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How are ECTs learning? Ways of thinking about teacher learning

In this article, Mark Hardman introduces a model of teacher learning for discussion.
Teacher learning is complex and context specific. As with all learning, it builds on prior understandings and is always developed in practice. In this article, Mark Hardman introduces one model of teacher learning which can inform the planning of teacher professional development.

One of the most useful models of teacher learning we have seen comes from Timperley et al. (2007) and was published by the government of New Zealand. There are links to download the full report and the model of teacher learning at the bottom of this page. The first page of the report presents a cycle of how teachers are driven when considering the learning needs of their students. ‘Learning needs’ are to be taken in a broad sense, to include processes of differentiation and assessment and pastoral support as well as content to be learned.

This is an image of the 'Teacher inquiry and knowledge-building cycle' from Timperley et al. (2007). Crown Copyright, New Zealand Ministry of Education. Please download the attached PDF 'Image in full size'' for a description of what the image shows.

Through focusing on what they need to do for their students, teachers then consider their own learning needs. Identifying these needs can be self-motivated. It can also involve feedback from colleagues and students themselves.

Once these needs are addressed, teachers then design the tasks and experiences that they will present in the classroom, and take actions to do so. What actually happens is then emergent from that design, the responses and interactions of students and the context in which the actions take place.

Within the cycle presented by Timperley et al. (2007), teachers then evaluate the impact of their actions. This can involve consideration of how the impact differs from previous approaches. Again, teachers can evaluate this themselves but may draw on the feedback of colleagues or students, or consider evidence from the assessment of pupil work.

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