Making Practice Public: Teacher Learning in the 21st Century

Feb. 28, 2010

Source: Journal of Teacher Education, 61 (1-2), p. 77-88. (January/February 2010).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The authors propose that the advent and ubiquity of new media tools and social networking resources provide a means for professional, networked learning to “scale up.” The authors preface their discussion with a review of research that has led them to argue for professional learning communities, document the policies and practices of professional development in high-achieving countries internationally that have transformed the way teachers learn, and discuss online social networking as it is being used for teacher learning.


The authors argue that in order to launch and sustain local movements for making teaching public and shared, educators need to develop the habits of having multimedia documentation tools close at hand.
Once these tools are incorporated into daily practice, then teachers can act on moments when they wish their colleagues could hear a student erroneously conceptualize a challenging idea or a teacher’s particularly complex whole-group explanation.

The authors’ 10-year experience at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching gave them an opportunity to learn to make multimedia representations of practice for use in both preservice and professional development. The authors argue that much can be learned from the robust example provided by professional learning communities that have proved to be sustaining and to bring demonstrable results for teacher and student learning. The authors believe that making practice public in this way can be transformative.

Updated: Apr. 27, 2010