ERIC Number: ED395914
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Missing Links: The Complexities of Supporting Teacher Learning in School Contexts.
Hasseler, Susan S.
This document chronicles the study of an intensive writing instruction workshop held in a diverse, low income neighborhood in Chicago. The study focused particularly on how individual teacher knowledge and beliefs, school contexts, and the structure and content of the workshop interacted both to support and to inhibit teacher learning. The workshop began strongly but ended with dissatisfaction. Participants expressed frustration with the workshop content; workshop leaders were frustrated by the participants and the context. By the end of the workshop, 4 out of the 23 volunteer participants had dropped out, and 12 of the remaining 19 gave the workshop fair to poor evaluations. The context, the workshop, and teacher perceptions all seemed to interact in ways that inhibited change in writing instruction. The overcrowding, the diverse student population, and multiple curriculum requirements contributed to teachers' perceptions of many constraints to implementing an individualized, time-consuming approach to writing instruction in the classrooms. Because the leaders perceived so many constraints in the context and had such low expectations for teachers, they did little to support the teachers in breaking through their negative perceptions and reinforced the teachers' perceptions about the difficult y of implementing new approaches to writing. Missing from the workshop were important links to classroom practice, to school policies supporting change, to innovation efforts and school context, and to actual classroom practice and school policies and procedures. The study suggests a number of ways in which instructional change designers, workshop leaders, school leaders, and teachers can work together to create the kinds of links needed to support teachers' learning and change. These include integrating change efforts into school contexts, and assisting workshop leaders to evaluate and reflect on their own practice. Suggestions are also made for workshop leaders, school leaders, and teachers to identify and remove constraints to effective practice. (Contains 17 references.) (ND)
Descriptors: Classroom Techniques, Educational Change, Elementary Education, Elementary School Teachers, Faculty Development, Reflective Teaching, School Policy, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Improvement, Teacher Workshops, Theory Practice Relationship, Writing Instruction
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Teacher Knowledge
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).