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The Interconnected Model – Part 1 March 24, 2015

Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD, research.
Tags: ,

I recently came across an interesting paper1 on teacher professional growth in which the authors propose a model to examine and explain teacher change as a complex, interwoven learning process. Where professional development programs based on a deficit-training-mastery model have largely failed to effect teacher change, those initiatives which enable greater agency and which allow (encourage?) teachers to become active learners who reflect and act on their learning have proven more effective.

Clarke and Hollingsworth developed the Interconnected Model (IM) to describe how this might happen, locating change in any of four connected domains:

  • Personal domain (teacher knowledge, beliefs and attitudes),
  • Domain of practice (professional experimentation),
  • Domain of consequence (salient outcomes),
  • External domain (sources of information, stimulus or support).
the interconnected model of professional growth

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by ianguest: http://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/16710551680

The mediating processes of ‘reflection’ and ‘enactment’ can translate changes from one domain into another, so for example, undertaking a new practice in the classroom might cause one to reflect in such a way as to change one’s attitude to a particular approach. By using the IM as a lens through which to view different professional learning experiences, we can perhaps gain insights to help inform our approach to professional development or professional learning.

Let’s explore this further with a simple example from personal experience, but perhaps common across teaching practice:


In developing a new activity, or simply modifying an old one, we might use our current knowledge to plan then try out the activity with a class. Reflecting on how effective the activity was, we might then readjust our knowledge-base to accommodate that new learning for future use. Or if the outcomes were not quite as we might have hoped, we might draw further on our knowledge-base to readjust the activity to undertake a further iteration of the loop. Don’t we regularly do this if we have two or more classes running parallel through the same scheme of work? Whether the activity works first time or not, we often take another lap or two around the loop to accommodate the different learning needs of subsequent classes.

Try as we might, sometimes the activity just doesn’t seem to be successful, so here we might draw on the external domain, by perhaps discussing things with a colleague or searching for potential solutions on the Web. You might like to consider how we should adapt the diagram to reflect that.

In the next post, I’ll attempt to use the Interconnected Model to explore a recent initiative in school – RiskIT.

1Clarke, D., Hollingsworth, H., 2002. Elaborating a model of teacher professional growth. Teaching and teacher education 18, 947–967.


1. The Interconnected Model – Part 2 | In the pICTure - March 28, 2015

[…] I mentioned in the preceding post, I wanted a way to explore the RiskIT Week programme we recently undertook in school. This is our […]

2. The Interconnected Model – Part 3 | In the pICTure - April 1, 2015

[…] preceding posts, I introduced the Interconnected Model as a mechanism through which to explore teacher growth, then discussed how that might provide one […]

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