2012). Intentional Interruption: Breaking down learning barriers to transform professional practice. Corwin Press.
Katz, S., Dack, L., & Malloy, J. (2017). The Intelligent, Responsive Leader. Corwin Press.
Killion, J., & Todnem, G. (1991). A process for personal theory building. Educational Leadership, 48(7), 14–16.
Koffeman, A., & Snoek, M. (2019). Identifying context factors as a source for teacher professional learning. Professional Development in Education, 45(3), 456.
Korthagen, F. & Kessels, J. (1999). Linking theory and practice: Changing the pedagogy of teacher education. Educational Researcher, 28, 4–17.
Le Fevre, D., Timperley, H., & Ell, F. (2015). Curriculum and pedagogy: The future of professional learning and the development of adaptive expertise. In D. Wyse, L. Hayward, & J. Pandya (Eds.), The sage handbook of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment. Sage Publishers.
Li, H. & Du, X. (2015). Teachers’ perspective of their role and student autonomy in the PBL context in China. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 10(2), 18–31.
Lieberman, A & Miller, L. (2009). Teachers in professional communities: Improving teaching and learning. Journal of Educational Change, 10(1), 79–82.
MacMath, S., Sivia, A. & Britton, V. (2017). Teacher perceptions of project-based learning in the secondary classroom. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 63(2), 170–192.
McMillan, J. (2008). Educational Research. Fundamentals of the Consumer (5th ed.). Pearson Education Inc.
Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Sage Publishers.
Polizzi, J. & Frick, W. (2012). Transformative preparation and professional development: authentic reflective practice for school leadership. Teaching & Learning, 26, 1, 20–34.
Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Basic Books.
Schnellert, L., Kozak, D., & Moore, S. (2015). Professional development that positions teachers as inquirers and possibilizers. LEARNing Landscapes, 9(1), 217–236.
Sharpe, K & Nishimura, J. (2017). When mentoring meets coaching: Shifting the stance in education. Pearson.
Shulman, L. & Shulman, J. (2004). How and what teachers learn: a shifting perspective. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 36, 2, 257–271.
Sivia, A., MacMath, S., Novakowski, C., Britton, V. (2018). Examining student engagement during a project based unit in secondary science. Canadian Journal for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, 19, 254–269.
Teacher Development Trust (2015). Developing Great Teaching: Lessons from the international reviews into effective professional development. London, UK.
Timperley, H. (2011). Realizing the power of professional learning. McGraw-Hill.
Timperley, H., & Alton-Lee, A. (2008). Reframing teacher professional learning: An alternative policy approach to strengthening valued outcomes for diverse learners. Review of Research in Education, 32(1), 328–369.
Van Eekelen, J., Vermunt, I.M., & Boshuizen, JPA. (2006). Exploring teachers’ will to learn. Teaching and Teacher Education, 4(22), 408–423.
van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. State University of New York Press.
Van Veen, K., Zwart, R., & Meirink, J. (2012). What makes teacher professional development effective? In M. Kooy & K. van Veen (Eds.), Teacher learning that matters: International perspectives (pp. 3–21). Routledge.
Warin, J., Maddock, M., Pell, A. & Hargreaves, L. (2007). Resolving identity dissonance through reflective and reflexive practice in teaching, Reflective Practice, 7:2, 233–245,
Wilson, S. M., & Berne, J. (1999). Teacher learning and the acquisition of professional knowledge: An examination of research on contemporary professional development. Review of Research in Education, 24(1), 173–209.
Zeichner & Liston, (1996). Reflective teaching: An introduction. Erlbaum.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 McGill Journal of Education / Revue des sciences de l'éducation de McGill
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Those wishing to reproduce all or part of any material published on this website are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org for permission and to acknowledge the McGill Journal of Education as the original source.
Authors must transfer copyright of their article to MJE. Authors may use all or parts of their work in any future publication with the article's origin in MJE acknowledged in the customary manner.
A copy of our standard form may be requested from email@example.com