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Developing Communities of Instructional Practice


by Jonathan Supovitz — 2002

Many reforms today—including the small schools movement, efforts to build small learning communities, and teacher teaming structures—are based on the theory that organizing schools into smaller educational environments will help to build more collaborative and collegial communities of teachers, providing them with the autonomy and motivation to make better curricular and pedagogical decisions in the interests of their students and therefore improving student learning. Using multiple sources of data from a 4-year evaluation of a team-based schooling initiative in a medium-sized urban district, this study tests many of the assumptions underlying this theory. The results suggest that although these types of organizational reforms may succeed in improving the culture within which teachers teach, they alone are unlikely to improve instruction and student learning. The communities that develop are often not communities engaged in instructional improvement. For teacher communities to focus on instructional improvement, the author argues that communities need organizational structures, cultures of instructional exploration, and ongoing professional learning opportunities to support sustained inquiries into improving teaching and learning.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 8, 2002, p. 1591-1626
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11042, Date Accessed: 10/18/2017 5:26:42 AM

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