New book examines model for teacher development

1 December 2009

Action learning – a model for professional learning that has been used successfully in business settings for many years – is often misunderstood when it is adapted for teacher learning and development in schools, according to a new book co-authored by Professor Robyn Ewing.

Professor Ewing, pictured with and her fellow authors, Associate Professor Peter Aubusson (left, UTS) and Associate Professor Garry Hoban (Wollongong), launched their book, Action Learning in Schools, at the faculty on November 25.

The book draws on more than 100 case studies of action learning by teams of teachers in schools to:

  • provide practical advice on how to initiate and sustain action learning
  • illustrate how action learning can link to classroom practice so closely that it becomes part of what teachers do, rather than an added impost.

Professor Ewing said that the increasing complexity of teaching in the 21st century had created the need for more sophisticated frameworks, including action learning, to support teachers' professional learning.

“The book clarifies what action learning is and links key concepts to illustrate that it is not merely a process, but a dynamic interaction between professional learning communities, leadership and change,” Professor Ewing said.

“In writing it we brought together more than a decade of our own research about school-based action learning.”

She said the aim of the book was to analyse the reasons behind individual successes and failures in action-learning implementation to provide insights into theories of cooperation, innovation, leadership and community formation that would inform small projects as well as large-scale school-improvement initiatives.