This paper is a commentary on the special issue on teacher research.
An evaluation of a two-year professional development project for mathematics and science teachers in grades 6, 7, and 8 that blended face-to-face workshops with online sessions.
Accounts of teaching experience punctuate teachers’ talk with one another in a range of workplace contexts: in staffroom or hallway encounters, regularly scheduled meetings of one sort or another, professional development events, and increasingly, activities focused on reviews of school assessment data or samples of student work. Such accounts, whether in the form of passing references or extended narratives, form a pervasive feature of professional interaction. Yet in studies that now span several decades, scholars offer quite mixed assessments of them: what they convey of teachers’ knowledge; what they signify regarding teachers’ beliefs about and dispositions toward students, parents, and colleagues; how they function in shaping or changing the norms of professional discourse; and what they offer as resources for problem solving and innovation.
In this chapter, we intentionally focus on teacher development as a collective and organizational issue. In doing so, we do not wish to imply that a focus on the development of individual teachers or the development of the teaching profession is misplaced. It is not. In addition, by taking an organizational perspective, we do not mean to suggest that individual, organizational, and profession-level perspectives are mutually exclusive. Rather, they should be seen as “mutually constructive” (Horn, personal communication, April 25, 2004). Indeed, it is our hope that by emphasizing collective organizational issues, we will promote future thinking and practice that see teacher development as an interactive system of individual and collective, organizational growth.
To trace the evolution of teachers as learners, we examine past and current staff development practices in light of our new vision of profession development, in which teachers’ knowledge-seeking goals are valued and supported and their work affords them opportunities to achieve their goals. We seek to understand the differences between staff development opportunities typically offered to “schools of teachers” and learning opportunities that situate teaching in a broader professional context. First, we describe these different orientations toward teacher professional development and illustrate them with examples of past and current practices. Next, we examine the theories of learning and teacher knowledge that may explain these differences. Finally, we review promising new practices such as teacher research in which teachers work together within and across schools to contribute to the professional knowledge base and the improvement of the teaching profession.
This article describes the collaborative work of three teachers, two Arab and one Jewish, as they taught first grade together in a then new bilingual/bicultural school in Israel.
Croom’s article "Are There Any Questions?" addresses the importance of teachers’ questions, but it contains several flaws. This commentary argues that the synergy resulting from using multiple teacher behaviors in concert is necessary for diagnosing and promoting student understanding.
Drawing on the wisdom of practice of 37 experienced teacher induction leaders and case studies of mentor/new teacher pairs, this study found that mentors can interrupt that tendency among new teachers, focusing them on the learning of individual students, especially those underperforming.
Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data collected over a 5-year period, we argue that in troubled urban school districts, teacher buy-in to curricular reform is best achieved when change agents adapt their program to the daily needs and problems of classroom teachers.
This study examines the policy mechanisms and processes that districts can use to provide high-quality in-service professional development for teachers. The findings are based on a national probability sample of district professional development coordinators.
This article focuses on how a statewide reform initiative, when envisioned as a professional development opportunity, impacted teachers’ capacities to become change agents in their classrooms and districts and how individual district contexts shaped the development of those capacities.
This paper investigates school district officials' theories about teacher learning and change.
The authors use their experience with a professional development project to propose a model of teacher community in the workplace.
The authors challenge the conclusions of the National Commission for Teaching and America’s Future and argue that the research literature offers far less support for the Commission’s recommendations than is claimed.
Using interviews and qualitative methods, this article examines the rhetorical difficulties that candidates experience in applying for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification.
The authors respond to criticism by Linda Darling-Hammond of their previous article that challenges the conclusions of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.
This article uses a five-year retrospective approach to examine the effect involvement with professional development schools (PDSs) has had on the way colleges or universities prepare teachers.
This article is essentially an autobiographical reflection on forty years of teaching. It
makes use of various accounts of schooling and teacher education practice, placing
against them some of my experience and questions.
This article illustrates how Tao Xingzhi, a former student of John Dewey at Columbia University and a most prominent figure in the modern Chinese history of education, boldly experimented with Dewey’s philosophy in Chinese teacher education.
An examination of teacher reform networks in California and Vermont.
Time for teachers cannot be readily constructed and scheduled by reformers. Teachers need to construct their own time. This article examines different kinds of time for teachers, arguing that much of school reform will fail if it ignores the multiple constructs, boundaries, rhythms, and patterns of time for teachers.
The teacher development project described in this article reveals ways in which the social consequences of poverty and racial marginalization may be crucial to the outcomes of educational reform in inner-city schools. The study demonstrates that educational reform can be affected by the economic, political, and cultural context of which a school is in large part a product. The author addresses the consequences of this educational embeddedness for school reform, and suggests that in order to create good schools in the inner cities, educational reform must be accompanied by other, more fundamental social changes.
In this chapter teacher inquiry refers to an individual or a group of
teachers being systematically thoughtful about their teaching,
students, and/ or contexts. Teacher inquiry may or may not include
formal gathering and analysis of data and writing for publication.
Presents narratives on beginning teachers and their experiences. They describe a complex interplay between self-discovery and explorations of individual students and subject matter.
Strategies for enhancing the quality of instruction at the university level
This article focuses on professional practice schools as contexts for the continuing professional development of experienced inservice teachers. A framework for developing a culture of inquiry in a school is provided, appropriate professional growth activities are considered, and problems and dilemmas associated with teacher development in professional practice schools are discussed.
This article examines factors which contribute to the development of professional thinking in the helping professions, including teaching.
This article describes some maxims derived from recent theory in learning and instruction and from reflection on excellent practice, explaining and illustrating them using examples from a successful literacy training program, Reading Recovery.
This article argues that a blend of scientific and personal knowledge is essential for sound professional practice in early childhood education. The need for empathy, subjective understanding, compassion, feeling, and self-knowledge is emphasized and implications for teacher education discussed.