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Effective Professional Development for Physical Education Teachers: The Role of Informal, Collaborative Learning

Kathleen M. Armour and Martin Yelling

This paper reports data from the third phase of a 2-year investigation into continuing professional development (CPD) for physical education teachers in England. The purpose of this phase was to examine the ways in which 10 case study teachers engaged in professional learning over the course of 1 academic year. Data were collected from a series of individual interviews with the teachers, learning diaries, field notes, and a final focus group interview. The findings suggest that these teachers identified CPD as “going on a course,” but, in reality, they learned in a variety of ways. The most striking finding was the high value they placed on learning informally (yet strategically) with and from each other. We argue, therefore, that the traditional relationship between teachers and CPD provision needs to be altered such that teachers in their professional learning communities or networks play a leading role.