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Patterns in student learning and teacher learning: how do they relate?

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Too often educational innovations have failed because they did not recognize the need for teacher learning. This seminar starts with discussing a chain of causation from teacher education and professional development to student learning outcomes. Teacher education and professional development programs initiate (student) teachers’ learning processes, leading to teachers’ learning outcomes. These outcomes may be conceptualised as new knowledge, intentions, practices and motives/emotions. Teachers’ teaching practices initiate students’ learning processes which, in turn, lead to students’ learning outcomes. The societal demand for evidence that teacher education and professional development initiatives result in improved student learning outcomes is increasing. There is, however, almost no research that covers the whole chain of causation sketched above. One reason may be that the research domains of student learning and teacher learning are organized in separate research communities, with each their own professional organizations, scientific journals, special interest groups, etc. Another reason may be that covering the whole chain transcends the duration of an average research project. Traditional boundaries have to be crossed to achieve knowledge advancement about how students’ and teachers’ learning may benefit each other. In this seminar highlights of research on both student learning and teacher learning that departed from a common learning model will be discussed. Implications for future research that studies student and teacher learning in a more interconnected way will be derived.

Jan Vermunt is an educational psychologist whose research interests have evolved from student learning and teacher learning as separate domains to include the way teacher learning affects student learning and vice versa. Before starting in Cambridge in 2012, he was a professor of Teaching and Teacher Education at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Previously he worked at several universities in The Netherlands and Belgium, among which the universities of Amsterdam, Leiden and Maastricht. He did his PhD on student learning and regulation of learning processes in higher education. In his Leiden time, his research interests developed into student teachers’ learning and professional development. As a professor of Educational Development and Research in Maastricht he focused on the power of teaching-learning methods to influence the quality of student learning. In Utrecht his research interests broadened to include experienced teachers’ professional learning in the context of educational innovations.

This talk is part of the Psychology & Education series.

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