Three Important Factors Influencing Teachers\\\' Informal Workplace Le
Jan 29, 2012 Career Development 2086 Views
It is widely acknowledged that teachers play a significant role in helping schools be effective.
They are imperative for both quality schools and quality school improvement. The quality of schools cannot be higher than the quality of teachers in them and central to the vigor of and success of a school is the strength of its teacher workforce. It is on this backdrop that workplace learning in the teaching profession is becoming increasingly critical. The extent of workplace learning occurring in an organization is strongly related to employee job satisfaction which in turn determines effectiveness. The following are some of the factors that influence workplace learning in teaching.
Schools may be alike in many ways but each school has an ambience (or culture) of its own. Without a school culture that supports learning from teaching, we cannot take advantage of the educative potential of teaching experience. Successful schools, therefore, are those that have developed a shared 'technical culture' including common purpose, expertise and methods for analyzing and solving curriculum and instructional problems. School-wide focus on learning, inquiry, and reflective practices as well as encouragement for taking initiative are some of the aspects of school culture that could influence teacher learning. But a lack of clarity about organizational and professional direction and purpose may affect how teachers learn and what they learn.
Organizational and Leadership Structures
The organizational characteristics of schools affect the conditions of teaching and learning. Similarly, the prevalent leadership culture in schools is believed to have a great influence on teacher learning within the school because teachers seem to need a strong leadership to examine the teaching and learning in their schools. Transformational leadership, in which school leaders foster a collaborative and professional culture,facilitate teacher development and help teachers to solve problems as it provides a conducive environment for learning to take place. While a school leadership that is embedded in "transactional leadership based on power, top down decision making, and having rewards controlled by the leader does not provide a supportive environment for effective teacher learning and may lead to reluctance by teachers to "advance" and violate egalitarianism norms.
Human relationships are critically important to creating a sustaining and sustainable workplace context. There is a growing evidence that teacher workplace learning is most powerful, long lasting and continuous when it occurs as a result of being a member of a group of colleagues that function as professional learning communities. The essence of professional learning communities is that people often need help in order to use relevant knowledge that they have acquired and they usually need feedback and reflection so that they can try out and adapt previously acquired knowledge. Learning communities assist teachers to change in a complex world by, for example, enabling the teachers to negotiate knowledge according to their unique contexts.
Therefore, teachers need to identify and make the most of the available opportunities for self directed learning that their various workplaces offer.