How professionals develop shared knowledge

[German title: Wie Fachexperten geteiltes Wissen entwickeln]

Constructing knowledge in professional conversations: The role of beliefs on knowledge and knowing
Harm Tillema and Lily Orland-Barak 
Learning and Instruction
Volume 16, Issue 6 , December 2006, Pages 592-608

Abstract: This study focuses on professionals’ views on knowledge and knowing in learning from conversations. Our main interest was how learning teams of professionals evaluate knowledge exchange and knowledge explication as knowledge productive, based on their initial views on knowledge and knowing. We used a mixed method research design that combined quantitative and qualitative data collection methods to investigate two study teams of mentors. The teams were comprised of practice teachers and teacher educators that varied in their degree of familiarity with working collaboratively as a learning partnership. The findings of the study suggest that:

  • Mentors’ beliefs about knowledge and knowing did not necessarily accord with their evaluations of desirable outcomes for knowledge construction in professional conversations. The events that mentors described as memorable learning opportunities were, however, congruent with their evaluations of the value of professional exchange in professional conversations.
  • The study teams differed in the way they articulated, elaborated, and evaluated knowledge construction in professional conversations. The teacher educators who comprised one of the study teams and who were familiar with collaborative knowledge construction exhibited a more articulate and worked out position on knowledge construction.

Our findings indicate that the activity and participation in collaborative inquiry may play a more influential role in a team’s outcome evaluation than their underlying professional beliefs brought to that activity. To provide further perspectives on how professionals develop shared knowledge in communities of inquiry, we elaborate on this conclusion.

Keywords: Teacher beliefs; Teacher reflection; Knowledge construction; Professional development; Epistemological beliefs

Read the article online.

Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

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