Teachers Are Learners, Too

Districts would be better served to strengthen teacher voice and choice.

Jennifer Osborne
Educate.

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Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Most teacher professional development sessions elicit eye-rolls from veteran teachers who have experienced cycle after cycle of “reform” over their careers. According to the Education Commission of the States, “much of the professional development teachers currently receive does not improve either teacher or student performance.”

There is a disconnect between what districts think teachers are learning and what teachers are actually learning. Professional development is “one-size-fits-all” and relies on seat time, or the hours teachers log in their seats “learning”, to both certify and renew teacher certification. Despite research on adult learning theory, districts continue to rely on outdated and inauthentic learning experiences that provide little to no evidence of professional growth.

Teachers are constructivist learners, meaning that we are active problem-solvers who live to build our own mental models and representations of our world in relation to the students and content we teach. Teachers desire to take ownership of their learning. Andragogy, coined by Malcolm Knowles, is based on six assumptions:

  • Self-directedness
  • Need to know

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Jennifer Osborne
Educate.

Educational Leadership Policy Ph.D. Student ⎪Editor of Educate. medium.com/educate-pub