I started my PhD project in the autumn of 2016, after being employed as a PhD candidate in the municipality of Trondheim. This was part of the university school cooperation between NTNU, Trondheim municipality and Sør-Trøndelag county municipality. I have worked in secondary school while taking the PhD degree. I consider this opportunity as important for gaining research experiences that I can bring back to schools. Moreover, it is a unique chance to be close to both the research and practice field at the same time.
I have worked in secondary schools in Trondheim municipality since 2006 as a teacher, contact teacher and special education teacher. My academic background is teacher education from the University College of Sør-Trøndelag and a master’s degree in special education from NTNU. Recently, I have worked extensively with development work in schools.
Through the development work and my teaching experience, I have had a special focus on how students learn through cooperation while learning to cooperate, and that was the starting point for my doctoral project. Cooperative learning as a teaching method has been researched and found effective on students’ learning. However, research also indicates challenges for teachers when applying the method in the classroom after the completion of training or a course. To address this challenge, the purpose of the study is to explore the importance of teachers’ co-operation on the implementation of cooperative learning. The study is conducted in a context where teachers participate in professional learning communities with their colleagues in school. The study investigates the experiences of teachers and students and their reflections about cooperative learning and the process of the project. The intention is to examine the significance of teachers’ professional learning communities for the use of cooperative learning in their teaching and their students’ learning.