International communities of practice: what makes them successful vehicles for teachers’ professional development?

James Underwood, Marta Kowalczuk-Walędziak

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


This study examines teachers’ perceptions of the specific factors and conditions which shape international communities of practice into successful vehicles for their professional development. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with thirteen teachers in Poland who have extensive experience working in a wide range of international professional development settings. The findings indicated that teachers perceived international communities to be a unique platform for their professional development because they: offer multi-layered topographies for professional growth; created space for the collective organization of development activities in diverse, autonomous teams working on challenging topics; and allowed for sharing teaching stories, reflecting on practice, as well as feeling affirmed and /affirming others. Based on the results, recommendations are made for future research and policies which enrich communities within and across schools by providing teachers with the flexibility to discover and build international communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Studies
Early online date24 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2021


  • international communities of practice, teacher professional development, international networking, community working processes


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