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

  • Author / Creator
    Timanson, Pamela D.
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. 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.