The expression and development of teachers' capacities within two learning communities : a participant-observer case study
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The learning community model has been an integral component of teacher development in Ontarian schools and beyond. This research was conducted to understand how teachers' personal capacity and professional, interpersonal, and organizational competencies are developed and expressed within this context. Nineteen elementary teachers and administrators participated in the study from November through January 2007. A qualitative case study methodology was used to investigate the role ofteachers' capacities and competencies in learning communities. Combined data sources from semistructured interviews, research journals, and document review were used to gather data about teachers' capacities and competencies. The study included 3 phases of analysis. In the final phase the analysis provided 3 qualities of the teachers at Jude and Mountain Schools (pseudonyms): identification as professionals, investment in others, and institutional affiliation that may explain how they differed from other educators. The data revealed these three themes, which provided an understanding of educators at Jude and Mountain Schools as dedicated professionals pushing practices to contribute to school life and address student learning needs, and as teachers who reflected on practices to continue expanding their skills. Teachers were heavily invested in creating a caring culture and in students' and team members' learning. Educators actively participated in solving problems and coplanning throughout the school levels and beyond, assumed collective responsibility for all pupils, and focused on generating school-wide consistent practices. These qualities and action patterns revealed teachers who invested time and effort in their colleagues, who committed to develop as professionals, and who affiliated closely with every aspect of school living.