Chapter 5 Building the Professional Learning Communities of In-Service Science Teachers in Collaboration with University Lecturers

Opportunities and Benefits for Both Players

In: Building an Academic Community
Authors:
Dagmara Sokołowska
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Justyna Kniaź
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Abstract

Universities, traditionally playing the role of knowledge providers and creators of progress, take leadership in partnerships with many stakeholders. However, in-service teachers differ from their target group. At the same time, today’s education at all levels faces many challenges and requires constant adjustment to the fast-changing world, demanding mutual effort from all educational players, preferably in a collaborative approach.

In the international 3DIPhE project, a new format of collaboration between in-service science teachers and lecturers building together Professional Learning Communities with a focus on developing a reflective approach to teaching practice and Practitioner Inquiry skills was proposed. The Educational Design Research iterative study led to the design of the sustainable Professional Learning Community collaboration format, adjustable to the national contexts. In this contribution, we present its implementation by Jagiellonian University in Poland. It followed the criteria of effective professional development of educators and proved beneficial for both in-service teachers and academic lecturers regarding various personal developmental aspects and improvement of teaching practice as well as reinforcement of understanding of mutual educational contexts and needs. Data collected by teachers in their PI s evidenced a positive influence of teacher participation in the Professional Learning Community on their students’ learning outcomes. The proposed Professional Learning Community format is suitable for employment in higher education institutions for the collaboration of lecturers on the design of courses or educational interventions.

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