The tenacity of teachers: the evolution of a teacher community of practice.

Tracey Ella Borg

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    220 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Educational systems are fundamentally conservative “ they want to retain the status quo “ and when change is attempted it results in defensiveness, superficiality or at best, short lived pockets of success� (Fullan, 1993, p .6 ). The research reported in this dissertation examined one such pocket of success� (Fullan, 1993, p. 6). It began with an exploration of the factors that facilitated and/or constrained the development of a community of practice among a team of middle yearsŸ teachers in a small central school in rural New South Wales. The personal stories of these teachers were used to explore the impact that their involvement in this community of practice had on their professional lives, teaching philosophies and pedagogical practice. Subsequently, the nature of the relationship between this community of practice, teachersŸ learning and whole school change was analysed and the potential of teacher communities of practice as a new model for a transformative form of teacher professional development was proposed. This research took the form of an interpretative, longitudinal case study and methodologies for data collection included observations, interviews and document analysis. The data was analysed using both a constant comparative method typically used in grounded theory studies (Merriman, 2002) and a community of practice theoretical framework (Wenger, 1998). Results showed that a community of practice had evolved at the case study school under the period of study. Ten facilitating factors and six constraining factors were identified. Facilitating factors included: strong interpersonal relationships, professional development opportunities, the personal attributes of teachers, a sense of purpose, the recognition of success, support from the community and others, school context and financial support. In addition, the concept of teacher tenacity as a facilitating factor for cultivating a community of practice was theorised.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Education
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    Supervisors/Advisors
    • Reid, Jo-Anne, Co-Supervisor
    • Clarke, Deb, Co-Supervisor
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publisher
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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