| 306-318 | PDF | © University of Latvia, 2023

Informal Learning for Creating Professional Support Groups for Teachers and School Leadership Teams: A Case Study

Oskars Kaulēns, Edīte Sarva
University of Latvia

Abstract. From the school year 2020/2021 the implementation of a competence-based curriculum has started in Latvia which determines new learning outcomes for students and at the same time defines new professional development needs for teachers. There are changes in the content that teachers need to learn and the learning approach that teachers need to use for their professional development to ensure that they meet the new quality requirements of teaching. In order to successfully implement new teaching and learning approaches and to promote the development of a wider learning community, teachers’ formal professional development, such as attendance at lectures, seminars etc., has to be supplemented with informal professional development through sharing experiences, participation in learning groups, etc. The remote work experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has provided additional opportunities for a variety of online in-service teacher education activities based on principles of informal learning. The goal of the research conducted by the authors is to find out what is the interest of teachers to get involved in the teacher cooperation events “Emergency Methodological Assistance” organised by the Friendly Appeal Cesis State Gymnasium and what are the professional benefits of teachers’ participation in such informal learning activities. Within the framework of the research, a qualitative content analysis of the teachers’ reflection bulletins has been performed, which teachers have submitted at the end of events, evaluating their professional benefits from participation in the events. The data of the research show that teachers appreciate the opportunity to get acquainted with professionally tested and practical teaching methods and techniques for the implementation of new curriculum, to receive encouragement from other colleagues in the conditions of constant change and uncertainty, and to find professional partners among teachers for long-term planning and cooperation activities.

Keywords: professional development, formal and informal learning, distance learning, remote learning, learning community

To Be or Not to Be a Great Educator, 2022. Proceedings of ATEE Annual Conference
Riga: University of Latvia Press, 2023. 985 p.
EdL. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-019-0