Teacher talk: A community of colleagues that values practical teacher knowledge through sharing experiences

Lylliam Lopez, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of five educators participating in a teacher-initiated learning community that valued practical teacher knowledge. Connelly and Clandinin (2000) argued that practical teacher knowledge grew out of experience through interaction in the professional knowledge landscape. Collaboration that promoted teacher learning was the foundation to effective school change (Wood, 1997). This teacher-initiated learning community consisted of members who had equal status and collaborated by participating in discourse on curriculum and instruction. The collegiality of the community fostered teacher professionalism that improved practice and benefited the school. This study focused on the following research questions: (1) What was the experience of these five educators in this learning community? (2) What did these five individuals understand about the nature of practical teacher knowledge? (3) According to the participants, what was the relationship between teacher empowerment and effective school change? The participants were chosen because each voluntarily attended this teacher-initiated learning community. Each participant answered questions regarding the experience during three semi-structured tape-recorded interviews. The interviews were transcribed, and significant statements of meaning were extracted. Using a triangulation of ideas that were common to at least three of the participants ensured the trustworthiness of the analysis. These statements were combined to describe what was experienced and how the participants described their experience. The emerging themes were the characteristics of and the relationships, methods, conditions, and environment for the teachers. The teachers described how a knowledge base of practical teacher knowledge was gained as a spirit of camaraderie developed. The freedom that the teachers experienced to collaborate and learn fostered new classroom practice that affected school change as student interaction and productivity increased. The qualitative analysis of this study provided a description of a learning community that valued practical teacher knowledge and fostered professional development. This description was important to educational stakeholders because it demonstrated how practical teacher knowledge was gained during the teachers' daily work. By sharing every day experiences, the teacher talk generated collaboration and accountability that the participants felt improved practice and fostered a safe, productive learning environment for students.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Lopez, Lylliam, "Teacher talk: A community of colleagues that values practical teacher knowledge through sharing experiences" (2002). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3059786.