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ERIC Number: ED412194
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 42
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Promise of Community in Professional Development.
Hicks, Jean Wolph
This paper examines a Midwestern site of the National Writing Project for teachers, a professional development summer institute that fosters collaborative learning, increases teacher confidence and enthusiasm, and promotes reflection. The examination involves observations of and interviews with 19 Midwestern Writing Project (MWP) participants and field notes of daily activities. The paper analyzes how groups of people become learning communities, suggesting how educators might adapt such strategies to support professional development that empowers teachers to make and sustain change. The MWP fosters a learning community because it includes common themes and a sense of purpose, reduces isolation, increases faculty-student interaction, provides continuity and integration in the curriculum, and offers group identity and cohesion. MWP characteristics that promote community include small size, nurturing environment, rituals and norms, social construction of knowledge, and multiple perspectives. Relationships between members are typical of learning communities (e.g., interdependence, egalitarianism and collegiality, trust, caring, and respect). The MWP director acts as the standard bearer, catalyst in linking relationships, caretaker, and guide. The nature of learning in the MWP is like that of a learning community, with intellectual interaction, nontraditional interaction, collaboration, relevance, and a learner-centered focus. (Contains 92 references). (SM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A