Changing Classroom Practices through Teacher Networks: Matching Program Features with Teacher Characteristics and Circumstances
by James R. Pennell & William A. Firestone — 1996
Teacher networks are a recent innovation in professional development that are being used in California and Vermont to support state policy initiatives. Our analysis relies on interviews, observations, and document analysis to identify how teachers?program experiences are affected by the fit between their backgrounds and program goals and methods. Drawing on insights from symbolic interactionist and social movements theory, we treat the teacher networks in these states as professional-area movement organizations sharing the common goal of changing instruction in a constructivist direction. First, we describe the common goals of the programs in both states. Then we describe key features of the network programs and their different policy environments. Finally, we identify how teachers?beliefs, background experiences, social influences, and contextual circumstances can color their program experiences and willingness to make changes in classroom instruction.
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