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Teaching as the Learning Profession: Handbook of Policy and Practice.

Linda Darling-Hammond & Gary Sykes (Eds.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999. 426 pp. In 1983, educators welcomed the publication of the original Handbook of Teaching and Policy, relying on its findings and recommendations for their revisions of teacher education programs and policy formulation.

During the next 20 years, competing factions have scrutinized American schools, identified their shortcomings, and proposed various solutions to each problem. What became clear to many was that American education would not improve or change simply by imposing standards and high-stakes testing, while simultaneously ignoring teachers' input. Teaching As the Learning Profession focuses on the teacher as the key to substantive educational reform and incorporates recent findings from research and policy initiatives.

What teachers know and can do determines the effectiveness and extent of student learning. This volume is intended for university faculty and researchers involved in teacher education, as well as policymakers at local, state, and national levels.

The editors brought together an impressive team of authors, who present a comprehensive review of recent research and policy from contrasting perspectives. The chapters are organized into four sections that weave together policy and practice issues In the first section, "Rethinking Teacher Education," the authors explore ways to improve and transform teachers' learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities through situated learning in classrooms and technology. The influence of teacher preparation programs on multicultural schools is explored.

Part Two ("Rethinking Teacher Professional Development") contains the two most interesting chapters of this book. Hawley and Valli not only present widely accepted principles for continuous teacher learning, but also highlight the inadequacies of teacher preparation programs, inservice delivery models, school structures, and communities in supporting professional growth. Likewise, Sykes's chapter explores the relationships between teachers' learning and their students' learning, as well as the constraints imposed by school organization and management.

The chapters in the section titled "Rethinking Organizations for Teacher Learning" discuss issues and policies related to teacher recruitment, the role of supply and demand in the search for qualified (and high-quality) professionals, and support of teacher learning through professional development schools, peer networks, and visitation. The final section, "Rethinking Policy for Teacher Learning," explores how teacher unions, standards-based reform efforts, and policy decisions all play a role in teachers' professional development.

Readers of this volume will appreciate the portrayal of both learning-arid and learning-rich environments for teachers What readers will not find are easy answers to complex problems. Reviewed by Rebecca P. Harlin, Director of the Ed.S. Program in Curriculum and Instruction, Barry University, Miami Shores, FL
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Author:Harlin, Rebecca P.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 6, 2002
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