Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
Arizona State University
University of South Florida
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Tempe, Ariz
Tampa, Fla
Arizona State University
University of South Florida.
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Education -- Research -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
serial ( sobekcm )


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Includes EPAA commentary.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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E11-00063 ( USFLDC DOI )
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 4, no. 14 (August 27, 1996).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c August 27, 1996
Includes EPAA commentary.
Actual schools, possible practices : new directions in professional development / Rebecca Novick.
x Research
v Periodicals.
2 710
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
1 773
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
4 856

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1 of 17 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 4 Number 14August 27, 1996ISSN 1068-2341A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal. Editor: Gene V Glass,Glass@ASU.EDU. College of Educ ation, Arizona State University,Tempe AZ 85287-2411 Copyright 1996, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES.Permission is hereby granted to copy any a rticle provided that EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES is credited and copies are not sold.Actual Schools, Possible Practices: New Directions In Professional Development Rebecca Novick Northwest Regional Educational Abstract There is increasing recognition that school reform and staff development are integrally related. Yet, despite a rich literature on adult le arning and human development which supports teachers' need for a wide array of opportunities to construct their own understandings and theories in a collaborative setting, top down manda tes have frequently left teachers out of the reform process. It is argued here that effective st aff development should be tied directly to the daily life of classroom and grounded in the questio ns and concerns of teachers. Both a theory of pedagogy that advocates teaching for understanding and learning as understanding and a model of staff development based on practical knowledge e nriched by critical reflection are discussed. Education is about learning how to deal with uncert ainty and ambiguity. It is about learning how to savor the journey. It is about inqu iry and deliberation. It is about becoming critically minded and intellectually curious, and i t is about learning how to frame and pursue your own educational aims. It is not about regaining our competitive edge (Eisner, 1992). Ever since the authors of A Nation at Risk (1983) warned that a rising tide of mediocrity in our educational system was compromising our nation' s ability to be competitive in the world economy, education reform or restructuring has been proposed, not only to improve schooling, but as the solution to our nation's ills. Yet there is considerable agreement that these sometimes conflicting waves of reform have produced disappoin ting results (Clark & Astuto, 1994; Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995). And although i t is commonsensical that good schools need excellent teachers, teachers have often been e xcluded from the process, both of planning reforms and the professional development opportunit ies necessary to implement them (Lieberman, 1995). As early as 1957, the National S ociety for the Study of Education recommended that schools and entire staffs become c ollaborators in providing inservice


2 of 17education. However, Sykes (1995 ) points out that o ver 40 years later, "teachers are frequently the targets of reform, but they exert relatively li ttle control over professional development" (p. 465). In the 1988 Annual Report of the Carnegie Endowment for th e Advancement of Teaching (Boyer, 1988), Boyer reported that morale within th e teaching profession had substantially declined since the publication of A Nation at Risk that in fact, teachers were "demoralized and largely unimpressed" by the reform actions taken in the previous five years. Since that time, the tension between old and new waves of reform (Hargre aves, 1994) and the "policy collisions" between them (Darling-Hammond, 1990) have, in Darli ng-Hammond's words, sometimes "created an Alice in Wonderland world in which peop le ultimately begin to nod blithely at the inevitability of incompatible events" (p. 344). In such a climate of confusion and contradiction, and with little input into the reform process, it i s not surprising that many teachers have opted to close the classroom door and wait for it all to go away. Recently, however, there has been increasing recogn ition that teachers and teachers' knowledge gained from and embedded in their everyda y work with children should be at the center of reform efforts and professional developme nt activities (Darling-Hammond, 1994; Lieberman, 1995). It is that model of professional development which is advocated in this paper. At the heart of the dialogue regarding school refor m and professional development are questions regarding the nature of learning and the purposes o f schooling. In the next section, these questions are explored.Learning In Our Nation's Schools: Simple-Minded or Muddle-Headed? Legend has it that during a heated philosophical ar gument, Bertrand Russell announced to his protagonist and teacher, Alfred North Whitehead "This issue cannot be resolved. The problem is that I am simple-minded and you are mudd le-headed." In many ways, the dialogue over school reform and the role of teachers in such reform has reflected this dilemma. Our educational system has drawn heavily on theorie s of behaviorism and the scientific management ideas of Frederick Taylor. The positivis t assumptions of objectivity, rationality, efficiency, and accountability have exerted a stron g influence on our curriculum, assessment, and classroom climate. Skills are regarded as the sum o f their component parts, often taught directly and practiced in isolation from their use before be ing brought back to the whole (Crawford, 1995). In the "transmission" or behaviorist approac h to education, the teacher's job is the direct instruction of information and rules. Implicit in this view is the image of the learner a s passive, a vessel to be filled with knowledge by the teacher. Because our educational s ystem frequently reflects the assumption of hierarchical intelligence (Darling-Hammond, 1994) i n which, as Meier (1995) notes, the top does the critical intellectual work and the bottom is le ft with doing the daily 'nuts and bolts' or 'how-to (p. 369), teachers are often viewed as technicians, purveyors of a "canned curriculum" provided by a very powerful knowledge industry (Goodman, 199 4). In the best tradition of scientific management, the classroom has been frequently portr ayed as a factory and children regarded as products to be produced as efficiently and systemat ically as possible. Interacting with and complementary to this approach is a psychometric philosophy of education, which posits that the learner possesses measurable abilities; individual differences in performance are regarded as reflecting differences in amount of ability (Elkind, 1991). In a psychometric approach, education is seen as imparti ng quantifiable knowledge and skills which can be measured objectively on standardized tests. Answers are either right or wrong. and subjects are autonomous, with each discipline posse ssing its own scope and sequence of skills. Learning is viewed from this very linear perspectiv e, "much like a train racing along a railroad


3 of 17track" (Wills, 1995). The course is predetermined and no detours are allo wed. The only variable is the speed by which the journey is made. An unusually quick trip denotes a child whose learning ability is above grade level; an on-time arrival denotes a chi ld at grade-level. All educators are familiar with the many labels for those who arrive late. Of course, many of those late arrivals never complete the trip, eventually choosing to jump from the train (p. 262). Development as the Aim of Education Over the last half century, research from a variety of disciplines has provided support for other approaches to education that are responsive t o how children learn and develop. Variously referred to as "teaching for understanding" (Cohen, McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993), culturalism (Bruner, 1996), developmentally appropriate practic es (Bredekamp, 1987; Bowman, 1994), and the transactional model (Weaver, cited in Braunger, 1995), these approaches draw on the theories of Piaget, Dewey, and Bruner, and Vygotsky. Representing the disciplines of education, cultural anthropology, and psychology, these theorists propose an integrated, holistic approach in which learning is viewed as an active process, driven by the innate need of children to m ake meaning of their experiences. Children, rather than receiving meaning from expert adults, c onstruct and negotiate knowledge and understanding through interaction with the social a nd physical environment. Thus, learning is regarded as a process, the personal discovery of th e learner of the meaning of events for him or her. Each new discovery changes or refines prior kn owledge, building a complex network of interconnected concepts (Kostelnik, 1992). Young children, in particular, need to establish a rich, solid conceptual base from which all future learning will proceed (Kostelnik, 1992). Suc h a base enables children to make sense of their experience by forming connections between wha t they know and understand and the knowledge and concepts encountered in the new envir onment. Without this base, learning facts and isolated skills may resemble nonsense-syllable learning, often quickly mastered and just as quickly forgotten. Early childhood educators are co ncerned that children have the capacity and opportunities to use their knowledge and skills wit hin the context of meaningful activities, both inside and outside the classroom. As Doris Lessing has observed, true learning is understanding something on deeper and deeper levels. Although followers of Piaget have emphasized the ch ild's individual construction of knowledge, due to increasing attention to Vygotsky' s theoretical framework, educators are beginning to understand that "making sense" is a pr ofoundly social process, one in which culture and individual development are mutually embedded (B owman & Stott, 1994). Because the child is viewed as intrinsically motivated, self-directed and actively involved in the learning process, the role of the teacher, rather than dispenser of i nformation, has been described as a planner of possibilities, a guide, ethnologist, researcher, an d co-constructor of knowledge (Malaguzzi, 1994; Phillips, 1993). In this view, although "teaching as telling" (Liebe rman, 1995; Meier, 1995) is still a part of the educational process, it is only a part. As Brun er (1996) observes, "Even if we are the only species that 'teaches deliberately' and 'out of the context of use,' this does not mean that we should convert this evolutionary step into a fetish (p. 22). Rather, learning is regarded as an adventure in which both teacher and children are en gaged in joint inquiry, with teachers facilitating children's learning through "posing qu estions, challenging students' thinking, and leading them in examining ideas and relationships" (Cohen, McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993, p. 1). Children are encouraged to learn from and with each other in classrooms and schools that help children learn, in Eisner's words (1991), "to devel op an ethic of caring and create a community that cares."


4 of 17Dangerous Dichotomies While behaviorist approaches are characterized by t eacher-controlled learning, instructional technology, quantifiable predetermine d outcomes, and predictability, the transactional philosophy is characterized by follow ing the child's lead, a "constant interchange of thoughts and ideas" (Kostelnik, 1992) and ambiguity According to Elkind (1991), "The developmental approach tries to create students who want to know, whereas the psychometric approach seeks to produce students who know what we want" (p.9). Polarized in this way, the dichotomies between trad itional educational approaches and transactional approaches seem clear: product versus process, skill versus meaning, objectivity versus subjectivity, a passive versus an active lea rner, parts versus wholes, simplicity versus complexity, and accountability versus fuzzy-mindedn ess. In short, to return to Russell and Whitehead's argument, often the debate can be seen as offering a choice between being simple-minded and muddle-headed. The reality, of course, is more complex. If educati on was originally instituted to meet the needs of the work place for a well-disciplined, hom ogeneous, semi-literate work force to "man" the factories and assembly lines, the employee of t he twenty-first century, will be expected to be adept at finding, using, and making sense of inform ation, problem-solving, thinking critically and imaginatively, resolving conflict, and understandin g diversity. Clearly, in order to "produce" such a citizen and worker, skills and meaning, process a nd product, and parts and wholes are essential to the learning process. Students must be able to r ead, understand, and enjoy literature; be adept at solving math problems, and develop a positive at titude toward math, work collaboratively to solve problems and develop caring relationships. Teaching, then, addresses all four components of le arning identified by Katz (1988): knowledge, skills, dispositions, and feelings. The role of teachers, rather than as purveyors of a canned curriculum, is to start where the learner is helping the learner to build new knowledge and understandings. When students are encouraged to ask meaningful questions and formulate alternative solutions, appreciate multiple viewpoin ts, and develop multiple intelligences, a certain amount of uncertainty and ambiguity are not only inevitable, but necessary for good teaching. A major goal of staff development activit ies must be to help teachers find their own balance between "coverage and making sense of thing s" (Meier, 1995), between getting children ready for next year" and encouraging what Malaguzzi (1994) refers to as "the hundred languages of children." Yet, as Tyack and Tobin (1993) point out, our idea of a "real school" is remarkably resistant to change. The literature on school refor m has focused on two issues in particular which challenge educators' ability to make education resp onsive to the needs of children and their families: evaluation practices and the marketplace metaphor of schooling (Eisner, 1992). Evaluation practices. The belief that our faltering educational system i s putting our nation at risk economically has gained popular appeal, res ulting in the promotion of national and/or state standards and assessments as a means for impr oving curriculum and student performance in school. A number of educators and researchers, howe ver, have raised serious concerns about "top-down specifications of content linked to tests (Darling-Hammond, 1994, p. 478). For example, many educators argue that such attempts to "stamp a uniform education" (Bowman, 1994) on students leaves the learner out, making it hard for him or her to build new knowledge and new understandings (Goodman, 1994; Meier, 1995; Nieto, 1994). A 1992 study by Poplin and Weeres (cited in Nieto, 1994) concluded that st udents became more disengaged as the curriculum, texts, and assignments became more stan dardized. This is particularly true for poor and minority students, who often start out farthest from the standard and for whom "turning standards into simple yardsticks can be devastating (Goodman, 1994, p. 39). As long as our educational system considers coverag e of a prescribed curriculum, mastery


5 of 17of discrete skills, and increase of achievement tes t scores of paramount importance, implementing a "mindful" (Bredekamp & Rosegrant, 19 92) and "thinking" (Darling-Hammond, 1994) curriculum will remain problematic. Teachers striving to implement such a curriculum will often struggle to meet the requirements of two inco mpatible systems based on widely differing philosophies of education. But how do we know that we are meeting valid educat ional goals? Whereas a number of educators are concerned that standards, based on in industrial model of schooling, with an emphasis on uniformity, can be harmful to teaching and learning, well-conceived curriculum standards can be used as "tools for informing curri culum building, teaching practice, and assessment" (Darling-Hammond, 1994, p. 488). Accord ing to Bredekamp & Rosegrant (1995), "well-developed national content standards would be advantageous for at least five reasons. They have the potential to provide the curriculum with i mportant content, conceptual framework, coherence, consistency, and high expectations" (p. 9). Rather than creating a wall around the curriculum, such flexible standards can provide a f ramework for local educators to reflect on and evaluate their own efforts to change their teaching practices to better meet the needs of children and families in their own communities Nation at-risk or children at-risk? Perhaps equally problematic for school reform effo rts is the tension between the concept of education as a means to improve academic performance to make our country more competitive in a global econo my and education as nurturing children's intelligence and ability to make sense of their exp erience. Tyack (1992) describes two current conceptions or versions of educational reform: a "n ation-at-risk" model, or a "children-at-risk" model. In a nation-at-risk model, education is conc eived, in Eisner's words, as "a competitive race, the front lines in our quest for internationa l supremacy" (1991, p. 10). In a children at risk model, rather than increased competition between ch ildren and schools, the goal becomes meeting the health and social needs of an increasin g number of children who are experiencing behavioral, emotional, and learning problems (Tyack 1992). Arguing that schools and communities are adversely affected by nonacademic problems among students and families, proponents of this vie w advocate for schools to establish links with community service providers as an essential compone nt of restructuring schools to meet the needs of children and their families. In addition, schools are encouraged to create caring communities of learners and often, in Garmezy's wor ds, "to serve as a protective shield to help children withstand the multiple vicissitudes that t hey can expect from a stressful world" (Garmezy, 1991). This view is in sharp contrast wit h the "back-to-basics" movement which seeks to reduce a school's purview to the instruction of children in the traditional "3-Rs," with a heavy emphasis on skill acquisition and memorization of f acts. If school reformers are to avoid the pitfalls both of Russell's and Whitehead's arguments and the Alice in Wonderland world described by Darl ing-Hammond (1990) in which conflicting mandates and expectations create confusion and stre ss for teachers and children, professional development activities will need to help teachers b alance the inevitable tension between preparing children for the world of work and viewin g education as lifelong learning and inquiry. To do so requires time for observation, reading, re flection, dialogue with colleagues, and support for these practices at the district, state, and fed eral levels. Wilson and colleagues (1996) note: If visions of reform hold any prospect of influenci ng American schools, new learning will need to occur at multiple levels. Pol icymakers will have to learn, as well as children; teachers, as well as parents. Adm inistrators, curriculum developers, school board members everyone will have to learn (p. 469). Professional Development and School Reform


6 of 17 Researchers on school restructuring have identified a number of commitments and competencies which lead to improved outcomes for ch ildren, including: (a) high expectations for all children (Newmann, 1993; Benard, 1993; Nieto, 1 994); (b) a commitment to learn from and about children, building on the strengths and exper iences which children bring to school (Bowman, 1994; Delpit, 1995; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Meier, 1995); (c) "giving wider choices and more power to those closest to the classrooms" (Meier, 1995, p. 373); (d) working collaboratively with families and the community; an d (e) development of schools as caring communities (Lewis, Schaps, & Watson, 1995; Meier, 1995; Newmann, 1993), defined by Lewis, Schaps & Watson as: "places where teachers a nd students care about and support each other, actively participate in and contribute to ac tivities and decisions, feel a sense of belonging and identification, and have a shared sense of purp ose and common values." But, as Joyce and Calhoun (1995) point out, "if a m ajor dimension of schooling is creating caring communities for children, much less attentio n has been directed at how to develop schools as organizations that nurture the professionals who work within them" (p. 55). Despite a rich literature on adult learning and human development which supports teachers' need for a wide array of opportunities to observe, read, practice, reflect, and work collaboratively with peers, the "one-shot workshop" remains the primary method of p roviding inservice professional development. As Miller (1995) puts it," The old mod el of staff development survives in a world where everything else has changed" (p. 1). Institutions providing training and certification f or teachers do not usually prepare them to create schools where dialogue, reflection, and inqu iry are valued and practiced. Rather, teacher-preparation institutions typically use a mo del in which experts impart technical skills and knowledge to teachers in a context that is divorced from the classroom. Courses are organized according to academic disciplines, with scant atten tion paid to examining the problems of actual practice (Cohen, McLaughlin, and Talbert, 1993; Lit tle, 1993). Not only are practicums and student teaching seldom supervised by the same peop le who teach the courses, but there is little institutionalized support for making the connection s between what it means to understand a subject and how it can be taught and learned (Cohen McLaughlin & Talbert, p. 45). When teacher preparation is based on a transmission mode l of learning, a central dilemma for teachers becomes how to teach in ways one has seldom or neve r experienced (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Little, 1993; Meier, 1995).Inquiry Based Professional Development A new kind of structure and culture is required, co mpatible with the image of "teacher as intellectual" rather than teacher as te chnician. Also required is that educators enjoy the latitude to invent local soluti ons rather than adopt practices thought to be universally effective (Little, 1993). New approaches to professional development have eme rged from the Weberian tradition that emphasizes "verstehen," the interpretative und erstanding of human experience and information (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982). The "interpret ative turn," which began in the last half of the nineteenth century, first expressed itself in d rama and literature, then in history, then in the social sciences and epistemology, and finally in ed ucation (Bruner, 1996). This influence is reflected in the increased appreciation for practic al knowledge enriched by critical reflection. Bruner notes, "The object of interpretation is unde rstanding, not explanation; its instrument is the analysis of text. Understanding is the outcome of o rganizing and contextualizing essentially contestable, incompletely verifiable propositions i n a disciplined way" (p. 90). Teaching for understanding. Proponents of a transactional approach are firmly committed to both teaching for understanding and le arning as understanding. As early as 1967,


7 of 17Schaefer proposed that schools should be centers of inquiry "where faculties continuously examine and improve teaching and learning and where students study not only what they are learning in the curricular sense, but also their ca pacity as learners" (cited in Joyce & Calhoun, 1995, p. 51). If the preferred pedagogical mode of behaviorism is skill and drill, in the transactional approach, collaboration and dialogue provide a large part of children's and teachers' learning opportunities. In such schools, teachers, often in concert with pa rents and children, engage in inquiry into curriculum, instruction, and assessment in efforts to improve teaching and children's outcomes. As teachers collaborate to develop and evaluate new practices, such as authentic assessment, a literacy program, or multiage classrooms, the inqui ry process itself becomes an important component of staff development, providing opportuni ties for teachers to articulate goals, address questions and concerns, and find solutions together (Clark & Astuto, 1994; Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1994). Unlike standardized curricula, which provide certai nty and predictability, new approaches to teaching require teachers to weigh conflicting d emands and reflect on their own practices. Researchers have consistently found that in order f or teachers to facilitate higher order thinking in children, they too must have ample opportunities to construct their own understandings and theories. As Joyce and Calhoun (1995) point out, "s taff development must not be offered as, "Here is stuff that has been researched, so use it! (p. 54). Rather, effective staff development requires opportunities to be enriched by what Meier (1995) refers to as "the power of each other's ideas." In a study of nine Northwest schools, (Novi ck, 1995) a consistent theme was the need for curriculum review and collaborative study at the bu ilding level. All sites found that, as the research shows, simply implementing what others hav e deemed as "best practices" does not lead to a sense of competence, purpose, or commitment, e ssential to the implementation of a "mindful" curriculum. As Fullan (1993) observed, "I t's not a good idea to borrow someone else's vision." Thus, a certain amount of "reinventing the wheel" was considered a vital part of staff development by these educators. Peer coaching and mentoring. Peer coaching provides additional avenues for teachers to share expertise perspectives, and strategies with e ach other. Cohen, Talbert & McLaughlin (1993) point out that "understanding teacher-thinki ng involves understanding how teachers respond to an ever-changing situation with knowledg e that is contextual, interactive, and speculative" (p. 55). For this reason, they advocat e that teacher development programs be structured around peer coaching or mentoring in whi ch the relationship between learner and coach is grounded in actual classroom practice. Lea rning new practices often involves changing old habits that have made teaching comfortable and predictable. Because teachers have to both learn new habits and unlearn old ones, as one teacher put it, "The comfort is f or not changing (Cohen, McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993, p. 93). This te acher contrasts ongoing peer coaching with the typical inservice workshop experience: I think you need the support of people with new ide as. The only way we change our teaching is to talk to people who are also changing And you need time to talk to one another. But not on just a one-time basis, for it's got to be reoccurring. If Suzanne (a teacher educator) had come into my room and done a couple of lessons and said, 'Okay, this is the way you teach,' I would not have changed. But because this has been ongoing for several years, I really am seeing changes in myself in the way I think. It is because of that support of talking wit h her and Carol Miller (a fellow teacher) (p. 93). Such mentoring relationships in which both teacher and coach view themselves as learners can be set up both inside and outside the school. F or example, since the late 1980s, more than 20 Professional Development Schools (PDS) have been cr eated for the purpose of enabling veteran


8 of 17and novice teachers to work together. Many of these partnerships are connected to major reform networks such as the Coalition of Essential School and the Comer School Development Program, noted for their innovative and successful practices In such partnerships, both novice and experienced teachers benefit from the relationship as they engage in discussion, joint inquiry, and action research (Darling-Hammond and McLaughlin, 19 95). The types of networks and partnerships in which sch ools engage are determined by the changing needs of teachers and children. Darling-Ha mmond and McLaughlin (1995) suggest: "What does need to be a permanent addition to the p olicy landscape is an infrastructure or "web" of professional development activities that provide multiple and ongoing occasions for critical reflection and involves teachers with challenging c ontent" (p. 600). School/university partnerships. University/school partnerships can provide ongoing opportunities for teachers to discuss research and practice and to engage in professional development which is grounded in teachers' experien ces. In addition, these partnerships can provide opportunities for teacher-educators to teac h in ways that encourage inquiry into educational practice. Goodlad (1994) notes, "It is unrealistic to expect teachers to create schools for inquiry when the settings in which they are pre pared are rarely reflective" (p. 18). Reciprocal school/university relationships can help solve the riddle posed by Meier (1995): "We cannot pass on to a new generation that which we do not ourselv es possess" (p. 146). In Oregon, Portland State University, in partnershi p with three selected local school districts and Education Service Districts, has deve loped an off-campus masters program for practicing teachers designed as critical inquiry in to educational practices and their relationship to school reform. Co-taught by a Portland State Univer sity staff member and an instructor from the district office, teachers are encouraged to reflect on their own personal experiences and issues and concerns regarding their own teaching in group discussions and in a learning log or journal. Portfolios with scoring guides provide the major ev aluative tool; and the masters thesis consists of an action research project conducted by teaching teams. In this way, as one district staff development coordinator who has served as ins tructor for one of the three programs put it, "You're not just piling up courses and when you get to the end, you're just relieved to get your degree." Instead, the educational program utilizes a constructivist approach in which "teachers reinvent curricular theory for themselves." Over a two-year period, teachers participating in t he program meet over 40 outcomes in four major content areas, including teaching and le arning, inquiry for school improvement/change, social and cultural issues, and interpersonal skills to effect educational change. In order to create an integrated curriculum all four content areas are woven through all courses. According to the district staff developmen t coordinator quoted above, "Every quarter consists of collaboratively inventing a course of s tudy that is unique. It has been exhausting, but is the most exciting staff development I have ever been involved in." Teacher networks. In Montana, three school districts have formed a p artnership in order to provide "ongoing professional development that i s an integral characteristic of schools as communities of learners" (Mission Valley Consortium 1995, 96). Based on the premise that "conversation, reflection, and continuous improveme nt" are essential for effective staff development, the consortium offers staff developmen t opportunities that "provide a common direction, yet allow individual building staffs to design professional development plans unique to their own needs and interests" (Mission Valley Cons ortium). Parents are invited to participate in individual schools and with the Consortium at large Study groups, workshops, and courses for credit spo nsored by the Consortium have included the following areas of study: Assessment; Children and Society; Cognition; Cooperative Learning; Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum; I nclusion; Integration of Curriculum; Renewal and Leadership; Teaching and Learning; and Technology. Not only have standardized test scores improved, but, as the Consortium Catalo gue notes, the consortium acts as a "positive


9 of 17persistent disturbance" in the process of change: Despite the many challenges of improving schools, w e are seeing our faculties move toward a more constructivist approach to teaching a nd authentic forms of assessing learning. Without a doubt, all of us have increased our conversation about curriculum, learning, and children, and we believe that it is through this increased conversation and collaboration that significant and sustaining change will occur. Lieberman (1995) cites two examples of teacher netw orks: The Foxfire Teacher Outreach Network and the Four Seasons Network. The Foxfire N etwork is an example of a network created by teachers for teachers, having grown out of one teacher's struggle to interest his students in learning in his English class. Initiall y, teachers were invited to participate in classes over the summer where they learned strategies such as encouraging students to choose their own topics and identify their own learning needs with t eachers serving as guides. Currently, more than 20 groups of teachers meet throughout the school ye ar to reflect on practice. The Four Seasons Network brings together teachers f rom three reform networks: The Coalition of Essential School, the Foxfire Network, and Harvard University's Project Zero. Organized by the National Center for Restructuring School and Teaching (NCREST), the purpose is to support and encourage teacher partici pation and leaderships in the area of assessment (Lieberman, 1995). After initially parti cipating in two summer workshops, year-round support is provided through the use of a n electronic network. Through on-going access to new ideas in a supportive community, teac hers are able to serve as catalysts for change in their school and classrooms. Collaboration with early care and education provide rs. Collaboration with early care and education providers is an important aspect of p roviding continuity for children as they make the transition from preschool to kindergarten. In a ddition, engaging in collaborative professional development activities can be mutually beneficial t o elementary school teachers and preschool and childcare providers: early care providers bring a rich experience with active, engaged learning, collaboration with families, and cultural pluralism (Phillips, 1994); elementary teachers draw on a more formal education in curriculum, inst ruction, and assessment. Yet, due in part to our strongly held beliefs that the early care and socialization of children is not only the right, but is also the responsibili ty, of the family, our child care and preschool systems have never been integrated into a comprehen sive educational system (Kagen, 1991). Isolated from the educational mainstream, as well a s from each other, there is typically little networking between preschool and kindergarten progr ams (Love, Logue, Trudeau, & Thayer, 1992). Differences in status (teaching versus babys itting) and remuneration (child care providers often receive poverty-level wages) may militate aga inst open communication. During the last 10 years, however, the National Ass ociation for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has engaged in a number of activit ies to foster professional identity and visibility for the field of early childhood, includ ing publishing guidelines for developmentally appropriate practice (Bredekamp, 1987), and more re cently, a conceptual framework for the professional development of early childhood educato rs (NAEYC, 1994). Kagan (1994) noted: Professionals in the field of early care and educat ion have begun to take stock of their own situation: fragmentation of services; com petition with colleagues for scarce resources, including space, staff, and child ren; discontinuity and isolation from mainstream services, often including schools; less than optimally effective training and advocacy; and inequitable and unjust c ompensation and benefits (Kagan, p. 186). Increased communication between these two distinct realms and opportunities to engage in


10 of 17joint staff development activities can do much to h elp children and their families build on the positive aspects of their experiences as they make transitions (Regional Educational Laboratories, 1996). In addition, teachers/caregivers for early c are and education can apply lessons learned from the struggle of elementary educators for profe ssional status and adequate remuneration to their own efforts to achieve recognition and equity (Phillips, 1994). Schools as Caring Communities Collaborative inquiry can only thrive in a climate of mutual respect, interdependence, and trust. The factory-model school, with an emphasis o n competition, hierarchical authority, and a view of teachers and principals as interchangeable parts, still exerts a strong influence on our educational system. However, based on a synthesis o f literature about human growth and development, Argyris (cited in Clark & Astuto, 1994 ) concluded that hierarchical, bureaucratic work environments are more likely to lead to immatu re behaviors, such as passivity, dependence, and lack of self-control and awareness. In contrast, schools organized as caring communitie s have been shown to foster a shared sense of responsibility, self-direction, experiment ation, respect for individual differences, and high expectations (Clark & Astuto, 1994; Lewis, Sch aps & Watson, 1995; Newmann, 1994). When school staff (including principals, certified staff, counselors, and family advocates), parents, and children build on their own experience s and knowledge in an atmosphere that is psychologically safe (Espinosa, 1992), everyone's l earning is enhanced. Deborah Meier, former teacher/director of the highly effective and innova tive Central Park East Schools, notes that "although trust takes a long time to build, it is t he most efficient form of staff development" (p. 130). Key to the establishment of a community of learners is a principal who encourages teachers to examine teaching and learning and imple ment ideas and programs that result from reflective practice (Reitzug & Burrello, 1995). Jus t as the role of the teacher is changing from dispenser of knowledge to children to "co-construct or" of knowledge with children, the role of the principal is evolving from direct instructional leaderships to the role of facilitator of group inquiry, "collaborative leader," liaison to the out side world, and orchestrator of decisionmaking (Wohlstetter & Briggs, 1994). A Northwest principal observed, "I no longer believe in school restructuring. I believe in changing adults. And ad ults change when they feel secure and can personally make decisions to do so" (Jewett & Katze v, 1993). Issues of social justice and equity are at the cent er of this vision of school reform and professional development. Opportunities to engage i n reflective analysis of practice should include encouragement of staff to examine their att itudes toward different ethnic, racial, gender, and social class groups (Banks & Banks, 1995; Delpi t, 1995). Creating a democratic school community in which everyone is regarded as both a t eacher and a learner helps all concerned develop the habits of mind and heart necessary to b uild a more just and caring society. Meier (1995) argues, "Public schools can train us for suc h political conversations across divisions of race, class, religion, and ideology. It is often in the clash of irreconcilable ideas that we can lear n how to test or revise ideas or invent new ones." (p 7). Barriers to Effective Professional Development Time and funding. The process of changing one's practice is difficul t and slow (Cohen, McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993; Espinosa, 1992), even w hen there is adequate time for ongoing peer coaching, self-reflection, and colleagial inqu iry. Yet, time -arguably one of the most critical elements of staff development -is usuall y in short supply for teachers whose typical day, in Eisner's words, "isolates them from their collea gues and gives them scarcely enough


11 of 17discretionary time to meet the needs of nature" (p. 723). Cohen, McLaughlin & Talbert (1993) documented the partnership between two teachers and a college professor who taught part time in their classrooms: For years, Miller and Yerkes (the teachers) had had no time to breathe during their typical workday. Half serious, half joking, Yerkes told Wilson (the college professor) that the biggest delight of having her t each every afternoon was that there was time to go to the bathroom, to get a glass of w ater, to make a phone call. These little luxuries had been unknown to her, and were n o small reward for the decision to collaborate (p. 92) Because teaching is defined as "time on task" in a classroom setting, teachers in the U.S., compared to most European countries, have very litt le "released time" for staff development (Darling-Hammond, 1993). Darling-Hammond cites a 19 86 study which found that schools spent less than one percent on professional development, a figure that is declining even further in the current climate of budget cuts for education and so cial programs. For example, in some Oregon school districts, cuts to professional development budgets of 50 percent are planned for the coming year. Meier (1995) compares the four weeks o f staff development time that a Saturn plant in Tennessee provides for its workers to the one or two days a year of professional development that most teachers enjoy. Given the inevitable comp lexities encountered in the reform process and the inadequate time for staff development, it i s no wonder that school reform has been variously compared to "driving while changing the t ires (Meier, 1995), "the swamp" (Schn, 1987), "grinding down a glacier's mountainside of l iving ice" (Santa, 1995), and a "tidal wave" (Sykes, 1995). Isolation. The egg-crate elementary school, where children ar e moved in batches through prescribed curriculum, still provides the framework for our educational system (Tyack & Tobin, 1993). In what has been popularly described as "the second most private act," teachers teach approximately 30 children in classrooms that are ty pically isolated from each other. As Darling-Hammond points out, "Almost everything abou t school is oriented toward going it alone professionally." Inside school, teachers are inclin ed to think in terms of "my classroom," my subject," or "my kids" (p. 601). Most teachers have little experience with helping peers grow professionally and find the role of "teacher of tea chers" uncomfortable at first (Hoerr 1996). Sharing problems and their solutions, collegiality, and collaborative inquiry are incongruent with bureaucratic principles of efficie ncy, authority, and procedural specificity, which still exert a strong influence on our public schools (Clark & Astuto, 1994). Thus, in addition to time to breathe and funding for a diver se menu of professional development activities, structures which promote changes in att itude and practice must be in place. These include a democratic governing body, a supportive a dministration, open door policies, team teaching, and opportunities for both small and larg e group collaboration with colleagues inside and outside the school.Summary Although schools have traditionally been places whe re teachers engage in direct instruction of 30 children who work quietly at their seats, thi s model of "teaching as telling" is giving way to an approach based on a view of children as actively engaged in constructing their own understandings through interactions with the social and physical environment. If schools are to become exciting places for children to grow and lea rn, teachers, like children, need opportunities to become actively involved in their own learning p rocess. Effective professional development, then, is grounded in the questions and concerns of those who work closely with children, and in


12 of 17Little's words (1993), "are intricately interwoven with the daily life of the classroom," p. 137). In this approach to professional development, teach ers are viewed, not as technicians, but as intellectuals (Giroux, 1988), teacher leaders, p eer coaches, and teacher researchers (Lieberman, 1995). Ample opportunities for teachers to engage in reflective study of teaching practices, experimentation, collaborative problem-s olving, and peer coaching in a supportive community of learners are essential.ReferencesBanks, C. A. & Banks, J. A. (1995). Equity Pedagogy : An essential component of multicultural education. Theory into Practice, 34(3), 152-158. Benard, B. (1993). Fostering resiliency in kids. Educational Leadership, November, 44-48. Bogdan, R. C. & Biklin, S. K. (1982). Qualitative research for education. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Bowman, B. T. (1994). The challenge of diversity. Phi Delta Kappan November, 218-224. Bowman, B. T., & Stott, F. M. (1994). Understanding development in a cultural context: The challenge for teachers. In B. Mallory & R. New (Eds .), Diversity and developmentally appropriate practices. New York: Teachers College Press. Boyer, E. L. (1988). Annual report, Carnegie Endowm ent for the Advancement of Teaching. Princton, NJ.Braunger, J. (1995). Tensions to resolve: Improving literacy programs in the context of school reform. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Labor atory. Bredekamp, S. (Ed.) (1987). Developmentally appropriate practice in early child hood programs serving children from birth through age eight. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.Bredekamp, S. & Rosegrant, T. (1995). Reaching pote ntials through national standards: panacea or pipe dream? In S. Bredekamp & T. Rosegrant (Eds. ), Reaching potentials: Transforming early childhood curriculum and assessment. Washington, DC: National Association for the Educat ion of Young Children.Bruner, J. (1996). The culture of education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Clark, D. L. & Astuto, T. A. (1994). Redirecting re form: challenges to popular assumptions about teachers and students. Phi Delta Kappan March, 513-520. Cohen, D. K. McLaughlin, M. L. W., & Talbert, J. E. (1993). Teaching for understanding: Challenges for policy and practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Crawford, P. A. (1995). Early Literacy: Emerging Pe rspectives. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 10(1), 71-84. Darling-Hammond, L. (1990). Instructional policy in to practice: "The power of the bottom over the top." Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 12, 339-347.


13 of 17Darling-Hammond, L. (1993). Reframing the school re form agenda; Developing capacity for schools transformation. Delta Kappan Phi, 74(10), 752-761. Darling-Hammond, L. (1994). National standards and assessments: Will they improve education? American Journal of Education, 102, 479-511. Darling-Hammond, L. & McLaughlin, M. W. (1995). Pol icies that support professional development in an era of reform. Phi Delta Kappan, April, 597-604. Delpit, L. (1995). Other people's children: Cultural conflict in the c lassroom. New York: The New Press.Edwards, C., Gandini, S., & Forman, G. (Eds.) (1993 ). The hundred languages of children. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Eisner, E. W. (1991). What really counts in schools Educational Leadership, 48(5), 10-17. Eisner, E. W. (1992). The federal reform of schools : looking for the silver bullet. Phi Delta Kappan May, 722-723. Elkind, D. (1991) Developmentally appropriate pract ice: A case study of educational inertia. In S. L. Kagan (Ed.), The care and education of America's young children : obstacles and opportunities. Chicago, Ill: The University of Chicago Press. Espinosa, L. (1992). The process of change: The Red wood City story. In S. Bredekamp & T. Rosegrant (Eds.), Reaching potentials: Appropriate curriculum and as sessment for young children. Washington, DC: National Association for the Educa tion of Young Children. Fullan, M. (1993). Change forces. New York: Falmer Press. Garmezy, N. ( 1991). Resiliency and vulnerability t o adverse developmental outcomes associated with poverty. American Behavioral Scientist, 34(4), 416-430. Giroux, H. A. (1988). Teachers as intellectuals: Toward a critical pedago gy of learning. Granby, MA: Bergin & Garvey.Goodlad, J. L. (1994). Educational renewal: Better teachers, better schoo ls. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Goodman, K. S. (1994). Standards, not! Education Week, September 7. 39-42. Hargreaves, A. (1994). Changing teachers, changing times. New York: Teachers College Press. Hoerr, T. R. (1996). Collegiality: A new way to def ine instructional leadership Phi Delta Kappan January, 380-381). Jewett,J., & Katzev, A. (1993). School-based early childhood centers: Secrets of su ccess from early innovators. Portland, OR: Child, Family, and Community Program, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.Joyce, B. & Calhoun, E. (1995). School renewal: An inquiry, not a formula. Educational Researcher April, 51-55.


14 of 17Kagan, S. L. (1991). United we stand: Collaboration for child care and e arly education services. New York: Teachers College Press.Kagan, S. L. (1994). Early care and education: Beyo nd the fishbowl. Phi Delta Kappan November, 184-187.Kohlberg, L., & Mayer, R. (1972). Development as th e aim of education. Harvard Educational Review 42(4), 449-496. Kostelnik, M. (1992). Myths associated with develop mentally appropriate programs. Young Children 47(40) 17-23. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). The dreamkeepers: successful teachers of African Am erican children. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Lewis, C., Schaps, E.& Watson, M. (1995). Beyond th e pendulum: Creating challenging and caring schools. Phi Delta Kappan March, 547-545. Lieberman, A. (1995). Practices that support teache r development: Transforming conceptions of professional learning. Phi Delta Kappan April, 591-596. Little, J. W. (1993). Teachers' professional develo pment in a climate of educational reform. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 15(2), 129-151. Love, J. Logue, M. Trudeau, J. V. & Thayer, K (1992). Transitions to kindergarten in American schools. Washington D. C., U. S. Department of Education. Malaguzzi, L. (1993). For an education based on rel ationships. Young Children, 47 (1), 9-12. Meier, D. (1995). The power of their ideas: Lessons from a small scho ol in Harlem. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.Miller, E. (1955). The old model of staff developme nt survives in a world where everything else has changed. The Harvard Educational Letter, XI (I). Mission Valley Consortium. (1995-1996). Professional development catalogue. Polson, MT: Mission Valley ConsortiumNAEYC (1994). NAEYC position statement: A conceptua l framework for early childhood professional development. Young Children March, 68-77 A nation at risk: The imperative for educational re form (1983). Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office.Newmann, F. M. (1993). Beyond common sense in educa tional restructuring: The issues of content and linkage. Educational Researcher 22(20, 4-13, 22. Nieto, S. (1994). Lessons from students on creating a chance to dream. Harvard Educational Review 64(4), 392-426. Novick, R. (1996). School-Based early Childhood Centers: Challenges an d Possibilities Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Labora tory.


15 of 17 Phillips, C. B. (1993). The hundred languages of ch ildren. Young Children 49(1), 17-18. Phillips, C. B. (1994). The challenge of training a nd credentialing early childhood educators. Phi Delta Kappan November, 214-217. Reitzug, U. C. & Burrello, L. C. (1995). How princi pals can build self-renewing schools. Educational Leadership April, 48-50. Regional Educational Laboratories' Early Childhood Collaboration Network, (1996). Continuity in early childhood: A framework for home, school, a nd community linkages, "work in progress." Santa, C. M. (1995) Improving the literacy program: A journey toward i ntegrated curriculum. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Labora tory. Schn, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Josey-Bass. Sykes, G. (1996). Reform of and as professional dev elopment. Phi Delta Kappan March, 465-467.Tyack, D. (1992). Health and human services in publ ic schools: Historical perspectives. The Future of Children 2 (1), 19-31. Tyack, D. & Tobin, W. (1993). The "grammar" of scho oling: Why has it been so hard to change? American educational research journal 31(3), 453-479. Wills, C. (1995). Voice of inquiry: possibilities a nd perspectives. Childhood Education, Annual Theme 261-265. Wilson, S. M., Peterson, P. L., Ball, L., & Cohen, D. K. (1996). Learning by all. Phi Delta Kappan March, 468-476. Wohlsletter, P. & Briggs, K. L. (1994). The princ ipal's role in school-based management. Principal 74(2), 14-18. About the Author Rebecca Novick is a research associate at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory's Child and Family Program and is curren tly conducting research in the area of developmentally appropriate practices, culturally r esponsive teaching, and professional development in early care and education. She has wo rked in early intervention as a classroom teacher, provided parenting education and support f or parents involved with child protection agencies, and has experience in the areas of progra m development and evaluation. Special interests include families at environmenta l risk and children in foster care. She holds a Ph.D in early childhood/special education f rom the University of Oregon. Correspondence may be sent to Rebecca Novick, 101 S .W. Main, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204-3297 or via e-mail at 1996 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesEPAA can be accessed either by visiting one of its seve ral archived forms or by subscribing to the


16 of 17LISTSERV known as EPAA at (To sub scribe, send an email letter to whose sole contents are SUB EPAA y our-name.) As articles are published by the Archives they are sent immediately to the EPAA subscribers and simultaneously archived in three forms. Articles are archived on EPAA as individual files under the name of the author a nd the Volume and article number. For example, the article by Stephen Kemmis in Volume 1, Number 1 of the Archives can be retrieved by sending an e-mail letter to LISTSERV@a and making the single line in the letter rea d GET KEMMIS V1N1 F=MAIL. For a table of contents of the entire ARCHIVES, send the following e-mail message to INDEX EPAA F=MAIL, tha t is, send an e-mail letter and make its single line read INDEX EPAA F=MAIL.The World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is Policy Analysis Archives are "gophered" in the directory Campus-Wide Inform ation at the gopher server INFO.ASU.EDU.To receive a publication guide for submitting artic les, see the EPAA World Wide Web site or send an e-mail letter to and include the single l ine GET EPAA PUBGUIDE F=MAIL. It will be sent to you by return e-mail. General questions about ap propriateness of topics or particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, Glass@asu.ed u or reach him at College of Education, Arizona Sta te University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2411. (602-965-2692)Editorial Board Greg John Andrew Coulson Alan Davis Sherman Dorn Mark E. Thomas F. Alison I. Arlen Gullickson Ernest R. Aimee Craig B. Howley u56e3@wvnvm.bitnet William Richard M. Jaeger Benjamin Thomas Dewayne Mary P. Les Susan Bobbitt Anne L. Hugh G. Richard C. Anthony G. Rud


17 of 17Dennis Jay Robert Robert T.


1 of 1 Contributed Commentary on Volume 4 Number 14: Novick Actual Schools, Possible Practices: New Directions In Professional Development 29 August 1996 Candace Like most articles in this journal, I found Novick 's article Actual Schools, Possible Practices both informative and thought provoking. I have a c ouple of questions about the article. While it's no secret that the traditional mode of i nstruction (with its emphasis on passive learning) fails many children, what about those who excel and thrive with traditional instruction? Do we really know how the second group will fare wi th the more collaborative instruction model? How much does a child's temperment and perso nality type affect his receptiveness to instructional models? My sister (an elementary scho ol teacher with 14 years experience) has observed that her high achieving students all have the ability to occupy themselves without disrupting the class. When they finish their assign ments before the rest of the class, they will quietly read a book or do a puzzle while they wait for their classmates to finish. Her academically at-risk students rarely have this trait. They are m ore restless and easily distracted. I should add that she teaches in an urban school where most of t he students come from low-income, minority families and that she herself is black. Also, while the collaborative teaching model requi res a lot of creativity and flexibility from the teacher it will also require a great deal from the student. It will require that they take more responsibility for learning. Are most students capable of this? How will students with deficient social skills fare in an instructional mo del that requires they work closely with classmates on assignments, etc.? Some people just w ork better alone. I'm not saying that the collaborative model doesn' t have merit. I think it could benefit those children who are turned-off by school so it i s definitely worth trying. I'm just pointing out that just as the traditional model doesn't work for many children, the collaborative model may not work for many children.


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