How Teachers Learn in Professional Conversation


This paper examined how teachers’ learn in professional conversation. The purpose was to analyse teachers’ conversation regarding classroom discipline to contribute to the understanding of how teachers learn. The study was a qualitative research that adopted an ethno-methodological research design. Purposive sampling was used to select six teachers from one primary school in the East London Education District who participated in the study. Video recorder was used to capture the conversation session after school hour for 31 minutes, 56 seconds in duration. The recording was viewed and transcribed verbatim. Three learning episodes were selected from the transcript and transcribed again using Jefferson notations for conversation analysis purposes. Clayman and Gill conversation analysis levels were used to analyse the selected episodes to establish how teachers learn in professional conversation. The findings show that teachers learn through requesting advice and testing idea. The teachers as well learn through sharing ideas. The teachers’ further use response preferences, repairing/assisting one another in talk, nodding and laughing as learning strategies. Based on the findings, the study recommends that teachers should embrace professional conversation for exchanging knowledge and experiences for learning purposes. The study also encourages teachers to adopt conversational strategies discovered in this study to improve professional learning. It further recommends that research experts on teacher learning should be involved in school workshops to present their findings and recommendations to further enrich teacher learning.


Conversation, Teacher Learning


Adult, Community, and Professional Learning


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Charity Okeke
    • PhD Student, Psychology of Education, University of South Africa, South Africa South Africa
    • Mrs Charity Okeke is PhD student in the Department of Psychology of Education, University of South Africa. She holds Master of Education Degree in the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg. She holds German (DAAD) and South African (NRF) scholarship.