Teacher Lore and Professional Development for School Reform

Teacher Lore and Professional Development for School Reform

Teacher Lore and Professional Development for School Reform

Teacher Lore and Professional Development for School Reform

Synopsis

The power of teacher lore--the stories of teachers and students in the classroom--is the starting place for real reform in education. This book begins with a careful explanation of the history and theoretical foundation that shape the context for teacher lore. A rich collection follows of stories by teachers nationwide--kindergarten through college--in a variety of disciplines. Each story concludes with the author's reflection on important issues imbedded in the writing connected to the daily challenges of teaching. The authors apply teacher lore to current theories and research on change and staff development, include strategies for using teacher lore in professional development, conclude with suggestions for further readings and study.

Excerpt

The vocation of teaching does not offer security, stability, or comfort; it offers adventure, an invitation to remain open and vulnerable, and occasions to reshape and recompose the story of our life. (Huebner, 1987, p. 21)

School reform in America is as old as schools. Still, the rate of change, the political rhetoric of crisis, and the proliferation of movements and panaceas have increased dramatically in the last half of the twentieth century. Just since we began teaching 25 years ago, we have been through Back to Basics, A Nation at Risk, career ladders, Outcomes Based Education, Effective Teaching, Total Quality Management, and numerous other programs and policy pronouncements. Reform topics have varied from curriculum to dress codes, from block scheduling to state competency testing. Whatever the concern, however, teachers clearly lie at the heart of any genuine and ongoing school improvement. Although many factors affect ultimate educational outcomes, the quality of schooling depends on what goes on in the classroom with children and teachers. Thus, the focus of much reform discussion has shifted to professional development. In 1994, for example, "teacher education and professional development" was added to the original six National Education Goals. States have increased their focus on professional development, as well. America's classrooms now are more diverse, the family is tremendously altered, technology changes daily, and Americans expect more of their schools. Given the growing pressures, expectations, and changes facing teachers in the twenty-first century, not to mention the call for ongoing school improvement, successful teachers need more support and better educational opportunities than ever before.

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