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Nurturing teacher wellbeing through professional learning communities within innovative schooling contexts
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) (2013)
  • Susanne Owen
‘Teacher engagers', ‘co-learners' and ‘learning facilitators' are terms which capture the emerging language and significantly changed role of teachers working within innovative schools. In these contexts, teachers working collegially in interdisciplinary and multi-age level teaching teams are transforming the content, organisation and pedagogy of schools, supporting students from across all equity groups and levels of schooling to ‘flourish' and to achieve outcomes which are essential for the 21st century workforce and citizenship. School-based teacher professional learning communities are frequently established to support ongoing professional learning to build relevant skills for the co-learner role. Within these groups, teachers are usually involved in activities such as co-planning, co-teaching and co-assessing in relation to a particular group of students, with teacher well-being and ‘flourishing' being potential impacts. A study was conducted in some South Australian innovative schools to examine the process and impacts of professional learning communities on student and teacher learning. This paper focuses on the impacts on teachers, including in relation to their well-being and ‘flourishing', through reporting on teacher surveys, interviews and focus groups conducted in three innovative schools. Findings are that teachers generally perceived the professional learning communities supported them in making changes in their practices relevant to their transformed teacher role. Additionally, the collegiality and positive relationships resulted in increased meaning and purpose for their teaching, improved optimism and self-esteem and greater vitality. The study highlights the importance of nurturing professional learning communities which go beyond congeniality and really involve members in shared leadership and also engaging in challenging dialogue which ultimately increases their own learning, but also builds their sense of professionalism and wellbeing.
  • Professional learning,
  • Teacher wellbeing,
  • Schooling,
  • Education
Publication Date
December 2, 2013
Citation Information
Susanne Owen. "Nurturing teacher wellbeing through professional learning communities within innovative schooling contexts" Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) (2013)
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