Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Louis, K. S., Kruse, S., & Raywid, M. A. (1996). Putting teachers at the center of reform: Learning schools and professional communities. National Association of Secondary School Principals Bulletin, 80 (580), 9-21.

The authors examine two concepts that have importance in the reform movementÑlearning organizations and professional communities. Literature on organizational learning suggests three features of school culture and practice have an impact on teachers' ability to sustain an openness to learning: organizational memory, shared knowledge base, and information distribution and interpretation. Professional communities are characterized by shared norms and values, reflective dialogue, de-privatization of practice, collective focus on student learning, and collaboration. The authors propose that the two notions become linked through the concept of reflective practice. Using two school examples, they describe how one school becomes a thriving example of reform and the other does not. The schools were similar in many ways, but differences were identified using the two frameworksÑlearning organizations and professional communities. The less successful school failed to develop into a learning organization or profession community because the teachers did not have a deep understanding of the vision underlying the reform, nor did they have adequate knowledge of the reform strategies. They did not have opportunities to work together or talk together. The study has implications for school leaders which are detailed in the article.

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