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Professional Communities and the Work of High School Teaching

reviewed by Diane Wood - 2003

coverTitle: Professional Communities and the Work of High School Teaching
Author(s): Joan E. Talbert and Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, Chicago
ISBN: 0226500713, Pages: 192, Year: 2001
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High schools cannot change if the teachers in them won’t.  On that premise, most proponents of high school reform agree.  McLaughlin and Talbert, however, make a significant contribution to this argument with their quantitative and qualitative study of the nested contexts that influence teachers’ work.  By describing in detail the interrelated institutional and social contexts that acculturate teachers, their book succeeds in explaining just how complex an undertaking it is to promote teacher change, especially in high schools. It is far too simplistic, they argue, to expect teachers to do things differently  without attending to their relationships to colleagues, school and district leaders, institutional conditions, and mandated policies.  The best hope for changing high schools, they conclude, is to support teachers in creating and sustaining professional learning communities with shared commitments to career-long professional learning for the sake of all students’ learning. The authors begin by arguing that the increasing diversity in student populations and rapidly shifting economic conditions account for both the reasons why change is so important and the... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 1, 2003, p. 176-178
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10915, Date Accessed: 8/7/2020 12:28:38 AM

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About the Author
  • Diane Wood
    University of Southern Maine
    E-mail Author
    Diane R. Wood is Assistant Professor in the Professional Education Department at the University of Southern Maine. She has just completed a book with Ann Lieberman entitled Inside the National Writing Project to be published by Teachers College Press (2002). Her articles have appeared in Harvard Educational Review, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, and the International Journal of Leadership in Education. She is co-editor of and contributor to Transforming Teacher Education: Lessons in Professional Development (Bergin & Garvey, 2001).
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