ERIC Number: ED366064
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Dec-17
Changing the Tire on a Moving Bus: Barriers to the Development of Professional Community in a New Teacher-Led School.
Lonnquist, M. Peg; King, Jean A.
This paper examines the multiple challenges that emerged during the development of professional community in a middle school that attempted to decentralize decision making. Kruse and Louis' (1993) framework of the dimensions of professional community is used to analyze qualitative data collected at Whitehead Magnet School (located in a large metropolitan school district on the West Coast) over a 4-year period. The framework consists of five structural preconditions and six human-resource dimensions. Five overall characteristics of a professional community include: reflective dialogue, deprivatization of practice, a focus on learning, collaboration, and shared values. The structural preconditions of a professional community were in place at Whitehead; however, teachers reported a lack of trust among the staff. Barriers to developing a professional community revolved around contextual, leadership, and structural factors: a lack of widespread, long-lasting district support; lack of open communication of the school vision; and a teacher-leadership structure that did not empower all teachers. Although Whitehead had some success in piloting a nontraditional learning experience for its students, it has yet to develop a professional community. Successful development of a professional community requires a team of teacher leaders with a more participatory philosophy and experience. (LMI)
Descriptors: Collegiality, Educational Change, Educational Innovation, Faculty Development, Intermediate Grades, Junior High Schools, Leadership, Middle Schools, Organizational Change, Organizational Climate, Organizational Communication, Participative Decision Making, Professional Development, Teacher Participation
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis. Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Atlanta, GA, April 12-16, 1993).