Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How Teachers Learn: Toward A More Liberal Teacher Education

Proefriedt, W. (1994). How teachers learn: toward a more liberal teacher education. New York City, NY: Teachers College Press.

Summary/ Analysis:
Citing the work of John Dewey, Proefriedt writes about the importance of connecting learning with life, and establishing a strong link between schools, society and individual lives. He argues that teacher education should be modeled after Dewey's notions of schooling. In chapter 9, he explores the necessity of schools to create institutions in which teachers learn as well as teach. According to this approach, schools need to provide authentic avenues for communication and collaboration among the teachers. He points out specific examples of teachers learning and working with one another. This can most often happen through committees of teachers who meet to discuss student issues, curriculum decisions and pedagogy. It can also happen through teachers visiting and observing one another in their work. The author stresses the importance of these observations and collegial conversations in being teacher-initiated and not forced to happen by a school administrator. This brings up an interesting point that other teachers frequently mention-- the collegial coaching can be much more effective when it happens organically. However, if the culture exists for all staff to support one another in collegial coaching, it may make it logistically easier and make it more likely to happen if it is mandated and organized by an administrator.

Relevant Quotes/ Concepts:
"The interaction occurring in discussions among teachers concerning curriculum or other school policies can be extended to teachers visiting one another's classrooms... Perhaps two others have read together the approach of one of the literary critics they discussed and would like to emulate it in the sorts of questions they ask their students and in the assignments they develop. They might plan their classes together and observe each other's efforts, exchange feedback, and reformulate their classroom strategies. Such teacher learning can be extraordinarily energizing-- can, in fact, bring new life to one's teaching. The teacher's experience, as Dewey would have it, is heightened and brought under conscious control by the observation and interaction. Top-down mandating of these sorts of activities undermines their educational purpose. The interactions must be teacher-initiated. Teachers must find colleagues from whom they can learn, whom they can trust to be supportive and honestly critical, and who themselves are open to new perspectives on their teaching." p. 129

"The construction of reflective experiences within schools ought not to be viewed as an isolated part of the education of teachers... The habits of reflections and the significant issues raised in earlier parts of the teacher's education find specific applications in the school; they, in fact, enable teachers to define and alter that experience and to deepen and enlarge their own education. Teachers need the time and space to reflect on their work lives." p. 130

No comments:

Post a Comment