Support for new forms of teaching expertise with rigorous and equitable outcomes for student learning is a particular challenge when communities of actors working together do not share a similar language or vision of teaching practice. For this project we coordinated activities in and outside of secondary science classrooms for Cooperating Teachers (CTs) and their Pre-Service Teachers (PSTs) to inquire into a set of research-based teaching practices and tools. Using frame analysis we contrast three problems of practice addressed by 23 dyads: problems of developing novice teachers, problems of improving teaching, and problems of improving student learning. The last frame, improving student learning, required actors to share and cocreate knowledge with members outside of their dyads. To do this, groups of dyads formed new or repurposed existing social networks to share tools and work on problems “without ceilings,” meaning those that fueled on-going lines of inquiry. We describe ways in which knowledge became shared, actors assumed new roles, and new types of tools, activities, and forms of discourse emerged for contextualizing collective work. This study suggests a need for a systems-level approach to teacher education that focuses on institutional networks of shared tools, practices, and deliberate socio-professional routines for improving practice.
This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Journal of Teacher Education, published by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1177/0022487115592462
Thompson, Jessica; Hagenah, Sara; Lohwasser, Karin; and Laxton, Kat. (2015). "Problems without Ceilings: How Mentors and Novices Frame and Work on Problems-of-Practice". Journal of Teacher Education, 66(4), 363-381.