Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Sharing knowledge: joint professional development of inquiry based teaching at international schools

In this project we investigate how the professional development around the theme of inquiry based teaching of teachers from three international schools takes place.

2015 - 2018
Nadira Saab
NRO, Lerarenagenda 2013-2020

Social relevance

In this project we will investigate how the professional development around the theme of inquiry based teaching of teachers from three international schools takes place. These international schools have just started with the implementation of inquiry based teaching throughout their curriculum.

Teachers from international schools can decide how and in which direction they want to develop professionally. Due to the rich body of experiences and backgrounds of those teachers, it is expected that teachers can learn from each other and that team learning, peer coaching or collaborative action research can be effectively applied at these schools. Whether the application of these kinds of learning is successful depends on relationships between individual teachers and school management.

School management can provide opportunities for professional development and can influence the amount of autonomy a teacher has. The feelings of autonomy a teacher experiences can influence the motivation to teach. This relates to the amount of freedom teachers receive or acquire for their professional development.

Scientific relevance

With this study we will explore how teachers play a leading role in their own professional development – bottom up and with the use of team learning around one theme and which conditions are applicable for an effective learning process. Because of the rich environment of the heterogeneous composition of the school teams, we expect to be able to formulate various conditions for an effective process of professional development lead by the teachers themselves.

Research questions

  • How and what do teachers of international schools learn from and with each other about inquiry based teaching?
  • How can the professional competence of teachers of international schools regarding inquiry based teaching be described in terms of knowledge, skills, beliefs and attitudes?
  • How does this competence develops during a school year in which teachers gain experience with inquiry based teaching?
  • How do the PD teams organize the PD of other teachers in their school?
  • How do the perception of autonomy, competence and motivation of teachers affect their PD process?

Material and methods

In this study, we will investigate perceptions of autonomy, competence and motivation of teachers by administer surveys to all teachers of the three schools. Also, the teachers will be asked what professional development activities they carried out. In addition, school management will be interviewed about the provision of opportunities for professional development. Next, this will be related to the professional development of teachers.

In this project, for each school a team of five teachers will be assembled leaded by a teacher-researcher. Each team will organize activities for professional development regarding inquiry based teaching for themselves and the other teachers of their school. The teacher-researchers of the three schools will liaise with each other and share ideas and knowledge. The teacher-researchers and the teachers in the teams will be interviewed about the professional development activities they carry out.

Foto: John Birdsall / John Birdsall Social Issues Photo Library / Press Association Images / Universal Images Group

Report (in Dutch)

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