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Parking Lot Learning? An Examination of Teacher Informal Learning within a Knowledge Culture Open Access


Other title
teacher informal learning
teacher professional development
knowledge culture
teacher knowledge
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Timanson, Pamela D.
Supervisor and department
Newton, Paul (formerly a part of the Department of Educational Policy Studies, now working in the Educational Administration department at the University of Saskatchewan)
Examining committee member and department
Wimmer, Randolph (Acting Dean, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies)
da Costa, Jose (Department of Educational Policy Studies)
Hunter, Darryl (Department of Educational Policy Studies)
Brandon, Jim (Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary)
Thomas, Gregory P. (Department of Secondary Education)
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Educational Administration and Leadership
Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
In this study, the author utilized a conceptual framework of knowledge cultures to investigate how teachers experienced informal learning. This study explored the interdependence between individual and social processes in teacher learning, examined how teachers co-constructed knowledge, and investigated the impact of infrastructure and the wider context on teacher learning. This study employed interpretive inquiry from a sociocultural perspective (Ellis, 2006; Packer & Addison, 1989). Data were collected over a period of five months, and included observations, informal, and semi-structured interviews of four high school teachers in an urban setting. The significant findings reported are: the participants experienced informal learning in many ways but learning from mistakes during experimental or trial and error processes and learning informally with students were novel experiences for these participants. The participants’ short-term learning loops involved the collaborative and reflective processes of problem solving and brainstorming rather than a heavy reliance upon knowledge objects. A significant outcome of this study was the characterization of the teachers’ knowledge domain, in terms of how they shared tacit knowledge through their informal learning processes, and the unique dimensions of teacher knowledge and how it was managed. The wider context of teacher informal learning had prevalent formalization structures that entangled with their informal learning and affected the participants’ collaborative learning in terms of time restrictions for the professional learning communities and their conversations, and reduced professional autonomy in the decision making process for these communities and of their learning. This greatly impacted the teachers’ professional learning and inhibited the potential of this learning.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication
Timanson, P., & da Costa, J. (2016). Learning organisations and their relationship to educational improvement. In P. Newton & D. Burgess (Eds.), The best available evidence: Decision-making for educational improvement. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense.Timanson, P., & da Costa, J. (2015). Cultural perspectives on schooling. In D. Burgess & P. Newton (Eds.), Educational administration and leadership: Theoretical foundations (pp. 186-197). New York: Routledge.Timanson, P., & Schindel, T. J. (2015). Discourse analysis of adult and workplace learning in Nurse Jackie: Exploring learning processes within a knowledge culture. In K. Jubas, N. Taber, & T. Brown (Eds.), Popular Culture as pedagogy: Research in the field of adult education. Boston: Sense.

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