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Teacher development and learner-centered theory

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This multi-layered qualitative study explored a learner-centered curriculum intervention designed to support constructivist learning with practicing PK-12 teachers in a United States university Masters degree program. Research questions that guided faculty inquiry were: 1) How do practicing teachers understand the principles of learner-centered theory from the perspectives of 'reading about a theory' in the textbook, to 'theory as learners' in our university classroom, and 'applying the theory' as teachers of their peers, and 2) In what ways do teachers think about applying theory in their own classroom? Electronic class reflections, journal narratives, teacher proposals and materials all served as data sources. Teachers reported on the benefits of choice, and gained confidence and ownership of their learning. Teachers valued dialogue with peers as a way to challenge assumptions, glean new insights and gain practical relevant materials related to their areas of personal and professional interest. The complexities of sharing power at the university level convey the practice of transferring theory into practice and the power of trusting teachers to own their learning and professional growth.
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Keywords: learner-centered theory; power distribution; professional development; teacher empowerment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: George Mason University, Virginia, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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