Teachers' professional learning: The role of support, informal learning, and collaboration

Date of Completion

January 2010


Education, Leadership




This study addressed the problem of devising learning programs for teachers that effectively increased teachers' professional learning. This descriptive study (a) used qualitative methods, (b) employed the Trio Model of Adult Learning (Sheckley, Kehrhahn, Bell, & Grenier, 2007) as a conceptual frame, and (c) explored the role that socio-environmental influences played in the professional learning of middle school teachers. In the setting of a middle school that was an exemplar for professional learning, information from multiple sources, including interviews with eight teachers, were collected and analyzed to provide a thick, rich description of teachers' professional learning. The analysis used a constant comparative method. The results indicated that a supportive climate, the opportunities for informal learning, and teachers' engagement in collaborative practices each had an important role in enhancing their learning. The results suggested that for this sample, as indicated in the Trio Model of adult learning, key experiences, individual attributes and socio-environmental affordances interacted recursively to enhance teachers' learning. The limitations to this study included: credibility and transferability of the results, biases of the researcher, and the dependability and confirmability of the findings. ^