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How do ecological perspectives help understand schools as sites for teacher learning?

Daly, Caroline, Milton, Emmajane ORCID: and Langdon, Frances 2020. How do ecological perspectives help understand schools as sites for teacher learning? Professional Development in Education 46 (4) 10.1080/19415257.2020.1787208

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Schools are sites of teachers’ professional learning for both new entrants and experienced practitioners. In this paper, schools are conceptualised as complex, multidimensional ecologies that are constituted by the relations that exist between school leaders, teachers, mentors and all members of the school community. As relational environments, the conditions affecting professional learning – both formal and informal – are constantly dynamic, with multiple and simultaneous interactions taking place between these stakeholders. Interactions are also multi-layered – between the school system, individuals, classrooms, the community and the policy environment. School leaders are a major influence on these dynamics and affect how schools act as sites of professional formation, mediating external policy as well as affecting micro-dynamics within individual school systems. The challenge of realising professional learning within these relational contexts can be viewed as a ‘wicked problem’, a feature of complex systems that resists simplified solutions. In conceptualising a complex ecology at work, we illuminate the relational dynamics with a focus, for all stakeholders within schools, including leaders, on the need to recognise and value the importance of ‘emergence’ in professional learning. This means embracing inevitable uncertainty as a feature of schools as complex systems.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1941-5257
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 13 June 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 03:50

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