An exploration of teacher learning through reflection from a sociocultural and dialogical perspective: professional dialogue or professional monologue?

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This study investigated how student teachers on a Scottish teacher education programme learn by reflecting on professional dialogue experiences. Reflection on one’s own experiences and practices is at the heart of all activities that teachers do. By linking professional dialogue with reflective practice, we examined factors that contribute to student teachers’ general approaches to professional learning on the programme and the way in which meaning is (co-)constructed and (re-)negotiated in professional dialogue. The results showed that the thought, discourse and social-affective dimensions of professional dialogue are inter-related. Furthermore, both student teachers’ personal background and their learning context may be related to the approaches to professional learning. The results also showed that student teachers' reflection tended to be descriptive with little or no consideration of the underlying educational issues or theories. In terms of discursive patterns, there was a tendency for one speaker to dominate professional dialogue or rather ‘professional monologue’. Therefore, we argue that there is a need for teacher education institutions to develop student teachers’ awareness of the value of professional dialogue and of the dialogic space it creates which has the potential to enhance and transform the opportunities for teacher professional learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)n/a
Number of pages15
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Early online date4 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jul 2020


  • professional dialogue
  • teacher learning
  • metacognition

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