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During 2008-2009 while participating in a mathematics professional learning study, fifteen teachers, from seven different Australian primary schools, met as a group on five occasions to share their experiences and reflections on their teaching of mathematics. At each meeting, they discussed their goals, action plans and progress. To contextualise their experiences, each shared one or two 60-second snippets of digitally recorded video of their own classroom practice with the group. Audio-recordings of these five focus group meetings were analysed through a process of content analysis using a list of elements derived from the literature on professional learning communities. In essence, a framework of the key characteristics of the literature for professional learning communities was developed, tested and supported by a small-scale study. Three limitations of the findings are the number of participants, the possibility that the participants’ engagement levels were due to the Hawthorne effect, and the self-report nature of the data. Nevertheless, we argue that our results are robust enough to give new insights into a rarely acknowledged context for a professional learning community – one that crosses school boundaries.


School of Education

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Journal Article

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