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Future Preschool Teachers’ Experiences of Mutual Learning in the Work Environment

Ilze Šūmane, Līga Āboltiņa
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract. One of the main tasks of teachers is to improve their professional competence, which begins with their education prior to teaching. During the education process, when the identity of a future teacher is formed, their attitude should include a commitment to continuous professional development. Therefore, teacher training programmes aim to increase young teachers’ readiness to engage in the development of their professional competences throughout their working lives.
One of the best approaches to professional development is learning in the workplace as part of a team (i.e. mutual learning between employees). Pre-primary learning is important because a common understanding of the existing educational institution and a desire to learn from one another promote change in teachers’ personal approaches and in educational institutions at the organisational level.
The theoretical framework of this research consists of theories on social learning, mutual learning, characterisation of preschool teachers’ professional competence in knowledge, skills, values and social behaviour and unity. Notably, it has been found that preschool teachers learn best and gain experience by learning from one another in their communities, which is reflected in their practices.
This research aimed at examining the experience and opinions gained during the pedagogical practice of future teachers regarding the opportunities, advantages and disadvantages of mutual learning. The research methods included a literature review, and content analysis. The sample included 280 students from a preschool teacher study programme. This study uses a qualitative research method and the qualitative data processing programme NVivo. The results show that prospective teachers have developed different experiences of mutual learning during the implementation of study practice tasks. In general, students describe mutual learning in relation to the theoretical principles acquired in the study process.

Keywords: mutual learning, pedagogical practice, professional competence of preschool teachers, professional development of teachers, professional learning communities, teacher training

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