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How school culture affects teachers’ classroom implementation of learning from professional development

A core element of almost all educational improvement efforts is an intention to improve teacher practice in order to enhance student- and system-level outcomes. To this end, a range of strategies are deployed to facilitate teacher professional learning and development, with great investments of time, financial, and human resources. However, the environments in which teachers learn and their impact on teachers’ implementation of new learning remain underexamined. By considering how the psychosocial learning environments present in schools affect the teacher development process, there is scope to enhance the impacts of professional development. This study explored how aspects of school climate and culture (that is, the learning environments that teachers experience) affect teachers’ classroom implementation of their professional learning. Qualitative data were gathered from 36 teachers in New Zealand through focus groups and analysed via reflexive thematic analysis following a latent inductive approach. Five areas of school climate and culture were identified that, according to the teachers, affected their implementation of new professional learning. These areas were: leadership engagement/actions; the change environment; relationships; beliefs and attitudes related to TPLD; and all being on the same page. Understanding the roles these five areas play provides insights into how school leaders and policymakers can seek to shape the learning environments that surround teachers’ daily classroom practice in order to facilitate learning and improvement for all.
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© The Author(s) 2023. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.