Fostering sustained teacher learning: co-creating purposeful and empowering workplaces

Arnoud Oude Groote Beverborg

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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This project was aimed at contributing to theory about how teacher learning in the workplace can be facilitated. Therefor we investigated to what extent Vocational Education and Training (VET) teachers develop their engagement in learning activities after the introduction of working in multidisciplinary teams, and how the interplay between organizational and psychological factors facilitates learning. More specifically, engagement in learning activities was operationalized as individual (self-reflection, experimenting, keeping up to date) and social (information sharing, asking for feedback) professional learning, organizational conditions as transformational leadership practices (vision building, individualized consideration, and intellectual stimulation) and perceptions of interdependence (task and goal interdependence), and a psychological factor as self-efficacy beliefs. The ultimate aim was to examine, in a VET context, co-development of the variables, that is, the extent to which the variables (reciprocally) influenced each other as they progressed over time. Specifically studies with a longitudinal design can make an important contribution to a complete understanding the dynamics of school improvement and the role of teacher learning to foster sustained school improvement. Overall, results indicated that the structural relations as specified in the model these studies were based on partly held. As found in elementary school contexts, perceptions of the workplace mediated the effects of transformational leadership. However, self-efficacy beliefs did not affect engagement in learning activities over time. Rather, they were influenced by engagement in learning over time. Additionally, two reciprocal relations were found: between vision building and goal interdependence, and between task interdependence and self-reflection. Limitations of the studies point towards a stringent need to develop school organizational and adaptation concepts to include descriptions of the nature of the concepts’ change processes. The findings therefore currently suggest that teacher learning is pivotal in building a school’s change capacity. An environment that is both empowering and purposeful supports learning, and teachers play an active role in the construction of (their) purposeful and empowering workplaces. Working in multidisciplinary teams therefore seems to incite teachers to continuously make sense of what working in such a team implies, and, through interaction with team members, to find ways to strengthen their professional expertise and practice.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Sleegers, P.J.C., Supervisor
  • van Veen, Klaas, Supervisor, External person
Award date12 Nov 2015
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3986-9
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2015


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