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Developing Learning Communities Through Teacher Expertise

Developing Learning Communities Through Teacher Expertise

January 2004 | 128 pages | Corwin
The author presents "internal capacity building" as an alternative to external professional development: "Not having to turn to expensive outside experts all the time is, in the long run, cost saving to the school as well as a means to develop a large group of teacher experts." Using case studies that include practical applications and ideas, the author analyzes four approaches to building capacity: standards-based design, professional portfolios, action research, and learning communities. "Independently, these are powerful methods for individual and collaborative professional development. Together, they are synergistic forces that can produce significant organizational change."

About the Author
1. Learning Communities
What Are Learning Communities?

Why Are They Important?

What Do Learning Communities Do? What do They Require to Function?

What Gets in the Way of the Development of Learning Communities?

What Can We Do to Support Learning Communities?

Possible Questions for the Reader

Recommended Books on Learning Communities

2. Standards-Based Curriculum and Assessment Design
What Does It Take to Develop a Standards-Based, Learner-Centered Unit?

How Do We Help Teachers Develop High-Quality Standards-Based Units?

Possible Questions for the Reader

Recommended Books on Standards-Based Curriculum and Assessment Design

3. Data-Driven Inquiry and Action Research
Three Examples of Inquiry

How Can Schools Support Individual, Collaborative, and School-Based Research?

Possible Questions for the Reader

Recommended Books on Action Research and Use of Data

4. Professional Portfolios
What Do Professional Portfolios Include?

Understanding and Use of Standards-Based and Learner-Centered Curriculum and Assessment

Use of Reflection and Data to Improve One's Practice

How Are Professional Portfolios Organized?

How Can Schools Begin to Support the Development and Use of Professional Portfolios?

Possible Questions for the Reader

Recommended Books on Portfolios

5. Developing an Action Plan
Identification of Internal Expertise

Assessment of Needs

Brokering of Relationships Among Teachers

Curriculum and Assessment Design Work

Inquiry and Analysis Work

Professional Portfolio Work

Appendix A: Description of CSETL and Its Mission
Appendix B: Unit Design Template
Appendix C: Application to Become a CSETL Fellow
Appendix D: Professional Portfolio Rubric

"There are many books on the market covering school improvement and teachers as experts as well as staff development; however, this book is concise, provides excellent templates, and is backed by real experiences and expertise."

Suzanne C. Fonoti, Principal
Flagstaff Arizona Unified School District

"No book I have read in the past ten years has made clearer to me the difference between what I am doing as a professional developer and what I should be doing. It is so unremittingly honest about the difficulty of our work, and yet so rich in practical examples that I cannot help but feel inspired to move forward and change the way I teach and learn with teachers."

Richard W. Strong, Vice President
Silver Strong & Associates, LLC

"This book will benefit all teachers who are interested in professional growth and development, even if their schools might not yet be considered 'larning organizations.' One committed teacher could spark interest in developing a learning community that would enrich the entire school, and this book provides a basic introduction to that process."

NSTA Recommends, November 2004

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