The Bricks and Mortar of our Foundation for Faculty Development: Book-Study within a Self-Study Professional Learning Community

April 2012

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 8, No. 1, April 2012, 87–104
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This paper explores the experiences of seven teacher educators who met monthly over one academic year to engage in a collaborative self-study focused on exploring the text, Developing a Pedagogy of Teacher Education: Understanding Teaching and Learning about Teaching.

The participants were seven teacher educators at the Brantford (Ontario) campus of Nipissing University, a small regional campus of a moderate-sized Faculty of Education.

They decided to establish a learning community in order to promote reflective exploration of issues of relevance to them.
They conducted a collaborative self-study focused on book-study as a form of faculty development.

They collected data through meeting transcripts, and individual surveys completed twice by each group member.

The authors acknowledge the unique context of their position as novice faculty, most on limited-term appointments, working at a regional campus of a university that values teaching.

Their experiences support assertions that collaborative self-study is an effective vehicle for faculty development.

Although their experiences illustrate the positive effects of their group processes, they also reveal nascent understandings of self-study. This understanding highlights the need for explicit attention to self-study as an exploration of not only our practices.

The authors' experiences demonstrate how self-study research, undertaken within the context of a professional learning community engaged in book-study. Their experiences hold the potential to enhance teacher educators’ understandings, foster collaboration, and provide a catalyst for meaningful observations about their practices, students, and teacher education program.
The authors highlight that this has altered some of their practices and their discourse with others. For example, one participants has infused case study analysis into his courses. Other participant has engaged candidates in researching their students’ perspectives, and third participant is exploring their program conceptual framework with their teacher candidates.

The authors argue that this experience enriched their experiences by providing exposure to perspectives that may have otherwise been unexplored. Consequently, they recommend the inclusion of all interested teacher educators in collaborative self-study research projects.

They conclude that their experiences illustrate how collaborative self-study can provide a vehicle to deepen teacher educators’ understandings of their practices, and also of themselves, their colleagues, their candidates, and their program.
Hence, they encourage others to move beyond safety to embrace the challenges of faculty development through collaborative self-study. 

Updated: Nov. 01, 2018