Track 4: Professional learning communities

Track chair

Prof. Dr Bettina Rösken-Winter, University of Duisburg-Essen

Despina Potari, Associate Professor, University of Athens

Geoffrey Wake, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham

Prof. Dr Elke Sumfleth, University of Duisburg-Essen


Here you can download the schedule for track 4 (final version): Conference Programme Track 4.pdf

Track description

Regardless of the intervention mode (face-to-face, e-learning, blended learning…), professional development (PD), is most successful and sustainable when it involves collaboration between teachers and encourages reflection and mutual support. This is especially true when the PD focuses on innovative content (i.e. IBL, school lessons more closely connected to the world of work). Maximum intervention impact is achieved when several teachers (either from a single school or neighbouring schools) take part in a PD course and form a learning community. Such learning communities of teachers are sustainable because the members have a common aim, are mutually engaged and supportive, and share the experience and passion of involvement in a joint enterprise.

Learning communities involving teachers from secondary and primary school, or from general education and vocational schools have proven to be particularly interesting and valuable. Experience (i.e. in the EU projects PRIMAS and mascil) has shown that in such diverse learning communities, teachers benefit mutually from their different areas of pedagogical and content-related expertise.

This conference track offers an opportunity for presenters to exchange experiences from the practical field and/or to discuss relevant research results. Proposals in this track may include: practice-oriented reports from facilitators of learning communities, teacher educators, training centres and policy makers; and poster or paper presentations from the perspective of research and/or practice.

The track focuses on key questions such as (examples):

    • What are the pre-conditions for setting up self-sustaininglearning communities? How can sustainability be ensured?
    • What are the requirements for learning community facilitators? How can teachers be educated and prepared to take on the role of learning community facilitators in their schools?
    • What are the experiences with supporting learning communities in e-learning or blended learning environments?
    • Which methods of working within the group have proven efficient?
    • How can learning community members be effectively supported in acquiring complex content and competences that are key approaches tmore closely connecting school to the world of work).
    • What does research say about the cultural dimension? In what ways can cultural factors, such as national specifics in how teachers cooperate at school – or not, or common classroom culture, be addressed and handled?
    • What are the needs and experiences of the different target groups: facilitators of learning communities, educators of teacher educators, and teachers in their everyday classroom practice?


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The project mascil has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement n°320693