One Classroom at a Time? Teacher Isolation and Community Viewed Through the Prism of the Particular
by Alex D. M. Pomson - 2005
In recent years a research literature has developed which increasingly problematizes the project to construct professional community in schools. This case-based literature explores the messy complexities of teacher cooperation and collaboration. It points to the human, cultural, and political dimensions in schools that prevent changes in the organizational conditions of teachers' work from achieving their anticipated outcomes. This article deepens this vein of research by examining the experiences of those who work in a school system where, because of its governance and curriculum organization, teachers must work in a professional environment which provides few opportunities for isolation or privacy. Drawing on a series of narrative inquiries into the work and lives of Jewish day school teachers, the article helps clarify different impulses behind the search for teacher community: those that derive from professional concerns, such as the goal to improve student achievement, and those that derive from personal concerns, such as the desire to belong or to experience fellowship in the workplace. In its final section, the article brings into view sources of teachers' ambivalence about collaboration often overlooked in the school reform literature.
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