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

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  • Meyer, T., & Achinstein, B. (1998, April). Collaborative inquiry among novice teachers as professional development: Sustaining habits of heart and mind. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.

This paper explores a model of professional development that is meant to extend inquiry-oriented preservice preparation into the first year of teaching. In the preservice program, prospective teachers developed habits of reflection, experimentation, and collaboration, habits which are difficult for novice teachers to maintain in schools where these practices are not the norm. The study was a three-year voluntary collaboration among nine novice teachers and two university researchers, who met once a month for about three hours. Each meeting started with a "check-in" when participants reported what was happening in their lives, personally and professionally. This was followed by the "charrette," a formal inquiry-based protocol centered around the presentation and subsequent discussion of teacher-selected artifacts. Through the meetings, the group was developing into a teacher learning community, taking an "inquiry stance" toward students, reforms, and teaching. Core activities of the group are enactments of "critical friendship" and "inquiry." The authors provide extensive examples of conversations to give the reader an understanding of critical friendship, inquiry, and the impact of the learning community on participants' beliefs and actions. The enactment of critical friendship is, however, a difficult balance to maintain. The authors concluded that critical friendship offers potential to sustain the habits of heart and mind begun in preservice. It must, however, be fostered with care and attention to the dilemmas raised by its enactment for novice teachers.

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