By Joel Westheimer
What are instructor groups? What are they after? How do they start? Do they evolve via phases? How alike or assorted are they from each other? and the way are such groups outfitted? This account of an city and a suburban tuition, 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
Comprising a strange amalgam in American usage, the words individuality and community are used at times to describe similar social arrangements and priorities almost interchangeably. Reconciling ideals of individualism and community while understanding their complexities has been an ongoing project for more than two centuries. Ambiguity is not the only obstacle facing those seeking to use the term community analytically. Though much school reform literature tends to use teacher community in a universally positive way (meaningful relationships among teachers, a sense of collective responsibility for students and for each other), for many, community conjures up particularly negative visions: domination of the individual by the collectivity, religious communities insulated from the larger communities in which they are situated, stiflingly homogenous small towns or highly regimented cults.
Dewey and others see community as an ongoing series of interactions and experiences rather than a static state. They see it as a process. In Chapters 2 and 3, vignettes from two schools I studied provide a window into understanding the nature of this process. While the features I have outlined provide a common language for recognizing communities and their constitutive elements, they do not define community. Nor, I imagine, would they convince others of its importance. Used in conjunction with vignettes and ethnographic analysis, however, they contribute a great deal to the construction of a coherent framework for understanding communities in practice.
LARRY CUBAN STANFORD UNIVERSITY Page xiii Acknowledgments There is a certain irony in writing a book about community since so much of the work is done alone. I enjoyed the luxury of being able to reflect on themes of community without distraction, but solitude has its limitations. Not surprisingly, the most rewarding moments of this project did not come from isolated writing but rather from the many and varied exchanges with teachers, administrators, colleagues, friends, and familythe members of my own overlapping communities each of whom contributed a great deal to this project.