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ERIC Number: EJ1137228
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0256-0100
When Teacher Clusters Work: Selected Experiences of South African Teachers with the Cluster Approach to Professional Development
Jita, Loyiso C.; Mokhele, Matseliso L.
South African Journal of Education, v34 n2 Article 790 2014
Recent scholarship on teacher professional development has shown renewed interest in collaborative forms of teacher learning. Networks, communities of practice and clusters are related concepts that describe forms of collaboration between schools and/or teachers that encourage such learning. In South Africa, teacher clusters represent a relatively recent and popular experiment in teacher professional development. However, there is no verdict yet about their effectiveness. While the utility of such collaborative structures for teacher learning is fairly well established in many developed countries, we still know very little about how the intended beneficiaries (the teachers) experience these non-traditional structures of professional development. Using qualitative data from a large-scale research project, we explore teachers' perspectives on what constitutes a successful clustering experience, and the kinds of professional development benefits they derive from their participation therein. Our major findings are twofold: First, clusters seem to enhance teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. Second, and somewhat unexpectedly, the teachers identified another set of benefits, the so-called "process benefits" that include collaboration, instructional guidance and teacher leadership. In a context where teachers have tended to work solo and insulated their classroom practices from influence, the presence of the "process benefits" represents a significant finding. We conclude the paper by exploring several possible directions for further research on these process benefits of clusters for teachers in South Africa and elsewhere.
Education Association of South Africa. University of Pretoria, Centre for the Study of Resilience, Level 3, Groenkloof Student Centre, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, George Storrar Road and Lleyds Street, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. Tel: +27-12-420-5798; Fax: +27-12-420-5511; Web site: http://www.sajournalofeducation.co.za/index.php/saje/index
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa