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Networking for Teacher Learning: Toward a Theory of Effective Design


by Joseph P. McDonald & Emily J. Klein ó 2003

This article focuses on one theory of school reform that seeks to counteract insularity among teachers with respect to questions of what to teach and how. It networks teachers across schools and gives them access to outside expertise in their content areas. In this approach teacher learning happens within a series of face-to-face and virtual meetings, sometimes over many years. In this article, we focus on teacher networking and, more specifically, on how teacher networks design for teacher learning. By describing several dynamic tensions inherent in the designs of a sample of teacher networks, and by raising questions about these tensions and their relation to teacher learning, we hope to contribute toward the building of a theory of effective network design. We illustrate these design concepts with references to the work of seven networks that aim to revamp teachers' knowledge in the humanities. In the final section of the article, we offer several sets of questions that derive from our analysis and that might form the basis for further research.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 8, 2003, p. 1606-1621
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11558, Date Accessed: 12/14/2017 7:52:15 PM

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About the Author
  • Joseph McDonald
    New York University
    E-mail Author
    JOSEPH P. McDONALD is Professor of Teaching and Learning at the Steinhardt School of Education, New York University. His research interests include the policies and practices of school reform, the deep dynamics of teaching, and school design. McDonald has led several major studies of school reform, including a current study of one effort to scale up a design for small high schools. His most recent book is The Power of Protocols: An Educatorís Guide to Better Practice (Teachers College Press, 2003), with Nancy Mohr, Alan Dichter, and Beth McDonald. He is also the coauthor of School Reform Behind the Scenes (Teachers College Press, 1999) and the author of Redesigning School (Jossey-Bass, 1996) and Teaching: Making Sense of an Uncertain Craft (Teachers College Press, 1992).
  • Emily Klein
    New York University
    E-mail Author
    EMILY KLEIN is a former New York City public school teacher and doctoral candidate in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the Steinhardt School of Education, New York University. Her research interests include professional development for teachers around content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge and teacher learning communities. She is currently conducting research for a study led by Joseph McDonald on the expansion of a design for small high schools. She has published articles in Social Education and for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
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