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Teachers in Professional Communities: Improving Teaching and Learning

Edited by Ann Lieberman, Lynne Miller


This new volume, edited by leading experts, uncovers new insights and understanding in the world of teacher work communities. Based on many years of research and experience, the editors believe teachers learn best within work communities. Here they explore what research and practice have revealed about how such communities develop and flourish, and how to negotiate the inherent tension that comes with improving competence and building community simultaneously. Using the five themes that emerged from their studies of practice (context, capacity, content, commitment, and challenge), the editors examine selected research studies, personal reflections, and give cases that were specially commissioned for this volume. The text begins with essays on research and long-term development projects and concludes with vignettes that address the following questions:

  • What is the context of your program?
  • How does your program deal with facilitating both competence and the building of community?
  • What are the challenges and how has your program dealt with them?

Mayumi Shinohara and WestEd’s Kirsten Daehler contribute a key chapter, “Understanding Science: The Role of Community in Content Learning.”

Resource Details

Product Information

ISBN: 978-0-8077-4889-3
Copyright: 2008
Format: Trade Paper
Pages: 120
Publisher: Teachers College Press

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Praise for this Resource

  • “Breaks new ground. . . . Lieberman and Miller tell us how teacher learning communities develop inside and outside schools. A must-read for anyone committed to improving teaching quality—teacher leaders, teacher educators, principals and district administrators, school reformers, and professional developers.”

    Joan Talbert, co-director of the Stanford University Center for Research on the Context of Teaching
  • Lieberman and Miller give teaching back to teachers and demonstrate the power of what can be done when teachers improve their work together. This is not a text about numbers and targets, but a book about people working to improve their practice in the real and messy worlds of children and classrooms that all teachers know so well.

    Andy Hargreaves, Brennan Chair in Education, Boston College
  • Support for the notion of professional learning communities has become widespread but deep understanding of how to start and sustain such groups of teacher learners is much more scarce. This book brings the practice of professional learning communities alive, with vivid examples drawn from real schools in a wide range of settings. It is a must-read for those who want to support teacher learning that enables student learning.

    Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University
  • A rich and rewarding collection of perspectives on teachers’ professional communities. Contributing practitioners draw on their experience to show how both teachers and students benefit from the new expectations and practices created in professional communities. . . . An important contribution to the field.

    Milbrey McLaughlin, David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy, Stanford University