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Journal of Professional Capital and Community ; 8(1):1-16, 2023.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-20244164


Purpose: The purpose of this study is twofold. First, this study reflects on the development of professional capital through understanding collective cultural factors, namely, academic optimism and shared vision. Second, it aims at exploring teacher learning. Teacher learning resulting in changes to teacher knowledge, attitudes and practices is crucial for the necessary changes education is continually confronted with. This learning is too often studied as a result of individual traits or structural factors, such as motivation or time. The authors investigated how teacher learning is influenced by academic optimism and shared vision. Design/methodology/approach: The authors administered an online web-based survey to 278 teachers in higher education, using the educational change to online learning due to the COVID pandemic as a unique chance to study the role of collective cultural factors in teacher learning. Findings: Results showed how teachers characterized their learning, academic optimism and shared vision during the educational change to online learning resulting from the COVID pandemic. The authors found that teacher learning was greatly influenced by teachers' collective sense of efficacy, an aspect of their academic optimism. Teachers' strong belief in each other, that they as fellow professionals could handle the challenging changes that the COVID pandemic required, strongly enhanced teacher learning during the COVID pandemic. Teachers' feeling of a professional community helped teacher to make sense of, and push through, the undeniable chaos that was the COVID pandemic. Originality/value: Collective cultural factors are rarely studied in conjunction with educational change. Insights into how a collective culture of professionalism enhances or hinders teacher learning are important for theory, policy and practice as it helps understand how teacher teams can be supported to build their professional capital by learning from educational change.