Building a Self-Reflective Community: Teacher Development with Exemplar Teachers

Lynn M. Brice, Lynn Nations Johnson, Katharine E. Cummings, Sarah Summy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As we have developed this chapter, we have purposefully turned our attention to the intersection between theory and practice, that intersection where theory and practice are one and the same. The distinction conventionally made between theory and practice often serves to separate teachers and academics, i.e. the idea that teachers practice teaching and academics make theory. We, of course, find such distinctions limiting, if not false. The focus of this chapter is our analysis of the complex, layered dynamics, and interactions of a group of teachers and teacher educators as we became a self-reflective community. Our role as professors in the Binda Project was multi-faceted in nature, requiring the regular intersection of theory and practice. As professors, we approached the project as colleagues and learners with the K-12 teachers who participated; we also drew upon our expertise as teachers and teacher educators in the process. We worked side by side with the teachers as we developed the vision of the project, chose video to edit, and ultimately, produced a video library. We also worked to facilitate the process for the teachers through shaping the experiences we would have as a group of colleagues. And lastly, we chronicled the project and studied the process as it emerged and evolved over time. As professor participants, we came to this project sharing a sociocultural perspective of knowledge and experience, one grounded in feminist theory. Together, these perspectives were the guiding framework that shaped the project. This framework also shaped our methodology, providing the lenses through which we retrospectively analyzed the development of the community identity and the reconstruction of individual teacher's identities. In particular, we describe the changes and shifts among the teachers in terms of their own teaching identities. We describe the ways in which the vision for the project emerged and evolved over time, shifting in ways that were intimately related to individuals' revelations about themselves as teachers. The shifting dynamics of our roles as collaborators, with both the teachers and professors guiding the collaborative process, are also an integral part of what we have included here. In what follows, we first describe the genesis of the project. We then describe our overarching sociocultural-feminist framework and introduce the central constructs of our analysis: identity and representation. We follow with an analysis of the complex dynamics of the group membership as the project evolved over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLearning from Research on Teaching
Subtitle of host publicationPerspective, Methodology, and Representation
EditorsJere Brophy, Stefinee Pinnegar
Number of pages36
StatePublished - Apr 26 2006

Publication series

NameAdvances in Research on Teaching
ISSN (Print)1479-3687


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