Professional development for teacher educators in the communal context: Factors which promote and hinder learning

Linor L. Hadar, David L. Brody

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Professional development of teacher educators is increasingly important in promoting and advancing educational practice; however, scant research attention about this group has been found. The benefits of professional development in community among teachers have been well documented, suggesting that this approach should be explored in depth for teacher educators. The literature on the communal model as a professional development intervention presents a partial picture of how learning occurs in these contexts. This study sheds light on the essential features that constitute the workings of a community of learners for teacher educators. As such this paper relates teacher educators’ professional development by looking closely at intervention characteristics of a communal model of professional development. This model was repeated annually in a project aimed at achieving change in practice by infusing thinking into college courses, providing a rich base for analyzing the characteristics of a professional development community intervention for teacher educators. A fine grained analysis extrapolates from our data the important factors of this intervention which enable the teacher educators to change their teaching behaviors through professional growth and which inhibit such growth. In our professional development community the main features supporting teacher educators’ development included: creating safe environments for learning, talk about student learning, group reflection and feedback, engaging teachers in research, and continuity. A factor that prevents professional growth is detachment from the project’s goals, a phenomenon which we termed withdrawal. Breaking of isolation was identified as a factor that can either promote development through a sense of belonging or hinder development through formation of resistant alliances within the group. As teacher educators shift their role from teacher to learner, the supportive environment of the community promotes risk taking that can lead to change in practice. Those who continued more than two years revealed commitment to the learning process and were more likely to change their practice. The factors leading to change help teacher educators through the ambivalent feeling experienced in this role change. The importance of our analysis lies in the clear delineation of how the community works to promote or hinder professional growth and change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProfessional Learning in Education
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges for Teacher Educators, Teachers and Student Teachers
EditorsAntonia Aelterman, Ruben Vanderlinde, Melissa Tuytens, Bram De Wever
Place of PublicationGent
PublisherAcademia Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9038225962, 9789038225968
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

MODID-aa6eb747b5e:Academia Press


  • Aims & Objectives
  • Education
  • Higher


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