Learning from dilemmas: teacher professional development through collaborative action and reflection

N.N. Pareja Roblin, L. Margalef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This article aims at describing and analysing the interpersonal and intrapersonal dilemmas experienced by a group of five university teachers as they engaged in collaborative inquiry, including the ways in which teachers managed these dilemmas and how this contributed to their professional development. The results are based on qualitative data collected through in-depth interviews, working sessions, participant observation and teacher narratives. Our findings illustrate how interpersonal and intrapersonal dilemmas co-occur when teachers engage in collaborative inquiry. Working together towards shared goals brought to the surface differences in beliefs and expectations that generated conflict and tension, which sometimes interfered with teachers’ willingness to work together. At the same time, introducing changes to their teaching practice – a major goal of inquiry communities – challenged teachers to question and revise their personal beliefs about teaching and learning, thereby triggering intrapersonal dilemmas. Our findings also confirm the key role of critical reflection for bringing these dilemmas to the surface and benefiting from the opportunities they provide for learning and change. Areas that warrant further exploration to better understand the dilemmas within inquiry communities and how to support teachers in handling them are discussed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-32
JournalTeachers and teaching
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-295925
  • IR-85645


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