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Teacher Learning: The Key To Educational Reform

Ann Lieberman, Désirée H. Pointer Mace

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This letter to the next president of the United States recommends the transformation of teacher in-service learning as a powerful means of education reform. Too often, professional development is perceived by teachers as being idiosyncratic and irrelevant. The authors recommend a reconceptualization of professional learning for practicing teachers, in which educators are involved in learning communities, these communities evolve over time, and they revolve around norms of openness, scholarly rigor, and collaborative construction of professional knowledge. The authors describe three such environments of professional learning—the National Writing Project, the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and the Quest Project for Signature Pedagogies in Teacher Education—and recommend that the incoming chief executive should capitalize on the strengths of such programs and extend them to many more teachers nationwide.