Teachers often seek more than what traditional professional development (PD) experiences offer, taking their questions into online spaces. This study investigates how teachers’ professional engagement within online environments aligns with what research considers to be effective teacher professional development. While research has been done on effective PD; what teachers want from such experiences; and how teachers are interacting with each other in online environments, there is little research that aligns the engagement of teachers online with effective professional learning. This review examines literature on the topics of online teacher engagement, as well as effective professional development practices, and aims to contribute to research on teachers’ professional learning, teachers’ agency, and online learning. Conclusions were formulated after reviewing literature on effective PD, teachers’ perceptions and desires related to PD, and teachers participation in online spaces. Arguments for re-conceptualizing the online behaviors of teachers as valid professional learning experiences were developed by synthesizing findings from research on PD into a framework, which was then used to analyze findings on teachers’ online interactions. The results reveal alignment across multiple areas: what research claims is needed for effective professional development is what teachers want from their professional development experiences, and what both researchers say is effective and what teachers want is aligned with the behaviors of teachers in online environments. Therefore, researchers can begin to consider teachers’ actions online through the lens of PD, opening up new opportunities to develop more practical and effective professional development experiences for both online and in-person learning.
Student, The Joint Program of English and Education, The University of Michigan, Michigan, United States
TEACHER AGENCY, ONLINE COMMUNITIES, TEACHERS TEACHING TEACHERS, PROFESSIONAL LEARNING, EMPOWERMENT