Source: Professional Development in Education, Vol. 36, Nos. 1–2, March 2010, pp. 275–287.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This work is based on the authors’ experience as teacher educators in the Active Collaborative Education (ACE) teacher education program (k–12 and special education), a two-year postgraduate program in the Kaye College of Education, Israel. As a group of teacher educators working together in an intensive program, the authors are interested in looking at issues connected to their professional development as a community of practice.
The questions that guided the preliminary investigation include:
● How do we capture or define the professional development of a group?
● Within a collaborative framework, what are the mutual influences of the group on the professional development of the individual and the individual on the professional development of the group?
In this collaborative, narrative self-study the authors decided to look at the development of themselves, as a professional group through personal career stories. Each story was told by its author, but once told it became a chapter in the group’s story, to be further analyzed and interpreted by its members. The data are comprised of nine personal stories.
Preliminary holistic analysis of the stories showed that each of the authors related to two turning points in our professional development: becoming a teacher, and becoming part of the ACE team.
Each of the authors also tells a unique story about the influence of being a part of the ACE group on their professional development. In this phase of the study, the authors identified four themes: group diversity, interwoven work, the novice stance and collaborative research. The common denominator of these themes is that they all contribute to professional learning experiences constructed within the context of being in the ACE team, a professional community that creates their learning environment and, in turn, is created and changed by these processes.
In this paper the authors discuss their emerging understanding of the significance of the collaborative engagement of teacher educators for the generation of a theory of practice and suggest situating this understanding within a broader ecological perspective using the metaphor of the ‘edge’, a fertile ground for sustainable change and development.