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Unpacking capabilities for professional learning: teachers’ reflections on processes of collaborative inquiry in situated teamwork

Julie Lysberg (Faculty of Education and Arts, Nord University, Bodø, Norway)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 15 July 2022

Issue publication date: 1 February 2023




The purpose of this study is to gain insight into and understand the authentic lived experience of the processes of collaborative inquiry in teamwork from the perspective of teachers.


Data comprises stimulated recall interviews and semi-structured interviews. Seventeen teachers from four different teams in four schools form the empirical basis.


The analysis reveals that a shared focus on students’ learning in teachers’ processes of collaborative inquiry results in awareness and increased knowledge of what constitutes students’ learning. Thus, teachers are potentially becoming better equipped to facilitate students’ learning by offering them a richer set of learning opportunities. Findings confirm the key role of critical reflection through bringing teachers’ assumptions about teaching and learning to the surface, available for common exploration. When exploring problems of practice and sharing ideas and suggestions for possible solutions, teacher teams operate in a collective zone of proximal development.

Practical implications

This analysis of teachers’ reflections on the processes of collaborative inquiry supports school leaders and facilitators of school development by revealing fundamental and often hidden characteristics of teamwork collaboration.


Findings about teachers’ professional learning through collaborative inquiry in teamwork enhance knowledge about how teachers learn in authentic settings, and unpack the capabilities of teachers to author their own pedagogical changes. This study thus challenges linear models of professional development and the idea of professional development as mainly delivery-based.



This work was supported by The Norwegian Research Council [project number 271722].


Lysberg, J. (2023), "Unpacking capabilities for professional learning: teachers’ reflections on processes of collaborative inquiry in situated teamwork", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 1-16.



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