Understanding learning and teaching in Papua New Guinea: elementary teacher trainers engaged in cultural authorship in the context of national educational reforms
Brownlee, JM, Farrell, A & Davis, J 2012, 'Understanding learning and teaching in Papua New Guinea: elementary teacher trainers engaged in cultural authorship in the context of national educational reforms', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 37, no.2, pp. 25-40.
Over the last decade, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has pursued educational reform in elementary teacher education. Because elementary teachers and teacher education are central to the reform agenda, there is a need to gain empirical evidence about how PNG teacher trainers' understandings about learning and teaching impact on their practice. The study uses cultural-authorship as a theoretical framework to investigate the nature of changes in understanding about learning and teaching for 18 teacher trainers as they progressed through a two-year Bachelor of Early Childhood upgrade course. It addresses the research question: What do elementary teacher trainers in PNG understanding about learning and teaching and how has this changed during their course? The focus on such understandings provides valuable insights into their professional identities at a critical time in PNG's education reform agenda. Analysis of journal entries at the beginning and end of the course showed that, over time, teacher trainers described increasingly more complex ways of understanding learning and teaching. By the end of the degree program, teacher trainers referred to the critical role of communities and families in educational processes and the notion of the teacher as a change agent. This watershed finding demonstrates notable shifts in teacher trainers' professional identities from trainers to community leaders in elementary education.