Contributions to Science Teaching Practice of an Online Community of Practice of Teachers and Researchers

Margarida Morais Marques, Maria João Loureiro, Luís Marques, CIDTFF – Research Centre “Didactics and Technology in Education of Trainers”, DEP – Department of Education and Psychology, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Abstract

Communities of practice (CoP) can promote teachers’ professional development (TPD) and change their practices. However, empirical evidence is still scarce. To contribute to address this shortcoming, a single case study was carried out aiming the analysis of an online CoP involving teachers and researchers. Data collection included the used platform statistic data and posts automatically recorded, as well as the CoP’s documents. Content analysis took into account Clarke and Hollingsworth’s (2002) Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth (IMTPG) and was centred in (a) the external domain and the curricular development (CD) practices; (b) the domain of the consequences of the work carried out regarding the developed science teaching strategies; (c) the evidence of their innovative nature; and (d) the CD principles enacted. The results show that (a) the members’ participation varied during the interaction period and their dynamic fits an adaptation of Wenger et al.’s (2002) stages of development of a CoP, with two action-research cycles; (b) the CoP developed diverse teaching strategies coherent with recommendations from the literature; (c) the teaching practices were innovative and challenging; and (d) the CoP enacted several principles of CD suggested in the literature. Moreover, the empirical results validated the dimensions of the IMTPG.

Abstract in Portuguese

As comunidades de prática (CoP) podem promover o desenvolvimento profissional de professores e mudar as suas práticas, existindo, porém, poucas evidências empíricas. Contribuindo para reduzir esta lacuna, efetuou-se um estudo de caso único cujo objetivo foi a análise de uma comunidade de prática online. A recolha de dados as estatísticas da plataforma usada, mensagens gravadas automaticamente e documentos da CoP. A análise de conteúdo teve em conta o Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth (IMTPG) de Clarke e Hollingsworth (2002) e centrou-se: (a) nos domínios externo e das práticas de desenvolvimento curricular (DC); (b) no domínio das consequências do trabalho realizado no que respeita às estratégias de ensino de ciências; (c) nas evidências de inovação das práticas; e (d) nos princípios de DC operacionalizados. Verificou-se que (a) a participação dos membros variou ao longo do tempo e a sua dinâmica se enquadra numa adaptação das fases de desenvolvimento de CoP de Wenger et al. (2002), com dois ciclos de investigação-ação; (b) a CoP desenvolveu diversas estratégias de ensino coerentes com recomendações da literatura; (c) as práticas letivas foram inovadoras, do tipo challenging; e (d) a CoP operacionalizou vários princípios de DC sugeridos na literatura. Os resultados empíricos validaram também as dimensões do IMTPG.

Keywords: online communities of practice, teacher’s professional development, Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth, science teaching practices, curricular development, innovation.

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Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, MOOCs, information and communication technology, collaborative learning, internet, learning management system, LMS, interaction,

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