Practise what you preach
If professional learning is to improve teaching in ways that are really embedded in teachers' practice, rather than superficial, teachers need to practise what they preach - and equally preach what they practise. The author investigates to what extent the rhetoric of teachers' conversation matches the reality of their practice. In discussions with teachers two questions are asked: What is the role of the teacher in the teaching and learning process? What is the role of the learner in the teaching and learning process? A chart identifying the roles of each is then drawn up, an example of which is included. A teacher's core values are the lens through which he or she interprets experiences and thus have a dominating effect on practice. It is in the area of transmitted knowledge, however, that professional learning providers are working; introducing new ideas and practices alongside other more firmly entrenched aspects of teacher knowledge. In addition, teacher must be given the opportunity to talk about their practice. The quality of this talk needs to be of an analytical and critical nature if there is to be a real pathway to improved teacher practice through professional learning. From this point teachers can then begin to approach professional learning opportunities knowing what they currently do and why, and knowing that this professional knowledge will not be ignored or decried in their pursuit of professional growth and quality teaching practice for the benefit of their learners. [Author abstract, ed]
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