Learning Communities In Practice

Explorations of Educational Purpose

Book 4
Springer Science & Business Media
Free sample

Most would agree that a learning community of practice cultivates social and intellectual development in educational settings but what are the other benefits and what does a learning community actually look like in practice? This book explores such questions as: “Are learning communities essential in education?” “How are they designed and developed?” “What difference do they make in learning?” The book contains contributions of educators who share their research and practice in designing and implementing learning communities in school, university, and professional network settings. It presents their experiences, and the “how to” of these educators who are passionate about building and sustaining learning communities to make a real difference for students, teachers, faculty, and communities. Combining scholarly and practitioner research, the book offers practical information to teachers, school and university administrators, teacher educators, and community educators.
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About the author

Anastasia P. Samaras, Ph.D. is Professor at the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University. She is a pedagogical scholar with an extensive repertoire of teaching, administrative, and research activity directly related to her signature work in the self-study research methodology which include books on Learning Communities in Practice (2008) and Self-Study Teacher Research (2011). A former school teacher and director of teacher education programs at The Catholic University of America and George Mason University, she brings a repertoire of practical applications grounded in sociocultural theory directly to her teaching. She is recipient of the Dissertation Research Award, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, the Outstanding Scholar Award, University of Maryland, a Fulbright Scholar, and a visiting scholar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Iceland, Vrije University, and Victoria University. Her expertise in early childhood and teacher education has also led to appointments as a consultant for numerous program reviews with various Federal agencies, departments, Head Start, and universities. She currently serves as Chair-Elect of the Self-Study of Teacher Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association and project leader of two university cross-disciplinary faculty self-study groups. Her research centers on designing and studying Neo-Vygotskian-based curriculum applications in teachers professional practices, including her own.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Oct 26, 2008
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Pages
251
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ISBN
9781402087882
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Educational Psychology
Education / General
Education / Professional Development
Education / Teaching Methods & Materials / General
Education / Training & Certification
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Indigenous education is one of the great challenges facing humanity in the historic quest for a democratic and peaceful future. The 370 million Indigenous peoples of the world demand that the racist and colonial wrongs of the past be recti ed and that they stand as equals in confronting the social, political and cultural problems that surround us all. Education offers a way forward, whether concerned with the public good, schooling for all citizens including universal primary education and expanding secondary education, the education of women regardless of background, the inclusion of local cultures, literacy and numeracy for all as a democratic right and the provisionof comprehensiveeducationthat enables both personal aspiration, cultural satisfaction and economic pathways. What this means is that all children no matter where they live, no matter what theirbackgroundorthecolouroftheirskinshouldexpecttohaveaccesstoeducation of the highest quality. This does not impose a particular style of education for local communitiesbut respects that educationaldirections must be decidedindependently by countries themselves. Within this general context, there is also something most profound about Indigenous knowing, of appreciating Indigenous perspectives and applying these across all knowledge, across all subjects of a curriculum. Rather than accepting the one often highly conservative and dominant view of knowledge, teaching and learning for all schools, Indigenous perspectives offer other insights and means of analysis, re ection and critique. These can open up elds of creative and critical learning for all children, including the dispossessed, marginalised and disenfranchised.
Almost a decade in, Empire remains the 21st Century's dominant mode of cultural production, and North America remains at the apex of the colonial imperative. The contributors to this volume argue that, far from being a post-colonial world, the struggle for independence of polity and culture is still alive and relevant.

The book brings together relevant examples of anti-colonial discourse and struggle from across the US and Canada, providing unique perspectives on resistance, activism, scholarship and pedagogy. Anti-colonialism is an evolving framework to which this book hopes to make a unique contribution, with the range, depth and analytical approach of the chapters it contains.

The emphasis on anti-colonial resistance here is significant, as it consistently reveals the personal commitment required for the undoing of domination, as well as the ways in which people can collectively pursue radical politics in their aim of bringing about social justice. The book examines a multitude of actions which could be termed anti-colonial, from student walkouts along the US/Mexico border, to interrogations of the relationship between indigenous and anti-racist struggles in North America, to analyses of the implications of anti-colonialism for community unionism as well as disability rights struggles.

Chapters also look at the movement for Africentric schools in Toronto, provide an annotated and comparative look at the myriad struggles for and by the Fourth World and Fourth World nations, and analyze the creation of an anti-colonial classroom in a Montreal university. They also explore the colonial underpinnings of multicultural education in the US.

With contributions from leading thinkers such as Henry Giroux, Ward Churchill, and Peter McLaren, as well as fresh perspectives from junior academics, this book provides a diverse and varied survey of anti-colonialism in the US and Canada. It will be a thought-provoking read for those working in a wide variety of disciplines, from Sociology to Politics.

In daring and incisive ways, Arlo Kempf's collection further positions anti-colonialism as the necessary educational project for the colonizer and colonized within us all; it reflectively re-sets the radical education agenda, with telling historical and current instances that are used by the book's authors to move constructively forward in critical ways. John Willinsky, Stanford University, USA

The International Handbook of Research on Teachers and Teaching provides a fresh look at the ever changing nature of the teaching profession throughout the world. This collection of over 70 original articles addresses a wide range of issues that are relevant for understanding the present educational climate in which the accountability of teachers and the standardized testing of students have become dominant.

The international collection of authors brings to the handbook a breadth of knowledge and experience about the teaching profession and a wealth of material across a number of comparative dimensions, such as between developed and developing countries and between Eastern and Western cultures. In addition, many articles address the emerging challenges to education and to the lives of teachers which are brought about by the globalization trends of the 21st Century.

The handbook is divided into two volumes, and focuses on the following general topic areas:

Theory and Research on Teachers

Becoming a Teacher

Characteristics of Teachers

Teacher Behaviors

Teacher Life Cycles

Theories of Teaching and Learning

Teaching in Classrooms

Teaching Specific Student Populations

The Teaching of Individual Subjects

Great Debates about Teachers and Teaching

The handbook is written for students and researchers in the fields of education, the social sciences and the behavioral sciences. In addition, it is a valuable resource for policy-makers who want knowledge and insights based on the latest research findings. Many author recommendations are relevant for the development of educational reform policies in both developed and developing societies.

The challenges teacher educators are now facing are of a different nature from those of the past few decades. They have taken on an urgency and a magnitude not witnessed before. Strict government control of education is increasing, the social problems in the schools are more severe, the budget restrictions we face in the university are greater, and the public disillusionment with education, in general, is more than just a passing malaise. This period will be crucial to the future of teacher education; we need to rally together to examine our practice, renew our programs accordingly, collaborate with others, and offer examples of programs that do make a difference.

Making a difference in Teacher Education through Self-Study: Studies of Personal, Professional, and Program Renewal describes the systematic efforts of committed and creative teacher educators to improve their teacher education programs. It describes the accomplishments of individuals (and in part the programs in which they work) who have overcome many of the hurdles teacher educators typically face. These individuals have made a difference in the lives of their students, their colleagues, and many classroom teachers. The book presents research on 15 different teacher education programs and describes individual renewal efforts. The stories -- including both the successes and challenges -- are inspiring and informative. In this age of accountability these teacher educators have used a range of research methods to gather data on their work and in turn used it to guide future decisions. The text includes examples of both large scale research and individual efforts. The common thread among the authors is a commitment to "walking the talk."

The first textbook to offer novice and experienced teachers guidelines for the "how" and "why" of self-study teacher research

Designed to help pre- and in-service teachers plan, implement, and assess a manageable self-study research project, this unique textbook covers the foundation, history, theoretical underpinnings, and methods of self-study research. Author Anastasia Samaras encourages readers to think deeply about both the "how" and the "why" of this essential professional development tool as they pose questions and formulate personal theories to improve professional practice.

Written in a reader-friendly style and filled with interactive activities and examples, the book helps teachers every step of the way as they learn and refine research skills; conduct a literature review; design a research study; work in validation groups; collect and analyze data; interpret findings; develop skills in peer critique and review; and write, present, and publish their studies.

Key Features
A Self-Study Project Planner assists teachers in understanding both the details and process of conducting self-study research. A Critical Friends Portfolio includes innovative critical collaborative inquiries to support the completion of a high quality final research project. Advice from the most senior self-study academics working in the U.S. and internationally is included, along with descriptions of the self-study methodology that has been refined over time. Examples demonstrate the connections between self-study research, teachers' professional growth, and their students' learning. Tables, charts, and visuals help readers see the big picture and stay organized.
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