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Talking Shop

Authentic Conversation and Teacher Learning

Christopher M. Clark

Teachers College Press
What do teachers learn from talking to one another about their practice? This set of exciting stories focuses on this important question and presents a case for how the ordinary talk among teachers is a potent medium for teacher learning and professional development. Drawing from the work of eight groups of teachers in the United States and Israel who have met in conversation for the past 4 to 5 years, the contributors present rich descriptions of the complexities, obstacles, contradictions, and possibilities that can accompany teacher conversation. Their research findings culminate in a practical model that helps guide educators in developing and supporting their own teacher conversation groups. With helpful and instructive guidance, they demonstrate how the development and support model they put forth: Is teacher-centered, inexpensive, and sustainable Provides frameworks to guide teacher conversations and authentic examples of professional development in action Offers excellent opportunities for faculty and doctoral students to do low-cost, publishable research on learning to teach Is flexible in that participants can choose how to focus the deliberations of their group, how to set ground rules, and what patterns of meetings to follow Is easy to orchestrate
Author Bio
Christopher M. Clark is Director of the School of Education and professor of education at the University of Delaware.