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

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  • Elmore, R. F. (1995). Teaching, learning, and school organization: Principles of practice and the regularities of schooling. Educational Administration Quarterly, 31, 355-374.

Changes in policy, such as pressures for increased student achievement, have not resulted in the large-scale changes in teaching practice and school organization that might be expected. There is a gap between policy and practice. Another gap exists between ordinary practice and best practice. In this article, Elmore develops a framework that connects current ideas about student learning and teaching practice with the regularities of school organization. Elmore describes emerging views of learning that inform best practice in teaching and should have implications for school organization. These views are that (1) the object of teaching is to nurture understanding, or intentional learning; (2) understanding occurs in the context of specific bodies of knowledge; (3) understanding requires the active construction of knowledge by learners; (4) understanding requires the development of both basic and higher order knowledge; (5) learners differ substantially in experience, cognitive dispositions, and competencies; and (6) learning is a social as well as individual process. Elmore believes that adoption of these principles has been limited because it would require knowledge and skills few teachers have, and because they challenge basic patterns in the organization of schooling. Translating principles of best practice into organization and policy requires abandoning traditional solutions to problems in favor of new solutions. Principles of practice should drive structure, rather than vice versa.

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