The purpose of this paper is to describe two cycles of learning study (LS) involving eight elementary teachers in British Columbia, Canada. The study explored the…
The purpose of this paper is to describe two cycles of learning study (LS) involving eight elementary teachers in British Columbia, Canada. The study explored the teachers’ experiences of learning to plan and teach lessons as informed by recent brain research.
The case study was constructed using data sources including teacher semi-structured interviews (pre-study, post-study and delayed post-study), classroom materials (including student assignments), LS training materials, fieldnotes and recordings of meetings and research lessons; sources were triangulated. Thematic analysis was applied. Contemporary neuroscience perspectives framed the LS discourse and analysis.
The teachers developed theoretical coherence and could better articulate reasons for their pedagogy. They developed understandings of the cognitive architecture underlying functions like learning and memory, allowing them to identify pedagogical actions that are consistent with human biology and understand why these actions are effective in promoting learning.
LS is shown to be an effective professional development (PD) model where theoretical knowledge, like neuroscience, could be employed and tested in classroom settings to provide depth to support teachers’ praxis. This teaching–research nexus supports exploration of fruitful connections between theoretical knowledge and education to advance the science of learning and the science of instruction.
Findings demonstrated how LS could be employed with alternative theoretical perspectives to promote teacher PD, thus extending beyond the dominant use of variation theory. Also, illustrated is the potential use of LS to bridge the knowledge gap between neuroscience and education.
The purpose of this paper is to describe a pilot learning study (LS) comprising of three biology pre-service teachers (PSTs) in British Columbia, which took place during…
The purpose of this paper is to describe a pilot learning study (LS) comprising of three biology pre-service teachers (PSTs) in British Columbia, which took place during an initial teacher education (ITE) course and school-based practicum. The study explored PSTs’ learning experiences, and identified conditions that supported and challenged their engagement with the LS discourse.
Drawing from a variety of methods including teacher semi-structured interviews and reflective entries, the PSTs’ experiences of teaching and reflection were described and themes were constructed; course assignments, classroom materials, meeting notes and fieldnotes served triangulation purposes. Variation theory framed the LS and analysis of this case study.
Findings highlight how the PSTs developed comfort with the tension of making mistakes that supported their interpretation of classroom pedagogy and refining of instructional strategies. As the study alluded to how LS is “hard,” the PSTs demonstrated how positive experiences in the course-based cycle sustained their pursuit of learning despite challenges faced in the school-based practicum.
This small-scale study has limited generalizability.
Exposing PSTs to a variety of “mistakes” in ITE and to approach them not merely as ontological objects of pedagogical shortcomings are discussed together with factors that promoted teacher learning.
This study contributes to literature exploring the organization of LS within ITE, as situated in educational contexts where LS is unfamiliar and organizational structures are not readily in place to fully support its implementation.