Informal trainers on social networks: New paths for professional teacher development



The extensive use of social networks by teachers is enabling the emergence of new learning modalities. As part of their work, teachers engage in professional development activities throughout their careers, often online. Proactive educators are emerging on social media leading the way in sharing knowledge, resources and ideas. These are educators who take on the role of trainers for their peers, supporting their professional development through informal avenues. This study identifies and analyses the main processes by which classroom teachers become informal trainers through their use of social media. It focuses on #CharlasEducativas, a project through which informal educators learn and train on YouTube. Through structured interviews with 21 teachers, their professional profiles and their views on the characteristics that professional development activities should include were analysed. The interviewees all had over ten years of active teaching experience, and were professional teacher trainers. One of the aspects that the interviewees believe is essential for successful professional development activities is practical, voluntary, classroom- applicable, peer-to-peer training developed through informal avenues such as social media. The trainers positively valued the professional development opportunities provided through social media, such as the #CharlasEducativas project, which they found to include many of the qualities highlighted in this study. The conclusions of this study indicate that social media is providing an opportunity not only for teachers to access information and knowledge, but also for some classroom teachers to assume new informal leadership roles.


professional teacher development, continuous learning, informal learning, expert teachers


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