Teachers’ learning and sense-making processes in the context of an innovation: a two year follow-up study

Saskia H.M. Stollman (Corresponding author), Jacobiene Meirink, P.M. Westenberg, Jan van Driel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    To better align teacher learning with teachers’ learning needs, teachers’ sense-making of an innovation during which teachers experimented with differentiated instruction was studied during two school years. Using answers to a questionnaire, 15 teachers’ sense-making processes were characterised by three types of search for meaning: assimilation, adaptation, and toleration. We further specified the teachers’ sense-making through their experienced sources of ambiguity and uncertainty (limited resources and conflicting goals) and a detailed description of their personal frames of reference. We concluded that the teachers varied in their types of search for meaning during both school years, though most teachers were found to use assimilation in the second school year. Their experienced sources of ambiguity and uncertainty and their personal frames of reference, though becoming more similar to each other, still differed after two school years. A possible reason for the variety in teachers’ sense-making is the freedom they had in the implementation of differentiated instruction: several teachers were positive about this from the start, others needed more support and guidance. This study hereby provides additional insight into the advantages of freedom in the implementation of an innovation, but also show the importance of proper support and guidance to ensure effective implementation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    JournalProfessional Development in Education
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Mar 2020

    Keywords

    • Sense-making
    • differentiated instruction
    • professional learning
    • search for meaning
    • secondary school teachers

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