Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/40179

Establishing communities of practice: a practice-based model of continuing education for school librarians and teachers

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Title: Establishing communities of practice: a practice-based model of continuing education for school librarians and teachers
Authors: Harada, Violet H.
Issue Date: Mar 2009
Publisher: Proceedings of the Asia-Pacific Conference on Library and Information Education and Practice, Kusuba, Japan, March 6-8, 2009.
Citation: Harada, V. (2009). Establishing communities of practice: A practice-based model of continuing education for school librarians and teachers. Proceedings of the Asia-Pacific Conference on Library and Information Education and Practice, Kusuba, Japan, March 6-8, 2009. Prepublication version.
Abstract: Introduction. Improving the quality of instruction among librarians in elementary and secondary schools in the United
States requires a broad program of strategic recruitment and changes in school context. Within this broader program,
professional development or continuing education plays a critical role. This paper focuses on reflective teaching
practices fostered by a program of professional development for school librarians and teachers emphasizing
learning in communities of practice. In this descriptive and analytical case study, the author introduces the concepts of reflection and communities of practice and how they influence a practice-based approach to continuing education. She also describes how a training team implemented these concepts in a course involving inquiry-based partnerships between teachers and librarians in Hawaii, USA. In this article, the author uses the following terms synonymously: continuing education, professional development, in-service training, and staff development.
Method. The key research questions addressed were:
What features of a practice-based approach to continuing education result in increased teacher and librarian knowledge about instructional design and changes to teaching practice? How does such training impact long-term practice in the schools?
The data sources were: artifacts from the development team including agendas and planning notes; artifacts from the participants including instructional plans and reflection logs; semi-structured interviews with selected participants; and records of debriefing sessions involving the development team.
Results. Data revealed that a practice-based approach in continuing education including use of peer critiquing
mechanisms, ongoing mentoring follow-up to formal instruction, and reflective logs was critical in effecting change in
teaching practices.
Conclusion. Based on the findings, the study concludes with guidelines for designing professional development.
Pages/Duration: 10
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/40179
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