School ethos and culture, and their influence on teacher career-stage learning, are integral yet often overlooked components of school-based professional development planning. An in-depth study was conducted over two years within and across three independent schools in Sydney, Australia utilising a collegial methodology centred on principles of action research and focused on continuous school improvement. It revealed how specific school contexts have a substantial and differential impact on teacher learning across all career stages from neophyte to principal. Each school’s ethos and culture were seen to produce a distinctive teacher learning culture that subsequently influenced whole-school planning for, and participation in, teacher professional development. Teacher growth, well-being and job satisfaction were integrally related to ethos and culture and further influenced by the specific characteristics of the career stage of the teachers and school executive involved. The study gave further insights as to how the nature of teacher learning changes according to career stage. It was evident from the study that, for teachers, the school that they are in has a sizable impact on the nature of their professional learning and how they develop differentially at each stage of their career path trajectories.
- teacher learning
- school ethos
- school culture
- teacher career stages
- teacher professional development