Among schoolteachers: community, autonomy, and ideology in by Joel Westheimer

By Joel Westheimer

What are instructor groups? What are they after? How do they start? Do they evolve via phases? How alike or varied are they from each other? and the way are such groups outfitted? This account of an city and a suburban college, the writer makes an attempt to supply solutions to those questions.

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Extra info for Among schoolteachers: community, autonomy, and ideology in teachers' work

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In fact, a broad and growing array of work focuses on the features of educational communities and their implications for policy and practice (Louis & Kruse, 1995; Merz & Furman, 1997; Raywid, 1993; Strike, 1991). Unfortunately, these reports and the growing bodies of research literature that bolster them were, and continue to be, disappointingly vague. Several works demonstrate considerable insight into the practical and theoretical tributaries that those interested in building communities in schools must navigate (Louis & Kruse, 1995; Sergiovanni, 1994).

The force of the water propelled people down the stairs, he explained. Then his eyes grew teary, and his voice faltered. His co-panelist got up from her chair and walked over to comfort him. She began to explain to the audience that these stories stirred memories of a very powerful time for them. It was only a few moments before she too began to cry. " As often happens when one is deeply embedded in a scholarly project, the entire world seems to be speaking to the research. It was easy to leave this panel session thinking that the above incident was about community (and loss of community).

In Habits of the Heart (1985) Bellah and his coauthors define community, in part, as "a group of people who are socially interdependent, who participate together in discussion and decision-making, (see above) and who share certain practices that both define the community and are nurtured by it" (p. 333). Interdependence and shared practices that foster reciprocity and mutual need are cited often as essential components of community (Raywid, 1988; Scherer, 1972; Selznick, 1992). If members of a community do not need each other, the bonds between them become strained or contrived.

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