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Professional Communities and the Work of High School Teaching

American high schools have never been under more pressure to reform: student populations are more diverse than ever, resources are limited, and teachers are expected to teach to high standards for all students. While many reformers look for change at the state or district level, the authors here argue that the most local contexts—schools, departments, and communities—matter the most to how well teachers perform in the classroom and how satisfied they are professionally. Their findings—based on one of the most extensive research projects ever done on secondary teaching—show that departmental cultures play a crucial role in classroom settings and expectations. In the same school, for example, social studies teachers described their students as "apathetic and unwilling to work," while English teachers described the same students as "bright, interesting, and energetic."

With wide-ranging implications for educational practice and policy, this unprecedented look into teacher communities is essential reading for educators, administrators, and all those concerned with U. S. High Schools.

192 pages | 10 line drawings, 8 tables | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2001

Education: Pre-School, Elementary and Secondary Education

History: European History

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Introduction: Contexts of High School Teaching
2. High School Teachers’ Classroom Practice
3. Communities of Teaching Practice
4. Communities and Teaching Careers
5. Teacher Communities in Embedded System Contexts
6. High School Teaching in the Twenty-first Century
Appendix A: Integrating Theory and Methods in Research on Teachers’ Work
Appendix B: The Research Sample
Appendix C: Teacher Survey Data

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