Education Publications

On the ontologies of professional learning

Melody Viczko, Western University
Augusto Riveros, Western University


While teacher professional learning has become a locus of school reform across many international settings, there is relatively little examination of the ontological assumptions behind the conceptualizations of professional learning in the various policy initiatives that aim to transform teaching practices. Using the conceptual notion of multiple ontologies proposed by Mol (1999; 2004), we argue that teachers enact different ontologies of professional learning as they go about their professional practice. As a consequence, the postulation of multiple ontologies of professional learning requires a shift in how policy makers conceive of and develop strategies aimed at transforming teaching practices. We conclude by examining some policy consequences for educational administrators and teachers when professional learning is viewed through the lens of ontological multiplicity.