Learning to Teach Against the Institutional Grain: A Professional Development Model for Teacher Empowerment

  • Zhihui FangEmail author
Part of the New Frontiers of Educational Research book series (NFER)


During the past decade, federal and state governments have become increasingly involved in legislating what to teach and how to teach in American public schools. Nowhere is the government intrusion more evident than in early literacy instruction. With recent education legislations spotlighting accountability, teachers are under immense pressure to use prepackaged commercial programs and to teach to high stakes tests. At peril in this educational climate is teacher autonomy. This paper describes a longitudinal professional development project in Florida schools that supported literacy teachers to make pedagogical transitions from total reliance on prepackaged commercial programs to independence in making informed decisions about curriculum and pedagogy. It is suggested that developing teachers’ content knowledge, professional wisdom, and psychological strengths is key to their professional empowerment.


Teacher professional development Literacy instruction Teacher empowerment Teacher learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Teaching and Learning, College of EducationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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