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Inspiring teaching: learning from exemplary practitioners

Pamela Sammons ( University of Oxford Oxford United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )
Ariel Mariah Lindorff ( University of Oxford Oxford United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )
Lorena Ortega ( University of Oxford Oxford United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )
Alison Kington ( University of Worcester Worcester United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )

Journal of Professional Capital and Community

ISSN: 2056-9548

Article publication date: 3 March 2016




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the concept of ' inspiring teaching' based on case studies of exemplary practitioners in England to inform professional development and collaborative learning and support school improvement.


The study adopted a mixed methods design involving multiple perspectives. Data sources included interviews with teachers, two systematic classroom observation schedules and qualitative field notes from classroom observations. Quantitative and qualitative findings were integrated to allow for triangulation and synthesis.


The ‘inspiring’ sample of teachers exhibited many strengths in terms of the characteristics of more effective teaching identified in previous literature. However, the integration and synthesis of evidence also reveals core features of inspiring practice and highlighted the strong emotional and reflective components that distinguish inspiring practice, including: positive relationships; good classroom/behaviour management; positive and supportive climate; formative feedback; high quality learning experiences; enjoyment, and high levels of student engagement and motivation.

Research limitations/implications

This small-scale study was based on a purposive sample of 17 teachers in England therefore results cannot necessarily be generalised to other contexts.

Practical implications

The research findings and approaches can be used to support teachers' professional development and provide resources to promote collaboration in developing professional learning communities.


The investigation provides new evidence on the characteristics, practices and views of inspiring teachers. The use of multiple perspectives and integration of findings provides new evidence to inform and support the development of professional learning communities.


Sammons, P., Lindorff, A.M., Ortega, L. and Kington, A. (2016), "Inspiring teaching: learning from exemplary practitioners", Journal of Professional Capital and Community, Vol. 1 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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