Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 4, No. 2, November 2008, p. 173–186
(Reviewed by The Portal Team)
This article reports a self-study conducted during the author's four-year tenure as head of the elementary school department within a college of education.
During that period, she explored her developing understanding of the role of relationships in the processes of her professional and personal growth.
The author addresses three major questions:
(1) How does collaborative inquiry foster the professional development of the members of the professional learning community?
(2) How do collaborative relations between the members of the professional community promote an organizational culture that adopts an inquiry-oriented stance? and
(3) How has all this affected the author as a leader?
The participants in this study included
(a) 15 teacher educators, both clinical and methods supervisors with experience ranging from five to 30 years,
(b) a curriculum expert,
(c) an academic research coordinator,
(d) a literacy expert (the latter three joined the faculty at the author's request after her nomination),
(e) the author herself as department head,
and (f) 30 student teachers enrolled in the elementary school department in the first year of the study.
The teacher educators’ group met once a week over a four-year period and, from the second year, the leadership team also met once a week.
The author describes the three cycles of action that comprise the process of change she instigated in the department.
The first cycle involves dealing with resistance to change and dependence on the familiar, the second cycle involves moving from dependence toward interdependence and the third cycle involves action research as the process for moving toward differentiated interactions through interdependency and connectivity.
The author also describes the three phases she identified retrospectively. These relate to the transformations she experienced in her understanding, conceptions, and actions regarding relationships and leadership.