Professional Communities and the Work of High School Teaching

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2001-10-20
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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American high schools have never been under more pressure to reform: student populations are more diverse than ever, resources are limited, and teachers are expected to teach to high standards for all students. While many reformers look for change at the state or district level, the authors here argue that the most local contexts--schools, departments, and communities--matter the most to how well teachers perform in the classroom and how satisfied they are professionally. Their findings--based on one of the most extensive research projects ever done on secondary teaching--show that departmental cultures play a crucial role in classroom settings and expectations. In the same school, for example, social studies teachers described their students as "apathetic and unwilling to work," while English teachers described the same students as "bright, interesting, and energetic." With wide-ranging implications for educational practice and policy, this unprecedented look into teacher communities is essential reading for educators, administrators, and all those concerned with U. S. High Schools.

Author Biography

Milbrey W. McLaughlin is the David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy, annd Joan E. Talbert is the senior research scholar at Stanford University, where they codirect the Center for Research on the Context of Teaching. With David Cohen, they are coauthors of Teaching For Understanding.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements ix
Introduction: Contexts of High School Teaching
High School Teachers' Classroom Practice
Communities of Teachign Practice
Communities and Teaching Careers
Teacher Communities in Embedded System Contexts
High School Teaching in the Twenty-first Century
Appendix A: Integrating Theory and Methods in Research on Teachers' Work 141(13)
Appendix B: The Research Sample 154(23)
Appendix C: Teacher Survey Data 177(8)
Notes 185(12)
References 197(10)
Index 207

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