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Special Issue: Non-Linear Perspectives on Teacher Learning and Practice

We invite you to submit an article for a Special Issue of Professional Development in Education on the theme of “non-linear perspectives on teacher learning and practice”, which we are intending to publish in May 2021. Articles selected for the special issue will engage with non-linear theoretical perspectives to understand and analyse the complex, interrelated, socio-material, dynamic nature of teaching and learning during the preservice, induction, or in-service phases of teaching.

Many educational scholars agree that teacher learning and practice are situated, relational, and highly mediated phenomena. The connection between what teachers learn in their preservice programs or professional development activities and what eventually happens in their classrooms does not necessarily have a one-to-one correspondence, but is complex and non-linear. However, dominant perspectives in education often perpetuate reductionist and linear narratives of how teachers learn and “transfer” that learning into practice.  To resist and interrupt the linear views of teaching that still dominate the U.S.—and increasingly, global—educational agenda, research is needed that can help preservice, induction, and in-service teacher educators and other stakeholders think differently about preparing and supporting teachers for an increasingly complex educational landscape. The argument in this special issue is that doing this requires researchers to “put to work” theories grounded in a very different type of logic—one that breaks with normalized rationalist or commonsense perspectives that undergird status quos - and instead offer critical conceptual tools that can provide more complex descriptions, analyses, and explanations of teacher learning and development. 

Relevant Areas and Issues

We are interested in conceptual, methodological, and empirical explorations of teacher learning and practice that engage with complex theories accounting for the highly situated, collective, dynamic nature of these phenomena. Some of these theories might include complexity theory, actor-network theory, posthuman perspectives, new materialisms, indigenous perspectives/materialisms, rhizomatics, cultural-historical activity theory, and/or affect theory. Works might address issues of teacher learning, and/or the translation of that learning into practice, across the teacher professional continuum: in preservice education or during student teaching/fieldwork, during induction, or in the in-service phase. While the complex perspectives addressed in this issue lend themselves to in-depth, qualitative or post-qualitative methodologies, quantitative or mixed-method papers that take an appropriately critical stance would also be considered, as would papers that take a critical view of the non-linear argument.

Topics of relevance for this special issue include:

  • The affordances of non-linear, complex theories (e.g., neo-materialisms, posthumanisms, actor-network theory, complexity theory, CHAT) for thinking differently about teacher learning and professional development
  • Complex methodologies (e.g., Cultural Historical Activity Theory, rhizomatics, indigenous methodologies) and what they might offer in providing more complex descriptions, analyses, and explanations of teacher learning and development
  • The complex systems, assemblages, entanglements, and/or processes of intra-action that affect teacher learning and development, and how they shape those processes
  • Teachers as transformers of, and transformed by, professional development
  • Reframing professional development as becoming-teacher
  • Teacher learning as a lever for systemic change
  • Mapping material-semiotic relations to describe teachers’ professional development
  • Consideration of teacher learning as assemblage, entanglement, or complex system
  • Problematising nonlinguistic forces that influence teachers’ professional growth
  • Non-linear models of development of teaching practice

Submission Guidelines

This international Call for Papers is being made through the journal and its networks.

  • We invite you to submit an initial proposal (see below) which will be reviewed by the Special Issue editors. Only articles with a clear focus on professional learning and development will be considered.
  • A number of proposals will be selected and the authors invited to submit full manuscripts through the ScholarOne system for full blind peer review.
  • Feedback will be made to authors of full manuscripts as per PDiE normal practice.
  • It is expected that final decisions will be made by summer 2020.

 Outline of proposal

Please provide an overview indicating:

  • The proposed title of the article
  • The name(s) and institution(s) of all contributing authors with the contact author clearly indicated
  • The Email address of the lead author
  • An abstract of maximum 250 words summarising the scope of the article including the ways in which the article will engage with a complex, non-linear perspective to think differently about teacher learning and practice.

Further details (maximum 500 words) setting out:

  • the geographical context of the study and any relevant issues relating to this (national education policy etc). The significance of the study, topic, its currency and relevance to the area of teacher learning and practice, the type of study, and its significance, i.e. for theory, policy or practice.

Please indicate clearly that this proposal relates to the PDiE Special Issue on Non-Linear Perspectives on Teacher Learning and Practice.



December 15th, 2019 - receipt of initial proposals. Invitations to submit a full article for review will be made as soon as possible after the receipt of the proposal.

May 1st, 2020 - receipt of submitted articles for peer review

July 15th, 2020 - peer review completed and author feedback sent requesting amendments where appropriate.

October 15, 2020 - final articles sent for proofing and typesetting.

November 1st 2020 – publication of the Special Issue on line.

May 2021 – publication of the Special Issue in paper form.


Proposals and questions relating to the journal Professional Development in Education should be submitted by email to Professor Ken Jones, Chair of the Editorial Board, PDiE (kenjonespdie@gmail.com).

Please refer to the instructions for authors on the journal website for more detailed information.

Submit Your Manuscript

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