How teachers navigate their learning in developing inclusive learning communities

Swart E. ; Oswald M. (2008)


This article presents the findings of an interpretive study on how exemplary teachers navigate their learning journeys when developing inclusive learning communities. We chose socio-cultural theory as a framework for understanding how the participating teachers learn from difference and diversity in their everyday classroom practice. The main source of data was individual semi-structured interviews with five primary school teachers. The participants compared their learning process to that of an apprenticeship, and highlighted two themes: firstly, they identified their learning in the school context as intentional, self-directed and incremental; and secondly, they increasingly accessed and generated sources and opportunities themselves to support their learning process. They added insight into the interdependence of both individual sense-making and social collaborative learning. We argue that there is a close relationship between these teachers'personal and professional identities and that learning and caring have always been part of their teacher identity. Teachers themselves need to be cared for and supported in a caring and inclusive learning community.

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