Growing Our Own: A Learning Community Partnership between a University and a Public Middle School

  • Cristy Kessler
  • Caroline S. Wong
Part of the Explorations of Educational Purpose book series (EXEP, volume 4)

More than 15 years ago Barth (1990) talked about the concept of a community of learners as the coat-rack which supported all of the components of his vision of a good school. Barth envisioned a school where all educators talked with one another about their practice, observed one another engaged in daily teaching and learning activities, shared knowledge of their craft with one another, and actively helped one another become more skillful teachers. It is this concept of a learning community that frames the partnership between a university professor, pre-service teachers, a principal, and teachers at Moanalua Middle School (MMS). The community of learners' framework supports the University of Hawai'i Master of Education in Teaching Program (MEdT) in tandem with the professional development in a public school setting. Like teaching hospitals in medicine, the school aims to provide a site for state-of-the-art practice that is also organized to support the training of new professionals, extend the professional development of veteran teachers, and sponsor collaborative research and inquiry (Darling-Hammond, 2000).

According to the American Educational Research Association (AERA), teacher education programs that incorporate collaborative partnerships between university programs and local schools have a positive effect on student achievement (NCATE, 2006). MEdT is a two-year program for students who already possess a baccalaureate degree in the arts or sciences. It is a field-based, learnercentered program focused on using inquiry, reflection, and collaboration to support the success of future classroom teachers. While fully immersed in the school setting for all four semesters, MEdT students teach, learn, and reflect on practice with veteran teachers and mentor teachers. The program was designed to develop a strong and collaborative relationship between the university and the partnership schools, and this relationship is essential to the success of the MEdT program.


Professional Development Learning Community Instructional Strategy Lesson Study Community Partnership 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristy Kessler
  • Caroline S. Wong

There are no affiliations available

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