Analysis of Teacher Community

Principal Investigators

Pam Grossman, Stanford University
Sam Wineburg, University of Washington

Overview

These analyses drew from a project supported by the James E. McDonnell and Spencer foundations and were carried out in conjunction with the National Research & Development Center on English Learning & Achievement. The project explored the development of teacher community in an urban high school across a two and a half year period. To do so, the project brought together 22 English and social studies teachers, a special education teacher, an ESL teacher, and university facilitators twice a month to participate in joint readings and discussion of history and literature texts and to plan interdisciplinary curriculum. The work of these teachers was documented in various ways through participant observation, interviews, and other means that tracked the participants thinking and collaborative dynamics over time. Analyses done under the aegis of CTP explored the meaning of teacher community, the dynamics of community formation, and the ways in which participants managed the conflicts and tensions associated with diversity of purpose, background, and subject matter identity.

Main Research Questions

  • What are some of the indicators of "professional community" among teachers? How do such communities develop over time? And what unique challenges confront professional communities that are situated in the workplace of high schools?
  • How do professional communities for teachers provide opportunities for learning more about both subject matter and about teaching? How can professional development maintain a productive tension between the need for teachers to continue their own learning within their disciplines and the need for teachers to focus on the improvement of student learning?
  • How can diverse perspectives be maintained and respected in community-building efforts?

Method

Interview data, joint book discussions

Status

Research Completed

Publications


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