Tensions in Teacher Development and Community: Variations on a Recurring School Reform Theme

Feb. 01, 2012

Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 114 Number 2, 2012.

This research depicts different reform initiatives which were conducted in middle school at the fourth-largest urban center in the United States over the decade from 1999 to 2009.

Purposes of Study

The study focuses on teachers’ experiences of three reform endeavors and how tensions in teacher knowledge and community developed as a consequence of each.
The study’s overall purpose is to contribute the often-overlooked teacher perspective to the curriculum, teaching, and school reform literatures.

Nineteen educators, including several main teacher participants as well as some supporting teacher and administrator participants, contributed anonymously to the narrative account.

Research Design

Narrative inquiry is the research method used to excavate a story serial that emerged during the longitudinal research study.

Four interpretive devices—broadening, burrowing, storying and restorying, and fictionalization—aided in the comparison and contrast of three eruptions in teacher community that occurred as a result of the different reform emphases.
These eruptions suggest a rhythm to school reform.

The article ends with a discussion of the value of narrative inquiry in studying phenomena at the interstices of teacher knowledge, teacher community, school milieu, and organized school reform.
Connections between fine- and coarse-grained inquiries are made, and the notion of stories traveling from one school site to another is also probed.

Updated: May. 23, 2012