Josie Cortez Josie Danini Supik, M.A.

Teacher Communities of Practice – Podcast Episode 82 | Classnotes Podcast 82

Classnotes Podcast (January 31, 2011) Research shows that providing intensive, content-rich and collegial learning opportunities for teachers can improve both teaching and student learning. IDRA has seen that when teachers come together as a community of practice to share questions, successes, lessons learned and to support each other, the teachers feel valued and renewed. And importantly, their students do better in school. Josie D. Cortez, M.A., an IDRA senior education associate, outlines four key elements that are critical to successful teacher communities of practice. Josie is interviewed by Aurelio Montemayor, M.Ed., director of the IDRA Texas Parent Information and Resource Center.

Show length: 15:30.

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Valuing Youth- Reflections from a Professional Learning Community
By Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., and Josie Danini Cortez, M.A., IDRA Newsletter (2007)

Professional Learning Communities: Overcoming the Roadblocks
By Nan Lujan & Barbara Day, The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin (Winter 2010)

New Eyes: Meeting Challenges Through Communities of Practice
National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Inc. (March 2007)

Building School-Based Teacher Learning Communities: Professional Strategies to Improve Student Achievement
By Milbrey McLaughlin and Joan E. Talbert (2006)

Schools that Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone that Cares About Education
By Peter M. Senge, Nelda H. Cambron McCabe, Timothy Lucas, Art Kleiner, Janis Dutton, Bryan Smith (2000)

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Show Notes

  • Josie discusses the first step in having a good community of practice: begin with teachers’ assets and build trust. She also emphasizes the importance of face-to-face communication.

  • Aurelio talks about the tragic mistake of talking down to teachers and treating them as if they don’t have any knowledge or experience of real value.

  • Josie and Aurelio recount a pilot project they collaborated on many years ago around teacher renewal. The project helped the teachers to recapture their "original joy and energy and commitment and passion to make a difference with children."

  • Aurelio and Josie discuss a second element to an effective teacher community of practice: connect teachers with their peers and validate each others’ experience.

  • Aurelio explains the importance of capturing and sharing the knowledge base amassed within in a community of practice.

  • Josie and Aurelio talk about the need for teachers to improvise, and how that skill is actually developed through experience in the classroom.