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Research Domain: Group Five - Informal Learning in Different Workplaces

Title of Project: Teachers' Unions as Sites for Teachers' Professional Development

Start Date: April 1, 1997
Academic Investigator: Dr. Nina Bascia (OISE/UT)

This study explores the informal and nonformal learning opportunities provided for educators by teachers' federations (or unions). These organizations not only typically include deliberate training strategies (e.g., workshops, conferences, discussion groups) for their members but also allow educators to become involved in, and even to initiate, political and organizational work, curriculum development initiatives, community development projects and other initiatives that significantly expand their understanding of their own practice, how to navigate the larger educational system, and links between the educational system and society. As Canadian educational systems decrease their ability to provide professional development

opportunities for teachers , teachers' federations are increasingly picking up the slack. This is the only North American research that focuses on this dimension of teachers' organizations' work. It is also the only North American research that focuses on the actual strategies that

teachers employ within their organizations (rather than just looking at the political strategies formally employed by the organizations themselves). The research pays particular attention to differences in educators' interests and ability to access organizational learning opportunities. The research is intended to result in recommendations for teachers' organizations toward developing richer, more effective, varied, and accessible learning opportunities for increased numbers and types of educators.


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