Teacher personal development: formal versus informal learning critique

In his blog, Marivic Butod writes and Critique of personal development of teacher and how there appears to be a conflict between formalized learning structures and communities of practice. In his paper, which was published recently, there is an interesting line of argumentation which I do not entirely agree to. Here is what he had to say about teacher collaboration.

Teacher collaboration already exists decades ago without realising that it is indeed teacher collaboration; unconsciously being practiced. Even so, the point of view argued for here is that without the presence of accountability as a collective responsibility, teams working within an educational environment will not be successful in their endeavors. Further, the non-existence of cooperativism, individual development and team interdependence will suffer and that professional and personal contributions will not be recognized. What drives a team to function more efficiently are clear purpose, quality communication, coordination, effective protocols and procedures and efficient conflict resolution mechanisms, and the active engagement of the team members.

Later, he argues that the “teacher collaboration” is part of formal knowledge transfer through teamworking and collegiality. He says that this collaboration is indeed problematic because “of the lack of ownership of procession development processes for the communities of practice as well as to reap the benefits of its result.”.

The question of course is whether this also applies for larger scale teacher networks, where structure is self-imposed and ownership is self-organized. Such large teaching communities exist, on various levels. Here personal contribution may not be recognized by the formal structure a teacher belongs to, nor its own institute, but more so the peers that exist in the communities and boundary networks. This can highly contribute to the personal development of the teacher and have a very positive reflection on the institute he is teaching in. I am thinking not only about universities, PhD assistant teachers but also lower education levels.

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