ERIC Number: ED332238
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Communication for a Shared Understanding: The Role of Semiotics in Establishing a Culture for Change.
Davis, Nancy T.; And Others
The purpose of this paper is to examine how a group of teachers came together to form a proactive culture, conducive to change, which assists them in achieving their ideals. The study is part of a programmatic effort to develop an understanding of how teachers make sense of teaching and of their struggles to change. Using semiotics as a base, the cognitive processes of teachers were examined by studying their use of words in their communication with colleagues. The study began in a teaching enhancement project in which the concept of a "family of schools" was developed; these "families" consisted of cooperating teachers from high, middle, and elementary schools who met periodically to discuss teaching and learning. As teachers from differing school cultures began to form families they negotiated new norms and customs of behavior, and the negotiation process was studied as the teachers established the cultures within their families. When the families met, interactions were audiotaped and fieldnotes were collected. These notes were compiled into summaries of the meetings. Conversations were transcribed and analyzed and assertions were formulated from categories which arose from the data. Three primary assertions resulted from analysis of meetings between the families: (1) communication occurs as teachers share problems and dilemmas of their own school culture and their personal teaching experiences and believe that other teachers are interested in what they are saying; (2) learning occurs as teachers struggle with meaning and negotiate purposes for meeting; and (3) introduction of alternative views and perturbing questions assists the teachers in reflecting on their own teaching beliefs and practices. (Thirteen references are attached.) (MG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bay County School District FL; Educational Restructuring; Organizational Culture; Teacher Collaboration; Teacher Needs; Teacher Support Groups
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (72nd, Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).