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Teachers’ perceptions of their collective and individual learning regarding classroom interaction

The purpose of this paper is to describe teachers’ perceptions of their collective and individual learning and explore the facilitators for learning possibilities in classroom interaction.

Teacher and students talking. Photo: iStock Teacher and students talking. Photo: iStock

Improvement in classroom interaction is a significant part of teacher profession that is often overlooked. The Norwegian Ministry of Education established a national initiative to develop lower secondary schools in the fields of reading, writing, numeracy and classroom management from 2012 until 2017. It provides a context where teachers’ collective and individual learning in classroom interaction was explored.

A qualitative study was conducted in 14 Norwegian secondary schools, among 76 teachers. Data were based on focus group interviews and logs. A thematic approach was used to analyse the data.

The results indicated that teachers’ learning regarding classroom interaction is highly individual. Teachers’ reflections around their own practices after the lessons or sharing experiences with other colleagues were two common methods for teachers to develop in the area of classroom interaction. When it came to teachers’ collective learning, the results indicated that teachers did not feel responsible for organising collective work; instead, they expected the school leadership to take control. Three factors turned out to be important for teachers that either inhibit or promote teachers’ development in the area: ‘time’, ‘systematic work’ and ‘school leadership’.

Collective and individual learning may complement each other and strengthen the learning outcome for teachers, and subsequently increase student learning. Collaboration between individual teachers and collective groups might not only improve teacher professional growth, but also develop school as an organisation.

The findings suggest that the school principal may be an influential factor for teachers’ collective and individual learning regarding classroom interaction.

Full reference:

Ksenia Solheim, Pål Roland & Sigrun K. Ertesvåg (2018) Teachers’ perceptions of their collective and individual learning regarding classroom interaction,Educational Research, 60:4, 459-477, DOI: 10.1080/00131881.2018.1533790