Original Research

Webs of development: Professional networks as spaces for learning

Kenneth Ngcoza, Sue Southwood
Pythagoras | Vol 40, No 1 | a409 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v40i1.409 | © 2019 Kenneth Ngcoza, Sue Southwood | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2017 | Published: 27 June 2019

About the author(s)

Kenneth Ngcoza, Department of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Sue Southwood, Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa


This article is the result of a professional collaboration between two educationists (working originally in the fields of mathematics and science education), who share a passion for exploring collaborative approaches to the professional development of educators. It extends ideas explored in earlier work by focusing on the concept of professional networks as ‘webs of development’, and identifying fundamental ‘threads’ holding a range of different professionals working together in complex spaces of development. The article offers a framework juxtaposing aspects emerging from different research projects, which attempts to hold the complexity around engagement in spaces of development. The framework acknowledges and attempts to capture a sense of the joint responsibility of different professionals involved in the arena of education while conceptual threads of engagement are regarded as weaving through: connectivity, collaboration, negotiation, dialogue and appreciation. Such ideas are presented as a stellar framework for potential research in the future, offering an holistic, learning-focused approach to the concept of professional networks as ‘webs of development’. We offer this theoretical article as an invitation for collegial engagement and dialogue – a potential space for learning.


development; learning; professional networks; space; community


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