Understanding a teachers' community that used a partnership
Kwon, Na Young
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The purposes of this study were to understand teachers and teacher educators in the context of community and to contribute to the research on professional development using a partnership between a high school and a university. I examined how teachers in a learning community each perceive their practices and community, what they learn from their learning community, and what struggles the teachers had in building the learning community. As intervention research (Krainer, 2003), this study helps researchers understand the development process of the mathematics teachers in the community and the process of building a mathematics teachers’ community. As part of the project, Partnerships in Reform in Mathematics Education (PRIME), this study was conducted during a ten-week student teaching period in a high school. Three student teachers, three mentor teachers, and a university teacher participated in this study and worked together in cluster meetings. Data sources included cluster meeting observations, interviews, and documents (such as open-ended surveys and e-mail responses). Data were analyzed using case study and narrative analysis methods. I used the written data to construct three narratives based on the research questions. These narratives show how the participants perceived their community activities. The results showed that the participants valued their learning and other member’s learning in the community. The learning came from different perspectives, different environments, new materials, and students’ work. The participants had difficulty building the learning community. Power issues among members came up as one of the difficulties. In addition, the members addressed issues about selecting topics to discuss, criticizing others, sharing goals, and managing time and the number of members.