A1 Journal article (refereed)
Towards a learning community : understanding teachers’ mental models to support their professional development and learning (2021)

Tarnanen, M., Kostiainen, E., Kaukonen, V., Martin, A., & Toikka, T. (2021). Towards a learning community : understanding teachers’ mental models to support their professional development and learning. Professional Development in Education, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2021.1959383

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Tarnanen, Mirja; Kostiainen, Emma; Kaukonen, Vili; Martin, Anne; Toikka, Teppo

Journal or series: Professional Development in Education

ISSN: 1941-5257

eISSN: 1941-5265

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 27/07/2021

Volume: Early online

Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2021.1959383

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77229


Amidst societal, demographic and educational changes, teachers are expected to engage in professional development and learning (PDL) throughout their careers. This study explores school teachers’ mental models about their work in the framework of Senge’s learning organisation, aiming to support their PDL during curriculum reform and organisational changes. The study’s data comprise 41 semi-structured interviews with each teacher in one school community. These interviews were analysed using qualitative, data-driven yet theory-informed content analysis. In the first analysis phase, fragments of mental models concerning teachers’ work and their school community were explored. These fragments included themes such as school rules, principal’s role and working with colleagues. The findings show that the teachers’ mental models regarding their work and school community can be characterised as contradictory and even opposite. In the second phase, these fragments were brought together to form a systemic, holistic picture of the school community, consisting of mental models on system management, teaching community, classroom, students and leadership. Finally, the teachers’ mental models are discussed vis-à-vis their importance in individually and socially supporting teachers’ PDL when the school community is undergoing diverse changes.

Keywords: teachers; learning; professional development; development (active); competence development; continuing professional education; change; societal change; school community; learning organisation; systems thinking; mental properties

Free keywords: professional development and learning; systems thinking; mental models; school community

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-10-05 at 08:51