This past week we’ve been writing a paper on ongoing teacher learning, based on our 9-year longitudinal study of 42 teachers. What has struck me is the amount teachers learn after their initial preparation, mainly through experience in their own classroom and other informal means (e.g., chatting with colleagues, professional reading, searching the internet). As Marisa said at the end of her sixth year:
When I started teaching, I soon realized there was so much I didn’t know. The first couple of years I struggled, and had to work really hard on my programming. But over time I’ve become more confident…I try new things, work with other teachers, and use what I learn to improve my program.
External input by formal means is potentially very important, but at present not much happens. And if and when we finally get around to it, it has to be done in dialogue with teachers, building on the approach they have already developed. Teachers are truly key experts, perhaps the main experts, on teaching. Clive