Teachers learning to learn

McCormick, Robert and James, Mary (2007). Teachers learning to learn. In: ECER Conference: Contested Qualities of Educational Research, 19-21 Sep 2007, Ghent, Belgium.

URL: http://www.eera-ecer.eu/ecer/ecer2007/


Learning to learn by students, aimed at giving them autonomy, requires teachers to develop new classroom practices. Hence teachers’ learning to learn is as important as their students’. In 2001-2004, our project examined how learning how to learn (LHTL) practices were developed by teachers in 40 English schools, based on a model of change that linked school management policies, teachers’ professional learning, their classroom practices, and their own and students’ beliefs about learning (James et al., 2007).

Methods included teacher and student questionnaires, and interviews of head teachers (HT), school project co-ordinators and a sample of teachers. The latter were also observed and some video-recorded.

Teachers found it difficult to promote student learning autonomy (SLA) because of external constraints. They were able to promote autonomy if they fundamentally changed the classroom tasks and climate. At school level there were strong statistical relationships between school policy and teachers’ professional learning; ‘engagement in inquiry’ was particularly related to the promotion of SLA. We also investigated the learning between schools and how they used networking, using ideas on ‘weak links’ from network theory.
We mapped the ego-centric networks of co-ordinators and head teachers in some schools, revealing that there were many powerful informal links and networks that could be developed.

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