Dispositions of Teacher Learners

What are the dispositions of those teachers who naturally see themselves as learners and chief investigators of their own practice? What are the enabling and contextual factors?

This is what I am trying to find out through my PhD studies. My contention is that certain default and perhaps tacit understandings can predispose an individual to be unable to engage in the necessary formation and reformation of professional identity that is required to engage in new learning. This inhibiting behaviour results in an individual essentially “shutting up shop.” The inverse is also true however, and those teachers who are able to have multi-membership of different communities of practice within the broader landscape of practice seem to be at home in this process of identity formation and reformation. The insightful and intuitive organic dispositions of these individuals enable them to disregard boundaries and instead seamlessly cross boundaries of community, competence, knowledgeability and self-narrative whilst engaging in a multiplicity of practices within a specific context. This is what some might refer to as being innovative.

I’ve even started working on a model. It’s still early days but much of my current work is investigating Polanyi, Nonaka, Brock, Dreyfus, Agyris, Schon, Wenger, Beauchamp and Thomas.



  1. Look forward to following your journey Adrian. I have been spending a bit of time investigating CoPs lately and I have been left wondering whether it is at all limited by inability to engage in social capital. Definitely an important area.


    • Social capital doubtless plays a part in these circumstances Aaron, but I wonder whether there’s any value in considering the possibility of ‘learning’ capital – the resources we hold or upon which we can draw, to enable or smooth or extend our learning?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Aaron, I too look forward to seeing how your research unfolds Adrian.
    I have to confess that professional identity is not a path I’ve followed (yet!), so I’m hardly writing from a position of familiarity, but wonder whether the dispositions your research will explore are more fundamental? I mean this in the sense that they extend beyond someone’s sense of ‘professional’ self and are closer to their core. This would then permeate different strands of their life and their approach to practical pursuits or social issues … or indeed to running.
    I guess what I’m fumbling to articulate is, do people have certain general dispositions which then influence their professional (and other) lives, or do they have different dispositions in different contexts? (Just wondering)

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is interesting Ian. My current rabbit hole is Deleuze and the notion of assemblages. I wonder if there is any ‘as such’ attributes or if they are all in a constant state of flux, dependent on a range of influences. For example, School A encourages Twitter in the classroom, while School B argues that technology restricts real social interactions. Surely, that influences a teachers willingness to be a part of something like a Twitter chat, even if it their own choice.


      • I think that’s a fair point Aaron and what from a sociomaterial standpoint Jon Law would term ‘hinterland’. Its a messy mix, but I haven’t yet established whether some of the elements are extrinsic (to the person) and some intrinsic … or whether that viewpoint is even meaningful. I guess not, in a Deleuzian worldview?
        Maybe Adrian’s research might begin to unpick some of that.

        Liked by 1 person

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