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(Inter)Professional Learning

Melissa AU

The notion of interprofessional learning has been extensively employed in healthcare education, particularly in nursing schools, to encourage effective communication and collaboration between health workers (e.g., see Darlow et al., 2015; Rogers et al., 2017). This aims to “overcome the limitations inherent to disciplinary silos where students are trained within the confines of their own disciplines” (Ganotice & Tipoe, 2020, para. 1). In the context of health care, given opportunities, when two or more professionals “learn about, from and with each other”, health outcomes can be maximised (World Health Organisation, 2010, p. 10). Borrowing the continuously evolving practices from the medical field, interprofessional learning can be applied in teacher professional development to enhance exchange and collaboration among teachers of various disciplines, in diversified school contexts, and across continents. Being at the forefront of the education field to nurture future leaders, teachers are committed to adopt timely and propitious pedagogical practices. For this reason, teachers have to continually strive to sharpen their skills and expand their knowledge from various sources. Learning journeys vary among individuals, and the collective effort in ongoing professional learning has become “the next emerging horizon for teacher learning” (OECD, 2019, p. 153). Thus, providing teachers with quality professional learning opportunities where they can engage in meaningful sharing of practices and creative exchange of ideas will advance their careers, building a community of trust to maximise educational outcomes (Darling-Hammond, 2017). Interprofessional learning takes place not only within the teaching professions but in a broader scope of engagement with other professionals such as psychologists, social workers and other stakeholders who support young people. Therefore, providing quality interprofessional learning opportunities to engage in deep dialogues about professional practices, expertise and collaboration can have the potential for cross-pollination across discipline and practices.

Below are some relevant and timely school examples, internet resources and scholarly contributions that raise issues, considerations, and challenges as we are coming to acknowledge teachers as valuable professionals whose needs for life-long learning and growing should also be valued and supported.


Darling-Hammond, L. (2017). Teacher education around the world: What can we learn from international practice?. European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 291-309.

Darlow, B., Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Donovan, S., Beckingsale, L., Gray, B., ... & Pullon, S. (2015). The positive impact of interprofessional education: A controlled trial to evaluate a programme for health professional students. BMC Medical Education, 15(1), 1-9.

Ganotice, F., Tipoe, G. (2020, June). From silos to teamwork: Adapting interprofessional education to online hybrid asynchronous and synchronous model for HKU. Teaching and Learning Connections, 12. Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, HKU.

OECD. (2019). The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018 results (volume I): Teachers and school leaders as lifelong learners.

Rogers, G. D., Thistlethwaite, J. E., Anderson, E. S., Abrandt Dahlgren, M., Grymonpre, R. E., Moran, M., & Samarasekera, D. D. (2017). International consensus statement on the assessment of interprofessional learning outcomes. Medical Teacher, 39(4), 347-359.

World Health Organisation. (2010). Framework for action on interprofessional education & collaborative practice.

(Inter)Professional Learning

Highly-Cited Academic Articles (Based on analysed results from Web of Science)

Darling-Hammond, L. (2017). Teacher education around the world: What can we learn from international practice?. European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 291-309.

Horn, I. S., & Little, J. W. (2010). Attending to problems of practice: Routines and resources for professional learning in teachers’ workplace interactions. American educational research journal, 47(1), 181-217.

Li, Y., & Krasny, M. E. (2020). Development of professional networks among environmental educators. Professional Development in Education, 46(2), 337-353.

Macia, M., & Garcia, I. (2016). Informal online communities and networks as a source of teacher professional development: A review. Teaching and Teacher Education, 55, 291-307.

Opfer, V. D., & Pedder, D. (2011). Conceptualising teacher professional learning. Review of Educational Research, 81(3), 376-407.

Ronfeldt, M., Farmer, S., McQueen, K., & Grissom, J. (2015). Teacher collaboration in instructional teams and student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 52(3), 475-514.


Extended Readings

Anderson, E. M. (2013). Preparing the next generation of early childhood teachers: The emerging role of interprofessional education and collaboration in teacher education. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 34(1), 23-35.

Calvert, L. (2016). Moving from compliance to agency: What teachers need to make professional learning work. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward and NCTAF.

Center for Professional Education of Teachers. (2021, July 22). Teaching today: Communities of practice. Teachers College, Columbia University.

Cole, K. (2019, October 21). Ten creative ways for cross curricular collaboration. Schoology.

Hesjedal, E., Hetland, H., & Iversen, A. C. (2015). Interprofessional collaboration: Self‐reported successful collaboration by teachers and social workers in multidisciplinary teams. Child & Family Social Work, 20(4), 437-445.

Nicholas, J., & Border, M. (2017). An academy for pros: Collaborative teacher learning across disciplines and districts. Techniques, November/December 2017, 20-25.

OECD. (2020). Professional growth in times of change: Supporting teachers' continuing professional learning and collaboration.

Slot, E. (n.d.). Why is collaborating in interdisciplinary teams so difficult?. Utrecht University.

Western Governors University. (2017, November). Professional development vs. professional learning.


YouTube Videos

Cambridge University Press ELT. (2021, August 2). Cooperation to collaboration: Teachers helping teachers with Gabriel Diaz Maggioli.

EduSkills OECD. (2020, March 23). What role does teacher collaboration play in better teaching?.

Edutopia. (2016, April 21). Collaborative Planning: Integrating curriculum across subjects.

Spencer, J. (2020, June 12). How to own your professional learning.

StanfordSCOPE. (2018, March 21). Time matters: Teacher collaboration for learning and leading.

Virginia Department of Education. (2017, September 7). Professional learning and professional development.


Articles Published in/about the Region

Lai, C., Li, Z., & Gong, Y. (2019). Boundary brokering for cross‐cultural professional learning in international school contexts. British Educational Research Journal, 45(6), 1105-1123.

Lo, Y. Y. (2014). Collaboration between L2 and content subject teachers in CBI: Contrasting beliefs and attitudes. RELC Journal, 45(2), 181-196.

Tam, A. C. F. (2015). Exploring teachers’ beliefs about teacher learning in professional learning communities and their influence on collegial activities in two departments. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 45(3), 422-444.

Yin, H., To, K. H., Keung, C. P. C., & Tam, W. W. Y. (2019). Professional learning communities count: Examining the relationship between faculty trust and teacher professional learning in Hong Kong kindergartens. Teaching and Teacher Education, 82, 153-163.

Zhang, J., & Pang, N. S. K. (2016). Exploring the characteristics of professional learning communities in China: A mixed-method study. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 25(1), 11-21.


School Examples

Committee on Professional Development of Teachers and Principals. (n.d.). T-excel.

Education Bureau. (n.d.). Cross-KLA/subject project learning in independent subject curriculum mode at the junior secondary level.

Kowloon True Light School. (n.d.). Staff development committee: Professional learning community (Chinese only).



Chan, L.K., Ganotice, F., & Wong, F. (2017, May 18). Learn together, work together: Promoting interprofessional learning. Teaching and Learning Connections, 5. Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, HKU.

Ganotice, F., Tipoe, G. (2020, June). From silos to teamwork: Adapting interprofessional education to online hybrid asynchronous and synchronous model for HKU. Teaching and Learning Connections, 12. Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, HKU.

HKU Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine. (n.d.). Connect*ed project.

HKU. (2018, June 13). HKU and EdUHK launch a new learning initiative for connecting future doctors and teachers of Hong Kong [Press Release].



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