The Art and Science of How People Learn - Revised Edition
Edited By Greg S. Goodman
33. Open Lessons: A Practice to Develop a Learning Community for Teachers
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A Practice to Develop a Learning Community for Teachers
Jianping Shen, Jinzhou Zheng, & Sue Poppink
Interest in improving the quality of professional development in this age of educational reform has intensified (Little, 1993) as a growing body of research suggests that teaching practices matter in terms of student achievement (Stronge, 2002). Based upon strong empirical evidence, many researchers have argued for embedding professional development in the context of teachers’ work in order to transform both teaching practices and the structures and cultures of schools in which teachers practice (Darling-Hammond, 1994; Grossman, Wineburg, and Woolworth, 2001; Holmes Group, 1990). Consequently, fundamental structural changes in conceptualizing professional development are necessary so that teachers can develop these new and innovative teaching practices.
Promoting this type of professional development will not be easy for several reasons. Teaching is tremendously complex work (Cohen, 1989) and classrooms are complex social organizations ( Jackson, 1968). In addition, teaching practices are difficult to change (Cohen, 1990; Shen and Ma, 2006): they require both learning and unlearning by practitioners (Cohen and Ball, 1990; Shen 1994, 2002). Beyond that, both the culture and structure of schools mitigate against changes in teaching (Little, 1990; Lortie, 1975; Sarason, 1982).
Grossman, Wineburg, and Woolworth (2001) developed a set of markers to guide the formation of a workplace-based professional community. To identify issues that should be addressed when attempting to change teaching practice...
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