ERIC Number: ED342755
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
What Matters Most in Teachers' Workplace Context?
McLaughlin, Milbrey Wallin
Teachers' diverse goals for students reflect differences in teachers' conceptions of the teaching task and students' needs. This segment of the teachers' workplace research project (fieldwork and surveys in 16 public and private secondary schools) concentrated on ways in which workplace features generated dissimilar patterns of pedagogical response. The critical finding was that teachers within the same school or department developed different responses to different students depending on the character of their collegial environment. The survey data showed that collegiality indicates more than supportive relationships among teachers; rather, it indicates a professional community with norms of innovation and learning, where teachers are enthusiastic about their work, and where focus is upon devising strategies that enable all students to prosper. Important factors in collegial professional communities are capacity for reflection, feedback, and problem solving. Frustrated teachers in the study all existed in professional communities with powerful norms of privacy. Findings suggest that the school workplace is a physical setting; a formal organization; an employer; and a social and psychological setting in which teachers construct a sense of practice, of professional efficacy, and of professional community. More than any other factor, the nature of the professional community that exists in the workplace appears critical to the character of teaching and learning for teachers and their students. (LL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Research on the Context of Secondary School Teaching.