Could peer-to-peer online teacher communities, re-inspire educators?
Posted by Letswalo M Community Manager on 24 February 2021 3:20 PM SAST
Many educators today, suffer from a loss of motivation to continue in their chosen profession. There are numerous causes, the least of which comes when the educator displays innovation and a desire for change.
Teachers around the world, most recently in Africa, have taken an initiative to use peer-to-online online communities for professional support, guidance, and inspiration. These communities are often organized around subject areas and offer teachers the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally.
When teachers come together to share information, resources, ideas, and expertise, learning becomes more accessible and effective for students. Collaboration means purposefully building interpersonal relationships and working towards healthy interdependence, which occurs when teachers are comfortable to give and receive help without forfeiting accountability.
“Traditional teacher development programs appear to be failing to achieve effective change in teachers’ practice because of how teachers change has been misunderstood”: According to Jannifar Duncan-Hawell thesis on online communities,2007.
Online communities offer teachers a forum to discuss change and gather evidence, mainly anecdotal, of how successful that change was/could be in a classroom. Participants can decide, based on the discussion in the group, whether to try the suggested strategy or approach themselves. This is in direct contrast to teachers pressured to use research or implement suggestions by outside experts.
Source: Jennifer Duncan, January 2007: A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of philosophy. Online communities of practice and their role in the professional development of teacher: University of Technology, Brisbane.