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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teacher-centered professionalism : a teacher reading group and new forms of access to knowledge from a feminist perspective Twomey, Sarah J.

Abstract

This qualitative study of a teacher's reading group creates a case for teacher learning through increased access to knowledge and information made available through the Internet. This study is based on the experiences of six female teachers' participation in a reading group in a large urban centre in Western Canada. By analyzing the ways in which these particular teachers created a voluntary form of self-directed professional development, this study used a feminist framework to show that supported access to scholarly texts and information can contribute to a deeper understanding for teachers of the importance of the social practice of learning. By using online resources provided to them by the researcher, these teachers were able to take up issues related to their work through reflective practice and collective association with their professional learning community. The teachers generated new insights about the complexities of social inclusion within their schools, and they were motivated by the desire to better serve their students. One of the study's important findings concerns the kinds of knowledge that teachers chose to learn about. They pursued and discussed materials on the difficulty of bridging cultures with ESL students and their families, critiqued the need to challenge the influence of corporate discourse on schooling, and reframed the use of technologies in school. This study serves as a demonstration of how and why teachers may further engage in forms of self-directed professional development, especially in light of increasing access to online sources of research and scholarship on educational and education-related issues.

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