Collaborating with peers and experts to explore professional dilemmas

In-service trainee educators learning about personal dilemmas from other perspectives, including those of peers and experts.



This PLU is designed for experienced in-service teachers undergoing professional learning, but could be adapted to meet the needs of beginner or intending educators. 

Learning goals

  • To encourage consideration of different perspectives on personal and professional dilemmas
  • To allow teachers to consider cross-institutional and cross-country perspectives on issues and challenges to support reflection on their own dilemmas
  • To support the development of skills for online learning and collaboration
  • To encourage participants to develop expertise and confidence in areas of practice which require innovative solutions to address change

Learning fields

  • Reflection for professional learning
  • Blended learning
  • Peer collaboration
  • Online Communication
  • Intercultural and interprofessional competencies 
  • Digital practice

Learning path (please see additional notes below for suggested adaptations)

  • Introduction to the activity by tutors – explaining the overall process, intended outcomes and individual and group commitment required
  • Individual participants engage in tutor-led activities to identify dilemmas in their own practice
  • Thematic groups are created where there are similarities between dilemmas. These groups engage in discussion and group members support each other to investigate literature and policy related to their theme and personal dilemmas
  • Participants engage in peer observation with colleagues to explore and discuss their professional dilemmas from interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Participants view short video/podcast contributions provided by international experts, which discuss dilemmas and issues in the experts’ contexts
  • Thematic groups meet synchronously online with other groups with similar interests (this may include groups from different institutions).  Discussion is focused on specific dilemmas or issues. Meetings should produce questions on dilemmas for the international experts. These group meetings are recorded and made available to allow those who are unable to attend to review the discussions.
  • At a plenary live online ‘Question and Answer’ session group representatives ask their questions to the international expert panel. This live event is recorded and made available to allow those who are unable to attend to review the discussions. 
  • At follow up local events participants and thematic groups reflect on how their learning from engagement with a range of different perspectives can inform a new or revised approach to their personal dilemma. 

Learning methods

  • Tutor-led activities
  • Individual research and reflection
  • Peer discussion and collaboration
  • Peer observation
  • Video/podcasts
  • Live online discussion with peers and experts

Learning environment

  • Local group discussions – face to face or online, 
  • Institutional or participant-selected tools to support group collaboration (e.g. file exchange capabilities, web conferencing, social media)
  • Peer observations
  • Online tools for sharing videos/podcasts (e.g. Institutional VLE) and hosting and recording live online discussions (e.g. Collaborate, Adobe, MS Teams)

People involved

  • In-service trainee educators
  • International experts (e.g. experienced teachers in similar contexts, or teacher educators from other countries)
  • Teacher educators (Tutors/Facilitators)

Indicators of success/impact

  • Engagement in activities and with recordings of live events (e.g. from platform statistics)
  • Evidence of consideration of different perspectives in reflective discussions and assignment tasks
  • Evidence of increased confidence or a developing voice in local decision making (e.g. participants joining key committees, or sharing expertise with other peers and colleagues)
  • Feedback from participants, experts and teacher educators

Time needed

This activity needs to take place over an extended period to allow for an introduction to the process by tutors, for individual articulation of dilemmas and initial research, group meetings and collaborative activities (including peer observation), preparation for online meetings, and follow up reflection. Extending the activity over a couple of months should allow time for all activities to take place.

Notes and adaptations

  • An alternative to using participants’ own dilemmas would be to provide specific dilemmas (for example those from the PROMISE project) for individuals or groups to explore. This would be a useful adaptation for trainees with limited professional experience.
  • PROMISE vignettes and tools could be used during the introductory session, to 1) provide examples and models and 2) to support initial group collaboration.
  • Peer observation is an optional step, and may need to be omitted if circumstances make this difficult. It is a useful activity to help reinforce the general nature of most dilemmas and provide other perspectives on issues and options. Videos of practice created by participants may provide an alternative resource for interdisciplinary discussion.
  • Experts could be selected for their international or inter-professional expertise. For example, a manager, external service provider, or other related professional would provide useful alternatives to international perspectives. 
  • Experts could be asked to provide their own comments on specific PROMISE vignettes within their video/podcast contributions, or to provide some of their own dilemmas for groups to discuss prior to the Q&A session.
  • The online sessions can be scheduled to take place on the same day. One option is to schedule for 45 mins thematic group discussion, 15 mins break, 60 minutes expert Q&A session.
  • An extension to the activity would be to include participants from different international contexts, either in separate groups for each international context, or as part of culturally mixed groups.