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Professional Learning Communities and Teacher Enquiry

Tags: Education, Teacher Educators

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Professional Learning Communities and Teacher Enquiry

AUTHOR : Series edited by Val Poultney Edited by Alison Fox

ISBN : 9781912508815

Edition No : 1

Publication : Mar 16, 2020

Extent : 160 pgs

ISBN : 9781912508822

Edition No : 1

Publication : Mar 16, 2020

Extent : 160 pgs

ISBN : 9781912508839

Edition No : 1

Publication : Mar 16, 2020

Extent : 160 pgs

ISBN : 9781912508846

Edition No : 1

Publication : Mar 16, 2020

Extent : 160 pgs


Evidence-based teaching is fast becoming a new orthodoxy.  There are many strong voices, including policy voices, advocating its adoption. Understanding the underlying principles allows you to better evaluate the benefits of different approaches to evidence-based teaching and how they relate to your own school context.

This book provides a critical overview of different ways of thinking about professional learning as a social process through collaborative and collective activity, including the notion of professional learning communities and how these might be used to support teacher enquiry. It examines the opportunities and challenges this poses to teachers and school leaders, and includes practical advice on how to facilitate, engage with and evaluate collaborative teacher enquiry models.


  1. Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Mapping the language of collaboration and enquiry

    Chapter 3: School-university partnerships: contexts for enquiry

    Chapter 4: Teacher-led enquiry

    Chapter 5: Lesson study as evidence-based teacher collaboration and enquiry

    Chapter 6: Leading professional learning communities: opportunities and challenges

    Chapter 7: Teachers’ access to and use of evidence

    Chapter 8: Conclusions and take-aways




Val Poultney is an experienced teacher educator who has worked in partnership with a number of schools, specialising in evidence-based teaching. She is particularly interested in school leadership and school governance, with a focus on how to develop leadership to support teachers as researchers. Currently a senior lecturer at the University of Derby, she teaches on both initial teacher education and postgraduate programmes. 

Alison Fox is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies at the Open University, UK. After training as a secondary school science teacher, Alison moved into initial teacher training and undertook research around the support of beginning teachers, including their emergent development as school leaders. She also supports practitioner enquiry through  Masters and Doctoral supervision.

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Your Reviews on this book

At its heart, this book presents a resolute and modelled commitment to criticality as being central to any professional development and progress in practice. 

The depth and breadth of discussion is impressive, if possibly over-focused on finding an ideology at the expense of linking consistently with the ways in which teachers might create their own evidence-based interactions with the ideas discussed. The discussion of the tensions between what teachers construct as ‘right’ and the frameworks which they are given to work within is woven throughout this concisely comprehensive discussion, with suggested approaches to negotiating this through reading-informed reflection. The exploration of the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of key issues in the assessment field are handled with deft referencing and commentary, though there could be more of a focus on why these ideas are postulated and the impact that is intended for learners. That said, the book works hard to bridge the gap between teachers as practitioners and teachers as researchers, making a considered case that excellent practice requires teachers to be both. 

The strongest and potentially most provocative moments in this book come when the relationship between theory, practice and (vitally) impact on pupils is made direct: the summaries of and signposts to further reading would support any teacher to take their thinking in this direction.

Alys Finch
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