Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education : Sustaining Collaborative Work [1st ed.] 9783030546694, 9783030546700

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Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education : Sustaining Collaborative Work [1st ed.]
 9783030546694, 9783030546700

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xxv
Introducing the Portfolio Group (1998–Present) (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 1-21
The Story Before the Story: The Pathway to Knowledge Communities and the Portfolio Group (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 23-47
Evidencing School Reform Through School Portfolios (1998–2002) (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 49-76
Becoming and Sustaining Critical Friends (1998–Present) (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 77-92
Becoming Teacher Researchers (2004–2009) (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 93-113
Becoming Narrative Inquirers (2003–2013) (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 115-140
Traveling Journals as Inquiry and Professional Development (2004–2006) (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 141-161
Engaging in Self-Study Research (2011–Present) (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 163-183
Negotiating Career Pathway Challenges (1998–Present) (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 185-204
Relationships, Cross-Pollination, and Extended Collaborations (2002–Present) (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 205-221
The Portfolio Group’s Legacy (Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, M. Michael Pérez)....Pages 223-250
Back Matter ....Pages 251-252

Citation preview

PALGRAVE STUDIES ON LEADERSHIP AND LEARNING IN TEACHER EDUCATION SERIES EDITORS: MARIA ASSUNÇÃO FLORES · THUWAYBA AL BARWANI

Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education Sustaining Collaborative Work Cheryl J. Craig · Gayle A. Curtis · Michaelann Kelley · P. Tim Martindell · M. Michael Pérez

Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education

Series Editors Maria Assunção Flores Institute of Education University of Minho Braga, Portugal Thuwayba Al Barwani College of Education Sultan Qaboos University Al Khod, Muscat, Oman

The series focuses on original and research informed writing related to teachers and leaders’ work as it addresses teacher education in the 21st century. The editors of this series adopt a more comprehensive definition of Teacher Education to include pre-service, induction and continuing professional development of the teacher. The contributions will deal with the challenges and opportunities of learning and leading in teacher education in a globalized era. It includes the dimensions of practice, policy, research and university school partnership. The distinctiveness of this book series lies in the comprehensive and interconnected ways in which learning and leading in teacher education are understood. In the face of global challenges and local contexts it is important to address leadership and learning in teacher education as it relates to different levels of education as well as opportunities for teacher candidates, teacher educators education leaders and other stakeholders to learn and develop. The book series draws upon a wide range of methodological approaches and epistemological stances and covers topics including teacher education, professionalism, leadership and teacher identity.

More information about this series at http://www.palgrave.com/gp/series/16190

Cheryl J. Craig · Gayle A. Curtis · Michaelann Kelley · P. Tim Martindell · M. Michael Pérez

Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education Sustaining Collaborative Work

Cheryl J. Craig Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture Texas A&M University College Station, TX, USA

Gayle A. Curtis Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture Texas A&M University College Station, TX, USA

Michaelann Kelley Mount St. Joseph University Cincinnati, OH, USA

P. Tim Martindell Department of Urban Education University of Houston - Downtown Houston, TX, USA

M. Michael Pérez Houston Independent School District Houston, TX, USA

ISSN 2524-7069 ISSN 2524-7077 (electronic) Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education ISBN 978-3-030-54669-4 ISBN 978-3-030-54670-0 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Foreword

The Invaluable Scholarly Contribution of an Account of a 20-year-long Collaboration: The Value of the Work of the Portfolio Group In reading Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education: Sustaining Collaborative Work, we were reminded of one of our own passages: As we move forward in becoming a teacher educator [and teacher] working in the midst of experience and practice, we learn and grow. We shift in our understanding, experience tensions, resolve problems, develop relationships, and learn about being a teacher educator. We stand in the perfect place to reveal, act on, and expand our knowledge about teaching, teacher education, and being a [teacher or] teacher educator. (Hamilton and Pinnegar 2015, p. 39)

Much of what we believe about teacher development, growth, and change as a teacher and teacher educator is captured in this quote and in this volume. Indeed the power of this book, for us, is that it provides clear and strong evidence of the things that led the Arizona Group (e.g., 1996) to embrace and pursue self-study of practice (or self-study of teacher education practice, S-STEP) methodology to develop scholarship on teaching and teacher education. Early on in the teacher research movement, a

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group of scholars argued that the voice of teachers was ventriloquized by university scholars and thus the potential contribution of teachers to research on teaching and teacher education was either silenced or absent from the discourse. Clandinin (1985) introduced the concept of personal practical knowledge as the knowledge teachers acted on in their teaching and curriculum making. Bullough and Gitlin (2001) provided methodological tools that could be used to document and promote the developing knowledge of beginning teachers as a potential contribution to research on beginning teacher development. Cochran-Smith and Lytle’s (1993), Inside-out: Teacher research and knowledge argued for the need for the contributions of teachers and provided tools that could help teachers in making such contributions. Clandinin and her colleagues (1993) provided clear evidence that narrative inquiry conducted by teachers and teacher educators could document the growth of teacher and teacher educator knowledge in an alternative teacher education program that took experience and practical knowledge as the site for teacher growth. Olson and Craig (2001), working from a teacher knowledge orientation, added key terms for understanding teacher knowledge with ideas like secret stories and cover stories. My colleagues (see Arizona Group et al. 1996) provided an understanding of the shift from teacher to teacher educator. The portfolio and teacher reflection movement as represented by scholars such as Nona Lyons (1998) emerged about this time as well and provided guidance that could sharpen teacher skills in developing as researchers and contributing to the conversation in research on teaching. Since these early days, while teachers have contributed studies of their knowledge, it has often been rough sledding since the primary task of teachers is teaching and promoting the learning and development of their own students. This work bridges the time from those early days of teacher research and the potential of teacher research in this day and time. In doing so, it makes important contributions to research on teacher tools for capturing teacher knowledge and identity formation, tracking teacher development, documenting the success of reform efforts, the value and mechanisms of teacher, teacher educator, and school leadership collaborations (and how such work can lead to systemic change and personal growth), the power of knowledge communities, and the power of teacher-led professional development. In this book, we are introduced to a group of teachers who came together amid a Texas educational reform movement and formed the Portfolio Group. In an unprecedented move, they continued to work

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together and support each other in learning, school change, and professional growth. They did this through their collaborative and individual scholarship, their commitment to conducting and to publishing research, and their obligations to promoting growth and change in themselves, schools, and each other. Their collaborative continues to thrive even after 20 years and the participants continue to contribute to research on teaching and teacher education. However, endurance and commitment are not the only contributions of this book. The major contribution of the volume is its straightforward articulation of the path of the collaborative and the tools, techniques, and accounts of experience that provide insight and wisdom about how other educational research collaborations could thrive in the midst of the business of the lives of educators, the political realities, and the challenges in personal lives. Indeed, this book is both a practical and theoretical work. It provides practical tools based in theoretical concepts that others could embrace in ways that could lead to other efforts. The book explains and articulates several tools and techniques for reflection and research that can be utilized to promote, study, and produce professional growth and school change. These tools include regular public reflection in a safe and nurturing environment. The participants are honest and understanding about the fact that while a core group has contributed across the years, they have allowed for the ebb and flow of lives (retirement, moving, embrace of new challenges) that led members to join, contribute, and leave (and sometimes return). They provide clear guidance and evidence for the power and use of portfolios to document, record, and study the learning and growth of teachers, the learning of students, and the evolution of educational systems. They demonstrate how research methods and methodologies such as traveling journals, regular dialogue (Hamilton and Pinnegar 2015; Bakhtin 1981), reflection (see Lyons 2010) narrative inquiry (Clandinin and Connelly 2000), critical friends protocols (see https://nsrfharmony.org/faq-items/ cfgvsplc/), and self-study of practice (Pinnegar and Hamilton 2009) can be supported and executed. They use these tools to create accounts that capture the ways in which their growth as teachers is promoted as they use these vehicles to study their work as educators. These tools enable them to stand in the zone of maximal contact of space where their past, present, and orientation to future experiences are brought together and result in shifts in their thinking and actions.

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All the research processes, practices, techniques, methodologies, and tools are utilized to capture the particular. This is important because rather than seeking generalizability, these accounts provide a secure base for transferability and applicability. They elucidate the ways in which we, as humans, can read narratives and studies of particular experiences located in particular places and then apply these adjusting them to our own settings and practices. These tools and the accounts of their practical use provide an exemplar for Putnam (2004) who claimed that generalizable research studies have not been able to truly address the intractable problems of education. Instead he argues (and as the Portfolio Group’s studies provide clear evidence), our best strategy is to provide strong studies of the particular that others can read carefully and adjust and apply in their own settings—learning from both the success and sometimes failure of others. Another important contribution of this book emerges from the work that initially brought the group together—their engagement with and evaluation by a reform effort in Houston, Texas schools. The technique they employed was the use of portfolios to document the impact of the reform efforts in a group of Houston schools. These educators recognized that their commitment to developing schools that met the needs of students and resulted, not in changed test scores per se, but in promoting the increasing likelihood that the students in challenging schools would not just survive but thrive and more likely reach their potential. Like the Perry Preschool study focused on the practical effects of strong preschools on the lives of children (see Heckman and Karapakula 2019), test scores or usual evaluation documentation would not adequately or accurately capture either the processes of reform in these schools or the actual impact of them. This book provides evidence that schools that seek to employ and execute practical reform efforts targeted at the whole person need to utilize evaluation that documents the growth and change in schools, students, and teachers. Thus, this book provides explanations, guidance, and links to other resources that can support teachers and educators in such efforts. Often, professional development literature, even the studies that promote the use of teacher research methodologies reported here, argue that these efforts must be orchestrated and led by university scholars in order to have rigor and be executed properly. While Cheryl Craig is clearly central in this work, her role seems to be an educative one—educative for the participants but also to promote her own learning and growth.

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She participates as a contributing and equal member of this community. The evidence is that all of the Portfolio Group members contributed to, shaped, valued, and sustained this work. In contrast to other explanations of how to engage in such work, while Craig plays a role, the other participants have equal status and often emerged as the leaders in the group. The contribution of this work is the clear documentation and evidence it provides of the power of teacher-led professional development. Bullough and Smith (2016) in a strong review of the research literature reported on the value and power of teacher-led professional development and this book provides clear evidence of its potential to promote the kind of growth and development desired in educational settings. A clear position of these authors is that all of them are becoming (Deleuze and Guattari 1988), beyond the publication of this book they will continue to seek challenges such as this and the others they describe in this volume. Just as this book provides clear evidence of the power of teacherled and orchestrated professional development, just as importantly it describes the ways in which collaboration across schools, districts, and educational levels provides an environment where educators can thrive and grow. The book robustly and repeatedly makes the case for the power of knowledge communities (Craig 1995) as a space where understandings about teaching, learning, and schooling can percolate, gain support, and promote shifts in thinking and action in ways that benefit schools and allow participants to both contribute to the learning and thrive in the setting. Craig (2013) cogently argues that all educators desire to create conditions in which they can become the best-loved selves they imagined themselves as when they became educators. However, the practical contribution is the accounts of these collaborations that provide guidance for those who would like to engage in, promote, or create knowledge communities as places where teachers, institutions, and leaders thrive and not merely survive. In our view, …the kind of scholarship most suited to these explorations is intimate scholarship. While intimate scholarship can be our orientation within a number of research methodologies, scholarship undertaken from that perspective shares a number of characteristics. (Hamilton and Pinnegar 2015, p. 39)

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The accounts provided in these chapters are all forms of intimate scholarship (Hamilton and Pinnegar 2015). They exhibit the principles that identify intimate scholarship. The authors and researchers in this work focus on the particular, which is a viable description of the studies reported in these chapters and, as Putnam (2004) argues, provide a source educators can use to promote change. Because the accounts make visible the learning and growth of the scholars, they often feel vulnerable. The recognition and acknowledgment of the messiness of this work and its accompanying politics reveal that the authors often in the past and even in the present stand and work in spaces of vulnerability. The studies focus on providing clear, adequate, and accurate accounts of the ontologies they observed, developed, and studied in order to produce knowledge that could inform the research community. The ongoing meeting and interaction of the members of the Portfolio Group and their explanations of the process they engage in clearly suggest that dialogue and interpretative interactions with each other pushed their work and provided a basis from which they could make change. Fundamental to intimate scholarship is attention to relationships and an acknowledgment of how relationships and the strength of relationships are vital to the work. Clearly, these studies and the 20-year history of the relationship of the participants and contributors are a tribute to the power of relationships in developing and promoting scholarship and change in schools, teachers, and students. Intimate scholarship is open. As these studies demonstrate, such scholarship is open in that it is honest and animates the actual experiences of those involved in the work. It is also open in that it always begins and ends in the midst of the work. What is learned leads to new learning and the development of new understandings rather than accounts that are closed and singular. This collection of chapters contributes to the understanding of educators concerning several important issues. It describes promising tools, methodologies, strategies, and techniques easily utilized by teacher scholars and indicates how, through the use of these tools, educators can contribute important insights to the conversation of research on teaching. It reveals how focusing on the particular has the power to shift education and educators in ways that lead to solutions to intractable educational problems. It provides evidence of the power of evaluating school reform through the use of portfolios to document the actual shifts, changes, influence, and growth of actions taken. It demonstrates the power of teacher-led professional development and the potential of its use to

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enable educators to thrive and become their best-loved selves (Craig 2013). Finally, it clearly represents intimate scholarship and is a witness of the potential for such scholarship to contribute to our understandings concerning educational reform, teacher growth, collaborative research, and the value of focusing on the particular to producing lasting changes. Lastly, the book as a whole is a provocative and delightful read. Stefinee Pinnegar Brigham Young University Provo, UT, USA Mary Lynn Hamilton University of Kansas Lawrence, KS, USA

References Arizona Group, Guilfoyle, K., Hamilton, M. L., Pinnegar, S., & Placier, M. (1996). Negotiating balance between reforming teacher education and forming self as teacher educator. Teacher Education Quarterly, 23(3), 153– 168. Bakhtin, M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: Four essays. Austin: University of Texas Press. Bullough, R. V., & Gitlin, A. (2001). Becoming a student of teaching. New York, NY: RoutledgeFalmer. Bullough, R. V., & Smith, L. K. (2016). Being a student of teaching: Practitioner research and study groups. In J. J. Loughran & M. L. Hamilton (Eds.), International handbook of teacher education (pp. 305–351). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Clandinin, D. J. (1985). Personal practical knowledge: A study of teachers’ classroom images. Curriculum Inquiry, 15(4), 361–385. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Clandinin, D. J., Davies, A., Hogan, P., & Kennard, B. (1993). Learning to teach, teaching to learn: Stories of collaboration in teacher education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (Eds.). (1993). Inside/outside: Teacher research and knowledge. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

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Craig, C. (1995). Safe places on the professional knowledge landscape: Knowledge communities. Advances in Contemporary Educational Thought Series, 15, 137–141. Craig, C. J. (2013). Teacher education and the best-loved self. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 33(3), 261–272. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1988). A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. London, UK: Bloomsbury Publishing. Hamilton, M. L., & Pinnegar, S. (2015). Knowing, becoming, doing as teacher educators: Identity, intimate scholarship, inquiry. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing. Heckman, J. J., & Karapakula, G. (2019). Intergenerational and intragenerational externalities of the Perry Preschool Project (No. w25889). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Lyons, N. (1998). With portfolio in hand: Validating the new teacher professionalism. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Lyons, N. (Ed.). (2010). Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry: Mapping a way of knowing for professional reflective inquiry. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Science & Business Media. Olson, M. R., & Craig, C. J. (2001). Opportunities and challenges in the development of teachers’ knowledge: The development of narrative authority through knowledge communities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17 (6), 667–684. Pinnegar, S., & Hamilton, M. L. (2009). Self-study of practice as a genre of qualitative research: Theory, methodology, and practice (Vol. 8). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Science & Business Media. Putnam, H. (2004). Ethics without ontology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Preface

When we began this journey we really did not know what it was. What we were doing felt “correct,” but we didn’t know what to name our method. (Hollingsworth 1994, p. 7)

This book, Informal knowledge communities in practice: Sustaining teacher/teacher educator collaboration, takes a critical look back at the twenty-two-year teacher and teacher educator collaboration informally called the Portfolio Group. Using archival data, critical dialogue, and interactive reflective writings, we examine our individual and collective experiences with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of elements that have contributed to strengthening our longitudinal association and collaborative teacher research work. We hope that others will encounter within these pages greater insights into how teacher and teacher educator collaborations are created and sustained over the long haul. To that end, we share and explore our experiences through collective histories, counter narratives, and sometimes uncomfortable stories (Morris 2002) through which we have learned from one another. We understand experience as “a changing stream…characterized by continuous interaction of human thought with [the] personal, social and material environment” (Clandinin and Rosiek 2007, p. 39). For us, narratives “model not only a world, but minds seeking to give [the world] its meanings” (Bruner 2002, p. 27). As Lindemann Nelson (1995) explained, “counter stories…are told in dialogue with others…they are

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…told together with other tellers, fragment by fragment, each person contributing to plot and character and…thought” (p. 38). Seeing the contributions of storytelling as “inseparable from ethical” (p. 72), StoneMediatore (2007) questioned ways in which these dominant plotlines, particularly their emphasis on objectivity, support “an ethics of indifference in the name of neutrality,” whereas “storytelling asserts that responsible knowledge practices demand ethical orientations, in particular sensitivity toward others and mindful participation in our communities” (p. 72). College Station, USA College Station, USA Cincinnati, USA Houston, USA Houston, USA

Cheryl J. Craig Gayle A. Curtis Michaelann Kelley P. Tim Martindell M. Michael Pérez

References Bruner, J. (2002). Making stories: Law, literature, life. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Clandinin, D. J., & Rosiek, J. (2007). Mapping a landscape of narrative inquiry: Borderland spaces and tensions. In D. J. Clandinin (Ed.), Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology (pp. 35–75). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Hollingsworth, S. (1994). Teacher research and urban literacy education: Lessons and conversations in a feminist key. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Lindemann Nelson, H. (1995). Resistance and insubordination. Hypatia, 10(2), 23–40. Morris, D. B. (2002). Narrative, ethics, and pain: Thinking with stories. In R. Charon & M. Montello (Eds.), Stories matter: The role of narrative in medical ethics (pp. 196–218). London, England: Routledge. Stone-Mediatore, S. (2007). Challenging academic norms: An epistemology for feminist and multicultural classrooms. NWSA Journal, 19(2), 55–78.

Contents

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Introducing the Portfolio Group (1998–Present) Introducing the Schools and the Houston School Reform Context Portfolio Group Members Michaelann Kelley (Visual Arts Teacher, Eagle High School, Northside School District) Gayle Curtis (Reform Coordinator, Heights Community, Central School District) Tim Martindell (Literacy Teacher, Hardy Academy, Northside School District) Mike Perez (Science Teacher, Tumbleweed Middle School, Central School District) Cheryl Craig (Associate Professor and Grant Evaluator, Rice University) Concluding Thoughts, Satellite Members, and Appreciation References The Story Before the Story: The Pathway to Knowledge Communities and the Portfolio Group The Seeds of the Portfolio Group Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice Researching Teacher Professional Knowledge Landscapes Bringing the Work to Houston

1 3 6 6 9 11 13 16 18 20

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CONTENTS

Setting the Context for School Reform Conflict Creates a New Model Teacher Voices Emerge in the New Reform Model Beginning Our Portfolio Group Journey References

36 37 38 40 43

Evidencing School Reform Through School Portfolios (1998–2002) Context of Our School Reform Work The National Context The Houston Context The Portfolio Group Schools Context Coming Together as a Knowledge Community Formation of the School Portfolio Group Learning Together Forming a Group Identity Evidencing the School Reform Work Expanding School Voices Proving Versus Improving Navigating the Opportunities and Challenges Opportunities—Portfolios as Reflective Tools Opportunities—Presentations by the Portfolio Group Opportunities—Epiphany Lecture Series Challenges—Doing Polished Work Challenges—Breadth Vs Depth Challenges—Bulkiness of the Portfolios Challenges—Protecting School Communities Challenges—Negotiating Boundaries Challenges—Intellectual Property Concluding Thoughts References

49 51 51 51 52 55 55 56 58 59 60 61 64 64 65 67 69 70 70 71 71 72 73 73

Becoming and Sustaining Critical Friends (1998–Present) Historical Contexts of Critical Friends The National Context The Houston Context Learning to Be Critical Friends

77 78 78 79 81

CONTENTS

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Evidence of Critical Friends Group® Work in Our Practice Exploring Our Critical Friends Group® Work Reflections on Our Critical Friends® Work Intersections and Interactions Extended Use of CFG® Repertoires Cultivating Reflective Practice and Critical Friendship Sustaining Critical Friendship References

84 84 86 86 87 88 89 90

Becoming Teacher Researchers (2004–2009) Negotiating a New Commonplace of Experience Ongoing Collaborative Work Supporting One Another’s School-Based Teacher Research Turning Back to Action Research A Focus on Literacy Making Teacher Research Public The Personal Side of Eagle’s Action Research Teamwork Transformative Outcomes of the Teacher Research Exploring and Finding Clarity in Our Commonplace of Experience Tensions in Group Identity: Curriculum Implementers vs. Curriculum Makers Tensions in Navigating Rejection and Relationships Conclusion References

93 94 95 95 97 97 102 103 105

Becoming Narrative Inquirers (2003–2013) Coming to Narrative Inquiry Our Historical Background with Narrative Family Tree of Knowledge Co-constructing Knowledge Journeys to Becoming Narrative Inquirers Overview of Dissertation Studies Common Narrative Threads Living Our Narrative Inquiries: Tensions and Treasures Getting Started in Narrative Inquiry Conclusion References

115 116 116 118 119 121 121 124 125 132 137 138

106 106 108 111 112

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Traveling Journals as Inquiry and Professional Development (2004–2006) Origin of the Traveling Journals Concept Traveling Journals Theme 1: Reflection Traveling Journals Theme 2: Collaborative Inquiry into Ideas and Tensions Traveling Journals Theme 3: Bumping into the Boundaries of Policy and Procedure Looking Backward, Imagining Forward References Engaging in Self-Study Research (2011–Present) Emergence of a Metaphor Connecting to a Metaphor Metaphor as a Provocation for Self-Study Coming to Self-Study Connecting Self-Study to Past Portfolio Work Connecting Self-Study to Narrative Inquiry Delving Deeper into the Metaphor Knowledge Carried Forward Parallel Journeys Influence of Environments on Career Pathways and Identity Discovering a Previously Unnamed Theme Coming to the Self-Study Community Concluding Thoughts References Negotiating Career Pathway Challenges (1998–Present) Metaphor as a Tool to Understand Our Negotiation of Career Pathways The Dragon Gate and Other Metaphors Eastern Metaphor: Western Meaning The Shaping of Contexts and Situations on Career Trajectories Cheryl’s Story: From a Story of Leaving to a Story of Beginning Again

141 143 148 152 156 158 160 163 165 165 166 168 169 170 171 172 173 175 176 178 179 181

185 185 186 187 188 189

CONTENTS

Tim’s Story: Claiming One’s Teacher Narrative Authority Gayle’s Story: Opportunities, Obstacles, and Optimism Mike’s Story—The Best-Loved Self Michaelann’s Story—Learning to Lead Adults Unpacking Our Stories Concluding Thoughts References 10

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Relationships, Cross-Pollination, and Extended Collaborations (2002–Present) Relationship Community of Care Expressions of Care Cross-Pollination of Ideas The Faculty Academy Las Chicas Críticas Extended Collaborations Collaborative Curriculum Development and Academic Sisters A Collage of Collaboration An Unexpected Collaboration References The Portfolio Group’s Legacy Looking Back, Looking Forward Internal Sharing of Ideas Why We Stayed in the Portfolio Group External Dissemination Best-Loved Part of the Portfolio Group Legacy Final Words References

Index

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190 192 195 197 199 201 203

205 207 207 209 210 211 213 214 215 216 218 219 223 223 225 233 237 243 245 247 251

About the Authors

Cheryl J. Craig is a Professor, the Houston Endowment Endowed Chair of Urban Education and the Chair of Technology and Teacher Education in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture at Texas A&M University. She is an American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow, an AERA Division B (Curriculum) Outstanding Lifetime Career awardee and a recipient of the Michael Huberman Award for Contributions to Understanding the Lives of Teachers. She founded the Portfolio Group in 1998 and the Faculty Academy in 2002. Gayle A. Curtis is Program Manager for the Asian American Studies Center at the University of Houston and Postdoctoral Researcher at Texas A&M University. She is an awardee of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Narrative SIG Outstanding Publication Award and Outstanding Dissertation Award. Her current research focuses on culturally responsive pedagogy, mentoring, promising practices for STEM and minority student retention and graduation in higher education, AANAPISI student experience, teacher practice, reflective practice, and collaboration. She has collaborated with the Portfolio Group since 1999 and has been a Critical Friends Coach since 2000. Michaelann Kelley is Assistant Professor of Art and Design at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Prior to this, she served five years as the district Director of Visual Arts and 23 years as a high school teacher

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with Aldine Independent School District in Houston, Texas. Michaelann was named Teacher of the Year in 1999 and received the Stanford University Outstanding Teaching Award in 2013. She has been a Critical Friends Coach since 1998 and has promoted the concept of teachers learning and growing together to increase student success ever since. She has published numerous articles, chapters, and has collaborated with the Portfolio Group for 22 years. P. Tim Martindell is a secondary English teacher at The Village School and an adjunct instructor at the University of Houston Downtown. In addition to his twenty-five-year teaching career, Tim served as the Houston A+ Challenge program coordinator for literacy and critical friendship, and the past president of both the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts and the West Houston Council of Teachers of English. He holds an Ed.D. and M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston and a B.S. Ed. in communications education from Miami University. He became part of the Portfolio Group in 2000. M. Michael Pérez has a master’s degree in environmental science and a bachelor’s degree in geography—both from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has taught middle school science for the past 26 years in two schools in the Houston Independent School District. He speaks three languages (English, Spanish, and French) and enjoys traveling and gardening. Although interacting with the group for many years prior, Mike actively joined the Portfolio Group in 2016.

List of Figures

Fig. 1.1

Fig. 2.1 Fig. 2.2 Fig. 5.1

Fig. 6.1 Fig. 6.2 Fig. 8.1

Fig. 11.1

Portfolio Group members (left to right) Cheryl Craig, Michaelann Kelley, Michael “Mike” Perez, P. Tim Martindell, and Gayle Curtis Teachers’ knowledge situated in context Teachers’ personal experience within a story constellation Portfolio Group members from Eagle High School (left to right) Mari Glamser, Michaelann Kelley, and Ron Venable Overview of Portfolio Group dissertation narrative inquiries Narrative threads across dissertations Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex, England; site of the Self-study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP) conferences Portfolio Group writing session (from left to right, Cheryl Craig, Gayle Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, M. Michael “Mike” Perez, P. Tim Martindell)

7 25 36

98 122 125

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List of Tables

Table Table Table Table

2.1 2.2 11.1 11.2

Campuses with first-tier funding Campuses with second-tier funding Portfolio Group presentations Portfolio Group publications

32 33 238 241

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CHAPTER 1

Introducing the Portfolio Group (1998–Present)

In the early afternoon, two days after the end of the school year, on the first day of what was to be a two-day planning workshop for the newly awarded Houston Annenberg Challenge Beacon Grant schools, groups of teachers from eleven Greater Houston area campuses gathered in the darkened ballroom at the Lake Conroe conference center in Texas. We had spent the morning “learning” from school district leaders and researchers how we were to plan and document our collective school reform work—in a manner which ironically reminded us of business-asusual, that is, our being told what to do and how to do it, with each of us having little voice in the reform. Cheryl Craig, a planning and evaluation researcher who worked with our five schools, recalled the scene of the event this way: Looking worn-out and in serious need of a break, the principals and teachers from the 11 schools participating in the grant programme assembled along with their planning and evaluation consultants and representative community members. From the outset, no one seemed pleased about attending two days of meetings at the conclusion of the academic year. (Craig 2010, p. 1293)

Worse yet, we learned from the morning’s presenters, that even though our schools had just been awarded substantial amounts of funding for the five-year grant period based on our submitted proposals, we would © The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_1

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now need to write and submit another request for funding by the end of the conference gathering. Concerns mounted quickly among us. The template we would use “would satisfy the business community and/or would serve as a ‘readying up process’ (Schwab 1971, p. 9) that would make our data easily accessible to the external evaluator” (Craig 2010, p. 1293). The template, developed with little to no input from the majority of the schools, was introduced and discussed at length. It seemed school reform in Greater Houston was off to a sadly predictable start and would seem destined to land on national editorial pages as a failed educational attempt just like the Chicago and Los Angeles Annenberg Challenges had done. Cheryl recalls what happened next: When the scheduled time for school teams to work together came, I requested a space for the five school teams with whom I had been working. My intent was to give them a room where they could talk frankly with one another. We gathered with their respective community leaders in an amphitheater down the hall.

Tim remembers a distinct hush that fell over the room as the researcher from a local university (Cheryl), who had been specially chosen to help our schools, asked a few simple questions along the lines of: “Were your campuses involved in the planning of these documentation practices? Do you feel that your voices have been heard? How are the needs of your unique campuses and teachers being met?” The researcher sat in the background listening intently, while the school-based educators began to voice their disappointment over what had taken place thus far in the retreat. One principal of an elementary school, for example, expressed his concern that the schools which had been publicly recognized as successes were not being listened to as he had anticipated. Eagle High School’s principal took the position that reform automatically “implies that evaluation will be done differently,” and a third principal of a middle school spoke of the emergence of a whole new set of challenges related to reformers duplicating the behaviors of school district bureaucrats as they, too, became increasingly technocratic. As Sandi Capps tactfully worded it, “their [far-away] questions were not our [close-up] questions” (Craig 2010, p. 1296). Her wise comment cut to the quick of the core issue around which everyone was skirting. In the end result, the five teams, their supporters, and the researcher (Cheryl) left the retreat without the

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formulaic written plans in hand as the reform movement had demanded. Instead, we departed with a solid cross-school commitment to work together to improve public education for all children in Greater Houston. Thus began our complete rethinking of the reform project, how knowledge communities develop and evolve, how schools work, and the need for new models of teacher evaluation (Craig 2010). We also quickly discovered an ally in our planning and evaluation consultant, Cheryl, who would help us negotiate and navigate through the difficult times to come. According to Cheryl, This was a responsibility that I took seriously, despite the glaring irony that I, as a narrative inquirer, did not consider myself a reformer (although others considered me one) due to my desire to hold everything, including experiences of organized reform movements and their agendas, open to scrutiny. (Craig 2010, p. 1294)

As Cheryl later explained, In an effort to support the campuses and to secure the necessary funding, we all were desirous of exploring alternate approaches to formative planning and evaluation. After a few sessions, we agreed that Schön and McDonald’s “theory of action” framework (1998), with roots that traced to Dewey, fit the schools’ preferences. Individually and collectively, we awakened to the fact that, like it or not, we had become the school reform movement as far as the teachers and principals were concerned. The onus was now on us to figure out how to make things work. (Craig 2010, p. 1294)

Introducing the Schools and the Houston School Reform Context The Houston Annenberg Challenge (HAC) was awarded a five-year, $20 million grant from the national Annenberg Challenge, which was matched by another $40 million contributed by the local community. The HAC theory of action for the school reform centered around three imperatives: Teacher learning—transforming teacher professional development; School isolation—breaking down barriers to communication and collaboration between schools and districts; and Size—creating small personalized learning environments geared toward improving learning for each student. The HAC initiative started with an initial cohort of eleven

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“Beacon” schools which were awarded large multiyear grants to build and disseminate reform models. (The HAC ultimately impacted 88 plus schools by the end of the five-year grant cycle.) In 2002, HAC received another $30 million to continue the work for an additional five years. As part of the dissemination process, the Portfolio Group initially came together in 1998 consisting of teachers and administrators from five campuses who agreed to work with Dr. Cheryl Craig (as we knew her then) as a planning and evaluation consultant. This combination of schools spanned two school districts—Central and Northside school districts—in the urban core of Houston, Texas and included elementary, middle, and high school campuses. T. P. Yaeger Middle School (which had an existing relationship with Dr. Craig) and Heights Community Learning Center represented the Central School District; Eagle High School, Hardy Academy, and Cochrane Academy (which also had a relationship with Cheryl Craig) were from the Northside School District. In the third year of the grant cycle, another school, Gray Middle School from Central School District, joined the group after several teachers attended a summer institute session on teacher reflective practice and school portfolios. In addition to the cross-section of schools comprising the group, the original members of the Portfolio Group came from a wide variety of school contexts, including elementary, middle, high school, and university teachers of fine arts, mathematics, language arts, science, and social sciences, as well as administrators from different levels of schools. Yet, all of these schools shared important characteristics that caused the educators’ stories to resonate with one another. They are all being asked by the educational powers-that-be to meet the needs of diverse student populations including high levels of ethnic, racial, and linguistic minorities, students who are classified by the state as “economically disadvantaged,” and students who are also considered by the state to be “at-risk” of dropping out of school before graduation - all of whom are typically disenfranchised by the American educational system. (Gray 2008, p. 3)

Because of the state education system’s reliance on standardized assessment scores to measure and evaluate these campuses based on “E. L. Thorndike’s prevailing philosophy that schools can be run and evaluated using behaviorist ideas and measurement-oriented results” (Gray 2008, p. 3), teachers in the Portfolio Group were receptive to examining their individual and collective practices as a way of moving beyond the

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prevailing “grand narrative” of education (Clandinin and Connelly 2000). The initial Portfolio Group members often dwelled within the tensions between the grand narrative of education and the individual stories told about their school campuses by individual teachers and students (Gray 2008). As Cheryl already had an existing relationship with the principal at Yaeger and a somewhat later relationship with the principal at Cochrane, word spread quickly to other campuses that they too could capitalize on those already-established collaborations. In the end, the five original schools participating in the Portfolio Group invited her to be their planning and evaluation consultant. A narrative researcher from Canada who studied with both D. Jean Clandinin and F. Michael Connelly, Cheryl would only agree to work with the schools who selected her if they would, in turn, agree to work collaboratively to document their own work and their collective work. She did not want to mediate rivalries between and among the schools and personalities of the teachers in the group. Nor did she want people or schools competing for her attention. She wanted everyone to focus their full attention on improving schooling for urban youth, a shared enterprise that broke down school and district human differences. (Gray 2008, p. 17)

As a result of the eventful retreat at Lake Conroe, and with several school principals advocating for a more holistic approach to evaluating the school reform work, the schools that initially agreed to work with Cheryl decided to use portfolios to document their school reform work (Gray 2008). This approach was meant to counter the predetermined use of standardized test scores that the conference planners had determined the schools would use to show the impact of the reform work on student learning. The Houston schools were determined to document their own reform work so as not to fall into the trap that doomed campuses in a sister reform grant in Chicago where participating schools perceived their evaluations as being unfair as the schools did not collect data themselves, but totally relied on the data collected by outside researchers and evaluators. The creation of school portfolios would allow schools to show that they had been faithful stewards of the Houston Annenberg grant monies. Against the complexities of this backdrop, the Portfolio Group had its beginning.

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During the 1997–2002 funding cycle, the Portfolio Group met regularly and with Cheryl’s guidance were able to produce school portfolios that not only documented the reform work on each campus, but also told and showed each school’s story from multiple perspectives. These early portfolios were not just a collection of artifacts; they included stories of learning that occurred on each campus; learning from administrators, teachers and students that contributed to each school landscape. The school portfolios also contained reflection s on the stories from teachers, students, and administrators. (Gray 2008, p. 19)

In addition to their work on the school portfolios, the members of the Portfolio Group presented their narrative research at prestigious national conferences such as at American Educational Research Association (AERA) meetings, the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum (AATC) Conferences, the International Teacher Research Conference (ITRC), and the Castle Conference of the Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP), as well as collaboratively wrote many journal articles and book chapters about school portfolios. After the first grant cycle ended in 2002, the Portfolio Group continued their collaborative inquiry less constrained by the oversight of the HAC funders (Fig. 1.1).

Portfolio Group Members To establish a context for our group, we now provide individual stories of our coming to teaching and coming to the Portfolio Group as individual members. The introduction to our membership1 lists each person’s school affiliation and position when they joined the group and reveals our varied route to the teaching profession. Michaelann Kelley (Visual Arts Teacher, Eagle High School, Northside School District) My cover story (Crites 1979) about why I became a teacher is one that I have used over and over again in my educational career. My surface telling is that I always have been a teacher, since I was in the third grade in my basement in a makeshift play classroom. I would return from school

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Fig. 1.1 Portfolio Group members (left to right) Cheryl Craig, Michaelann Kelley, Michael “Mike” Perez, P. Tim Martindell, and Gayle Curtis

and teach my younger sister, Shannon. I loved teaching, because I had a wonderful student in Shannon, who encouraged me every day. She loved to learn and was always waiting at her desk when I got home. She was four and entered kindergarten knowing how to read, write in cursive (all skills I was learning). However, as I reflect on my school experiences, I am surprised I became a teacher. I am even shocked I ever wanted to relive school. During kindergarten, the signs of having a difficult time with the traditional stories of school (Clandinin and Connelly 1996) were apparent. I had my finger smashed in the bathroom door no less than four times. So I wonder; what was happening in that classroom milieu that made the pain of a smashed finger a better avenue for a five-year old than staying in the classroom? In the third grade, I changed schools—my third campus in four years—when my parents enrolled me in a private Catholic school. I can still remember the details of the classrooms, bathrooms, and of incidents, but the names of my teachers are purposefully gone. I have noticed at my recent class reunions that my friends can recite almost all of their teachers’ names; I cannot remember one single teacher’s name until my fifth-grade year. Looking back, I wonder now why I played school for so many years with such traumatizing experiences in my stories of school…so who was I modeling my teaching after? It seems I was restorying (Connelly and Clandinin 1990) my miseducative experiences (Dewey 1938).

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My fifth-grade teacher was Mrs. Fire, a name and teacher I vividly remember, actually the first one in my educational career. My family moved the summer before my fifth-grade year: therefore, I was now starting in a new school, the fourth in five years. My first personal interaction with my new teacher was not long into the school year when Mrs. Fire pulled me aside and asked me, “How are you doing? Your grades in math are really good; do you find the material too easy?” I was shocked. No teacher had ever thought I was doing well, or that I was smart. She continued, “I looked at your records from your old school, and I think they sent the wrong file, or they placed you in the wrong group. I am going to move you to a higher group.” In that one short conversation she conveyed that the old Michaelann story I had told myself was no longer acceptable. In its place was a new story I was constructing in which I felt honored to be expected to perform at a higher level. I think it is interesting that even before I had a good teacher like my fifth teacher, Mrs. Fire, I knew the way not to teach. I am glad that my good experiences with my sister far outweighed my traumatic experiences in the creation of my way of knowing school. I think these bad experiences are the reason I have become passionate about school change. I see my potential for affecting the stories of school being created by both teachers and students in my work as a classroom teacher. As Greene (1995) wrote, “the narrative we shape out of the materials of our lived lives must somehow take account of our original landscapes if we are to be truly present to ourselves and to partake in authentic relationships with the young” (p. 75). Therefore, until I understand my school story and how I lived that, my ability to construct authentic relationships with my visual art students will be hindered. Over the years, I have attended district professional development, national and local conferences in my content area, as well as hundreds of workshops. During the preparation for a large school reform grant, a team from Eagle High School worked with a university professor (Cheryl) to develop the school’s espoused theory. The espoused theory simply stated that when educational theory + collaboration + reflection were combined, the result would be better teachers, therefore creating better students. This espoused theory was the vision for our implementation plans which eventually would include the Portfolio Group. In my 28-year career, I have had many opportunities for improving my teaching, many opportunities to discover the key to successful teaching and learning. Yet, all the opportunities presented before my work with Critical Friends

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Groups® and the Portfolio Group produced no noticeable changes in my everyday routines. As a teacher, I struggled to find a time and place to collaborate with my colleagues and reflect on my practice, so I can reach the over 155 students staring at me in classes throughout the day, challenging me to teach them, to find ways for them to learn, and to seek opportunities to be the curriculum maker (Clandinin and Connelly 1992; Connelly and Clandinin 1995). I have found my work with the Portfolio Group to be a safe place to grow, learn, and reflect. Gayle Curtis (Reform Coordinator, Heights Community, Central School District) My route to becoming a teacher was a bit circuitous. Like a mountain switchback road, the zigzags of life seemed to return me time and again to teaching…yet it took many years for teaching to capture my heart in a way that I could not deny. Growing up surrounded by the lush green forests and high peaks of the Cascade mountain range in Washington state in America’s Pacific Northwest, I always envisioned my life playing out in my beloved home state near friends and family where I could engage in the creative music endeavors that fueled my spirit. I played guitar, even taught guitar lessons, sang as a soloist, in duos, trios, choirs…anything with music. A career as an educator in my mother’s home state of Texas could not have been farther from the imaginings of my earlier self. However, life—as they say—had other plans; plans that brought unexpected twists and turns that unfolded at times in devastating ways, but most often in surprising and rewarding ways. Unequivocally, the event that completely changed the course of my life’s plotline was the tragic death of my father by a drunk driver when I was eighteen years old. In one earth-shattering moment, our family and our lives as we knew them were forever changed—uprooting me and my mother from a small city in mountainous western Washington to metropolis Houston in the humid subtropical Texas Gulf Coast. Ultimately, I came to love my second home city for its cultural and artistic diversity with a vast array of education and professional opportunities. Education is actually my second career as I worked many years in the Texas oil industry, so prominent in Houston’s economy in the 1970s and 1980s. Frequently during those years I found myself in the role of trainer,

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teaching others what I had learned. Invariably, someone would say, “You should be a teacher;” comments that while appreciated, were shrugged off as something far from my interests. Then life took some unexpected turns when my Episcopal home church began a service in Spanish and the US Federal Government initiated an amnesty program for undocumented persons living in the United States (US). Because our church was located in an area surrounded by mostly Latinx families whose primary home language was Spanish, our parish priest had studied Spanish for a number of years in the hopes of one day offering services in Spanish. That day came in 1982, along with an invitation to me to lead music worship. While I may have seemed an obvious choice because I sang, played the guitar, and wrote songs, the obvious fact was I did not speak Spanish. Wanting to support my priest and friend in such an inclusive endeavor and never one to back away from obstacles, I agreed. So it was that I learned Spanish through music, picking up the second-person conjugation of verbs from “Pescador de Hombres” by Cesáreo Gabaráin and future tense from songs like “Tomado de la Mano” by Francisco Palazón and Martín Verde Barajas. Then when the Immigration Reform and Control Act went into effect in 1986, allowing undocumented individuals living in the United States to apply for amnesty and subsequent legal residency, I left the oil industry to take the lead in our church’s amnesty assistance program. Since this role involved interviewing each client in conjunction with examining their documents, I very quickly learned a whole set of new vocabulary and became much more comfortable with my newly found language. Along with cultivating my Spanish, perhaps the most life-changing aspect of this era in my life was my entry into the Latinx community in a very organic manner. Long-lasting friendships were formed in which I developed a new understanding of the Latinx community and culture, and, in particular, the life situations that minorities, speakers of a language other than English, and immigrants undergo. After accompanying many friends to schools, clinics, or businesses to act as a translator, I came to see my friends’ experiences in a new way. Especially maddening were the exchanges at schools in which the receptionist or teacher would talk to me instead of my friend and make critical remarks about the family, which I assumed were not meant to be translated but were translated by me because I felt that my friends should understand all of what was said in such meetings. Many friends would also talk about how their children were either losing their heritage language or that their children did

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not want to speak Spanish because their teachers were pushing English as most important for their futures. All of this convinced me that Latinx children and their parents deserved better and that I could be a teacher who understood the culture, appreciated first languages, and knew firsthand the value of being bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. Once again, life threw an unexpected curve when a local private university with an outstanding education program opened applications for a bilingual education and science undergraduate degree scholarship. I jumped at the chance, making my leap into education and an unintended career as a bilingual teacher and science specialist, then program coordinator, administrator, and eventually school principal. Although it took me a while to get to education, once I got there, I was hooked. Coming to the school reform at Heights Community Learning Center in 1999 was another unanticipated turn as it was my first venture as an educator outside of the classroom. It was also my introduction to the Portfolio Group with whom I would build a long-standing and most meaningful, relational collaboration, and with whom I continued to grow professionally. Tim Martindell (Literacy Teacher, Hardy Academy, Northside School District) In my 35 years in education, I have always sought to teach in schools where there was some sense of collegiality and capacity for improving my own learning. I don’t think I would have survived my first teaching assignment, remedial reading at one of Houston’s lowest socioeconomic high schools, without the guidance of a core group of mostly gay and lesbian teachers who served as one of the backbones of the school. The reason this group existed, I would later come to understand, was to support each other and to share ideas to improve our collective practices as we taught on the front lines of a highly dysfunctional school. In essence this was my first experience with a teacher knowledge community (Craig 1995). My early experiences in the Portfolio Group were where the theoretical met the practical in a social space over dinner, coffee, or snacks. John Dewey wrote about the need to establish a balance between and among the theoretical, the practical, and the social, which includes the emotional. Dworkin (1959) explained that

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in his essay, The School and Society (1899), Dewey defines and discusses the role of society: A society is a number of people held together because they are working along common lines, in a common spirit, and with reference to common aims. The common needs and aims demand growing interchange of thought and growing unity of sympathetic feeling. The radical reason that the present school cannot organize itself as a natural social unit is because this element of common and productive activity is absent…Upon the ethical side, the tragic weakness of the present school is that it endeavors to prepare future members of the social order in a medium in which the conditions of the social spirit are eminently wanting. (p. 39)

After several school moves, I settled in at Hardy Academy, an innercity magnet that was newly founded as part of a school district response to the desegregation lawsuit. As luck would have it, Hardy was chosen as one of the initial eleven schools participating in the Houston Annenberg Challenge. After a journey through Annenberg, other moves, and a few more years, I decided I could retire from public school and I returned to the classroom. Presently, I teach 5th grade and 8th English language arts at Hamlet School, a private institution where my years of experience are valued, and I enjoy going to work each day. Nights find me teaching multicultural literature to graduate students at a local university or coaching a collaborative group of writers who work with teachers through a local nonprofit organization. In reflecting back on lessons learned and “Ah ha” moments I can tie my experience to theorists that were first introduced to me in a master’s degree course on curriculum history taught by Cheryl. The giants upon whose shoulders I metaphorically stand are Ted Aoki (1990) (“full life of curriculum”) and Michael Connelly and Jean Clandinin (curriculum of life) (1988), Maxine Greene has further contributed “seeing small to see big” (1995) to my thinking. My journey as a teacher has additionally been informed by Dewey (1938) and refined as personal practical knowledge (Connelly and Clandinin 1985), on a personal knowledge landscape (Craig 2003), all of which was scaffolded by Schwab’s practical: A language for curriculum (1969). My life as a teacher is an interwoven tapestry, a narrative of slowly connecting “ah ha’s,” critical incidents and relationships that inform my personal understanding of coaching and facilitating learning.

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Mike Perez (Science Teacher, Tumbleweed Middle School, Central School District) Learning and education for me is and has been a religious experience. My earliest memory of learning was a first-grade classroom and a class discussion of eternity. As we were discussing this complex, abstract concept, Sister Alexis walked by my desk, stopped for a moment, and said, “Eternity is forever.” Standing beside me, she pulled open the pocket to her black, Pre-Vatican II habit. As I turned to look into the vast darkness of her pocket, I suddenly understood learning; I understood what she was doing. For 13 years I had a traditional, classical education with Catholic Sisters and Brothers whose vocation was education, meaning that I learned from people who had dedicated their lives to the education of children. After high school I moved to public university, obtaining an undergraduate bachelor’s and master’s in science. I had set my eyes on becoming a national park ranger but found entry into the field difficult. Instead, I came to Houston to interview for environment regulation compliance positions with chemical companies along the ship channel. Interviews were less than satisfactory because, given my skill set, I could do more than the companies wanted in terms of compliance. I felt that doing just the minimal compliance paperwork would not be satisfying. I had the skills but needed to find the perfect niche for it…and me. About that time, Tim, my now husband, and I became partners and I soon gained many new friends who were teachers. One afternoon, a teacher friend who knew that I was looking for a job called to ask if I would like to teach science in her middle school. I explained that I had no experience, no education coursework, no teaching degree, nothing along those lines except experience as a teaching assistant while at university. She told me that it was okay, they would hire me as a long-term sub because school was starting in a week and they were desperate for a science teacher. I went to the campus and interviewed the science department chair, who apparently liked me because she told me certain ways to answer questions should they be asked by the principal. The department chair then set up an interview with the principal who held hiring approval. The interview went well but the principal told the department chair that she thought I was odd, to which the chair replied, “That’s because he’s an old hippie like you and me.” With that, I was hired.

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Walking into the middle school on the first day in the fall of 1994 was the first time in my life that I had entered a public school. The first two weeks were hell. I gave the kids two rules: (1) raise your hand if you want to say something and (2) do all your work. The Friday of the second week, I went into the teacher’s lounge, got poster board, made cut out letters, and came up with a list of class rules. Looking back I realize that I was channeling my inner, Irish Catholic nun. I went back the next Monday, put the sign up with the rules, and told the kids we were starting over. After reading the rules to the group, I explained that if the behavior broke a rule students would have to name and then repeat the rule. Slowly but surely, their behavior became manageable and my students and I got down to the business of learning and teaching. I found I had a talent for teaching and as the school year progressed the Irish nun I had called upon sat on my shoulder and whispered what I should do next. I realize that I was teaching in the same way that I was taught…strict but fair and always with an eye toward what I believed to be correct…just as the nuns had taught me. My education has always been infused with religious teachings and perspectives. By that I mean that as a teacher or in whatever profession, the aim is to do for God, do well for humanity, the environment, and or each other. This was not an overt message in my education but certainly was an undertone circulating slightly beneath the surface…do for God and we do for good. This is how I found myself becoming a teacher. As a long-term sub at Broadway Middle School, I became part of a group of teachers that would meet in the science department chair’s room before school for coffee and conversation. With them asking questions and talking about their practice, I began to pick up techniques and strategies to use in the classroom. They often asked me to visit their classrooms to see what they were doing, and so I would. For two years I was a longterm sub, including two summer school sessions. When I was about to be released because Broadway needed a “highly qualified” certified teacher, I made the decision to go through the alternative certification program, becoming a certified secondary science teacher. For 12 years I taught mostly 6th grade science at Broadway Middle School, an inner-city school with mostly Latinx and low socioeconomic background students…I loved it! During the latter part of my tenure at Broadway is when I took Critical Friends Group® professional development and worked to become a National Facilitator for CFG® . The last five years or so at Broadway I was

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the teachers union steward for the building. My move from Broadway to Tumbleweed Middle School, my current school, was a hegira…a flight from danger. As building steward, from the moment I hit the parking lot in the morning to leaving the parking lot in the evening, I was dealing with teacher issues. Additionally, I had an adversarial relationship with the principal due to my union steward activities and because of a clash of personalities. At the same time, the context of the campus was becoming burdensome, weighing me down to the point where I no longer looked forward to going to school every day. The whole situation was threatening to become a story of leaving (Craig 2014) and of me moving out of education. In the fall of 2006, I moved from Broadway to Tumbleweed Middle School as an 8th grade science teacher, moving into the role of science department chair in my second year. My teaching assignments over the past 14 years at Tumbleweed have been much more varied and fluid— 8th grade, 6th grade, even looping 6th, 7th, and 8th with one cohort. During this time, I started working irregularly with student teachers from a local university. However, over the last six years I have been extensively involved in mentoring preservice teachers. I think my entry into the group was more by osmosis rather than intentional, in that my initial exposure to the Portfolio Group was via Tim. Home conversations in which Tim shared details about group meetings and projects brought me indirectly into the group, creating a sense of familiarity with both the group’s work and members. When the Portfolio Group meeting locales shifted to coffee houses and cafes, I accompanied Tim to meetings, but mostly for the coffee and conversation. As a science teacher more accustomed to experimental and quantitative research, it was difficult to identify with the Portfolio Group’s anecdotal-infused, qualitative teacher researcher work during this time. However, as a recently trained Critical Friends Group® coach, I connected with the group’s use of Critical Friends Group® -related vocabulary and protocols with which I had become conversant. Although still not directly involved in the work, I suppose I was inadvertently absorbing what I heard in the conversations and became increasingly interested in the education issues, theories, and researchers discussed. My participation in the group changed in 2011 when Tim offered our home as a meeting place for writing and conversation around the braided rivers metaphor and self-study into the sustaining qualities of the Portfolio Group. As the group sat around our dining table during this

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time, I initially served as a sort of acolyte to the group, supplying coffee, notepads, extension cords, the occasional glass of wine…whatever was needed to facilitate the day’s work. My participation soon morphed from acolyte to chorus as I interjected comments (sometimes made from my perch in another room) amidst the group’s conversations, often restating or rephrasing a particularly salient point. When I became more involved with mentoring preservice teachers on my campus, I began to see parallels between the Portfolio Group’s university-based work with groups of preservice teachers and my school-based, one-on-one mentoring of individual student teachers. These parallels led me to the realization that whether university-based or school-based, whether working with groups or individuals, simultaneously, we were all teacher educators. More importantly, I recognized that I had become a teacher educator. For me, this was the point at which my participation in the Portfolio Group moved from being in the chorus to being a feature player in the group. Cheryl Craig (Associate Professor and Grant Evaluator, Rice University) How a rural kid from the Canadian prairies ended up teaching, being a school district consultant, and studying to be a professor near Canada’s Rocky Mountains is a long story on its own, never mind my journey to the Southern United States where I have been a faculty member at three research-intensive universities and most recently the Houston Endowment Endowed Chair of Urban Education (a major irony, given my rural roots). Like Michaelann Kelley, playing school was my favorite activity. My younger cousins were the students; I was always the teacher. My memories of being a student are mostly pleasant. I excelled academically and was the young one consistently placed in the grade ahead in multigrade classroom settings. I progressed through school with roughly the same fifteen hometown students, although we were bussed a considerable distance to attend a regional high school campus. As a high school student, I walked up and down a large slippery hill on blustery winter afternoons to help First Nations children learn to read. Like Gayle Curtis, music was my passion. I took piano, voice, and guitar lessons, played other instruments by ear and performed locally in English and sometimes in French as well. My teenage dream was to complete a music degree. However, because I lived in a rural area, I did not have certified teachers and therefore was not eligible to take the qualifying exams. I have no idea how I figured

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out how to apply for university. I had no school counselor and was the first in my family to pursue higher education. I think I copycatted my friends who attended our province’s largest university. I, on the other hand, applied for and received a full academic scholarship to attend the smaller provincial university renowned nationally for its music program. I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and minors in English and music. Upon finishing my B.A., I entered a Bachelor of Education degree where I spent a year learning John Dewey’s philosophy of education (Dewey 1897, 1899, 1916, 1938; Dewey and Bentley 1949) before beginning to student teach. I married the year I graduated and moved across the country to Calgary, Alberta because my spouse received a scholarship to enter his master’s degree program there. I was the only teacher hired out-of-province that year; I was told that my extensive music background stood out above the rest. As a first-year teacher, I enrolled in a master’s degree program in Curriculum and Instruction. By my second year, I was teaching Introduction to Teaching and Social Studies Methods courses at the university, in addition to Grade 5–6 generalist and K-6 music classes. Later on, I received the Kappa Delta Pi Teacher of the Year Award, was hired as a school district consultant, and replaced a university professor who went on sabbatical leave. My spouse urged me to complete my Ph.D. program at the highly regarded research-intensive university three hours from our home. I first studied social education with a critical theorist before becoming Jean Clandinin’s first graduated doctoral student and working on Michael Connelly’s and her major Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant awards. I also received SSHRC doctoral and postdoctoral fellowship awards of my own as well as the Alberta Teachers’ Association doctoral fellowship. Jean’s personal practical knowledge research (Clandinin 1985; Connelly and Clandinin 1985) was completed before I began studying with her but I was on the research team for the professional knowledge landscape (Clandinin and Connelly 1995) and the teacher identity in context (Connelly and Clandinin 1999) research, which was about the time that Connelly and Clandinin (1990) named the narrative inquiry research method and Clandinin and Connelly (1992) wrote their groundbreaking chapter on teachers as curriculum makers that built on their teacher-as-curriculumplanner work (Connelly and Clandinin 1988). To date, I am the only one of their graduated doctoral and postdoctoral students to have studied with both of them.

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Canada educates its youth well but unfortunately does not have positions to employ all of them. Fortunately for me, an alternate pathway opened up. My spouse was transferred from Calgary to Houston and shortly thereafter, I was offered a position at Rice University, an exclusive private university in the heart of America’s fourth largest city. My position involved the Houston Annenberg Challenge work, although I did not know that when I first started. My experiences as a teacher, a curriculum consultant in Canada’s second largest school district, and a researcher on Jean Clandinin and Michael Connelly’s funded research projects prepared me for my American educational research journey. However, bringing the work to scale proved to be a formidable challenge, given that I needed to learn the social narrative history of the American South, especially the serious historical divides that affected both African Americans and Latinx Americans. In 2000, I moved to the University of Houston where I would have increased opportunities to work with doctoral students. My work has been recognized several times by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), Phi Delta Kappa (PDK), and the International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (ISATT), as well as by Texas A&M University, my current place of employment, and Brandon University, my former undergraduate university in Canada. I can honestly say that none of these awards would have been possible without my close work with the Houston area teachers, most especially those who are members of the Portfolio Group.

Concluding Thoughts, Satellite Members, and Appreciation The current membership in the Portfolio Group remains fluid with members entering and leaving when necessary. To close this introductory chapter, we would like to acknowledge members who are not currently sitting around the Portfolio Group table, but whose presence is still felt in our work. When we were using the school portfolios as a compliance tool for the initial grants, each campus involved had as many as ten members who at various times attended the Portfolio Group meetings and professional development around narrative research and reflective practice. We would like to acknowledge the following Portfolio Group members.

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Eagle High School Henry Richards (pseudonym), Principal Sandi Capps, English Language Arts Mari Glamser, Social Studies Simon Cosenza (pseudonym), Math Ron Venable, Visual Arts Hardy Academy Anna Hart (pseudonym), Art Lorne Richards (pseudonym), Community Liaison Heights Community Learning Center Jennifer Day, Dual Language Coordinator T. P. Yaeger Middle School Briana Larson (pseudonym), 1st Principal Daryl Wilson (pseudonym), English Language Arts Sharleen Brown (pseudonym), Science William Smith, Technology Cochrane Academy Hope Young (pseudonym), Community Liaison Bernadette Lohle (pseudonym), Art Jefferson Middle School Deirdre Bamboo (pseudonym), Language Arts/History Janie Stainer (pseudonym), History This is where our Portfolio Group journey began.

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Note 1. In this volume the name “Portfolio Group” refers to the group that was formed in 1998 and continues today. Actual names of individuals participating in the Portfolio Group (including the authors) through its twenty-two year history are used when permission was granted. Otherwise fake names are used. Pseudonyms also were chosen for schools and school districts throughout this volume.

References Aoki, T. (1990). Beyond the half life of curriculum and pedagogy. One World, 27 (2), 3–10. Clandinin, D. J. (1985). Personal practical knowledge: A study of teachers’ classroom images. Curriculum Inquiry, 15(4), 361–385. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of curriculum (pp. 363–461). New York, NY: Macmillan. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1996). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes: Teacher stories. Stories of teachers. School stories. Stories of school. Educational Researcher, 25(3), 24–30. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1985). Personal practical knowledge and the modes of knowing: Relevance for teaching and learning. In E. W. Eisner (Ed.), Learning and teaching the ways of knowing (pp. 174–198). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1988). Teachers as curriculum planners: Narratives of experience. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educational Researcher, 19(5), 2–14. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1995). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes. New York, NY: Teachers’ College Press. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1999). Shaping a professional identity: Stories of educational practice. New York, NY: Teachers’ College Press. Craig, C. J. (1995). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–172. Craig, C. J. (2003). School portfolio development: A teacher knowledge approach. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(2), 122–134. Craig, C. J. (2010). “Evaluation gone awry”: The teacher experience of the summative evaluation of a school reform initiative. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 1290–1299.

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Craig, C. J. (2014). From stories of staying to stories of leaving: A US beginning teacher’s experience. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 46(1), 81–115. Crites, S. (1979). The aesthetics of self-deception. Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 62(2), 107–129. Dewey, J. (1897). My pedagogical creed. The School Journal, 54(3), 77–80. Dewey, J. (1899). The school and society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education. New York, NY: Macmillan. Dewey, J. (1938). Education and Experience. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. Dewey, J., & Bentley, A. (1949). Knowing and the known. In The later works of John Dewey (Vol. 16). Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Dworkin. (1959). Dewey on education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Gray, P. (2008). Narrative ways of knowing: Using portfolios to illuminate teacher learning from a knowledge community perspective (Doctoral Dissertation). (ProQuest Dissertations Publishing). Retrieved from http://search.proquest. com/docview/304604674/. Greene, M. (1995). Releasing the imagination: Essays on education, the arts, and social change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Houston A+ Challenge. (n.d.). http://www.houstonaplus.org/strengthen/cur rent/. Schwab, J. (1969). The practical: A language for curriculum. The School Review, 78(1), 1–23. Schwab, J. (1971). The Practical: Arts of eclectic. In I. Westbury & N. Wilkof (Eds.), Science, curriculum, and liberal education: Selected essays (pp. 332–364). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

CHAPTER 2

The Story Before the Story: The Pathway to Knowledge Communities and the Portfolio Group

As we write about the Portfolio Group’s long-standing collaboration, we reflect upon the limited likelihood that a group of teachers/teacher educators would have a twenty-two-year shared history. One sustaining factor to our longevity is that we are a knowledge community (Craig 1992, 1995c); a safe trusted space in which we story and restory our experiences most often centered around Schwab’s (1973, 1983) commonplaces of curriculum (teacher, students, content, milieu) and receive feedback from trusted friends and colleagues. As a knowledge community, the Portfolio Group is also a space in which we co-construct knowledge, an integral part of our group practice that is illustrated in our body of work, including this book—a space where the theoretical and the practical converge. Although we mark 1998 as the beginning point in our shared story, in looking back we recognized that before the story of the Portfolio Group as a knowledge community was initiated, another story preceded it—the story of how the knowledge community concept emerged. To lay the foundation for the chapters that follow, we turn to the story before the story—Cheryl Craig’s conceptualization of knowledge communities that became the seed for the Portfolio Group.

© The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_2

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The Seeds of the Portfolio Group Cheryl Craig’s work as a teacher, consultant, and curriculum leader in Canada, along with her doctoral and postdoctoral research1 conducted alongside Jean Clandinin and Michael Connelly in their groundbreaking professional knowledge landscape investigation2 (Connelly and Clandinin 1985, 1999), laid the foundation for what would later unfold when she moved to the United States (US) and established the Portfolio Group, although she more clearly sees the connections in hindsight. While working for the Calgary Board of Education (CBE)3 in Canada, Cheryl quickly learned that giving the same curriculum documents to different teams of teachers and inviting them to interpret curriculum in their own ways provided ample opportunities for professional growth—not only for the members of the teams, but also for other educators who participated in their workshops who wanted to experience their colleagues’ thought processes and to learn from their pedagogical moves. In essence, what Cheryl was developing among the CBE teachers was what Clandinin and Connelly coined teachers’ personal practical knowledge (Clandinin 1985; Connelly and Clandinin 1985, 1986), a concept that builds on Dewey’s notion of practical knowledge which was previously explored by two of Michael Connelly’s earlier students, Freema Elbaz (now Freema ElbazLuwisch) (Elbaz 1981, 1983) and Barbara Dienes (Connelly and Dienes 1982) (Fig. 2.1). Personal practical knowledge is …a term designed to capture the idea of experience in a way that allows us to talk about teachers as knowledgeable and knowing persons. Personal practical knowledge is in the teacher’s past experience, in the teacher’s present mind and body, and in the future plans and actions. Personal practical knowledge is found in a teacher’s practice. It is, for any teacher, a particular way of reconstructing the past and the intentions of the future to deal with the exigencies of a present situation. (Connelly and Clandinin 1999, p. 25)

Cheryl also knew the Calgary teachers were deeply interested in learner and subject matter modifications (i.e., Special Education, English as a Second Language, curriculum integration) that their colleagues made to their lessons and units of study, including how they made their teaching more culturally responsive to students. The latter was the case because bilingualism and multiculturalism were already integral parts

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Teachers’ Professional Knowledge Landscapes Individuals and groups tell and retell stories that are shaped in and by teachers as they navigate their professional knowledge landscapes.

Teachers’ Classrooms

Teachers’ Personal Practical Knowledge

Fig. 2.1 Teachers’ knowledge situated in context

of the Canadian cultural mosaic, having been introduced in a politically pragmatic way before being theoretically justified. Being a school district employee, Cheryl understood that an educational institution’s obligation was to deliver the provincial curriculum to the children of taxpayers. However, she also was acutely aware that confining teachers to teacher-as-implementer roles satisfied legal requirements but did little to ignite teachers’ passions and curriculum making capacities to intellectually engage and inspire students beyond the knowledge, skills, and dispositions associated with particular lessons. A failure to recognize teachers as “the fountainhead[s] of the curriculum decision” (Schwab 1983)— that is, curriculum makers (Connelly and Clandinin 1992; Craig and Ross 2008)—not merely conduits (Clandinin and Connelly 1995; Craig 2001b, 2002) of abstract government policy, resulted in less-robust but nevertheless compliant teaching and learning. As a result, both teachers and learners focus attention on what is expected of them, not on what they are fully capable of learning and achieving. Cheryl intuitively knew that freeing the teacher to enact curriculum in his/her own defensible way frees the student to deeply live curriculum and to carry rich experiences

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forward into future learning situations (You 2010). She recognized— from her own experiences as a teacher and a learner—that this is where the well-spring of lifelong learning originates. In an up-close and personal way, she knew that this curriculum making source could be mined “again, again, and again.” This would prevent repeated waves of reform being introduced to no avail (Cuban 1990). This was part and parcel of Cheryl’s lived-in-her-bones personal practical knowledge as a teacher, consultant, and curriculum leader charged with the formative—and occasionally summative—evaluation of teachers in western Canada.

Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice Cheryl’s school district work with experienced teachers walked hand-inhand with her work with preservice teachers at the university. In her second year of teaching Grades 5–6 and music from K-6 in Calgary’s most high-need elementary school, she began teaching instructional methods courses to teacher candidates at the University of Calgary. This experimental teacher education program introduced in the late 1970s was a concerted effort to bridge the perennial gap between theory and practice. It simultaneously eased professors’ workloads in the schools and expanded their time to create publishable research. These moves ushered in bifurcated clinical and tenure-track professor positions in the faculty of education and ultimately severed most tenured professors’ work with teachers in the field. Schwab’s (1969) concern about the field of curriculum being “moribund” seemed valid even then. Flights from the field (Schwab 1969)—proffered under the guise of creating more research and more research-based teacher education programs—were underway even at the beginning of her career. Since then, she, like scores of others, has awaited “the renaissance” that Schwab predicted would happen. Cheryl concurrently taught at the university while teaching Grades K-6 (mostly grades 3–6) for fifteen years. The campuses where she taught in Canada were elementary schools. However, if she were employed in the United States, she would have spent roughly half of her teaching career working in elementary schools and the other half in intermediate or middle schools. While a teacher, she engaged in or led many teacher professional development activities and was an active teacher researcher and reflective practitioner. When Donald Schön’s (1983) book, The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action was released, she was among the first teachers in her district to illustrate how Schön’s

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Deweyan-inspired thesis applied to her work and the teaching profession as a whole. Given that Cheryl had studied Dewey’s The child and the curriculum (Dewey 1902), School and society (Dewey 1907), Experience and education (Dewey 1938), and his Pedagogical creed (Dewey 1929) in her teacher education program in central Canada, this is perhaps unsurprising. Her preservice teacher preparation and her in-service professional development were cut from the same cloth. Around this time, Cheryl serendipitously met Jean Clandinin, a former student of Michael Connelly, who began her higher education career at the University of Calgary where Cheryl had completed her master’s degree and was by then employed. Jean had just been awarded the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Early Career award for her groundbreaking research on teachers’ personal practical knowledge and teachers’ images in action. Cheryl remembers the excitement and anticipation that was in the air both in the schools and at the University of Calgary when Jean Clandinin arrived. The desire to bridge the chasm between theory and practice was palpable. Acknowledging teachers’ personal practical knowledge and the images they held and expressed in practice appeared to be—and was—a missing piece in the theory–practice relationship. When Cheryl entered her doctoral degree program at the University of Alberta, her initial plan was to major in social studies education, which is currently termed social education. Three things led her to change her mind and to instead study the intersection where teaching/teacher education and curriculum meet. The first was that while critical theory had greatly assisted her in making sense of certain experiences in her life, she recognized she was not as internally consistent in her belief system as her then-critical theorist advisor who rode a bicycle to work in Edmonton’s frigid winters to reduce pollution caused by car exhaust. At the root, the critical paradigm (cup-half-empty view) rubbed against the grain of her personality (cup-half-full outlook). The second reason was that Cheryl had discovered firsthand that there was little to study that interested her when approaching research through the subject matter lens. Third was that Jean Clandinin had moved from the University of Calgary to the University of Alberta in Edmonton to head up a recently approved research center. Jean’s work in Calgary had always fascinated Cheryl. It had brought new energy to the university and had attracted the attention of many of the region’s teachers. Thus, helping Jean launch the professional knowledge context project held great appeal to Cheryl. She

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quickly discovered that the teacher commonplace and Jean’s Centre for Research for Teacher Education and Development (CRTED) would be her academic homeplace and would remain so for life.

Researching Teacher Professional Knowledge Landscapes For her doctoral research, Cheryl worked in two different school landscapes with two different preservice candidates, Benita and Tim (not Tim Martindell of the Portfolio Group). Both formed different knowledge communities (Craig 1995a, b, c) through their back-and-forth sharing of their stories of experience (Connelly and Clandinin 1990) with those with whom they interacted most closely. Knowledge communities, as Cheryl (Craig 2007) has explained elsewhere, are safe storytelling places where “teachers develop and refine their knowledge over time through storying and restorying their narratives of experience” (p. 618). In knowledge communities, teachers like Tim and Benita, share[d] the rawness of their experiences, negotiate[d] meaning and authorize[d] their own and others’ interpretations of situations. They take shape around commonplaces of experience (Lane, 1988) as opposed to around bureaucratic and hierarchical relations that declare who knows, what should be known, and what constitutes ‘good teaching’ and ‘good schools’ (Clandinin and Connelly 1996). Such knowledge communities can be both found and created. (Craig and Olson 2002, p. 116)

The people in Tim’s and Benita’s knowledge communities included other teachers and administrators in their or other school contexts as well as some friends and family members. Benita, who student taught with arguably one of the most reflective teachers in the school district, learned how to be “the good teacher.” Tim initially was influenced by a female teacher at his school who was attempting to share a similar story about teaching with him. However, because he was one of the few males on his elementary campus and because he was the son of a well-known principal (who also was one of his knowledge communities), he spent a great deal of time interacting with the assistant principal at his assigned campus. That assistant principal shared with him “the healthy school” story, the narrative which championed the belief that a school jam-packed with noon-hour and extracurricular activities was the best kind of campus.

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Cheryl quickly realized that people in the two novice teachers’ communities of knowing had shaped what Benita and Tim knew and did and who they were—as well as who they could be—on their professional knowledge landscapes. Cheryl spent an additional two years shadowing Benita Dalton as part of her postdoctoral fellowship program, which was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) just as her doctoral program had been. What Cheryl learned from her extended study of Benita’s practice was paradoxical. Although Benita had learned how to team teach with her cooperating teacher during her practicum and was able to team teach as part of the school’s extended Grade 3–4 teaching team, this learning did not extend into her first years of teaching with two new teaching partners. In one instance, she was placed on a campus where team teaching was a story administratively given to the campus due to its small size, not a story that the teachers had chosen for themselves as was the case at her practicum school site. Also, the school community had not bought into the imposed narrative so the teachers’ (Benita included) pseudo team taught in order to appease the school district administration and the community, while not investing too much pedagogical time in a political matter that could implode at any time (Craig 1998, 2000). Cheryl’s research alongside both Tim and Benita afforded her rich insights into the shaping forces of school contexts and how one’s knowing, doing, and being is mediated by others in said contexts but also by the social narrative history of one’s school and how the stories given to it cannot be changed on a whim by forces either outside the school milieu or by new teachers and administrators introduced to it. Only cover stories (Olson and Craig 2005) can be lived in such circumstances as she learned from Benita’s in situ learning. On one hand, then, the “messiness of school contexts affects teachers’ work” (Silin and Schwartz 2003, p. 1586) and constrains their best efforts. On the other hand, “educational change depends on what teachers [are able to] do and think—it’s as simple and as complex as that”—as Michael Fullan (2001, p. 115) wisely asserted. These major understandings were what Cheryl Craig gleaned from her doctoral and postdoctoral research alongside these two early career teachers while a member of Jean Clandinin and Michael Connelly’s SSHRC-supported research team. This was also what she likewise came to know about the contexts of preservice and in-service teaching. In short,

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the stories given to Tim and Benita were juxtaposed with the stories the teachers lived, just as the stories given to their schools were juxtaposed with the narratives those inside of the campuses shared about their places of work (Clandinin and Connelly 1996).

Bringing the Work to Houston When Cheryl Craig first became employed in Houston, she was blissfully unaware that a national reform movement was setting up a local office in the city using a $20 million endowment bestowed by a northern philanthropy that would be matched by two $20 million donations made by two local philanthropies. She also did not know that she would work with the schools and faculties whose campuses and students would be the beneficiaries of what was the largest national philanthropic investment in public education ever made in the United States. She furthermore was not aware that she would find herself engulfed in a massive power struggle over who would have access to and spend the money meant for the schools and what would be the relationship between and among the local reform office, the schools, the school districts, six regional universities, and a swarm of independent consultants congregating around the school change effort, angling for their shares of what the market would bear. Also, significant tensions existed between/among the participating universities concerning who would be the planning and evaluation consultants—those who would work formatively with the schools—and those who would be the summative evaluators of each school’s reform progress. Finally, there was the major brouhaha about who would be the principal investigator of the multimillion-dollar project and the university campus that would be awarded the $1 million + summative evaluation contract. The formal evaluation funding came directly from the reform offices while the money earmarked for the planning and evaluation consultants flowed to the participating universities from the schools’ reform budget allocations. As it turned out, no local agreement could be reached in Greater Houston because the decision was so disputed. Hence, the evaluation contract was awarded to an esteemed professor at the University of Texas at Austin whose involvement was arms-length and remained so. How the main reform campuses in Greater Houston were selected was contentiously debated then—and continue to be disputed—even today. In the end result, 11 schools were chosen from five regional school districts

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with each school selecting its own planning and evaluation consultant (inschool researcher). As introduced in Chapter 1, Cheryl was chosen to be the planning and evaluation consultant by T. P. Yaeger Middle School (Craig 2001a) and Heights Community Learning Center (Craig 2009) in one school district (Central School District) and Cochrane Academy (Craig 2006), Hardy Academy (Craig 2003), and Eagle High School (Craig 2004) in another school district (Northside School District). The national office of the reform effort subsequently named her the summative evaluator of Destiny High School (Craig 2003, 2009), a small, less-is-more campus in a third school district for a one-year period. All in all, Cheryl had sustained, long-term contact with 6 of the 11 lead campuses and intermittent meetings with the remaining campuses in the top tier in addition to four other campuses that received secondtier funding (see Table 2.1, 1st Tier Funding; see Table 2.2, 2nd Tier Funding). Needless to say, Cheryl was on a steep learning curve. She often contrasts Alberta’s subzero winters with Texas’s four seasons of summer and Alberta’s ultradry climate with Texas’s over-the-top humidity. But the shift she felt most profoundly was the change from living and working in a country with social support systems to living and working in a pullyourself-up-by-the-bootstraps place. Also, Canada had not had a marker event like the segregation and desegregation of America’s public schools, a turning point whose influences continue to reverberate through the US educational system. As the literature (i.e., Fiske 2008) makes clear, the segregation/desegregation of America’s public schools laid the statistical groundwork for the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (2000) policy, which was field-tested in Texas when George W. Bush was Governor before he became President of the United States. What his policy accomplished in Texas during Cheryl’s early years there was then rolled out to the rest of the nation in 2001. Since then, it has become the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA) (2015) through bipartisan support. One of the most immediate and strikingly apparent contrasts for Cheryl was that T. P. Yaeger Middle School, the first campus where she was invited to conduct research, had an attendance and accountability office larger than the entire CBE, which readers will recall was the second largest Canadian school district with well over 200 schools at the time. Cheryl noted a myriad of other changes upon her arrival in Texas. One was that gifted-and-talented students were placed in separate classrooms/schools rather than receiving enrichment in their home classrooms

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Table 2.1 Campuses with first-tier funding School

Description

T. P. Yaeger Middle School

• Located in one of America’s wealthiest communities • 2/3 gifted-and-talented program; 1/3 regular program • Attended by 1500 students: some being the richest and poorest youth in America • Located near the city’s urban core • Transitioning neighborhood • Ofered an elementary dual language/two-way immersion (Spanish/English) program to both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking children • Located in a historical African American community that was one of the last federal court orders to be settled for “failure to desegregate properly” • Grade 4–5 magnet school for mathematics, science, and the fine arts • Electronic lottery determined student enrollment of 400 students • Located in a historical African American community that was one of the last federal court orders to be settled for “failure to desegregate properly” • Grade 6–8 magnet school for mathematics, science, and the fine arts • Electronic lottery determined student enrollment of 500 students • Originally a prosperous White golf course community separated from Cochrane Academy and Hardy Academy by a drainage ditch • Presently populated by 3500 African American students and increasingly by Mexican American and Hispanic immigrant students

Heights Community Learning Center

Cochrane Academy

Hardy Academy

Eagle High School

(continued)

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Table 2.1 (continued) School

Description

Destiny High School

• Located in a wealthy community annexed to the city • Small, experimental, less-is-more campus • Designed to meet the needs of 120 students not adjusting well to the district’s traditional comprehensive high school settings

Table 2.2 Campuses with second-tier funding School

Description

Hamilton Academy

• Located in a historical African American community with one of the last federal court orders to be settled for “failure to desegregate properly” • Grade 5–6 magnet school for mathematics, science, and the fine arts when Cochrane Academy was reconfigured as Grade 3–4 campus • Electronic lottery determined student enrollment of 400 students • A new, K-4 International Baccalaureate World School • Arts-based approach to teaching and learning • Initially staffed by some of Cochrane Academy’s teachers • Part of the school district with one of the last federal desegregation court orders to be settled • A K-5 engineering magnet school for 600 students • Attended by mostly Hispanic students, with the remainder being African American • Rapidly transitioning campus in Eagle High School’s feeder pattern • Attended by 800 Grade 7–8 students • “The most violent street” in America cut across Hawthorne’s attendance zone

Armitage Academy

Renaissance Academy

Hawthorne Middle School

alongside their peers, which, in the Canadian view at that time, allowed them to remain with their social group and to raise the intellectual capacity of their entire grade levels. Also, the flight from public education to private education was in full bloom in Texas but had barely

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started in Alberta. This, too, was a longitudinal effect of American school segregation/desegregation. Then, there were curricular differences. The Texas curriculum does not take an integrated approach to elementary teaching and learning probably because the mandatory state accountability tests were organized around specific subject matter. Also, there were the “mile-wide, inch deep” curriculum documents, which made it easier to create test items than would be the case with Alberta’s spiral curriculum. An additional change was that prescribed units of study were not organized around generalizations supported by concepts and facts, which were reinforced year after year via the curriculum spiral. This further fueled the mile-wide, inch-deep curriculum as well as the mandatory state accountability testing programs. Finally, the absence of the influence of John Dewey, America’s homegrown philosopher, was a perplexing puzzle. Having studied Dewey’s philosophy of experience intensively as an undergraduate and graduate student in Canada and attempting to enact many of his ideals around the child, the school, the curriculum, and inquiry teaching methods in her classroom practices, Cheryl could not help but wonder why the influence of Dewey seemed absent in the American South. Once, when Elliot Eisner arrived from Stanford University to give a plenary address at the University of Houston, she mustered up the courage to ask him about the obvious rejection of Deweyan philosophy in Texas schools and places of higher learning. In the car on the way to a talk with teachers in Northside School District, Elliot tersely replied: “Different parts of the United States; different educational philosophies.” On that note, the awkward conversation ended. It would be nearly a decade later when Cheryl heard Dewey referred to as a “Yankee philosopher” at a conference held in Texas that the explanation for why local education was the way it was became crystal clear. Dewey had vigorously supported the rights of African Americans in the formerly segregated American South. That was the reason the spread of his educational philosophy in Texas (and, by association, other southern states) was cut short, almost to the point of erasure. If the educational landscape of schools was quite different for Cheryl, so, too, were the university settings in which she worked. The most notable difference—and a lesson that she repeatedly fails to learn—is how educational problems are acknowledged in the hallways and in private offices, but when faculty meetings happen, issues are rarely discussed and sometimes are even denied. She has often wondered whether this has

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something to do with the self-effacing mannerisms of Canadians. On the other hand, the denial of significant educational challenges could be a byproduct of America’s frontier spirit or even connected to the country’s military might. Or, maybe this also is a lingering effect of the country’s former denial of high quality education for all children? Cheryl has major wonders and ponders about this highly complex matter. But one thing she does know is this: Oil-rich Alberta has a highly diverse population in its cities (Canada has the highest immigration rate of the G-8 countries) and so does oil-rich Texas. Once, she accompanied the principals from her planning and evaluation site schools in Greater Houston to Edmonton, Alberta where the students at that time had the least amount of score variance on the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) tests between its highest and lowest achievers when compared globally. The interesting thing about the visit was that the Houston area principals could not see Canada’s diversity. They were accustomed to large populations of people of visible color (African American, Latinx). They did not know—as Cheryl did—that the skin of all Canadians pales in the winter, making it less easy to distinguish people of color such as those with Eastern European and First Nations backgrounds, among many others. Then, there were fine-point differences in how decisions are made in the two countries. At face value, the US system seems more hierarchical. It also has special interest groups who exercise enormous power, while the Canadian system tends to rely on broad-based consensus around shared public goods such as high quality education for all students. And— finally—even the hours of work differed between the two places. Texans tend to have long workdays accompanied by weekend hours, which seems to be the norm in the United States. Canadians, on the other hand, have shorter work weeks. This is because teachers’ unions have championed quality of life issues in provinces like Alberta and negotiated more reasonable hours of work to ensure increased family and leisure time for all. From a research perspective, Cheryl also had to quickly recalibrate her horizons and bring her thinking to scale. While she had rich curriculum experiences in over 200 schools in Calgary and had studied two campuses in an up-close way in her doctoral work, she had never before concentrated on five campuses holistically. Also, she had no prior experiences with organized school reform. In Canada, no organization—regardless of its wealth, power, or connections—can dictate teaching and learning in the public schools. All Canadian educational decisions are public decisions

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and are not the prerogative of private interest groups or even wellfunded philanthropies. By way of contrast, Texas schools can be changed by private theories of action introduced by influence groups, which can either negatively or positively affect the extent to which public goods are achieved.

Setting the Context for School Reform All of these matters were important considerations Cheryl needed to wrap her head around as she entered the American educational scene. Soon, the urgency and the complexities of the practical situations in which she found herself in the United States formed the impetus for her to conceptualize the story constellations approach to making sense of teachers’ school reform experiences (Craig 2007). What she did was add stories of reform/reform stories and stories of community/community stories to Clandinin and Connelly’s (1996) stories of teachers/teacher stories and stories of school/school stories to create a constellation of interacting narratives. The flexible dominant narrative/counter narrative matrix she created enabled her to understand the essence of the five (and later, six) campuses’ reform efforts (Fig. 2.2) But we are jumping ahead. The details of the first meeting with the reform movement representatives and the originating event that initiated Cheryl’s collaboration with the five campuses needs to be chronicled.

Stories of Teachers/ Teacher Stories

Stories of School/ School Stories

Stories of Communities/ Community Stories

Stories of Reform/ Reform Stories

School District Context

Individual teachers Teachers’ personal experiences are interwoven across the entire story constellation

Fig. 2.2 Teachers’ personal experience within a story constellation

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When the reform movement invited teams of educators from the 11 hand-picked campuses to its first meeting, the principals were resolved not to submit to the reform movement’s demands like they characteristically acquiesced to their respective school districts’ directives. They reckoned that district rules and regulations had limited their efforts to change not expedited their growth. They did not want to enter into a new iteration of a bureaucratic, hierarchical relationship. As educational partners, they wanted to be heard and respected for their accomplishments and their proposed school-based change efforts. Conflict Creates a New Model Unfortunately, the reform movement had another plan in mind. Rather than listening to the participating campuses’ needs, the director of the reform movement wanted the schools to complete a new version of the application form to apply for the grants that the schools ironically had already received. This time around they would have the support of the planning and evaluation consultants who likewise had not been forewarned of the roles to which they would be assigned. What the school representatives were being asked to do was to standardize their one-ofa-kind reforms to fit the summative evaluation matrix. And, what the planning and evaluation consultants were being required to do was to streamline the summative evaluation process for the reform movement and the summative evaluation team instead of helping the schools to practically enact their desired change plotlines outlined in their awarded reform plans. These developments were simply too much for the school representatives to stomach. They claimed the leading edge reform movement was employing “the same-old, tired method” (female principal) used by their school districts. They deemed what they had imagined would be a consultative process, had become a coercive one (male principal). They determined what they had been promised was not what they had received (female teacher). In a flesh-and-blood way, Cheryl learned that Dewey’s commentary about reformers in the early 1900s remained completely valid in Greater Houston nearly a century later: Sometimes…a benevolent interest in others may be…an unwitting mask for an attempt to dictate to them what their good shall be, instead of an endeavor to free them so they may seek their good of their choice. (Dewey 1916, p. 121)

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When the scheduled time for the school teams to work together rolled around, the campus leaders were in no mood to participate in the “readying up process” (Schwab 1962) that would make their school data more accessible and manageable to an unnamed formal evaluator. On the contrary. They vehemently resisted their school-based change efforts and themselves as teachers, leaders, and community organizers being instrumentalized (Muchmore 2002) by powerful others manipulating their margins and their individual and collective fates as principals and teachers.

Teacher Voices Emerge in the New Reform Model This was the most voiced-up group of educators that Cheryl had encountered in her career to that point in time. Their concerns cut much deeper than the Alberta teachers who addressed their needs and the needs of the province’s children mostly through ongoing negotiation (i.e., giveand-take). As each school group presented its position, Cheryl carefully wrote field notes. She wanted to give their stories back to them and to encourage them to find possible ways to move forward. Most of all, she did not want the five schools actively competing with one another. She wanted the representatives from each school to understand that each of them came from a lead campus with a different plotline serving a different group of underserved urban youth of color. Due to each unique situation, each story of change (and change story!)—while belonging to the same reform movement—would be fundamentally different. At the same time, the five campuses would have more input into what happened if they participated in ways that supported one another. Working together, they had a better opportunity to shape what the reform movement was expecting of them rather than unilaterally being shaped by the directives being funneled down to them through the reform movement’s pipeline. The meeting ended with the awarded proposals not being changed in any way, shape, or form. After experiencing both sides of the tensions, Cheryl knew that future steps would necessarily require: • Documentation within and across the school reform sites • Forward movement that was as open-ended as the reform movement would allow

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• A way to protect the teachers, principals, community leaders, and planning and evaluation consultants from being “caught in the middle” of the reform movement’s plans and the evaluator’s plans/the reform movement’s plans and their respective school districts’ edicts • A way to share ownership of the change effort (which was exceedingly difficult when the power brokers behind-the-scenes never attended the meetings) • A way for hard-edged reformers and soft-minded reformers to avoid head-on collisions. (Craig 2010, p. 1294) What followed was months of silence where no communication between the reform movement and the schools took place. Then, a message was circulated that the reform’s leader had been let go. A board member, working through the planning and evaluation consultants, would now be in charge. During this phase, the planning and evaluation consultants were told to fuel the school faculties’ excitement about their proposed change efforts and to avoid upheavals of any sort. In this strange turn of events, Cheryl and the four other school-based researchers found themselves proxies for the reform movement. Being called planning and evaluation consultants and becoming stand-ins for the reform movement placed them in positions contrary to how they ideally wanted to be located. From a knowledge community perspective, this development triggered interesting dynamics, a point that Cheryl discussed with the school representatives from the different campuses after-the-fact: Cheryl Craig: When we first started, the team at one of the schools sometimes met before I came and decided “this is what we are going to share with her today.” Sharleen Brown (Gifted and Talented Science Teacher, T. P. Yaeger Middle School): Oh my word… Liz Clayton (History Teacher, Eagle High School): This is so funny because this was my initial reaction to you—with us (Eagle teachers) too, it was like, she is “the man” and we need to be perfect for her. Sharleen Brown: That is because you did not have her living in your school for over a year like Yaeger did…We never had that issue. Hope Young (Community Liaison, Cochrane Academy): As for Cochrane…we came to know Cheryl before…And we already knew we did not need to do that…. Cheryl: So this is what makes relationships interesting for all of us… (Craig 2007, p. 623)

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The assembled group then dug more deeply into their underlying thinking: Liz Clayton: Well, you know, I have written about this before… we’re teachers; we’re pleasers—And you know, when somebody who is above us, we want to show that we are wonderful…and what is wonderful makes us interesting…but it is not the full picture. Cheryl Craig: Point of clarification… I don’t consider myself above you. I think we have knowledge of different kinds. Abbie Puckett (English Teacher, Eagle High School): But being at the university does that to you. Cheryl Craig: I guess it does… Hope Young: It does. Sharleen Brown: That is why you were chosen to work with us (and not vice versa). (Craig 2007, p. 623)

Here, we see teachers from three of the five main campuses (Eagle High School, Cochrane Academy, T. P. Yaeger Middle School) reflecting backward on how Cheryl was initially positioned among them. Her prior relationships with the faculties at T. P. Yaeger and Cochrane Academy had already helped her to successfully navigate the theory-practice divide on their school landscapes and enabled her to successfully enter into productive working relationships with the Yaeger and Cochrane teachers. At the same time, the Yaeger and Cochrane representatives agreed with the teachers from Eagle that a theory-practice chasm existed and that teachers consequently felt they needed to live and tell cover stories (Clandinin and Connelly 1995; Olson and Craig 2005) to bridge these different places in their professional worlds. In the midst of the conversation is Cheryl’s comment about “knowledge of different kinds,” reflects her Canadian background and the perspective she brought with her from Clandinin and Connelly’s SSHRC-funded teachers’ professional context study.

Beginning Our Portfolio Group Journey On a second occasion, Cheryl’s positioning with respect to the teachers from the reforming schools was discussed. This time teachers from Cochrane, Hardy, and Eagle spearheaded the discussion: Lorne Richards (Community Liaison, Hardy Academy): ….Hope [Young] and I were talking about [our relationship with Cheryl] before our

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meeting got started—We just talked about how much we have learned from Cheryl. And I told Hope that the thing that I have learned most is the fact that she does not do a lot of pushing to get things done. She just lives what we are doing with us and it gets done. And I like that. It has taught me a lot about how to work with people. Bettylu Green (Art Teacher, Eagle High School): It is really nice because it works. (Craig 2007, p. 623)

In this latter passage, we see knowledge community relationships within and among us beginning to develop in more appreciative ways. Readers will recall that Tim Martindell was the only one of our author team (other than Cheryl) who attended the first reform movement meeting. His knowledge of Cheryl, as indicated in Chapter 1, mirrors that of Lorne who came from the same campus as Tim as well as Hope whose school, Cochrane Academy, was a sister campus next door. In the second passage, readers also can see that Michaelann Kelley (another member of our author team) had by now joined Mari Glamser and Sandi Capps (shown with their published pseudonyms) in Eagle’s knowledge community relationship with Cheryl. Gayle Curtis, who later became employed at Heights Community Learning Center would enter the knowledge community somewhat later and Mike Perez came alongside a considerable amount of time after that via his relationship with Tim Martindell. Not only did the members of the Portfolio Group cultivate knowledge community relationships with one another as evidenced in articles authored by Craig (2007) and Curtis et al. (2013), they used the communities of knowing conceptualization in their respective dissertation theses. Tim Martindell (2012), for instance, drew on Cheryl’s understanding of the nine qualities of knowledge communities: (1) knowledge communities begin with originating events; (2) knowledge communities enable teachers’ intra/interschool dialogue; (3) knowledge communities evolve and change; (4) knowledge communities cohere around teachers’ storying/restorying of experience; (5) knowledge communities fuel ongoing reflection in community; (6) knowledge communities develop shared ways of knowing; (7) knowledge communities feature reciprocity of members’ responses; (8) knowledge communities bring moral horizons into view; and (9) teachers not only use knowledge in knowledge communities, but create new knowledge as well. Michaelann Kelley (2012) connected these qualities to how she imagined Dewey’s “great community” would be cultivated and how forces disturbing said communities

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could be kept in check. Meanwhile, Deirdre Bamboo (pseudonym) (Reid 2013) explored how knowledge communities could sustain teachers by “providing instruction and opportunities for growth” that could “inspire and influence change” (Craig 2007, p. 621, see also 1992, 1995b). For both Deirdre and Cheryl, collaboration was not merely a means of lightening the load by sharing work, it was “an ongoing commitment to make the teaching at the school better” (Ellinger 2008, p. 82). Simon Cosenza (pseudonym) went on to study the Portfolio Group as a form of a knowledge community and noted that there was a core group of members with a high level of commitment and other members who moved in and out of the group (Gray 2008). Their stories likewise resonated (Conle 1996) with the narratives of the other group members, which is a telling quality of a knowledge community (Craig 2007). According to Simon, “the light of that resonance illuminated the work of the entire group and contributed to the nature of the shared knowledge…like the satellites of planets and the Sun in our solar system” (Gray 2008, p. 23). The satellite members, who moved in and out of the group, sometimes became part of the “gravitational pull” (Gray 2008, p. 23) of the core members and found themselves repositioned as core members (i.e., Mike Perez). Finally, Gayle Curtis studied knowledge communities in a school context that was not a part of the school reform movement as part of her dissertation research. She worked with beginning teacher, Sarah, during her induction year of teaching in an urban school context. Gayle followed how Sarah developed knowledge communities where she could share, reflect, trust and learn—with all of these behaviors being integral to her professional growth and to sustaining her as a teaching professional (Curtis 2013, p. 122). Teachers’ desires to initiate, develop, and sustain themselves in knowledge communities is foundational to their professional growth and to the improvement of learning on the campuses where their professional lives unfurl. This is especially the case for teachers whose schools belong to change initiatives charged with improving their local educational environments. Within these reforming school contexts, teachers seek spaces where their personal, social, and professional needs can be met. While the form and places of their knowledge communities differ, the search for them—the search for home (nosta) within them—remains the same. Within these communities of knowing “is where [teachers] know and where [teachers] are known, where [teachers] are loved and beloved.” In

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knowledge communities, they find “mastery, voice, relationship and sanctuary: part freedom, part flourishing…part refuge [and] part prospect” (Zuboff 2019, p. 5). In a nutshell, this is how the knowledge community conceptualization and the knowledge community relationship s formed between and among the Portfolio Group members—both past and present—became ignited. This is how Cheryl’s Canadian education, career, and research experiences, along with her developing scholarship, contributed to the creation of the Portfolio Group. This account chronicles how her knowledge communities conceptualization became the seed of an idea that formed the Portfolio Group on a highly challenging and bitterly conflicted school reform landscape.

Notes 1. Cheryl J. Craig was awarded doctoral and postdoctoral research from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2. The research program of F. Michael Connelly and D. Jean Clandinin was also funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 3. At that time, the Calgary Board of Education was the second largest school district in Canada.

References Clandinin, D. J. (1985). Personal practical knowledge: A study of teachers’ classroom images. Curriculum Inquiry, 15(4), 361–385. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1986). Rhythms in teaching: The narrative study of teachers’ personal practical knowledge of classrooms. Teaching and Teacher Education, 2(4), 377–387. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of curriculum (pp. 363–461). New York, NY: Macmillan. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1995). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1996). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes: Teacher stories––stories of teachers––school stories––stories of schools. Educational Researcher, 25(3), 24–30. Conle, C. (1996). Resonance in preservice teacher inquiry. American Educational Research Journal, 33(2), 297–325.

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Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1985). Personal practical knowledge and the modes of knowing: Relevance for teaching and learning. Learning and Teaching the Ways of Knowing, 84, 174–198. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educational Researcher, 19(5), 2–14. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (Eds.). (1999). Knowledge, context and identity. Shaping a professional identity: Stories of educational practice (pp. 1– 5). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Connelly, F. M., & Dienes, B. (1982). The teacher’s role in curriculum planning: A case study. Studies in curriculum decision making (pp. 183–198). Toronto, ON, Canada: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Craig, C. J. (1992). Coming to know in the professional knowledge context: Beginning teachers’ experience (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Craig, C. J. (1995a). A story of Tim’s coming to know sacred stories in school. In D. J. Clandinin & F. M. Connelly (Eds.), Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes (pp. 88–101). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J. (1995b). Coming to know in the professional knowledge landscape: Benita’s first year of teaching. In D. J. Clandinin & F. M. Connelly (Eds.), Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes (pp. 79–87). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J. (1995c). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know in their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–175. Craig, C. J. (1995d). Safe places in the professional knowledge landscape: Knowledge communities. In D. J. Clandinin & F. M. Connelly (Eds.), Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes (pp. 137–141). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J. (1998). The influence of context on one teacher’s interpretive knowledge of team teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14(4), 371–383. Craig, C. J. (2000). Stories of schools/teacher stories: A two-part invention on the walls theme. Curriculum Inquiry, 30(1), 11–41. Craig, C. J. (2001a). No satisfaction: “A case of ‘the Monkey’s Paw’”, top-down school reform, and the conduit. Curriculum Inquiry, 31(3), 341–350. Craig, C. J. (2001b). The relationships between and among teachers’ narrative knowledge, communities of knowing, and school reform: A case of “The Monkey’s Paw”. Curriculum Inquiry, 31(3), 303–331. Craig, C. J. (2002). A meta-level analysis of the conduit in lives lived and stories told. Teachers and Teaching, 8(2), 197–221. Craig, C. J. (2003). Narrative inquiries of school reform: Storied lives, storied landscapes, storied metaphors. Charlotte, NC: IAP.

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Craig, C. J. (2004). The dragon in school backyards: The influence of mandated testing on school contexts and educators’ narrative knowing. Teachers College Record, 106(6), 1229–1257. Craig, C. J. (2006). Change, changing, and being changed: A Self-study of a teacher educator’s becoming real in the throes of urban school reform. Studying Teacher Education, 2(1), 105–116. Craig, C. J. (2007). Story constellations: A narrative approach to contextualizing teachers’ knowledge of school reform. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(2), 173–188. Craig, C. J. (2009). The contested classroom space: A decade of lived educational policy in Texas schools. Teachers College Record, 46(4), 1034–1105. Craig, C. J. (2010). “Evaluation gone awry”: The teacher experience of the summative evaluation of a school reform initiative. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(6), 1290–1299. Craig, C. J., & Olson, M. (2002). The development of narrative authority in knowledge communities: A narrative approach to teacher learning. In N. Lyons & V. LaBoskey (Eds.), Narrative inquiry in practice: Advancing the knowledge of teaching (pp. 115–129). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J., & Ross, V. (2008). Cultivating the image of teachers as curriculum makers. In F. M. Connelly, F. He, & J. Phillion (Eds), The Sage handbook of curriculum and instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Cuban, L. (1990). Reforming again, again, and again. Educational Researcher, 19(1), 3–13. Curtis, G. A. (2013). Harmonic convergence: Parallel stories of a novice teacher and a novice researcher (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/10657/960. Curtis, G., Reid, D., Kelley, M., Martindell, P. T., & Craig, C. J. (2013). Braided lives: Multiple ways of knowing, flowing in and out of knowledge communities. Studying Teacher Education, 9(2), 175–186. Dewey, J. (1902). The child and the curriculum. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Dewey, J. (1907). The school and society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education. New York, NY: Macmillan. Dewey, J. (1929). My pedagogic creed. Washington, DC: Progressive Education Association. Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Basic Books. DuFour, R. & Eaker, R. (1998). Professional learning communities at work: Best practices for enhancing student achievement. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. Elbaz, F. (1981). The teacher’s “practical knowledge”: Report of a case study. Curriculum Inquiry, 11(1), 43–71.

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Elbaz, F. (1983). Teacher thinking: A study of practical knowledge. New York, NY: Crom Helm. Ellinger, M. (2008). Increasing elementary teachers’ fundamental math content knowledge and developing a collaborative faculty. In A. Lieberman & L. Miller (Eds.), Teachers in professional communities: Improving teaching and learning (pp. 73–84). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Fiske, E. (2008, April 25). A nation at a loss. New York Times. https://www.nyt imes.com/2008/04/25/opinion/25fiske.html. Fullan, M. (2001). The new meaning of educational change (3rd edition). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Gray, Jr., P. D. (2008). Narrative ways of knowing: Using portfolios to illuminate teacher learning from a knowledge community perspective (Doctoral dissertation). University of Houston, Houston, TX. Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://library.uh.edu/record-b4189999~S11. Gray, P. (2008). Narrative ways of knowing: Using portfolios to illuminate teacher learning from a knowledge community perspective (Doctoral dissertation) (ProQuest Dissertations Publishing). Retrieved from http://search.pro quest.com/docview/304604674/. Jackson, P. W. (1968). Life in classrooms. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Kelley, M. (2012). Critical Friends Groups: Building knowledge through collaboration and reflection (Doctoral dissertation). University of Houston, Houston, TX. Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http:// hdl.handle.net/10657/620. Martindell, P. T. (2012). A narrative inquiry into the influence of coaching methodology on three specific teacher knowledge communities (Doctoral dissertation). University of Houston, Houston, TX. Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/10657/609. Muchmore, J. (2002). Methods and ethics in a life history study of teacher thinking. The Qualitative Report, 7 (4), 1–18. Olson, M., & Craig, C. J. (2005). Uncovering cover stories: Tensions and entailments in the development of teacher knowledge. Curriculum Inquiry, 35(2), 161–182. Reid, D. J. (2013). Exploring reflective practice in early career teachers (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Houston, Houston, TX. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books. Schön, D. A. (1991). The reflective turn: Case studies in and on educational practice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Schön, D. A. (1995). Knowing-in-action: The new scholarship requires a new epistemology. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 27 (6), 27–34.

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Schwab, J. J. (1962). The teaching of science: The teaching of science as enquiry. In J. J. Schwab & O. Brandwein (Eds.), The teaching of science (pp. 1–103). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Schwab, J. J. (1969). The practical: A language for curriculum. The School Review, 78(1), 1–23. Schwab, J. J. (1971). The practical: Arts of eclectic. In I. Westbury & N. Wilkof (Eds.), Science, curriculum, and liberal education: Selected essays (pp. 332– 364). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Schwab, J. J. (1973). The practical 3: Translation into curriculum. The School Review, 81(4), 501–522. Schwab, J. J. (1983). The practical 4: Something for curriculum professors to do. Curriculum Inquiry, 13(3), 239–265. Silin, J. G., & Schwartz, F. (2003). Staying close to the teacher. Teachers College Record, 105(8), 1586–1605. You, J. (2010). Freeing the body to build the creative mind. In Cheryl J. Craig & Louise F. Deretchin (Eds.), Cultivating curious and creative minds: Part 1 (pp. 195–217). Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield. Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the frontier of power. New York, NY: PublicAffairs.

CHAPTER 3

Evidencing School Reform Through School Portfolios (1998–2002)

I remember my first Portfolio Group meeting in June 1999 as though it were yesterday. And I acutely recall feeling like an interloper entering into the unfamiliar territory of a group that had already been working together for a year. The purpose of the meeting was to finalize each campus’ annual school portfolio to be used as a documentation piece related to individual school grant funding. When I walked into the local university classroom, Cheryl Craig easily spotted me as the “new face,” made herself known to me, and guided me around the room, introducing me to the Portfolio Group members as they worked on their school portfolios . The teachers struck a chord with me in part because of their openness to me as a newbie and in part because of their determined focus on the work at hand. Each school group had already commandeered separate tables; members were busy pulling out materials and setting about on finalizing their portfolios. It was obvious from the materials displayed on the tables that the school portfolio teams had gathered abundant and varied evidence of their campus activities throughout the previous school year. Although I did not understand the breadth of variation in reform initiatives across schools, it was evident that there were substantive differences —with one school focusing on school academies and teacher professional development, another on fine arts integration in core curriculum areas, another on literacy, etc. As an observer, I appreciated the individuality and creativity of the school portfolios that reflected what I would come to know as © The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_3

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the unique characteristics of both the schools and the portfolio-makers at each school. Later, I would come to see the portfolios as the telling and showing of each school’s change story within which my personal narratives of experience could be embedded. At the same time, I appreciated the seriousness, intentionality, and collaboration I observed in these teachers and coordinators in action. Their attitudes and conversations about the work showed that they afforded the school portfolios a high degree of importance, giving credence to my future participation in the group. I also learned that day that although the previous coordinator from my new school had participated in the Portfolio Group, very little had been done to date on my school’s portfolio. In fact, Cheryl had compiled the school portfolio that year, something I later understood as being far outside of her responsibilities as planning and evaluation consultant but an act of generosity on her part as a way of keeping my new school active as part of the Portfolio Group. I clearly recognized that I had a lot cut out for me in the year ahead… Most of all, I wondered: What is the Portfolio Group and what is it all about? We open this chapter with Gayle Curtis’ reflection of coming to the Portfolio Group because, although it is one member’s firsthand experience, the story told is somewhat indicative of each member’s (former and present) entry into the group. Except for knowing our own school representatives, we came together as strangers associated with one another by virtue of the reform movement and sharing the same planning and evaluation researcher. Even Cheryl Craig, the planning and evaluation consultant for each of our five schools, was not sure what we were doing there or what we would be doing, and wondering whether we and she belonged, too. Some of us were classroom teachers, others were school reform coordinators, and a couple were both classroom teachers and school reform coordinators. What we did have in common was that we all represented schools heavily engaged in school reform work, each of which had received considerable amounts of funding from the Houston Annenberg Challenge initiative to support school change and we were all willing to look at evidence from a new perspective: school portfolios. As the school portfolio work extended over a period of five years, a full account of the Portfolio Group’s collaboration during the school reform era is impossible to detail in the limited space of this one chapter. Taking a reflective look back at this era in the Portfolio Group’s history, we chose to focus on what we consider to be important features of our collaborative efforts: coming together as a knowledge community (Craig 1992,

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1995a, b), evidencing school reform work, navigating opportunities and challenges, and forming a group identity. We begin by laying out the context of our school reform work.

Context of Our School Reform Work The National Context In response to a national call for education reform, the last decade of the twentieth century evidenced numerous state education reforms across the United States (US). State education reforms centered primarily in four areas: (1) standards, assessment, and accountability, (2) school finance, (3) teacher training and school resources, and (4) school choice options. At the same time, countless innovative ideas emerged on individual campuses across America aimed at increasing student academic achievement and improving teaching and learning. In response to the national education policy push, Walter and Leonore Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation created the Annenberg Challenge to provide funding to support schools with established school reform programs in place. Having already funded schools in Chicago and New York, the Annenberg Foundation turned its attention to Houston, Texas, establishing the Houston Annenberg Challenge (HAC). The Houston Context The exact reason Houston was chosen as a site for the foundation’s Annenberg Challenge is not crystal clear. Some have suggested that it was because Houston was the home of former US Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, while others have claimed that the placement had to do with Texas being the initiator of the national standardized testing movement. Still others considered Houston’s diverse population (one local school district has over eighty-eight languages spoken within its boundaries) with no single group in the majority as a prime site for a social science experiment. There additionally were those who said Houston was chosen because of the number of Tier One universities in the vicinity whose professors would support the extensive evaluation plan. Still others traced the identification of Houston to the social connections between philanthropic families who spent their summer vacations together in Kennebunkport, Maine. Perhaps, the likely rationale behind Houston’s

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selection involved grains of narrative truth underpinning all of these possible plotlines. The state of Texas has over 1225 school districts, and of those, 20 districts operate within the city boundaries of Houston, one of the largest and most diverse metropolises in the United States. By the mid1990s, a number of Houston schools were actively engaged in extensive school-based education reform aimed at improving student outcomes. As detailed in Chapter 1, the Houston Annenberg Challenge (HAC) was established in 1997, bringing together $20 million from the Annenberg Foundation and $40 million in local matching funds in support of school reform in five Greater Houston school districts. That first year, a cohort of 11 schools were selected as Annenberg Beacon schools to receive substantial, five-year grants in 1998 to further their already-established initiatives. The HAC theory of action (Argyris and Schön 1978; Schön and McDonald 1998) for the school reform centered around three imperatives: (1) teacher learning, (2) isolation, and (3) size. According to the grant’s call for proposals, each campus would annually complete a mandatory report on its efforts to address each of these imperatives within the context of each school’s plan for projected reform. The Portfolio Group Schools Context Nested within these national and local education landscapes were the five campuses that would participate in school portfolio-making and the Portfolio Group. They represented two elementary schools, two middle schools, and one large comprehensive high school. We begin with an overview of education reform initiatives at the three schools in the Northside District located 12 miles north of Houston’s city center and two schools in the Central District, each situated within five miles of the city center. Northside District—Cochrane Academy. Cochrane Academy’s social narrative history was deeply rooted in the origin of its neighborhood. The neighborhood was the largest African American one outside of Harlem and the most expansive African American community of mostly single family homes in an almost country-like setting as the oral history of the neighborhood goes. The three campuses in the neighborhood were built for the community and were integral to its identity. As part of Northside District’s federal desegregation order and to fulfill the demands of the court order, Cochrane became a Science, Mathematics, and Fine Arts

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Magnet school to attract students from other parts of its school district in order to achieve an integrated mix of student populations. During the school reform years, Cochrane received a $1 million federal grant to support its work in the fine arts and to spread such work to a new intermediate campus, thus completing a feeder pattern of magnet schools in the historical African American community. Cochrane’s principal eventually became the executive director of the Houston Annenberg Challenge. Cochrane, which was built in 1959, continued to be a highly successful magnet school until it was closed in the spring of 2018 when the school district realigned its feeder pattern. Northside District—Hardy Academy. After housing the district’s most severe special needs students for many years, Hardy Academy reopened as a Mathematics, Sciences, and Fine Arts Magnet School in 1995. It was originally the district’s African American high school before the district was the subject of a federal desegregation lawsuit which resulted in the students of the community being bussed out of their neighborhood to schools over ten miles away. As a magnet middle school, Hardy began to stand out as a school that students in the Northside district willingly elected to attend. Tim Martindell began teaching at Hardy prior to the school reform movement coming to Houston. As stated earlier, he was the only one of our author team who attended the first Houston Annenberg Challenge meeting when Cheryl was initially introduced to Eagle, Hardy, Cochrane, Heights, and Yaeger. Northside District—Eagle High School. Eagle High School’s school story was always one of proving to its district that it was academically strong. Built to serve neighborhood families, Eagle High School was located just one-quarter of a mile from an 18-hole golf course and country club. When the school district was hit with a federal desegregation order (Craig 2004), the school and its perception in the district shifted. Eagle’s forte changed from being an academic stronghold (an elite national Blue Ribbon School) to an athletic powerhouse. Michaelann Kelley began teaching at Eagle in 1992 when the student demographic make-up was about one-third white, one-third African American, and one-third Latinx. Over the years, Eagle’s student population burgeoned to 3000, but Eagle’s 180 teachers were committed to work there and were reasonably successful even with the introduction of the new standardized testing era in public education. Under the stable and successful leadership of principal Henry Richards, Eagle soon saw an increase in its

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scores (Craig 2004). Its school portfolio was vitally important to documenting and guiding the transition of the Eagle faculty from a “proving” mentality to an “improving” mindset. Central School District—T. P. Yaeger Middle School. T. P. Yaeger Middle School was one of two of the Portfolio Group of schools that had a prior history with Cheryl before the awarding of the Houston Annenberg Challenge grants. In fact, Cheryl had helped Yaeger write its awarded proposal. However, that did not mean that the school’s portfolio team knew Cheryl well, given the campus had 85 teachers and 1500 students. Located in the heart of Houston, Yaeger had (and continues to have) a very diverse student population. The campus has struggled internally with two somewhat disparate instructional programs: the standard comprehensive instructional program and the gifted-and-talented program within its comprehensive middle school. The teachers, administration, and students sought to blend the two student populations, but finding commonplaces was a perpetual challenge. Central School District—Heights Community Learning Center. Heights was located in an inner-city area which, like much of Houston, has undergone dramatic population shifts over the years. As White flight saw many families moving to the suburbs, the neighborhood around Heights changed from primarily White, blue-collar families to mostly Latinx families, many of whom were economically challenged. By the mid-1990s, Heights experienced another population shift as Houston’s re-gentrification movement began bringing middle-class families back from the suburbs. School reform at Heights Community Learning Center was initiated through a business–university–school district partnership aimed at improving learning for inner-city Latinx youth. In the mid-1990s, Heights established a research-based dual language/two-way immersion program (that eventually expanded from prekindergarten to fifth grade) in which native English speakers and native Spanish speakers are integrated in the same classroom, each cultivating their first language while acquiring and developing a second one. Heights’ aim was that all students would perform at or above grade level in both languages, becoming bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. With her background as a bilingual (Spanish/English) teacher, Heights dual language program was a determining factor in Gayle Curtis’ decision to join the campus in 1999.

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Coming Together as a Knowledge Community Formation of the School Portfolio Group When the grants were awarded, school administrators and teachers from our five schools came together for a critically important discussion on the mode of evaluation piece to be submitted annually to the grant funder (as detailed in Chapter 1). Rejecting the local funding agency’s expectation that only standardized or state test scores would be used to show student improvement and, as such, grant implementation progress, our five schools determined to use school portfolios as a more holistic assessment on which to base judgments on the success of our campus’ school reform work. School portfolios were introduced to us as a potential grant accountability alternative through which broader and deeper school stories could be evidenced beyond mere test scores (Lyons 1998). This struck a chord with the teachers who would come to form the Portfolio Group because we understood our students, teachers, and communities to be much more than student achievement, or as Henry Richards continually reminded us, “We will not be reduced to a number in an op-ed column in [a major national newspaper].” As our formative researcher and evaluator, Cheryl established the Portfolio Group with a twofold purpose: (1) to provide a space for teachers to talk about their work in a safe, noncompetitive environment and (2) to explore and create school portfolios to capture their school reform developments and experiences. At the time, we were each caught up with our own day-to-day classroom activities and campus agendas, trying to improve student success and to stay ahead of the game, given Texas’ high-stakes school accountability agenda. It would be fair to say that most of us were more aware of the specifics of highly publicized school reform work being done in other parts of the country in the 1990s than the reform work happening in our own school backyard (Craig 2004). Coming together in the Portfolio Group changed all that. It opened our eyes to the work going on in Houston schools across subject matters and district boundaries. Teacher and student work, community connections, cutting-edge instructional programs, teacher professional development, and systemic school changes all went from unknown to known, from vague to clear because the Portfolio Group provided us with opportunities to share and learn about one another’s reform efforts and our individual practices. Eventually, surface sharing of “activities and events” led to a much richer exploration of strategies, experiences, and across-campus learning that we took back to our own school landscapes.

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Learning Together In the beginning, monthly meetings organized and facilitated by Cheryl mostly centered on exploring portfolio-making and the notion of “evidence.” Setting out to construct school portfolios that illustrated reform efforts beyond mere test scores, the Portfolio Group began by examining and discussing related literature. In particular, we focused on portfoliomaking (Lyons 1998), alternative forms of data representation (Clandinin and Connelly 1994; Eisner 1997), reflective practice (Schön 1995), and Dewey’s concept of education as experience (1938). We also explored the difference between the stories told by teachers and schools (originating from teacher and school experiences), and the stories told about teachers and schools (others reporting on the experiences of teachers and schools) (Clandinin and Connelly 1995, 1996). As Cheryl described, Where the individual campus meetings were concerned, reflective discussions often pertained to the content of particular entries, making connections between multiple portfolio entries prepared by different teachers, the portfolio form that would best capture the subtle nuances of particular school contexts, and ways to integrate critical information required by the reform movement. (Craig 2003, pp. 123–124)

Michaelann continued to explain: The beginning years of the Portfolio Group were all about showing the work—not just to our HAC funder but also to our school districts and community. We wanted everyone to be aware of the quality of our scholarship of teaching on our home campuses.

Although some of us (particularly those with fine arts and performance backgrounds) were familiar with portfolios, overall, the idea of school portfolios was a novel concept. Exploring the literature provided by Cheryl helped us to formulate a group concept of school portfolios. For example, we learned the individual specificity and yet multi-purposes of portfolios from Nona Lyons’ (1998) book, With portfolio in hand. We learned about alternative forms of data representation from Eliot Eisner (1997) and various types of evidence from Jean Clandinin and Michael Connelly (1994). This was of import to the Portfolio Group because we all wanted to show our school stories beyond what mere test scores could

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do. Studying Donald Schön (1983) bolstered our individual and collective approaches to reflective practice and Lyons’s (1998) work illustrated how portfolios could be used as reflective tools for campus improvement. All of this was grounded in readings and discussions of Dewey’s (1938) notion of education as a continuity of personal and social experience shaping and shaped by context. We also learned from these and other scholars through national and international conferences—one of the benefits of the funding. We returned to Houston with new ideas and new interpretations that transformed our practices, as well as images that remain etched in our collective history. For example, we remember sitting with a small group of others around a table at an American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in Seattle where Michael Connelly reinforced the importance of the commonplaces of curriculum (teacher, learner, subject matter, milieu) (Schwab 1973) based on his experience of being Schwab’s student. We can still hear Janice Huber’s voice as she shared her research in narrative form. Not only did her scholarship give us a new perspective on narrative writing, but it sent us back to our hotel rooms to rewrite our conference presentation with a more storied flavor. Likewise, we all relished in Michaelann’s story of helping a stranger across a crowded street at the meeting in Seattle only to be later told that the woman requesting help was Maxine Greene, the same Maxine Greene whose concepts of “seeing small and seeing big” and human beings being “always in the making but never made” (Greene 1995) are deeply ingrained in our individual and collective knowledge and practices. Approaching portfolio-making in this way gave us the opportunity to develop a common set of vocabulary and a shared body of knowledge. In fact, some articles made such an impact on us that they continue to guide our practice and research twenty years later. The evidence is in the vernacular of our meetings and in citations in our publications where we consistently refer to the professional knowledge landscape (Clandinin and Connelly 1995) of schools, reflection-in-action (Schön 1983), experience (Dewey 1938), storying and restorying (Connelly and Clandinin 1990), the full life of curriculum (Aoki 1990), teacher-as-curriculummaker (Clandinin and Connelly 1995), narrative authority (Olson 1995; Craig and Olson 2002), and the swampy lowlands of practice (Schön 1995), among many others, including knowledge communities (Craig 1992, 1995a; Curtis et al. 2013) and story constellations (Craig 2007). To this, we would add our ongoing fidelity to narrative inquiry (Connelly

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and Clandinin 1990) as the research method we employ for autobiographical and field-based inquiries (Clandinin and Connelly 2000; Xu and Connelly 2010) and the mode of investigation we use when we conduct research in the self-study vein (i.e., Craig 2006, 2008; Curtis et al. 2013). Monthly Portfolio Group meetings provided a welcome opportunity for us to share stories, to learn about one another’s approaches, and to discuss the challenges of enacting our individual school initiatives within the constraints of the three grant imperatives. We also burrowed and broadened (Connelly and Clandinin 1990) our understanding of portfolio-making and the notion of what constitutes “evidence” or documentation. Through sharing our individual school work, we naturally became familiar with the goings-on at other campuses and, in particular, the experiences of the Portfolio Group team members. Over time, as we nurtured relationship s and developed trust in one another, the Portfolio Group became a knowledge community (Craig 1995a, 1995b, 2007) whose shared understandings coalesced around reflective practice, growth in teacher knowledge, and intraschool and intercampus collaboration. Forming a Group Identity Working alongside one another as we learned about evidencing our reform efforts in school portfolios was instrumental in the Portfolio Group developing a group identity. Just as first-person narratives in our favorite novels give us access to others’ perspectives and sometimes even force us to see things in different ways, the sharing by individuals of their experiences during Portfolio Group meetings allowed us to access the experiences of our peers through their lenses of experience. Via their storied narratives we stepped into their practice alongside them, or as Atticus Finch put it in To Kill a Mockingbird, we “climb[ed] into [their] skin and walk[ed] around in it” (Lee 1960, p. 39). Actively listening to shared stories of practice, school contexts, and school interactions was reflexive in that we all reflected along with our peers as they mindfully shared their stories. At times, what we took away were affirmations of our own practice, other times validations of personal opinions or funds of knowledge, and still other times a pathway opened to new knowledge and fresh understandings which led to a subsequent change in our own practice or beliefs about education. Sometimes the experiential stories that were collaboratively shared raised questions and wonderings

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for further contemplation. Consequently, we came to know our own and one another’s practice in deep and meaningful ways. This became evident during an Epiphany Lecture Series presentation by the Portfolio Group on “School portfolios by reform practitioners.” When an audience member asked for a recap of the group’s reform efforts, Gayle, to the surprise of the entire Portfolio Group, quickly rattled off a description of each individual school’s education reform initiatives with precision and accuracy. Michaelann pointed out, When Gayle presented the overview of our group’s work, the stories and connections flowed from her lips. With very little time to prepare, she could give detailed accounts of each school’s work. There was no hesitation, no need to refer to notes. At that moment, I realized that my stories were her stories and her stories were mine. I think that anybody in the group could have gotten up and done the same thing.

This event served as a pivotal moment when we realized our group identity was congealing into one, a knowledge community known as the Portfolio Group. Looking back, we see that just as our shared stories were shaping our group identity, so too were the many shared experiences of the Portfolio Group. Some of these shared experiences occurred in the midst of working together on our school portfolios. Others, like the Janice Huber and Michael Connelly stories, took place as we listened to conference or lecture speakers. Still other shared experiences emerged from the Portfolio Group preparing for and presenting at conferences, giving us opportunities to share our work with a broader audience and in the process strengthening our group identity. These shared experiences shaped our group identity as they became deeply rooted in our collective history and continue to bind us together. Interwoven in the following sections are Portfolio Group shared experiences, giving insight into the ways those experiences have shaped our group identity.

Evidencing the School Reform Work Each of us in our own way has struggled with how best to represent the reform work in our schools while at the same time coming to know and work with one another as fellow group members. In the sharing of

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our learning and how each school created its own portfolio, the group exponentially changed how we learned to look at our work and reflect in the moment. Soon we became each other’s coaches through responses given, received, and acted and reacted upon. Because our urban school contexts were in constant shift, our answers/decisions did not hold for all time. Not only were there radical shifts in the student populations of our schools, there was high teacher turnover with the core faculty remaining somewhat the same. There were also huge demographic shifts on campuses like Eagle High School and administrative changes on all of the campuses with T. P. Yaeger’s experience perhaps being the most extreme with seven different principals leading the way over a decade of time (1997–2017). Expanding School Voices While each campus had a small group that initially did the primary school portfolio work, the aim was always to include many other voices in its construction. This desire did not come without its own set of tensions. For example, we had to be aware of our colleagues’ possible perceptions of a Portfolio Group clique at each school. This meant making repeated, conscious invitations and providing opportunities for others— for everyone—to contribute. To that end, we had ongoing conversations with our colleagues at faculty meetings about specific types of evidence they could gather and the kinds of contributions they could make for the annual school portfolios. Ron Venable, a Portfolio Group member from Eagle High School, recalls, “I would love our Portfolio Open House when we laid out all the parts to the portfolio and invited everyone to come and offer responses and suggestions and have snacks together.” Eagle’s team would present key features of their portfolio with their whole-school faculty in these open houses. During this time faculties would learn about the academies (small learning communities) with three central themes: (1) Career Connections, (2) CyberCorps, and (3) International Studies. An important aspect of school portfolio-making that we learned time and time again was the bringing together, the highlighting of, and the threading in of, multiple voices. Reaching back to our first-year attempts at school portfolios compared to our 3rd and 4th years, the change in our articulation of our narrative authority (Olson 1995; Craig and Olson 2002) gleaned from experience over time and across place skyrocketed.

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Each school in its own way progressed from having a handful of distinct voices to a chorus of diverse voices reverberating across their school milieus. Frequently, student reflections were included as well, along with parent and community partner reflections. Proving Versus Improving One of the defining moments early on in the journey for the Portfolio Group was the group’s experience at the Portfolios and Teacher Learning and Professional Education Conference at Harvard University in January of 2000. It was during the Harvard conference that we received critical feedback on our work that proved to be both validating and transformative. Invited to share our work by Dr. Nona Lyons, we were represented by Gayle Curtis, Jennifer Day (Heights Community Learning Center), Michaelann Kelley, Mari Glamser, Sandi Capps (Eagle High School), Sharleen Brown (T. P. Yaeger Middle School), and Cheryl Craig (group leader). Although one or two of us had recently stepped out of the classroom and Cheryl was a university professor, we were a teacher group at heart. We certainly identified as such being at a small intimate conference with university professors we had been introduced to through the literature: Nona Lyons (Dartmouth College/University of Southern Maine), Helen Freidus (Bank Street College), Vicki LaBoskey (Mills College), Elliot Mishler (Harvard Medical School), and Lee Shulman (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching), among others. We all wondered how our work and our group would be received by such an esteemed audience. Flying from sunny Houston to bone-chilling Boston, we arrived during a blizzard, with our plane being the last one cleared for landing. With us was precious cargo: our voluminous school portfolios that we lugged across Harvard University as we trekked through deep snowbanks with one of our members nearly cracking her head open after slipping on the ice that lay precariously beneath the freshly fallen snow. Entering the conference as a group, we must have been quite the spectacle as we easily outnumbered the other conference participants. Cheryl was very familiar with Nona Lyons (Nona had been the external examiner for Cheryl’s doctoral dissertation defense at the University of Alberta in Canada) and the gathered group of prestigious education researchers. The rest of us, however, were quite unaccustomed to presenting and discussing our work in such a venerable audience. Because of our numbers, when it came time

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for us to share, Nona had the Portfolio Group break off into separate school groups and had individual researchers join a group. In this intimate setting, the representatives of each campus discussed their portfolios one-on-one with highly respected educators. Dr. Helen Freidus from Bank Street College joined Gayle and Jennifer as they shared Heights Community Learning Center’s multivolume school portfolio. The trio sat in a three-chair triangle formation, with Gayle and Jennifer balancing Heights’ robust portfolio in their laps as they shared their work with Helen. Gayle recalls, “As we discussed Heights’ school reform initiatives, Dr. Freidus listened intently, asking very specific questions about our work—the dual language program, our university-school partnership, teacher learning…all areas of our school reform work.” Helen’s questions pushed the Heights pair to think beyond what was shown in the portfolio, to respond on a deeper level regarding their work. Gayle explains, Looking at our work through the eyes of others affirmed the value of our portfolio work and encouraged us to show a deeper school story. At the conference, the Portfolio Group formed a bridge to the academy. It was a watershed experience because we began to think of ourselves, not only as teachers, but as bonafide “researchers.”

The conference at Harvard validated our portfolios but more importantly legitimized our individual and collective learning as portfolio-makers and knowers of our own and our collective practices. The professors acted as our critical friends in that they gave us authentic feedback to a novel research and formative evaluation method still in its infancy. The conference was pivotal for Eagle High School as well. They shared their school portfolio (also multivolume) with the now-deceased Dr. Elliot Mishler. Mari recalled that We were so excited to share our work because, yes, we believed that what we were doing was good and looked good. We are teachers. We [characteristically] want to show others, especially those above us, that we are perfect…The feedback we received was not what we expected…but it transformed our approach to portfolio-making.

Michaelann recounts,

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I can still see Dr. Mishler sitting in the center of the room, his hands clasped behind his head and leaning back in the chair. Everyone in attendance was on the edge of their seats waiting for his opinion. We waited, excited and fearful at the same time.

Michaelann continued, recalling the emotions surrounding the sharing of her school’s work. We were sharing our work from Eagle High School and we were striving to prove we were worthy…After a few moments, Elliot Mishler paused and said, “The work is too perfect, too clean.”

Momentarily taken aback by the comment, Mari, Michaelann, and Sandi asked themselves, “How could it be too perfect?” After a pregnant pause, Elliot continued his thought. “It does not reflect the richness of the struggles,” he stated. His comment cut to the heart of the cover story that they had told for fear that their campus and they would be seen in a less-than-positive light in such a distinguished audience. The general group discussion elaborated this thought. Eagle’s teachers had recorded their struggles in their individual reflective journals, but thought that seeing these struggles as part of the school’s journey might not be what “funders and academics” wanted to see, so they did not include them in raw form in the school’s portfolio. Together, the Portfolio Group came to see that, although the challenges and barriers of the work are messy parts of education, how teachers and schools navigate such situations is exactly the road map that others need to experience and understand. In this way, others could benefit from our school reform efforts and remember our struggles when they encounter similar situations in the future. We learned a great deal at that conference, most especially about ourselves, and how we needed to illuminate the journey rather than name the destinations at which we were arriving. These exchanges with respected educators during the conference were revelatory. We came away with a profound understanding that remains with us today: our work should not only include the “pretty” and smooth plotlines of life in schools but should reveal the messy day-to-day parts as well. Elliot Mishler’s words have remained etched in our minds since 2000. They remind us to not just tell the story but to show the story in a way that allows readers to make connections with their own stories, which also are not tension-free. His words encourage us not to tell cover

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stories (Clandinin and Connelly 1995; Olson and Craig 2005), but to show—through exemplars—the lived story. The statement Mishler made reinforced what Cheryl had always urged the Portfolio Group to do: “Show don’t tell.” We had to move from the mindset of proving our worth to one of improving our work. This was a very difficult transition to make, given the positioning of teachers in the hierarchy of school districts and in society in general. The changing of our perspective now directly connects us with more recent research on growth mindsets (i.e., Dweck 2006). In short, we lived, breathed, and instantiated the growth mindset before others named it as such.

Navigating the Opportunities and Challenges Many concerns surfaced as we began our school portfolio work, including protecting our school communities, producing polished work, representing multiple voices, negotiating boundaries, and guarding our intellectual property. Opportunities—Portfolios as Reflective Tools School portfolios quickly became reflective vehicles through which we captured school improvement in teachers’ terms. For example, when Heights Community Learning Center reflected on an early school portfolio that included a list of over 50 community partners, the breadth of their partnerships raised a question as to their depth and quality. This led to a reevaluation of the campus’s partnerships. In subsequent years, Heights approached community partnerships with the aim of sustaining purposeful partnerships through reciprocal interactions. In doing so, school-partner exchanges became more meaningful. Chief among these were partnerships with “a private university [and] a major corporate foundation” (Torres-Karna and De Kanter 2005, p. 1168) whose support was instrumental in establishing Heights’ dual language program. The corporate foundation’s Hispanic Employee Network volunteered for weekend workdays several times a year, assisting with everything from cleanup of the science/wetlands area to checking ethernet cables. Two university professors offered their expertise in dual language instruction, helping to guide the program for many years. Another professor was instrumental in creating Super Science Saturdays in which the university’s preservice teachers taught science lessons to Heights students and families. This

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partnership was a meaningful one as opposed to a paper statement and/or money exchange. It enriched learning opportunities for students, parents, and preservice teachers and built bridges between families and the school and strengthened the partnership between the school and the university. Through this Heights example, we see how creating and reflecting on school portfolio entries brought unacknowledged challenges and unarticulated issues to the surface. When words were given to feelings, they could be expressed and attended to (to the extent possible) on Heights’s professional knowledge landscape. At the same time, we acknowledge that the solutions we found did not hold for all time as the strengths of different partnerships ebbed and flowed and the issues affronting teachers oscillated depending on school district policy but also on how they, as professionals, viewed and treated one another. Then, too, there were shifting administrators on our campuses. On the whole, some carried more baggage that spilled over to school milieus than others who were more transparent. Opportunities—Presentations by the Portfolio Group During the funded grant period, the Portfolio Group collaborated on numerous presentations. These included two presentations at the Portfolios and Teacher Learning and Professional Education Conference, one at Harvard and another at Cork College University, in Cork, Ireland (where the group again met up with Nona Lyons) and American Education Research Association (AERA) presentations in Seattle, Washington, and New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States, and in Montreal, Quebec in Canada (see Chapter 11 for a full list). A few years into the reform effort, the school Portfolio Group began to develop workshops on portfolio-making via a teacher researcher grant, the funding covered material and refreshment costs. At a local venue, we shared the strengths and challenges of our joint work. These workshops were also educative for us because we needed to jointly hash things out and reevaluate and rethink what we knew about portfolio-making. We also thought hard about the invitational quality of workshops and our need to let other teachers make their own minded decisions about whether what we presented to them was useful and valuable to their practices and their schools’ professional milieus. Every time we copresented we would be profoundly reminded of how much we had learned with one another and how much we knew about one another and our sister schools’ work.

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Although some state education agencies have adopted teacher portfolios in the teacher evaluation process, our state had not. Our first step was showing what we consider to be beneficial or the benefits of creating and maintaining a teacher portfolio. Our rationale satisfied two categories: personal and professional. From a personal point of view, portfolios are tools that help to evidence teachers’ professional growth. For example, copies of training certificates, agendas, and notes from meetings document specific professional development experiences. Furthermore, lesson plans illuminate how what was learned informed what was lived practice. Reflections before and after teaching also provided links to personal learning that was always in a state of construction and reconstruction. Here, we were doing much more than “ticking off boxes” via our portfolio work. We were explicitly making professional connections between and among what was expected of us and our richly evidenced ways of showing how what we came to know became experienced by the students before us in our classrooms and schools. Also, questions arose that became talking points during teacher evaluation meetings with our administrators, provided bread crumb trails to different professional development opportunities we might entertain, and helped us to identify diverse speakers we might invite to our Epiphany Lecture series, our next topic of discussion. The lecture series was the brainchild of the Portfolio Group. Group members wanted to share what they had come to know through attending conferences and participating more widely in the Greater Houston community and beyond. The Portfolio Group once again recognized the importance of showing not telling. The group wanted to spread what members were coming to know through providing primary sources not the secondary versions that others (i.e., consultants, districts, state agencies) typically feed to teachers. We wanted our colleagues to have primary experiences that would increase their knowledge and help them to make up their own minds as teaching professionals. During the discussions of the purpose of the series, what the series would be named became a hot topic of discussion. Mari stated that it needed to connect to “a-ha” moments like the many she has experienced and Ron agreed, chiming in about his personal “lightbulb moments.” Then Michaelann squealed excitedly: “I have got it! Let’s call it the Epiphany Series because this series will hopefully provide revelations or insights into our own and others’ practices.” At this juncture in time, we had no idea that Eagle’s students would find the lectures so engaging and informative. In fact, a healthy

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competition ensued concerning who would fill the seats on Eagle High School’s buses which would transport them to the University of Houston where the lectures were held. Opportunities—Epiphany Lecture Series Coach Herman Boone and cultural connections. One of the memorable invited speakers of the Epiphany Lecture Series was Coach Herman Boone “who led a racially integrated high school football team in Virginia to a state championship in his first season as head coach. His experience inspired the 2000 movie ‘Remember the Titans,’ in which Coach Boone was portrayed by Denzel Washington” (Garcia 2019). Chatting with him during the pre-lecture dinner, the table conversation fell silent when Coach Boone answered his cell phone. Hanging up, he turned back to the group explaining, “That was Coach Yoast. He called to wish me a happy birthday.” It was a touching reminder for us of the relationship that became forged between the two men that began in 1971 when Alexandria, Virginia racially integrated its schools, naming Boone (African American) head coach and Yoast (White) assistant coach of the T. C. Williams’ High School football team. Coach Boone’s inspiring lecture following dinner was made even more unforgettable by the thirty plus diverse, high poverty students, most of whom were of color, who attended from Eagle. The provocative questions they broached after the lecture demonstrated their firsthand knowledge of Coach Boone’s story and their consummate desire to glean his perspective on how race-related issues in schools have changed over thirty years. Coach Boone, in turn, elicited their perspectives and experiences as young adults living in postBrown vs. Board of Education (Warren and Supreme Court of the United States 1953) times. Elliot Eisner and learning from a student. Learning becomes a twoway street for us, and it ended up that way for Elliot Eisner (1979) as well. Professor Eisner was selected as a speaker because of his work on evaluation as connoisseurship, art education, and alternate forms of representation. He especially fit the bill for our arts-based magnet school campuses and all of us as portfolio-makers—a close relative of teachers as curriculum makers (Clandinin and Connelly 1992; Craig and Ross 2008). Often a lecture is not remembered past the quick discussion after the event; however, Eisner’s lecture has stuck with us for over 20 years. Eisner

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spoke to his full-to-overflowing audience about the reasons people do things. He said that people clean their toilets not because they like to but because they like the result. He continued with numerous other examples of why people do things all with a cause and effect result. Immediately following the lecture one of the Eagle High School students rushed up to Dr. Eisner and emphatically pointed out that he had forgotten one reason. Eisner quickly stopped and inquired what the student was talking about. The Eagle High School student astutely replied: “Sometimes you just do things because they are the right things to do.” Eisner listened intently, turned, and left the lecture hall. The next morning when Cheryl picked him up at his hotel he shared that “It is not very often that a person so young is that perceptive and able to make me rethink my ideas.” Apparently, Elliot Eisner had mulled over—and marveled at—the student’s response the entire night. Carl Glickman and the Gallery Walks. Carl Glickman presented his lecture on democracy and including all voices in national deliberations. The Portfolio Group included a gallery walk of the five schools’ portfolios prior to his lecture. Professor Glickman intently examined the portfolios and asked probing questions of the teachers who served as docents of their schools’ collaborative work. The collaboration of the schools was apparent during the Gallery Walk, but the extent of the cross-district and cross-school collaboration was not apparent at first glance. Carl Glickman had a question-and-answer session with the 120 high school students from Eagle High School who attended this time around. (Their teachers participated in the campus’s Career Connection Academy.) During his presentation, Glickman wove in the work in the schools that he had learned about from us and encouraged us to create additional room for unheard voices. His call to action also informed the direction that many of our portfolios took. His influence helped us to bring more voices in the school and the community to our lived work in the schools that later became captured in our school portfolios. Many other outstanding researchers and speakers participated in the Epiphany Series, each bringing their own perspectives that enriched our understandings. Among them were Nona Lyons, Andy Hargreaves, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Larry Cuban, David Berliner, A. Lin Goodwin, Michael Fullan, and Roland Barth. We prepared for each lecture by immersing our colleagues and ourselves in samples of each scholar’s work. Their double-barreled contributions (i.e., face-to-face/via the literature)

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also informed our knowing, our knowledge community interactions, and the development of our school portfolios. The names of those who gave Epiphany Lectures now regularly appear in our literature reviews, footnotes, and mostly in great stories told and retold around the Portfolio Group table. Put simply, their contributions entered the bloodstream of our work. Challenges—Doing Polished Work Prior to Houston schools receiving grant funding from the Annenberg Foundation, the philanthropic organization supported other school improvement efforts across the United States. By the time our schools were awarded grants in 1997, schools in cities like Chicago in the north and Los Angeles on the west coast had been engaged in school reform for several years and were now being crucified by the media for everything from lack of results to the use of funds. In the back of everyone’s minds were words similar to what Henry Richards openly stated, “We do not want to be like Annenberg school efforts elsewhere that subsequently became ripped apart by the press.” We, as Portfolio Group members in the schools, worked especially hard to be good stewards of the funding and to be agentive on our individual campuses. Cheryl was also our stalwart defender in this regard. In fact, when detractors would attempt to chastise and belittle us, saying that teachers should not be in charge of where the reform money was spent, Cheryl would reply that legislators, academics, school districts, administrators, and private citizens had previously made grievous errors where priority expenditures were concerned and we still allow them access to the public purse. Silence typically prevailed after that. In still other audiences when our knowledge and expertise as teachers was challenged, Cheryl would often repeat the story and the high compliment that Nona Lyons paid us after our presentations at Harvard. “Super-teachers” is the story she gave back to us, which further spurred our efforts in our schools and in the Portfolio Group. When temporary impasses were encountered—and continue to be encountered, we would remind ourselves of Nona’s “super teacher” comment and we quickly mustered the strength to move forward with confidence.

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Challenges—Breadth Vs Depth Similar to Height’s experience with its community partners, Eagle High School’s teachers continuously struggled with breadth versus depth in their school portfolio work. As the teachers gathered increasing amounts of documents to evidence their work, it was tempting to consider a sevenbinder portfolio as in-depth work. In fact, the more information they added about the school reform effort and its many activities in each academy, the more difficult it became to ensure that they were looking critically at all areas of their work in a school that was the size of many of the towns dotted across America. This was true of all our campuses, with Eagle (3000 students) and T. P. Yaeger (1500 students) being the largest. We always remembered that the underlying motivation for Jackson’s (i.e., 1968) and Schwab’s (1969) research in the late 1960s was the fact that precious little was known about what was going on in teachers’ classrooms and schools at the time. Here we were—three decades later—and inside classrooms and schools ourselves—and still belaboring the point that there was much more going on in our micro and macro places of work that we needed to get a handle on—and needed to reflect, analyze, and become more responsive to and more thoughtfully act on. Challenges—Bulkiness of the Portfolios How different our school portfolios would have looked as we set out in 1998 if the technology we take for granted in 2020 had been available to us then! What can be easily documented using a vast array of applications on our smartphones, tablets, and laptops now, was labor intensive back then. Also, school districts at the time were much more suspicious of technology being used for learning purposes. In the early years, little evidence existed to show our work in schools. Over the five years, however, we learned how to better document our reform efforts and more and more people became involved in the portfolio work. As a result, the portfolios expanded, including substantially more voices, and reflecting the quantity and quality of the changes made. Consequently, the school portfolios transformed considerably over time from multiple, but small, 1/4-inch binders to even more, 5-inch binders, to large plastic storage containers weighing 30 pounds. The size of the portfolios grew as did our learning and documentation. Hoping to eliminate the bulkiness of

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school portfolios, the Eagle High School team tried to venture into electronic documentation, however, school/personal computers at the time lacked the capabilities that we now take for granted. Many of the Portfolio Group’s schools worked with a local university in constructing a cold fusion method for documenting the work. After three years and thousands of dollars invested in the project, the schools gave up and continued with their analog documentation, however archaic that now seems. Challenges—Protecting School Communities The school portfolios were challenging for the schools. The test scores published in the newspaper were very public, but those scores reflected one small portion of the work of schools. The portfolios that the schools created were intended to illuminate a broader and more in-depth picture of the multifaceted work of each school. The schools’ counter narrative in the portfolios captured the behind-the-scenes work that otherwise was missing in the dominant narrative of testing. In this way we considered our portfolio work to be helping to protect our school communities. Challenges—Negotiating Boundaries A constant dilemma in validating research is the question of whose story is told. In narrative inquiry, for example, the research establishes trustworthiness through firsthand accounts and presenting multiple perspectives. In the school reform work each school not only had a planning and evaluator to help in the journey, but the schools also had an outside evaluator. The five schools in the Portfolio Group were accustomed to working with Cheryl and learned how a narrative inquirer works in the educational field. The outside evaluators came into the schools with much the same research stance…or so it seemed. At Eagle High School, the external evaluator spent numerous hours on the campus, frequently sitting in Michaelann’s classroom with the students and discussing the school reform work. As both a full-time teacher and the school reform coordinator, Michaelann, involved her students in the school portfolio work because as she put it, “Eagle was their school and they were not tourists on their campus.” Several comments made to Eagle’s portfolio team by Terri, the outside evaluator, still weigh on Michaelann’s mind: “Your campus is so clean” and “Your students do not look poor.” These value-laden comments should

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have been a clue to the direction the evaluation would take. However, hopeful and remembering the learning from Dr. Mishler, Eagle’s teachers openly shared both their work successes and struggles to the external evaluator. Perhaps predictably based on previous external evaluations of school reform in other cities, the evaluators came back with an evaluation report that was less than stellar. The opening up and showing the struggles backfired because the report highlighted these as deficits rather than challenges still being worked on in the reform effort. In addition, the report was put online without negotiating permissions from the schools and with no anonymization of teacher or student names as had been previously negotiated. Challenges—Intellectual Property Another point of tension where the school portfolios were concerned was the idea of intellectual property. While we put our school portfolios on display in a variety of venues to share our school stories with parents and the community, strong tensions arose when others wanted to use the school portfolios for their purposes. For example, a Heights school administrator who did not participate in the school’s portfolio-making announced that he would use the portfolios in an upcoming conference presentation. This was not well received by the campus portfolio team, particularly because they were unsure of how what they considered “our work” would be presented and where credit would be given. Arguing intellectual property and the fact that the administrator had no participation in the portfolio process, the group refused to “share” the school portfolios in this way. In the end, Gayle agreed to prepare a presentation on school reform for the administrator instead. A similar situation occurred at Heights when a researcher who was investigating the school’s reform efforts requested copies of the portfolios for use in her study. Again, the campus Portfolio Group team balked at someone using their school-prepared work for purposes other than telling the school’s story. It was finally agreed that the researcher could use the portfolios for background information only and that no portion of the campus portfolios would be extracted for direct use in the research. Reflecting back on these situations related to claims of intellectual property, the examples given show the degree to which we took our portfolio work seriously, from both our personal and our professional perspectives. The considerable tensions between campus Portfolio Groups

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and administrators that arose out of these situations were a boundary that we were willing to stand up for and willing to negotiate to hold. Although the outcomes of these situations could have been quite different, we were able to stand our ground without significant administrative reprisals.

Concluding Thoughts This chapter on school reform and portfolio-making centered on the first five years of the Portfolio Group’s accumulated twenty-two-year collaborative history. Yet we consider the experiences from that period as foundational—even prerequisite—to understanding who the Portfolio Group is today. Those early days marked our coming together for a joint purpose, our building of a knowledge community of trusted critical friends, a shift from focusing on product to focusing on process, and a continual scaffolding of knowledge that led to sustained professional growth. Our school decisions to use school portfolios to document our work for grant purposes meant that the Portfolio Group’s work broke new ground by becoming a cover story that, in a creatively subversive manner, went against the grain, transparently illuminating lived stories of school reform from teachers’ perspectives instead of spewing back the master narrative given to us and whose plotlines exclusively wanted to shape our present as well as our future. Given that the City of Houston spans over 600 miles, the eleven schools involved in the Houston Annenberg Challenge, and our five schools in particular, could be considered a “small drop in a big bucket.” The reach of our work, however, far exceeds what one would anticipate our impact to be. In many ways the school reform era of the late 1990s in Houston challenged the public perception of school, teacher, and student success. The portfolio-making we engaged in at that time is an essential part of the legacy of the Portfolio Group.

References Argyris, C., & Schön, D. (1978). Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective. Addison-Wesley: Reading, MA. Aoki, T. (1990). Beyond the half-life of curriculum and pedagogy. One World, 27 (2), 3–10.

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Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of curriculum (pp. 363–461). New York, NY: Macmillan. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1994). Personal experience methods. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 413– 427). London, UK: Sage. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1995). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1996). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes: Teacher stories. Stories of teachers. School stories. Stories of school. Educational Researcher, 25(3), 24–30. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educational Researcher, 19(5), 2–14. Craig, C. J. (1992). Coming to know in the professional knowledge context: Beginning teachers’ experience (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Craig, C. J. (1995a). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–175. Craig, C. J. (1995b). Safe places in the professional knowledge landscape: Knowledge communities. In D. J. Clandinin & F. M. Connelly (Eds.), Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes (pp. 137–141). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J. (2003). School portfolio development: A teacher knowledge approach. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(2), 122–134. https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0022487102250286. Craig, C. J. (2004). The dragon in school backyards: The influence of mandated testing on school contexts and educators’ narrative knowing. Teachers College Record, 106(6), 1229–1257. Craig, C. J. (2006). Change, changing, and being changed: A self-study of a teacher educator’s becoming real in the throes of urban school reform. Studying Teacher Education, 2(1), 105–116. Craig, C. J. (2007). Illuminating qualities of knowledge communities in a portfolio-making context. Teachers and Teaching, 13(6), 617–636. Craig, C. J. (2008). Joseph Schwab, self-study of teaching and teacher education practices proponent? A personal perspective. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(8), 1993–2001. Craig, C. J., & Olson, M. (2002). The development of narrative authority in knowledge communities: A narrative approach to teacher learning. In N.

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Lyons & V. LaBoskey (Eds.), Narrative inquiry in practice: Advancing the knowledge of teaching (pp. 115–129). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C., & Ross, V. (2008). Cultivating the image of teachers as curriculum makers. In F. M. Connelly (Ed.), Sage handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 282–305). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Curtis, G. A., Reid, D., Craig, C. J., Kelley, M., & Martindell, P. T. (2013). Braided lives: Multiple ways of knowing flowing in and out of professional lives. Studying Teacher Education, 9(2), 175–186. Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Macmillan. Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset, the new psychology of success: How we can learn to fulfill our potential. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. Eisner, E. W. (1979). The educational imagination: On the design and evaluation of school programs. New York, NY: Macmillan. Eisner, E. W. (1988). Foreword. In F. M. Connelly & D. J. Clandinin (Eds.), Teachers as curriculum planners: Narratives of experience (pp. ix–xi). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Eisner, E. W. (1997). The promise and perils of alternative forms of data representation. Educational Researcher, 26(6), 4–10. Garcia, S. E. (2019, December 19). Herman Boone, coach portrayed in ‘Remember the Titans,’ dies at 84. New York Times, New York, NY. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/19/us/herman-boone-dead-rem ember-the-titans.html. Greene, M. (1995). Releasing the imagination: Essays on education, the arts, and social change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Lee, H. (1960). To kill a mockingbird. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott. Lyons, N. (1998). With portfolio in hand: Validating the new teacher professionalism. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Olson, M. R. (1995). Conceptualizing narrative authority: Implications for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11(2), 119–135. Olson, M., & Craig, C. J. (2005). Uncovering cover stories: Tensions and entailments in the development of teacher knowledge. Curriculum Inquiry, 35(2), 161–182. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books. Schön, D. A. (1995). Knowing-in-action: The new scholarship requires a new epistemology. Change, 27 (6), 26–34. Schön, D., & McDonald, J. (1998). Doing what you mean to do in school reform. Providence, RI: Brown University. Schwab, J. J. (1969). The practical: A language for curriculum. The School Review, 78(1), 1–23. Schwab, J. J. (1973). The practical 3: Translation into curriculum. The School Review, 81(4), 501–522.

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Torres-Karna, H., & De Kanter, E. T. (2005). Language revitalization in an inner-city Latino community. In J. Cohen, K. T. McAlister, K. Rolstad, & J. MacSwan (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism (pp. 1167–1176). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. Warren, Earl, & Supreme Court of The United States. (1953). U.S. Reports: Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483. [Periodical] Retrieved from the Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/item/usrep347483/. Xu, S., & Connelly, M. (2010). Narrative inquiry for school-based research. Narrative Inquiry, 20(2), 349–370.

CHAPTER 4

Becoming and Sustaining Critical Friends (1998–Present)

The Portfolio Group works best when seated around a table looking eyeto-eye with one another, whether in Tim and Mike’s dining room, at a local Italian restaurant, or in a coffee shop. In the interaction in the Portfolio Group, we (Cheryl Craig, Michaelann Kelley, Gayle Curtis, Tim Martindell, and Mike Perez) consider ourselves a knowledge community (Craig 1992, 1995b) of trusted critical friends. By this, we mean that we listen to one another, give feedback to shared stories of practice, and provide different perspectives informed by our own individual experiences that we bring to the table. As Portfolio Group members, we recognize that practice is “not fixed, nor finished” and that it gradually changes (Oakeshott 1962, p. 128). We agree with the assertion of Fahey et al. (2019) that “Sharing practice” includes not only an educator putting work or dilemmas on the table for others to see, but also group members contributing experiences, insights, and questions. These acts of sharing acknowledge that all participants have wisdom to give. (p. 46)

We feel that all Portfolio Group members hold knowledge to share and wisdom to give. Our introduction to critical friendship occurred in the late 1990s, positively influencing interactions within the Portfolio Group and our practice outside of the group as well. In this chapter, we reexamine how the © The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_4

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concept of critical friends came to Houston through a national school reform initiative and how we in turn came to see one another as critical friends. Taking a reflective look back (Schön 1983), we also explore the ways in which critical friendship has infused our work within the Portfolio Group, our broader fields of practice, and even our daily lives. We end by considering how our understanding of critical friendship has changed over the years as informed by continued learning and reflective practice (Schön 1983).

Historical Contexts of Critical Friends The National Context Critical friendship first appears in the literature as part of the Ford Teaching Project in 1973; “initially, the concept was used to mean a stance of double vision, to express a combination of empathy and critical distance among teachers in developing inquiry in their own classrooms” (Avila De Lima 2001, p. 114). In the beginning, critical friends were evaluators from outside the schools who served in a neutral role giving feedback to teachers. Critical friends as linked to reflection, entered the literature in the 1980s when McLaughlin and Oberman (1996) advocated for structured professional development where colleagues would have time to assist each other collaboratively (Stanley 2001). In 1995, as part of the Citibank Fellows/Faculty, fifteen members of the Coalition of Essential Schools (including Theodore Sizer) formed the National School Reform Faculty (NSRF). Initially located at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, NSRF believed that effective professional development should exist within the context of teachers’ daily practice. Michaelann recalls a conversation with Gene Thompson-Grove about the development of their concept. Gene said, “we were sitting around the kitchen table and…” This became the seed bed and home base of what became widely known as Critical Friends Groups® (CFG® ). NSRF (n.d.) defines a CFG® community as a particular variety of professional learning community (PLC). In fact, Critical Friends Group® (CFG® ) is a registered trademark of the NSRF organization.1 CFG® communities usually consist of 5–12 members who commit to meeting regularly with the purpose of improving their schools and practice through collaborative learning and structured professional discussions (NSRF, n.d.). (It should be noted here that the term critical friends is

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used broadly in the scholarly literature outside of CFGs® .) “The initial CFGs® operated under three assumptions: there is no hierarchy of expertise; teachers cannot improve their practice unless it is made public; and, collaboration produces better ‘new’ knowledge than any individual, in a group could produce on his own” (Stanley 2001, p. 4). In order to work effectively, CFGs® use protocols to guide structured conversations, to discuss issues deeply, and to avoid getting side-tracked by strong personalities within a group. These protocols adopt guidelines called norms. Norms are “often layered, multifaceted and open to (even dependent upon) interpretation” (Alexander 2015, p. 97). They “inform and influence activity intrinsically from within by becoming part and parcel of how we [CFG members, Portfolio Group members] define who we are.” CFGs® soon became integrated into the Annenberg Foundation’s school reform initiatives as a way to promote teacher professional learning and leadership. The Houston Context The close affiliation between the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and NSRF brought CFGs® to Houston, Texas in 1997 with the Annenberg Challenge school grants. From 1997 to 2002, the CFG® work was deeply embedded in the Houston Annenberg Challenge (HAC) school reform initiative which was framed by three imperatives: increase teacher learning, break down isolation barriers, and reduce size by creating personalized learning environments (see Chapter 1). Sponsored by HAC in an effort to promote teacher learning, each of the eleven, initially funded Houston schools trained CFG® coaches to begin leading groups on their campuses. The overall aim was to increase teacher reflective practice by preparing and empowering campus teachers as coaches to lead and facilitate group reflection. Coaches were chosen after they first recruited a group of peers who agreed to be coached, submitted written responses to application questions, and signed a twoyear agreement to engage others and themselves in the work in the schools. Thus, through coaches’ preparation, our mutual CFG® repertoires were developed as part of this Houston Annenberg Challenge (HAC) school reform initiative. Michaelann and Tim were inducted into Houston’s first cohort of CFG® coaches in the summer of 1998, Gayle in 2000, and Mike in 2004. Key to our developing an understanding of critical friendship was the role of the CFG® coach. Initially, many of

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us equated coaching with leadership, but in time realized that coaching meant being a “first among equals” (Martindell 2012, p. 89). As coaches, our job was to be a mentor or a guide by the sides of our peers. We found that, much like our Portfolio Group work, facilitation work seemed to happen around a kitchen table, dining room table, or at a coffee shop. The symbolism of sharing meals, coffee, snacks, and/or ideas is not lost on us. The prevailing table image reaches back to Cheryl’s doctoral and postdoctoral work with Jean Clandinin at the Centre for Research for Teacher Education and Development (CRTED) at the University of Alberta, which took place around the “centre [CRTED] table.” Craig and Huber (2006) in their co-authored chapter in the Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology (Clandinin 2006) also pulled on the image of the table. They likened how the CRTED’s narrative inquirers assembled at a table resembling “the table where [experientially] rich people sit” in Native American Byrd Baylor’s words (Baylor and Parnall 1994). It is therefore not surprising that the image of the inquiry table and the experientially rich exchanges that take place at it continue to appear and reverberate through our shared Portfolio Group work as it continues to unfurl. In the midst of our efforts in school reform, school portfolio-making, and now as national facilitators for NSRF, we were also becoming the backbone for the preparation of new coaches provided locally by HAC. Beginning in 1999, members of the Portfolio Group, along with HAC staff, provided professional development for approximately 1100 Houston region teachers and administrators in the principles of critical friendship and CFG® coaching. According to Reyes and Phillips in their 2001 Year Two Evaluation Report, Teachers report that participation in Critical Friends has taught them how to be reflective practitioners and how to use the reflections to change their teaching. Additionally as teachers from different disciplines get to know each other in Critical Friends Groups, they are able to strengthen curriculum alignment and integration. (p. 37)

While this evaluation spoke to the influence of critical friendship and CFGs® on teacher’s professional growth, reflective practice, and interdisciplinary exchanges across all HAC schools, it also reflected what was happening on our campuses and in the Portfolio Group as well. This is not surprising because the work was all-of-one-piece where we were concerned.

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Learning to Be Critical Friends Our experiences in learning to be critical friends began with our learning how (or perhaps more precisely, feeling comfortable enough) to engage in critical discussions with one another in which our verbal feedback responses reflected careful judgment and evaluation on the part of giver. The Portfolio Group provided a safe space for this to evolve naturally as trust was established within the group. As previously detailed in Chapter 3, the Portfolio Group was established in 1998 when we, as newcomers to school portfolio-making and strangers to one another, came together in community. The group’s formation was inspired by both Clandinin and Connelly’s collaborative research approach where university faculty work directly with teachers in schools and Cheryl Craig’s (1992, 1995a, b, c) concept of knowledge communities in which individuals come together to share and restory their experiences in relationship with one another. As the Portfolio Group began working together and sharing experiences, the commonalities of experiences across the campuses struck a chord with group members. All of our schools were engaged in significant school change; change that we were evidencing in our school portfolios and that brought with it endless challenges. The challenges of school change at one of our five campuses often resonated with the goings-on at the other four campuses—perhaps in a slightly different manner—but they resonated, nonetheless. Sharing these experiences among the Portfolio Group began to break down subject matter, school, and district barriers. During those early years, the Portfolio Group also began exploring reflective practice, beginning with John Dewey and Donald Schön. Dewey (1910) described reflection as a deliberate and purposeful act, explaining, Reflection involves not simply a sequence of ideas, but a con-sequence—a consecutive ordering in such a way that each determines the next as its proper outcome, while each in turn leans back on its predecessors. The successive portions of the reflective thought grow out of one another and support one another…Each phase is a step from something to something. (pp. 2–3)

While many of us considered ourselves to be reflective practitioners in our classrooms and in our schools, studying Schön’s work together not only enhanced our individual reflective practice, it also brought reflective

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practice into the Portfolio Group interactions as we shared stories and provided one another with feedback. Engaging in reflection about our school reform work helped us “unpack [our] own experiences, beliefs, knowledge and philosophies and to…understand how these shape [our] identities and actions as teachers” (Ovens and Tinning 2009, p. 1; see also Lyons 1998, 2010). Increasingly, we understand that our profession involves old ideas but also creates new ones as we relate to one another in community. As teachers, we not only call upon our pasts but we also are concerned with our futures. Hence, we improve our practices by deliberating alongside friends (Oakeshott 1975). As we began giving one another feedback using the suggested protocols coupled with scholarly discourse, perceived obstacles began to dissipate among Portfolio Group members. Sometimes feedback was offered as validation that fortified one’s sense of being on the right track in practice. Just as often, feedback came as a reframing (Munby and Russell 1995) of the story shared with the group, providing a different point of view and a different departure point for restorying. Engaging with one another in reflective practice and providing mindful feedback cultivated trust among our group members, shaping our formation as a knowledge community (Craig 1992, 1995b, 2007; Curtis et al. 2013). During this time, the integration of CFG® preparation in the professional development offered by HAC also began to shape the Portfolio Group meeting exchanges. The five of us represent a small portion of the Portfolio Group members—and many more educators across the grant-funded schools—who participated in the professional development initiative. At the heart of critical friendship as set out in CFG® work is a simple idea - teachers need time, protocols for having difficult but necessary conversations, and structure built into their schedules to promote professional growth that is directly linked to student learning. The group members work together to develop collaboration skills, reflect on their individual and collective teaching practices and examine student work. Critical Friends Groups® [CFGs® ] provide an avenue for teachers and administrators to collaborate to deepen their knowledge of academic subject matter, examine their teaching practices and consider issues of whole-school change. (Martindell 2012, p. 20)

This approach to critical friendship provided skills and tools for engaging in reflection and structured group discussions aimed at

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improving schools and practice. We also found the various CFG® protocols useful in keeping our meetings on track, evaluating the work, and dialoguing about critical, and sometimes sensitive issues related to school change and our ongoing efforts. The knowledge, skills, and tools we adopted as CFG® coaches, eventually became organically ingrained in the conversations that happened at Portfolio Group meetings—they became second nature to us. These tools also served to help us develop our teacher leadership skills on campus and within other knowledge communities of which we were a part in the education landscape. In some cases, they trickled into our relationships with family and friends. At the same time that the Portfolio Group was highly engaged in school portfolio-making, members also interacted with teachers and administrators from across the country who were on parallel journeys where school reform work was concerned. For instance, Michaelann recalled an invitation to serve on a review of portfolios in New York state. In reviewing the work, she realized that the work at Eagle High School and HAC, in general, was much further along than previously understood by Eagle’s school portfolio team, particularly when viewed alongside others’ school reform work. When Michaelann shared this insight with the Portfolio Group in Houston, it prompted us all to reflect on the impact of portfolio-making and CFGs® on teacher learning and the challenges that the group work entailed. Experiences such as this one brought about opportunities in contexts outside of the Portfolio Group—new learning that was then brought back, shared, and enacted. In short, knowledge traveled both inside and outside the Portfolio Group (Olson and Craig 2009). Looking backward, the work that was being done with our CFGs® and in the Portfolio Group formed the impetus and eventually became the exemplar for what would become our braided rivers metaphor and subsequent paper (see Chapter 8). The learning and leading in our CFGs® was crossing paths and flowing with our learning and leading in the Portfolio Group. Many times, even in our practice today, the two intersect and the blended waters cannot be differentiated from one another. In short, traveling stories (which foreshadowed our future traveling journals work as described in Chapter 7) go back-and-forth, which is emblematic of reciprocal learning—where each learns from the other and all are changed (Bateson 2010).

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We now turn to a recounting of how our experiences with critical friendship extended well beyond our interactions within the Portfolio Group.

Evidence of Critical Friends Group® Work in Our Practice As a group, we were so embedded in our budding reflective practice and narrative research during this period that we did not realize that the school portfolio and CFG® work being done was part of the scholarship and leadership of teaching as well. In a nutshell, this knowledge became the genesis of Michaelann’s (Kelley 2012) dissertation (a longitudinal study of one CFG® in her school) and Tim’s (Martindell 2012) dissertation (a narrative inquiry into how three groups used their CFGs® ). Their inquiries uncovered the ways in which our CFG® repertoire has enhanced educator reflective practice as a way to build capacity and to sustain teachers in their knowledge communities and in the profession. Exploring Our Critical Friends Group® Work As we began our work as CFG® coaches and as members of the Portfolio Group chronicling our school reform efforts, we also started to capture stories of pivotal moments in our various CFGs® outside of our Portfolio Group interactions. For example, Michaelann’s (Kelley 2012) dissertation was a decade-long narrative inquiry on the CFG® that she led at Eagle High School and in which Cheryl was also a member. In recalling a CFG® meeting with an induction year teacher, Michaelann illustrates the power of teacher reflection within her group: In a conversation at the end of the school year, Tim Hoodman confessed after his first year [of] teaching, “If it hadn‘t been for you and the group, I am not sure I would have made it this year.” He found a place where even though it was his first year [of] teaching, he was not seen as an empty vessel to be filled. His experiences and background were seen as a benefit and valuable asset to his practice. His narrative authority and personal practical experiences were honored in his knowledge community. Koo [n.d.] points out a “Critical Friend speaks from the heart and is reflective” (p. 5). The influence of his Critical Friends Group also reached into his home life. Tim’s wife, a veteran elementary school teacher, stopped me at a football game to thank me for giving him hope and the support to succeed in the classroom. (p. 53)

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Like Michaelann, Tim turned to his work as a CFG® coach for his narrative inquiry doctoral dissertation (Martindell 2012), examining how introducing Critical Friends Groups® in three different settings influenced the collaborations. One group was comprised of five literacy coaches who had worked together for several years but had never used protocols to share and examine reflectively on their individual and collective practice. As Tim introduced the use of protocols, the literacy coaches began to reflect on and to discuss issues on a deep level when an unexpected critical incident occurred. Maya (pseudonym), a veteran teacher turned school literacy coach, “went raw” (her expression) in the midst of using the protocol, sharing personal issues affecting her self-efficacy and creating self-doubts (Martindell 2012, p. 142). As facilitator, Tim explained the next step in the protocol, careful to give Maya the option of not responding to questions if she felt uncomfortable. Using the consultancy protocol (McDonald et al. 2007), the group asked a series of questions designed to clarify their understanding and push Maya’s thinking about her dilemma. The protocol, or structured conversation, allowed the group to focus with laser-like precision on the issue at hand and assist Maya as she reflected on her problematic situation. (Martindell 2012, p. 1)

Continuing, Tim shared, The final set of questions struck deep. The group fell silent. Tears welling up in her eyes, Maya looked down, took a deep breath, and blurted, “People tell me I must have done something to deserve [this sickness].” (p. 5)

Recounting the event, Tim wrote, “Time seemed to stand still for a moment as the entire group absorbed the significance of her statement.” The consultancy protocol had established a safe space and provided thought-provoking questions which created a context in which she could fully confront and examine her dilemma of self-doubt, a dilemma that had become more complex by virtue of her recent serious illness. Her willingness to be vulnerable formed a precedent in the group as others also began to expose their lived cover stories (Clandinin and Connelly 1995; Olson and Craig 2005) that they lay alongside Maya’s anguishing revelation.

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These examples shed light into the ways in which our CFG® work shaped and was shaping our interactions with colleagues outside of the Portfolio Group setting. Our experiences in leading campus and district groups provided additional opportunities for us to advance both our facilitation and leadership skills.

Reflections on Our Critical Friends® Work Intersections and Interactions For the Portfolio Group, the shared knowledge and skills gained through CFG® preparation created numerous points of connection across members. Just as stars create a constellation with their numerous points, our points and experiences created story constellations which were nested in the goings-on and doings of our school contexts (Craig 2007) as we foreshadowed in Chapter 2. We see these as common understandings that help to facilitate our group interactions. In our work in the broader education landscape, we also experience these same points of connection with colleagues. An example of this is Mike’s school change in 2006 and his recent encounter with a school administrator. Let us explain. A background in CFG® coaching was instrumental in helping Mike make the move to Tumbleweed Middle School in 2006. His new principal, Griselda (pseudonym), was a participant in the HAC Leadership Academy, a professional learning community for school administrators, which had critical friendship at its core. CFG® new coach professional development was an option for all members of the Leadership Academy and Griselda’s plan was to introduce the tools and protocols of CFGs® to the faculty at Tumbleweed. With Mike as a trained CFG® coach, an immediate alliance was struck. For the past decade, campus meetings have been based on this philosophy routinely incorporating CFG® protocols such as “Connections.” Developed by Gene Thompson-Grove (SRI, n.d.), this protocol is a way for people to build a bridge from where they are or have been (mentally, physically, etc.) to where they will be going and what they will be doing. It is a time for individuals to reflect - within the context of a group - upon a thought, a story, an insight, a question, or a feeling that they are carrying with them into the session, and then connect it to the work they are about to do.

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During “Connections,” participants clear their minds by acknowledging burdens and celebrations or reflecting silently, in order to be fully present during the meeting. For Mike, the use of protocols like “Connections” provides a structured framework which allows participants to bring up issues at the beginning of a meeting, which without such structure would run the possibility of derailing the meeting as we earlier explained. The faculty then proceeds with the meeting using various protocols to move the discussion along. Due to the widespread use of CFGs® in the Houston area and the fact that we are professionally developed in CFG® , we frequently reconnect with educators from across the city that we have helped prepare over the years. Recently, Mike was approached by a school district administrator whom he did not recognize at first. As it turned out, Mike had been his CFG® professional developer. After exchanging a few words, Mike inquired, “Do you still coach a CFG® ?” The administrator hesitated a moment, then added, “No, but I use parts of the training daily in my interactions with the principals I lead.” Mike’s two recent situations show how shared experiences elucidate points of connection and common understandings between educators and also how the practice of critical friendship exists beyond the original model of CFGs® .

Extended Use of CFG® Repertoires Like the school district administrator in Mike’s points of connection story, we have extended the use of our CFG® repertoires beyond formal CFG® work into our daily routine works in the Portfolio Group and outside of the “formal” group. For example, Tim utilized his Critical Friends Group® toolkit when facing the layoff of half of his staff along with the ensuing anger and grief about long time district curriculum and instruction positions due to budget cuts. He credits the use of protocols for allowing him and his team the needed space and time for reflection and work amidst the chaos of downsizing. Michaelann relies on her background with CFG® s while doing teacher observations, Gayle employs her toolkit when mentoring doctoral students, and Cheryl Craig integrates what she has learned in her teaching. Individually and collectively, we consider our CFG® preparation as vitally important to the development of our leadership skills and capacities. In talking with former Portfolio Group members, we found that many continue to use the knowledge and skills

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gained in CFG® professional development…sometimes in unexpected ways. Ron Venable, a former art teacher who worked with Michaelann at Eagle High School and is now enjoying his artistic talents in retirement, shared a unique story of using his CFG® preparation in a personal life situation. Now living in a nearby resort community that is also a county seat, Ron found himself called for jury duty at the local county courthouse. While he could not share the details of the case, Ron could tell us that he was selected to serve on the jury of a trial and, important to his shared story’s plotline, was elected jury foreman. Again because of confidentiality, Ron could not provide details of what happened behind the closed doors and around the table of the jury room. But flashes of hot debates as portrayed on television and in films crossed our minds. What Ron could share was that he was able to use his critical friend’s background acquired in schools to facilitate the jury’s conversations and decisionmaking. He explained to the jury that one of their roles as a jury member was to share their opinion and that another equally important role was to listen to and to really hear the voices of others. Employing his facilitator and leadership skills in the role of jury foreman, according to Ron, helped to promote meaningful conversations in a very serious, real-life, noneducation situation in which a life-altering decision was made. Ron’s jury story exemplifies the way in which some educator’s group experiences are not only a shared experience in a group’s collaborative history, like the Portfolio Group, but also generate knowledge and skills that are then taken into other parts of educators’ daily professional and private lives. Cultivating Reflective Practice and Critical Friendship As with other tools in our educator repertoire, CFG® tools were integrated into our practice to the point that the strategies learned became second nature. As Michaelann recalls, “My understanding of CFGs® is that they provided a way to promote teacher-teacher dialogue and reflective practice. The continued need for structured tools should fall away as the practices became a natural part of a group’s interaction.” The prescriptive practices in the beginning are used to change the “how things have been done” school paradigm to a new “how things can be done” theory of action underpinning continuous learning and reflective practice.

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Sustaining Critical Friendship While feedback happens organically throughout the Portfolio Group’s conversations and collaborative work, there is a great deal of intention behind it. We strive to offer honest and constructive responses and suggestions that focus on the situation. At the same time, we are mindful that we are individuals who care about one another both personally and professionally (Noddings 2001, 2012). Some liken this stance to radical candor (Scott 2017). Michaelann in her work with teachers calls it “being authentic” in that they demonstrate personal care for the individual and give direct feedback as well. In the case of the Portfolio Group, we give feedback as peers rather than as a supervisor guiding an employee in a desired direction (usually identified by the supervisor). As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the idea of critical friendship is widely used outside the CFG® community and enacted without formal preparation, guidelines, or tools such as protocols. Years after our school reform grants ended, our understanding of critical friends shifted over time as we examined how other communities of learning engage in critical friendship. Whereas at one time our feedback was aimed purely on the work and not the person involved in the work, we now take into consideration and acknowledge the person and the personal in the work when offering feedback. This transformation of practice is in keeping with our view of ourselves as relational teachers/teacher educators. As such, our critical friendship and interpersonal relationships remain at the core of who the Portfolio Group is as a teacher/teacher educator collaborative group. This chapter provides a historical look back at the beginnings of the critical friendship shared within the Portfolio Group and our members’ research into their CFG® work. It also highlights the ways in which knowledge, skills, and tools gained through CFG® training continue to be utilized throughout our practice. It further shows how the early work we did together as a Portfolio Group provided experiences that mark our collaborative journey, which includes leadership working alongside each other in critical friendship. Looking back, we consider this a key element that has sustained the Portfolio Group over these many years. It is the intersection of three elements: a common foundation developed through critical friendship (the practical), the collaborative research approach learned from Jean Clandinin and Michael Connelly via Cheryl Craig (the practical, the theoretical, the methodological), and the

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commonplaces of school-based reform (which include teacher, learner, subject matter as well as milieu).

Note 1. The terms “Critical Friends Group® ” and “CFG® ” are used when referring to those organized groups formally connected to our Critical Friends Group® training in which CFG® protocols and procedures were routinely employed. Lower case “critical friends” refers to associations in our practice which were informally formed, and in which individuals give one another reflective, critical feedback and CFG® modified protocols are sometimes used as a tool.

References Alexander, H. (2015). Reimagining liberal education: Affiliation and inquiry in democratic schooling. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic. Avila de Lima, J. (2001). Forgetting about friendship: Using conflict in teacher communities as a catalyst for school change. Journal of Educational Change, 2, 97–122. Bateson, M. C. (2010). Composing a further life: The age of active wisdom. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Baylor, B., & Parnall, P. (1994). The table where rich people sit. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press. Clandinin, D. J. (Ed.). (2006). Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1995). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J. (1992). Coming to know in the professional knowledge context: Beginning teachers experience (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Edmonton, AB, Canada: University of Alberta. Craig, C. J. (1995a). Coming to know in the professional knowledge landscape: Benita’s first year of teaching. In D. J. Clandinin & F. M. Connelly (Eds.), Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes (pp. 79–87). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J. (1995b). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know in their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–175. Craig, C. J. (1995c). Safe places in the professional knowledge landscape: Knowledge communities. In D. J. Clandinin & F. M. Connelly (Eds.), Teachers’

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professional knowledge landscapes (pp. 137–141). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J. (2007). Illuminating qualities of knowledge communities in a portfolio-making context. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 13(6), 617–636. Craig, C. J., & Huber, J. (2006). Relational reverberations: Shaping and reshaping narrative inquiries in the midst of storied lives and contexts. In D. Jean Clandinin (Ed.), Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology (pp. 251–279). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Curtis, G., Reid, D., Kelley, M., Martindell, P. T., & Craig, C. J. (2013). Braided lives: Multiple ways of knowing, flowing in and out of knowledge communities. Studying Teacher Education, 9(2), 175–186. Dewey, J. (1910). How we think. Boston, MA: Heath & Co. Fahey, K., Breidenstein, A., Ippolito, J., & Hensley, F. (2019). An uncommon theory of school change: Leadership for reinventing schools. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Kelley, M. (2012). Critical Friends Groups: Building teacher knowledge through collaboration and reflection (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/10657/620. Koo. (n.d.). The missing critical friends‘ voices: An angel‘s heart or a beautiful mind? Retrieved from http://www.aare.edu.au. Lyons, N. (1998). With portfolio in hand: Validating the new teacher professionalism. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Lyons, N. (Ed.). (2010). Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry: Mapping a way of knowing for professional reflective inquiry. New York, NY: Springer. Martindell, P. T. (2012). A narrative inquiry into the influence of coaching methodology on three specific teacher knowledge communities (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http:// hdl.handle.net/10657/609. McDonald, J. P., Mohr, N., Dichter, A., & McDonald, E. C. (2007). The power of protocols: An educator’s guide to better practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. McLaughlin, M. W., & Oberman, I. (Eds.). (1996). Teacher learning: New policies, new practices. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Munby, H., & Russell, T. (1995). Towards rigor and relevance: How can teachers and teacher educators claim to know? In T. Russell & F. Korthagen (Eds.), Improving teacher education practices through self-study (pp. 172–184). London, UK: Falmer Press. National School Reform Faculty (NSRF). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nsrfha rmony.org/. Noddings, N. (2001). Care and coercion in school reform. Journal of Educational Change, 2, 35–43.

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Noddings, N. (2012). The language of care ethics. Knowledge Quest, 40(4), 52–56. Oakeshott, M. (1962). Rationalism in politics. London, UK: Methuen. Oakeshott, M. (1975). On human conduct. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. Olson, M., & Craig, C. J. (2005). Uncovering cover stories: Tensions and entailments in the development of teacher knowledge. Curriculum Inquiry, 35(2), 161–182. Olson, M., & Craig, C. J. (2009). Traveling stories: Converging milieus and educative conundrums. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(8), 1077–1085. Ovens, A., & Tinning, R. (2009). Reflection as situated practice: A memorywork study of lived experience in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(8), 1125–1131. Reyes, P., & Phillips, J. (2001). The Houston Annenberg Challenge research and evaluation study: Transforming public schools. Year two evaluation report (Eric Digest number ED 475 198). Houston, TX: Houston Annenberg Challenge. School Reform Initiative (SRI). (n.d.). Connections. Retrieved from https:// www.schoolreforminitiative.org/download/connections/. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books. Scott, K. (2017). Radical candor: Be a kick-ass boss without losing your humanity. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press. Stanley, L. (2001). An intellectual history of critical friends groups (Unpublished manuscript).

CHAPTER 5

Becoming Teacher Researchers (2004–2009)

The Portfolio Group has had members move in and out of the group over the years due to job demands and personal responsibilities. Cheryl Craig, drawing on her story constellations research, refers to this as different constellations of members (Craig 2003), Simon Cosenza (pseudonym) calls it core and satellite members (Gray 2008), and we more recently associate it with the braided rivers metaphor (Curtis et al. 2012, 2013). By this we mean that although each individual holds stories of experience shaped by the professional knowledge landscape and personal to their particular plotline, they also carry with them stories which were common to the Portfolio Group. The group as a whole has been a beneficiary as well as a casualty of this movement. Amidst these shifts in membership, finding collaborative projects of communal interest and maintaining a cohesive group purpose has been challenging. Formed in 1998 during the school reform era to chronicle our individual campus reform work under the Houston Annenberg Challenge (HAC) school grants via school portfolios, the group’s identity was threatened with the completion of the five-year reform grant cycle in 2002 and school portfolios were no longer needed for grant evaluation purposes. Subsequently, Portfolio Group participation waned considerably with some members leaving the group to devote more effort to their teaching, some moving into school administration, and others retiring from the profession. At this time, member Tim Martindell assumed a © The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_5

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leadership position with Houston A+ Challenge (HA+C) (an iteration of HAC), which provided professional development opportunities for him but limited his involvement in the Portfolio Group—a situation that had unintentional consequences for the group. This chapter examines the teacher research period in our group history in which our collective purpose and identity seemed uncertain. It was a time when research grants became available to place-based teacher groups and individuals adopted new identities as teacher researchers. It was also a time when the Portfolio Group had to negotiate the tensions of rejection when its grant applications were not accepted, when we struggled in our identities as curriculum makers—a time in which the Portfolio Group had to rediscover, and perhaps reclaim, itself. Since almost half of the Portfolio Group members at the time were involved in Eagle High School’s teacher-led research, our discussion of becoming teacher researchers primarily focuses on Eagle’s action research, their teacher research group’s interaction with the Portfolio Group, and how this vitally important intersection cut across members of both groups.

Negotiating a New Commonplace of Experience During the early years of the Portfolio Group, we most often worked independently at our home campuses on school projects such as teacher action research—something that seemed the norm for us as teachers working in isolated classrooms and only collaborating with colleagues when we needed to advance our classroom teaching. Although our efforts centered on teaching and student success connected with their school’s change initiatives, members’ involvement at the campus level were on a broad scale. As the Portfolio Group increasingly took on joint projects examining our inter/intra-school contexts and practice, the group’s identity transitioned into one of a collaborative working group and knowledge community (Craig 1992, 1995). When the financial support of the school reform grants ended in 2002, large-scale school portfolio work fell away at many schools and gradually became a thing of the past. However, the primary school reform initiatives remained in the school landscapes, as did smaller-scale portfolio work on some campuses. Similarly, Portfolio Group membership shifted as some left education for retirement, others focused their efforts on other areas in their field of practice, and still others were learning to navigate new positions outside the school landscape. We should also add that without the support of grant funding there

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were some members still involved in the local work who were unable to financially participate in presentations outside of the local educational community. Ongoing Collaborative Work For some years after the school grants ended (2003–2010), the Portfolio Group struggled to identify a commonplace of experience around which all of its members could coalesce and collaborate. However several projects remained from the portfolio-based work that continued to reinforce the Portfolio Group’s collaborative identity. Collaborations from this period include three symposiums and five paper presentations at American Educational Research Association conferences on varied topics of school portfolios, reflective practice, teacher research groups, knowledge communities, and traveling journals. The Portfolio Group also presented a paper on the “falling through the cracks” phenomenon at an American Association for Teaching and Curriculum conference and conducted a local seminar for Houston area teachers on portfoliomaking. In the later years of this period, the Portfolio Group added three book chapters, one handbook chapter, and one article to its collective curriculum vitae. In retrospect, the majority of these projects were extensions of our earlier school reform work. Supporting One Another’s School-Based Teacher Research Despite coming together for these collaborative projects, there remained an obvious void which had once been filled by our reflective and collaborative work around portfolios. In short, we had lost our commonplace of experience. Inadvertently, we returned to the time earlier in our work together when we were more focused on building our school or personal work than furthering the group’s collaborations in new directions. When HA+C teacher research grants became available, we thought that a collaborative research project would provide a new sense of direction for the Portfolio Group. Although we applied for several grants during this time, none were funded. The disappointment we felt as group members was palpable, inadvertently creating tensions among group members and an unintended situation we explore later in the chapter. Fortunately, Portfolio Group members Michaelann Kelley, Mari Glamser, Sandi Capps, Ron Venable (along with other school colleagues), and Cheryl did receive

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funding for their action research projects at their home campus, Eagle High School. The Portfolio Group then turned to supporting our Eagle colleagues by continuing to be a place in which these members could story and restory their teacher research experience and receive meaningful feedback. In some ways during this period, the Portfolio Group transformed from a collaborative work group to more of a knowledgeable association that weighed in on our individual school-context work, providing insights needed to challenge and confront the barriers in our school contexts. The Portfolio Group provided a needed space and colleagues—people that were in the work and had affinity to our school contexts but were not in the funded groups—to give authentic feedback and mirror back to members their dilemmas for restorying and reliving purposes. Consequently, we centered much of our work as a Portfolio Group on mentoring and giving feedback to school-based funded groups with our members serving as leaders on their campuses. Our personal and group inquiry questions shifted during these years of intensive study, creating insights somewhat different than those anticipated. We paid attention to the major understandings that arose as a consequence of collaborating and speaking across school and school district boundaries that had to do with broader experiences of educating youth in a dramatically shifting urban milieu like Houston, which was a challenging task. Through the process of supporting our fellow group members, we all grew professionally. As Booker T. Washington (as cited in Harlan 1972, p. 126) expressed so profoundly, “I think I have learned that the best way to lift one’s self up is to help someone else.” Importantly, our Portfolio Group still served as a knowledge community, a safe space where we made sense of our individual school successes and challenges in a collaborative group. In our heartfelt discussions, we found ourselves increasingly agreeing with Kenneth Goodman (2000) who had the following to say: to be honest, it took me a long time to learn a lesson most researchers and school administrators have not yet learned: no research study, no brilliant discovery, no book, no seminal article, no journal, no program, no policy, no mandate or no law can change what happens to kids in schools. Only teachers can do that. (p. 6)

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As many members of the Portfolio Group were also members of teacher research groups with some groups being mentored by our member Cheryl, we recognized that we could be and had been “agents of change” (Schwab 1954/1978b) in ways that a bevy of others— researchers, administrators, and policymakers, for example—had not been. We also understood that our work became increasingly potent when we reflectively shared our inner thinking and when we deliberated potential actions with peers inside and outside of our Portfolio Group as the new influx of grant money held the potential to influence our school contexts.

Turning Back to Action Research Throughout the initial school reform grants, Portfolio Group teachers across our campuses frequently engaged in action research to improve their practice and student learning. When a series of three teacher research grants were presented to the schools participating in the reform movement, it was an opportunity to turn attention back to action research. “In 2004, Houston A+ Challenge established the Teacher As Researcher Grant [TAR] to enable educators to expand and develop their work, conduct research inquiries, and make their work public. Seven, twoyear, $10,000 grants were awarded in May of that year” (HA+C 2006, p. 1). Over a six-year period the TAR grants were followed by a one-year Teacher As Researcher Bridge (TAR Bridge) grant aimed at disseminating teacher research outcomes and then the Critical Friends Group® as Research Team (CART) grant with the purpose of promoting research within CFGs® . The following stories from Eagle High School elucidate the teacher research efforts of Eagle’s Portfolio Group members (Michaelann, Mari, Sandi, and Ron with Cheryl as their mentor), differentiated by the various HA+C grants funding their projects (Fig. 5.1). A Focus on Literacy The first of the Eagle teacher research group’s inquiries focused on the literacy development of special population students (e.g., students receiving special education services, English language learners) in their classrooms, addressing rising concerns in the educational community about the lack of noticeable increases in standardized test scores for these students. Paying particular attention to literacy teaching and learning in

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Fig. 5.1 Portfolio Group members from Eagle High School (left to right) Mari Glamser, Michaelann Kelley, and Ron Venable

visual arts, writing, reading, and science, teachers examined their teaching practices using student work, teacher work, and teacher reflective journals. The Eagle teacher research group, guided by Portfolio Group members, worked to build on their collective strengths to affect literacy practices in Eagle High School’s classrooms and improve student learning. Teachers chose to focus on literacy with special population students because each had struggled to meet the needs of such students in their classrooms under the pressures of periodic district benchmark exams and annual state standardized tests. In earlier years of state accountability, many students classified as special education or English learners still transitioning to all-English classes were exempt from state testing. However, as accountability pressures increased over the years, special education students were allowed fewer and fewer testing exemptions under state guidelines. By 2004, the state required substantially more students from previously exempt groups to participate in annual state accountability tests, including English language learners who were also forced very early into the state’s standardized testing cycle. Therefore, as educators, the Eagle teacher research group determined that they had two choices: change the standard testing trend in our nation or change the way they taught their students. Each teacher researcher chose a select group of students and had the option of choosing one or a combination of the three literacy areas— visual, reading/writing, or science—on which to focus their research. Teachers documented their instructional explorations and journeys in

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reflective journals which were then used in group reflective practice and discussions, as well as a means to show the implementation of the project. Each year, participating teachers compiled portfolios of teacher work, student work, quantitative data (i.e., test scores), and qualitative data (i.e., reflective narratives) to illuminate the stories of their teaching and learning for that year. Influenced by the Portfolio Group’s work and mentoring, the Eagle teacher research group decided to combine their individual portfolios into one group portfolio that represented the entire study group, providing insightful evidence and reflection on their work with students. For their part, Cheryl, Mari, Ron, and Michaelann acted as role models in the midst of the work rather than as leaders in the process out front. The following abbreviated reflective pieces were pulled from the portfolio and working documents of the Eagle High School research group to illustrate the teaching and learning of the Portfolio Group members during the teacher research period. Mari’s reflection: “Just keep chipping away.” Mari shared an interaction with her student, Brittany (pseudonym), that gave Mari insights into her teaching. It began with the words, “Just keep chipping away,” written in beautiful calligraphy on a bookmark that Brittany made in her art class. The exchange between Mari and Brittany unfolded as follows: Brittany: (Showing Mari a bookmark with the words “Just keep chipping away”) Here, Mrs. Glamser. Mr. Venable told us to make a bookmark with the quote that inspired us the most in my high school career. Mari: Just keep chipping away? Brittany: Yes, anytime it was hard to understand all the different things going on in history, you would always tell us not to get overwhelmed and to ‘just keep chipping away.’ We would eventually understand how all the events fit together. I think about this anytime I feel I can’t handle something at school.

Curiously, at the time Mari did not remember saying this. However, when she asked her other students, they told her, “You always tell us not to get frustrated, but to grab a small piece of whatever we are trying to accomplish and begin chipping away at it rather than be snowed under by the enormity of the task.”

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Actually, “just keep chipping away” is not just how Mari encouraged her students to approach learning; it is also how she approached teaching. Mari reflected in her teacher researcher journal. Chipping away at the skills needed for college success is a long, arduous process. Some of my students began the year with their “chunk of marble” already prepared and had begun the chipping process on their own. Other students needed help just learning how to hold the chisel; guided reading prompts, visual literacy activities and structured writings were needed as they tentatively approached their marble at their own speed.

Mari continued: If schools, particularly those with a high number of “at risk” students who have not traditionally been successful in on-grade level testing such as the state-mandated test, do not give students the opportunity to begin “chipping away” at more rigorous coursework, academic success beyond the high school level will be compromised.

The process of focusing on literacy and multiple ways to approach “chipping away” at the rigorous curriculum was a philosophical view that Mari had in her, but Mari was always looking at ways to improve her practice, rather than prove her teaching methods were valid. Michaelann’s reflection: Tornadoes and hurricanes. In 2005, teacher research was unexpectedly impacted by Hurricane Katrina whose devastation in New Orleans, Louisiana brought many transplanted families to Houston and significant numbers of students into area schools. For Michaelann, the hurricane brought back childhood memories of living through her own natural disaster yet created an avenue through which to connect to an otherwise unlikely pair of students (pseudonyms are used to protect their identities). She recalled: April 3, 1974 is a date I will always remember. It was the day an F5 tornado demolished my new home of only six months. As my mother was finishing her conversation with my grandmother, she called us to the dinner table, when suddenly the phone went dead. She heard a loud noise, what she later described as a train, and looked out the backdoor to see the tornado coming. She yelled into the kitchen for the kids to run to the basement; we did. Walking up the basement steps and seeing daylight where a house once was will change your perspective on natural disasters forever.

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Similarly, Michaelann’s students held memories of living through a natural disaster. Many of my students will also have a date engraved in their minds—August 29 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Two of my students retell the story of their exhausting 15-hour car ride to safety in Houston. One of my girls tells of the harrowing five days in the Superdome without food, water and, as she likes to point out, deodorant. The physical pain and mental anguish endured by the students during the hurricane was exacerbated by circumstances after the hurricane.

Michaelann connected her past experience with the current situations of her students. For well over six months after the 1974 tornado, I lived with my three brothers, two sisters, and parents at my grandparents’ house. Fortunately, my grandparents’ home was close enough that once school resumed I could go back to my same school. I was excited about not having school immediately following the tornado, not realizing the stability and security that school provided me. Nevertheless, mom knew differently back then, just as I know now that providing a safe and secure school environment will be key for the students of Hurricane Katrina.

Michaelann continued: Before Nenisha was even out of the Superdome in New Orleans, Tyron and Byron, twins, were already registering for school at Eagle. The twins were eager to get into a routine at school and after they saw the football program, they were ready to play.

Reflecting on the impact of such natural disasters on students, Michaelann shared, With the tragedy of the tornado, my teachers already knew me and knew ways to help me. From personal experience I knew the importance of creating a relationship with my Katrina refugee students. We must make a conscious effort to get to know our new students so that we can learn how to serve them better. The building of relationships with the students in your classroom and is one of the keys to having a better learning experience. We all have had disasters in our life; maybe not natural disasters, but certainly challenges to overcome. It is understanding your emotional

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connections to the challenges and showing students how you navigate the journey and overcome those challenges that will help…rather than telling them look I made it so will you.

What Michaelann learned as a child, and made sure to have happen for Nenisha, Tyron, and Byron, was to build a relationship with students. This reinforced her belief that the increasing visual literacy in her classroom would promote student learning if the foundational piece of making connections to the students was occurring. Ron’s reflection: Benefits of group collaboration. Ron summed up his reasons for participating in the Teacher As Researcher grant and the Portfolio Group as follows: For me, participating in a research group provides a safe place to vent my frustrations, look deeper into my work, and solve teaching dilemmas in a controlled, collaborative, community of my peers. A group provides the opportunity to reflect, rethink, and revise my practice. [Our] CFG® allows me the opportunity to focus on increasing student achievement and challenges. It gives me the opportunity to share and learn from other stakeholders in my school community and reduces teacher isolation. Critical Friends Group® members bring their expert knowledge from other disciplines to the group, providing extra eyes to see more and wider. The Critical Friends Group® promotes and integrates promising teaching practices into other areas of my profession. I believe that CFG® work is a living, breathing process that helps me maintain my everyday sanity.

As Mari, Michaelann, and Ron all discovered in their work at Eagle High School and reflected in their collaborative portfolio, the relational piece in CFGs® and in classrooms is pivotal to improving teacher practice and student test scores. Although the grant focus was on improving literacy teaching and learning, their work highlighted the positive relationships the three were creating and maintaining in the classroom and in their campus knowledge community. The group portfolio pieces illustrated the teachers as curriculum makers. Making Teacher Research Public The second in the HA+C teacher researcher grants was the one-year Teacher As Researcher Bridge (TAR Bridge) grant, for which only two Houston teacher groups were awarded funding. These grants were

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designed to support place-based research teams in disseminating the outcomes of their previous TAR grant research. For some in the Portfolio Group, it appeared as though this grant was developed by the funding agency to accomplish for them what the Portfolio Group was doing: publishing and presenting the outstanding research work going on in the schools. Eagle’s teacher researcher group members changed somewhat with this second grant as it required teachers to commit to another year and to present on and publish their work. Those teacher research members who chose to continue, investigated their self-initiated questions—which was slightly different than the overarching concept previously used in the group—and wrote about the tremendous impact each team member had on their individual stories of teaching. Each narrative piece was written from the perspective of the individual teacher, but other group members influenced and informed the telling. Some members of the Portfolio Group were very influential in the group’s coming to knowing during this year: Gayle Curtis opened her school which was centrally located as a meeting place for the two groups; Portfolio Group member Deirdre Bamboo (pseudonym) was a guide in the process for the group, especially in working with the funding agency; and Cheryl was able to bring the two remaining groups together and to facilitate the publication of our teacher research story. The Personal Side of Eagle’s Action Research Teamwork Receiving additional funding through the Critical Friends Group® as Research Team (CART) grant, the Eagle teacher research team continued their personal investigations from 2007 to 2009. Although the dynamics and the people involved in the Eagle High School group shifted and changed, Michaelann and Cheryl were a constant. They both had the Portfolio Group and its changing membership as a model for continuing to do good work even through change. During this time, Michaelann recalls struggling to keep her head above water as a teacher, researcher, and especially as a teacher/facilitator of a research group. These experiences prompted her to question her identity as a teacher. She asked herself: “Am I a bad teacher and therefore I cannot handle it?” But then found herself pausing and reflecting: “I think it is just the opposite; I am a good teacher and therefore realize

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that each individual student requires pinpoint laser actions.” This revelation helped ease the tensions Michaelann felt about simultaneously being in the research and then reporting or writing about it. An additional variable impacting the work in our area has been weather-related incidents and their resulting fallout. Michaelann stated, We have actually started our action research three times as far as I was concerned because we worked all last year together, then lost members and Ron retired last year, who was a five-year member of the Portfolio Group. When we started the new year we were going great, and then in September…Hurricane Ike—it threw everything off. I felt that even through to December we were not really working on our research questions as diligently as we wanted, and so I felt like we almost started over again in January after our personal situations were back to normal. That is when we got a handle on this whole piece about context and content in our individual perspectives. It is also when our research and our group working really became more dynamic again, and was less rote. (Eagle interview transcript, April 16, 2009)

At the end of the grant cycle, Arthur (pseudonym), a science teacher at Eagle High School talked about his own struggles with learning to value qualitative as well as quantitative methods. I had a really hard time doing the [school-based] research. I was a principal investigator in the biotechnical field for so long, and all of our research was quantitative. You can ask [our facilitator]—every single time she’d give me a job I’d turn it into some kind of quantitative thing. I’d bring graphs into these kinds of meetings and try to quantify.

Arthur elaborated: At some point, you know, it’s a balance. So you got to have the data-driven decision making and data-driven background, but on the other hand, you got to really look at the big picture, and I had never done that, because of my former industry. (Eagle interview, April 16, 2009)

Arthur’s challenge to put the numbers (his students) in a step-by-step order was not working. When he was able to see the cyclical nature of the work through his teacher researcher, his influence and ultimately his scores changed.

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The leader of Eagle High School’s action research team also shared how she valued how working with the team freshened her perspective: It was like a new group discovery. We had to come to terms with a noncommon common interest. We had to realize that we all were looking at stuff differently…And so that was nice having to have your cage rattled again and look at things, “Wait a minute, they don’t look from my perspective. There’s a different degree on this sphere to look at.” So I thought that was good. (Eagle interview, April 16, 2009)

The Portfolio Group came to the same realization as Michaelann during the teacher researcher period—that they could all look at personal or individual dilemmas and still be able to make connections and rattle some cages to make changes in practice. Transformative Outcomes of the Teacher Research The ripples of learning and researching our practice beyond the small funded group at Eagle was visible to Arthur, as well as other teachers on the campus. The work was growing and, even though it had been over five years since the original school reform grants had ended, the work of the critical friends and their action research was still a major component in the campus’ continuing school reform efforts. What we had learned about ourselves as teacher researchers would soon be seen as the foundation to the Portfolio Group’s eventual foray into narrative inquiry and to five of the members positioning themselves as students in doctoral programs. Portfolio Group members participating in Eagle’s action research project considered the experience transformative in regard to their practice and newly adopted individual researcher identities, however, the funding agency’s view overall was that the small-grant series was not as successful as the earlier whole-school grants initiative. Although seven school groups were funded in the first of the small grants, only five continued for the second year small-grant, and in an extended opportunity for a third year only two committed to an additional small-grant term. Deirdre, a Portfolio Group member who was working with the funding agency at that time, determined that “…the TAR grant [initiative] was a disappointment.” The reasoning for the limited success was that “limited interest in the region and limited skill levels with inquiry in the teaching population [meant] the TAR initiative had limited influence” (reflective

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email communication, August 11, 2019). This was the perspective from the funding side of the coin, but that is only one perspective.

Exploring and Finding Clarity in Our Commonplace of Experience The teacher research period was marked with individual productivity and professional growth for individual group members. Although the Portfolio Group greatly valued providing members feedback on their place-based research and engaged in many collaborative projects during this time, the seven-year period came to be seen as an exploratory season because of the group’s lack of a collectively agreed upon commonplace of experience. This uncomfortable situation was exacerbated by a district-driven shift from teachers being curriculum makers to teachers being curriculum implementers and the Portfolio Group’s disappointment when their teacher research grant applications were not funded. Reexamining this period in our collaborative history meant burrowing into individual memories and navigating difficult conversations which reopened old wounds. Tensions in Group Identity: Curriculum Implementers vs. Curriculum Makers The place and role of teachers in educational planning and in the conducting of educational research is a disputed topic. Some, for example, understand Tyler’s (1949/1969) curriculum rationale as positioning teachers as curriculum implementers, enacting reform proposals of those in possession of more power and/or hierarchical authority. Others (Clandinin and Connelly 1992; Connelly and Clandinin 1988; Craig and Ross 2008; Schwab 1969) view teachers as curriculum makers, actively developing curriculum in the throes of classroom interactions with their students. In the first scenario, teachers are mere users of knowledge created by others. In the second scenario, teachers hold, use, and produce knowledge. That is, they employ the knowledge made available to them by others and generate knowledge of their own accord. In this way, the curriculum that teachers live in relationship with their students is both individually and collectively—and practically and professionally— informed.

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During the teacher researcher period, the Portfolio Group was thrown back to a pre-Tylerian educational landscape of teachers as implementers and our group seemed to have limited vision on how the seeking of funding was severely limiting our progress toward becoming more informed curriculum makers. Cheryl was teaching curriculum and instruction graduate courses at Eagle High School whose content—and Cheryl’s teaching—bumped up against the Portfolio Group’s new-found purpose. Michaelann remembers, The classes that I had been taking with Cheryl at Eagle High School were moving my colleagues and myself into the role of curriculum makers. There was a tension now between what I knew as a graduate student working with Cheryl in classes and what I saw happening in the Portfolio Group. The group tried to create opportunities for collaborative “curriculum making work” or authentic teacher research/action research inquiries but, without the extrinsic motivation of funding and compliance, much of the work was superficial and tension laden.

As practitioners in the Portfolio Group, we embraced the teacher-ascurriculum-maker metaphor because it credited us with being “moved by [our] own intelligences” (Dewey 1938). In other words, the metaphor acknowledges that we “have some smarts of our own,” as one of the Portfolio Group members phrased it. It also enables us to study our own teaching so that others and we can search for a new “epistemology of practice” (Schön 1995) and create “a new scholarship of teaching,” one that restores the fundamental relationship between “the knower and the known” (Dewey and Bentley 1949; Fenstermacher 1994). At the same time, we recognized the ongoing messiness (Gudmundsdottir 1991; Lyons and LaBoskey 2002; Richert and Lillard 2002) surrounding whether we as teachers in Texas were simply an arm of the public doing society’s bidding or more than that: minded professionals who take our individual sensibilities and our personal knowledge of our particular students as well as other demands and proposals into account in our classroom curriculum making. In retrospect, this was a time of a real messiness in our group for several reasons: the tension of being pulled back into curriculum implementer roles by district, state, and national policies, our personal knowledge of each other’s strengths, and our personal challenges in marking a new path for the group and ourselves.

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The teacher inquiry on which we embarked as the Portfolio Group within and outside funded projects eventually opened up new pathways and futures for our group. Following Schwab, we were cognizant that capacities and incapacities can be developed in teachers like ourselves, as well as students. We recognized that, on many occasions, our past preparations had made us increasingly reliant on administration, consultants, and yes funding for direction, and less confident in the veracity of our personal and shared knowing cultivated over years of individual and collective practice. To augment our capacities as teachers, we were aware that “the experience of moving toward…understanding” (Schwab 1954/1978a, p. 107) rather than the ongoing instrumentalization of knowledge was necessary. The Portfolio Group was moving closer to “informed and reflective practice” (Schwab 1954/1978b, p. 170). Tensions in Navigating Rejection and Relationships As mentioned before, during the seven-year teacher researcher period some Portfolio Group members received grant funding to inquire into their own school-based questions. Meanwhile, the Portfolio Group’s multiple attempts to obtain funding for collaborative, cross-school research projects were met with rejection—resulting in unintended relational tensions within the group. It was during this period that two of our members (Tim and Deirdre Bamboo [pseudonym]) began working for the funding agency. We recognized that our group had members stepping aside temporarily to avoid conflicts of interest and to protect the integrity of the Portfolio Group work. All parties involved in the work did not want there to be any semblance of impropriety. We did not want to compromise the relationships among our members as some of us had been together for over six years by this time and some had known each other personally for over a dozen years. However, this situation inescapably created tension among the Portfolio Group members and had a significant impact on the work during the teacher research period. To a certain degree, this time period was disappointing for the Portfolio Group. We were struggling to keep our group trajectory forward moving while concurrently looking for a direction. Gayle reflected on this time as,

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an exploratory period for the Portfolio Group as we cast our net trying to catch ideas for meaningful collaborative work in which we were all interested. My recollection is that when the [teacher research] grants came out we thought there was a very good likelihood that we would be funded based on our previous work in schools and presentations. (reflective email August 19, 2019)

Tim, in recent years, has just now started to reflect and talk about this time period. A particular tension existed between the Portfolio Group and its previous funder, Tim’s employer at the time, occurring with the introduction of the third teacher research grant. A prevailing misunderstanding at the HA+C about funding multiple groups with overlapping participants caused the Portfolio Group’s proposal to be rejected. The idea that participants in multiple groups could work on separate initiatives seemed like a foreign concept to the funding agency. As Cheryl pointed out, The problem is the universal one—anyone who is doing things differently (in our case, across schools rather than in schools) is always open to extra scrutiny. It’s what Dewey had to say about change agents—they must always provide justification beyond the usual while others can glide by without having to justify themselves because they are tradition [the norm]. (reflective email August 19, 2019)

Cheryl seemed to know from experience and research that the group was beginning to feel the situation personally. As Gayle stated in a reflective email years later, There was a bit of resentment because some groups awarded grants did not have our ‘history and body of work’ and did not seem to carry their grant activities to fruition. It is this later aspect that added the sting to our wound…In the end, we were all just striving to be good people doing good work and supporting one another.

It now seems that hindsight of both our group members working in the funding agency has shifted. It turned out that the agency was interested in supporting our work as teacher researchers. There was discussion about Cheryl being a member of more than one group proposal, the Portfolio Group and Eagle High School group, and the perception of a university partner and their ease

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in obtaining funding was floated. However, when it was likewise pointed out that Michaelann was also in both groups, she was told that her case was different because she was a teacher. In retrospect, the funding agency had an agenda and the Portfolio Group simply was not a part of it. As Tim and Deirdre were both employees and members of the group— albeit not as grant reviewers—hard feelings ensued, and relationships took a while to mend. In dealing with rejection at not being funded, the sense of disappointment unwittingly spilled over to our two members working for the funding agency as well. Deirdre candidly wrote, At the time, I did not know how to respond to your disappointment in a professional manner. You were disappointed in the rejection, you seemed to be personally disappointed in me, and I was disappointed that you all were disappointed. I was flummoxed—there was nothing I could do to provide satisfaction, and I didn’t really understand the severity of the group’s disappointment considering how many grants had been awarded to proposals associated with people in the Portfolio Group. (reflective email August 19, 2019)

In trying to make sense of this period, Tim spoke about the misconception that university partners in groups could easily find funding elsewhere. Most of the Portfolio Group did not learn of this skewed vision of money and participation in multiple groups until many years later. During this time, Cheryl was the university partner and a supported member of multiple groups submitting grant proposals to the funding agency. She reflected backward in this way: The other challenge…is the one of people who excel. If they are doing well, do they really need support? Shouldn’t support go to those who are not off the ground or have just gotten started? I have dealt with this issue my entire career. I think the field needs to learn that everyone along the experiential continuum needs and deserves support. How else are we to remain stimulated? How else are we to feel sustained (rather than feeling subtracted from due to seeming appearances of success with success being perceived as a liability instead of an asset)?

Looking back, we recognize the impact of rejected funding attempts had on the Portfolio Group’s sense of value during this time. It seemed to send a subtle validation message that what we and our group were doing was unimportant and unappreciated. Furthermore, it challenged

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the image we held of the Portfolio Group as a collaborative group looking critically at our practice. As Michaelann reflectively returned to this matter, it seemed to her that the funding agency either knowingly or unknowingly created the parameters for this validation. Consequently, the funding and the tiered funding of schools set up a hierarchical system among the educators and their perceived needs. The Portfolio Group has moved forward from this period and has continued to work and produce together, largely enabled by the relationships and mutual respect within the group. But scars from the reform agency’s betrayal were left and, even fourteen years later the scars are still visible. In retrospect Deirdre reminisced, “I am very grateful for Gayle’s assertion that we were ‘good people doing good work and supporting one another.’” All said and done, we would not be together now and working on building new knowledge if it was not for the relationships that brought us through both contentious and cohesive times.

Conclusion While we consider this period of our history as a season of exploration for the Portfolio Group as a whole, we acknowledge that the tremendous individual growth during this time reinforced, and in some ways informed, the Portfolio Group’s continued collaboration. It was during this period that three Portfolio Group members entered the doctoral program, with five members ultimately earning their doctoral degrees in education and becoming narrative inquirers (see Chapter 6). Our ongoing efforts to find a commonplace of experience led us to take up traveling journals from 2004 to 2006 (see Chapter 7) and other meaningful collaborations that followed. We also recognize that the teacher action research that was being conducted across schools was a foreshadowing of our later engagement in self-study research (see Chapter 8). In reflectively turning back on this period in our history, Michaelann brought stories from her school to the Portfolio Group where it was restoried through the eyes, ears, and experiences of the other group members. During these years we were all engrossed in school improvement and, as such, concentrating on our personal professional growth as well as taking on leadership responsibilities on our individual campuses and places of employment. The fact remained, however, that the Portfolio Group was an assured safe place in which we could share, hear feedback, and restory our experiences and in which all members were intent on

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improving practice—something that was not always present in our school environments. In this way the Portfolio Group provided a sense of continuity for its members. The group was a place where we were still able to be curriculum makers in spite of the policy environment sweeping through our schools, our state, and our nation, which increasingly held us personally responsible for underserved students’ achievement gaps. The significance of the Portfolio Group’s meeting and discussing teaching and teacher research issues across school and school district boundaries cannot be underestimated. The group formed a strong model of teachers assuming leadership and plodding on—often in spite of official school leadership which was constantly shifting and not always for the better. Portfolio Group stories give strong evidence of teachers developing voice and honoring one another’s voices in spite of the authoritarian views swirling around them, demanding that they think and act in ways contrary to their personal and collective sense-making.

References Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of curriculum (pp. 363–461). New York, NY: Macmillan. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1988). Teachers as curriculum planners: Narratives of experience. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J. (1992). Coming to know in the professional knowledge context: Beginning teachers’ experience (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Edmonton, AB, Canada: University of Alberta. Craig, C. J. (1995). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know in their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–175. Craig, C. J. (2003). Story constellations: A way to characterize school contexts and contextualize teacher knowledge. Teaching and Curriculum Dialogue, 5(1), 31–41. Craig, C. J., & Ross, V. (2008). Cultivating the image of teachers as curriculum makers. In F. M. Connelly (Ed.), Sage handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 282–305). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Curtis, G. A., Craig, C. J., Reid, D., Kelley, M., Martindell, P. T., & Gray, P. (2012). Braided journeys: A self-study of sustained teacher collaboration. In J. R. Young, L. B. Erickson, & S. Pinnegar (Eds.), Extending inquiry communities: Illuminating teacher education through self-study (pp. 82–85). Provo, UT: Brigham Young University.

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Curtis, G. A., Reid, D., Craig, C. J., Kelley, M., & Martindell, P. T. (2013). Braided lives: Multiple ways of knowing flowing in and out of professional lives. Studying Teacher Education, 9(2), 175–186. Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Touchstone Books. Dewey, J., & Bentley, A. (1949). Knowing and the known. In The later works of John Dewey (Vol. 16). Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Fenstermacher, G. D. (1994). The knower and the known: The nature of knowledge in research on teaching. Review of Research in Education, 20, 3–56. Goodman, K. S. (2000). I didn’t found whole language. In N. D. Padak, R. V. Rasinski, J. K. Peck, B. W. Church, G. Fawdett, J. M. Hendershot, et al. (Eds.), Distinguished educators on reading: Contributions that have shaped effective literacy instruction (pp. 6–19). Newark, DE: International Reading Association Inc. Gray, P. (2008). Narrative ways of knowing: Using portfolios to illuminate teacher learning from a knowledge community perspective (Doctoral Dissertation). (ProQuest Dissertations Publishing). Retrieved from http://search.proquest. com/docview/304604674/. Gudmundsdottir, S. (1991). Story-maker, story-teller: Narrative structures in curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 23(3), 207–218. Harlan, L. R. (Ed.). (1972). The Booker T. Washington papers. (Vol. 1). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Houston A+ Challenge (HA+C). (2006). Teacher research documents best practices. School Works, 16, 1 (A publication of the Houston A+ Challenge). Lyons, N., & LaBoskey, V. K. (Eds.). (2002). Narrative inquiry in practice: Advancing the knowledge of teaching (Vol. 22). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Richert, R. A., & Lillard, A. S. (2002). Children’s understanding of the knowledge prerequisites of drawing and pretending. Developmental Psychology, 38(6), 1004. Schön, D. A. (1995). The new scholarship requires a new epistemology. Change, 27 (6), 26–35. Schwab, J. J. (1969). The practical: A language for curriculum. The School Review, 78(1), 1–23. Schwab, J. J. (1978a). Eros and education: A discussion of one aspect of discussion. In I. Westbury & N. Wilkof (Eds.), Science, curriculum and liberal education: Selected essays (pp. 105–132). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press (original published in 1954). Schwab, J. J. (1978b). The ‘impossible’ role of the teacher in progressive education. In I. Westbury & N. Wilkof (Eds.), Science, curriculum and liberal education: Selected essays (pp. 167–183). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press (original published in 1954). Tyler, R. W. (1969). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press (original published in 1949).

CHAPTER 6

Becoming Narrative Inquirers (2003–2013)

The stories of our lives are meant to be retold, meant to come alive again, meant to be re-known. The layers of our narrative through the years unfold in endless ways of knowing when exploring the retold. Sometimes it’s in living that paths align and intertwine; And sometimes differences collide in tentative terrain. Though tensions push and pull away and commonalities unite, It’s left for each to decide which road, which path to take. —From Stories by G. Curtis (2013b, p. 210)

Story, or narrative as we interchangeably say, is a thread that is interwoven throughout the Portfolio Group’s long-standing collaboration that began in 1998 during the school reform era in which we employed school portfolios as formative grant evaluation tools. Apart from now being a preferred research method of individual Portfolio Group members, narrative inquiry is a knowledge base that pervades our discourse and interactions. Our becoming narrative inquirers, however, was a journey rather than an event that happened all of a sudden. For these reasons, a recounting of our collaborations related to narrative inquiry was something we obviously wanted to include in this volume. We hope that exploring our journeys to becoming narrative inquires will provide insights into understanding and engaging in narrative inquiry and perhaps © The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_6

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inspire others to pursue narrative inquiry in their own work. In so doing, our intent is to share our experiences in coming to and engaging in narrative inquiry rather than to provide a disconnected theoretical review of the literature underpinning the method. We want to converse about, and make connections with, the literature as a way of further illustrating our developing knowledge in this field of research.

Coming to Narrative Inquiry Narrative inquiry, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a qualitative genre of research conceptualized and developed by Canadian researchers F. Michael Connelly of the University of Toronto and D. Jean Clandinin of the University of Alberta (Connelly and Clandinin 1990; Clandinin and Connelly 2000) during their curriculum planning (Clandinin and Connelly 1988) and professional knowledge landscapes investigations (Clandinin and Connelly 1995, 1996) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As one of the highest funded grants by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC), their research centered on teachers’ stories of experience in schools and the understanding of teachers’ lived experiences gained through the retelling of those stories. Being central to narrative inquiry, stories provide entry points into teacher experiences and, as such, are a way of understanding teachers’ meaningmaking and knowledge formation within social contexts (Craig 1997). It is appropriate to mention here that working alongside Connelly and Clandinin in the midst of the development of narrative inquiry was Cheryl Craig (Jean’s doctoral student and later Michael’s and Jean’s postdoctoral researcher). By the late 1990s Cheryl had moved from Calgary, Alberta in Canada to Houston, Texas in the United States where she became a faculty member at a prestigious local private university, continued her work as a narrative inquirer, and established the Portfolio Group in 1998. Our Historical Background with Narrative From 1998 to 2002, the aim of the school portfolio work was to respond to grant accountability reporting in a way that showed our school stories beyond what lone test scores had the capacity to do. To that end, we collected and organized various evidence that encompassed the breadth and depth of our school-wide efforts: documents and work samples related to reform initiatives, teacher professional development feedback, instructional programs descriptions, in-school/extra-curricular student

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activities reports, etc. (see Chapter 3 for more information). Included in our evidence were narratives from teachers, administrators, parents, and partners that gave multi-voiced perspectives relating to our collaborative school reform work. Integral to this multiperspectival approach was reflection and collaboration, as we reflexively worked alongside school colleagues to analyze and select the exemplars of our school-reform efforts to be included in the school portfolios. These narratives of experience (Connelly and Clandinin 1990) illuminated our interactions and relationships around school reform in ways that other more traditional quantitative data were unable to do. Through our earlier school portfolio work, Cheryl introduced us to, among others, the work of Clandinin and Connelly (1988, 1994, 1996, 2000; see also Craig 1992, 1997, 1999). For our purposes at that time, we studied Clandinin and Connelly’s scholarship with a focus on different ways of using evidence to illuminate in-depth stories of our schools. As mentioned, narratives became an important element of the portfolios because they offered direct perspectives of personal experience working in the midst of school reform. Consequently, we experienced firsthand the power of narrative to provide those outside our school communities with insight into our work and our reforming school contexts, and to create a gateway into teachers’ lives and daily school interactions. We also became convinced of the integral role reflection plays in bringing narratives to light. Thus, our early school portfolio work laid the foundation for five members of the Portfolio Group later following Cheryl and becoming narrative inquirers like her—and like Connelly and Clandinin before her. When we began the Portfolio Group in 1998, Cheryl was the only one in our group to have a doctoral degree; the rest of us were classroom teachers or grant coordinators/school administrators back then. Over the next 10 + years our professional roles changed considerably. Cheryl shifted from clinical, to associate, to full professor and moved to another university. Michaelann Kelley assumed additional leadership roles on her campus before taking on a district supervisory position. Tim Martindell left the classroom to join the former grant funding team, then assumed a school district position before retiring and returning to the classroom in a private PK-12 school. And Gayle Curtis moved from school administration on elementary campuses to educational leadership in middle and high schools. As our professional roles shifted, five of us (Simon Cosenza [pseudonym], Michaelann, Tim, Gayle, and Deirdre Bamboo [pseudonym]) returned to university to pursue doctoral degrees

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in education (curriculum and instruction). With Cheryl as our advisor, and our history with school portfolio work sitting in the background, the decision to employ narrative methods in our doctoral studies was a natural choice. Family Tree of Knowledge From 2003 to 2013, when five of us independently continued our education through doctoral studies, our rationales for choosing narrative inquiry as our study methods were rooted in similar reasoning and common experiences. As echoed in our dissertations, we were each drawn to the way in which narrative inquiry methods center on the lives of teachers and enable researchers to capture and restory teacher experiences that reflect the reality of school contexts and teacher interactions over time (Clandinin and Connelly 2000). Similarly, each of us appreciated the fact that reflection is foundational to the work of narrative inquirers as they consider interwoven narrative threads, looking backward and forward, and inward and outward in relation to their participants’ storied experiences in context, as well as researchers’ own storied experiences that they bring with them to the examination of the phenomenon under study. Perhaps most influential in our independent decisions to take up narrative inquiry was our long collaborative history and relationships with Cheryl. The fact is not lost on us that we studied with Cheryl who studied with Jean and Michael amid the conceptualization of narrative inquiry. Talk about a few degrees of separation and a direct line to the source of narrative inquiry! Indeed, we have on occasion discussed this unique relationship and how our experience of studying with someone so close to Clandinin and Connelly is akin to having a “narrative family tree” in which “family knowledge” (in this case, knowledge related to narrative inquiry) is passed on from one generation of researchers to another. While we may not be progeny in the traditional sense of the word, we are narrative descendants, so to speak. By that, we mean that just as Clandinin and Connelly developed (and continue to develop) this research method in their own ways over time, Cheryl has brought that knowledge forward to a new generation of researchers, while concurrently making her own contributions to the field in a much more pernicious context that produced in her “a sharper tone of voice” in her writing than she had while in Canada (Janice Huber’s observation). As Cheryl’s students,

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we have been beneficiaries of this knowledge line, which we now take up and extend to others in the American context, specifically in the midsouth, where historical inequities continue to make their mark on how schooling is undertaken. That said, we are cognizant of the fact that the entire Portfolio Group has grown professionally alongside one another throughout our long collaboration. So when we talk about our journeys to becoming narrative inquirers, the “we” includes Cheryl, as the other Portfolio Group participants acknowledge her early learning experiences and have witnessed her professional growth alongside our own. Co-constructing Knowledge Looking back, our journeys to becoming narrative inquirers were grounded in the common assumptions and understandings that we coconstructed, in great part, through Portfolio Group activities. This came about through studying, reflecting upon, and critically discussing literature on teacher and school experiences while making connections between the literature and our own storied experiences. Importantly, we learned from one another; that is, from personal experiences retold and from perspectives on the literature shared, but also from having other group members giving our stories back to us with new and different layers of meaning added. Among the common understandings we came to take up as our own (personal practical knowledge) were: • Experience as education: Learning as a relational/social endeavor and characterized by continuity over time (Dewey 1938/1997); • Personal practical knowledge: Teachers as knowing and knowledgeable persons, “our teaching practices [are] expressions of personal practical knowledge…the experiential knowledge that [is] embodied in us as persons and [is] enacted in our classroom practices and in our lives” (Clandinin 1985, p. 1); • Teacher-as-curriculum-maker: Drawing on knowledge of content, students, and context (Schwab 1973, 1983), personal practical knowledge (Clandinin and Connelly 1992); • Professional knowledge landscape: A metaphor for the “interface of theory and practice in teacher’s lives” (Connelly and Clandinin 1995, p. 4), the place “where teachers’ personal practical knowledge and professional knowledge meet” (Pembrook and Craig 2002, p. 788);

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• The notion of a three-dimensional research space: Situated at the intersection of place (situational), sociality (relational), and time (temporal) (Clandinin and Connelly 2000); • Narrative inquiry as a relational research method: Trust and transparency between researcher and participant(s) is paramount; • Narrative: What is studied (teacher stories), the method of investigation (collecting/analyzing stories), and form of the research text (experiences restoried); • Narrative inquiry as a nonlinear research method: It begins with a wondering rather than a hypothesis, requiring time commitment and wakefulness on the part of the researcher as themes unfold over time; • Reflective practice as central to what narrative inquirers do (Downey and Clandinin 2010; Schön 1983, 1991, 1995): Researchers continuously reflecting backward at historical influences, forward to potential interpretations, inward at researcher and participant intentions and biases, and outward at connections with other teachers/social situations (Clandinin and Connelly 2000); and • Counter stories that counteract the dominant school reform narrative dictating what we should know, do, and be. These ideas were in the process of coming together in Clandinin and Connelly’s researcher stance and conceptualization of narrative inquiry when Cheryl commenced with her dissertation inquiry. By the time the rest of us came to our doctoral studies, these common premises were well embedded in the field of narrative inquiry and narrative inquiry was an established research method, which had already made its debut in Educational Researcher (Connelly and Clandinin 1990). Common understandings of these ideas created a sort of footing or grounding as we set out to engage in narrative inquiries for the first time. For Simon, Michaelann, Tim, Gayle, and Deirdre, Portfolio Group members served as critical friends during our inquiries, providing both helping hands and meaningful critiques from trusted colleagues. With Simon leading the way, each in turn stretched their hands back to those that followed; giving advice about course selection and even assisting in mundane but very important procedural matters such as uploading dissertation-related documents (a point we found still evidenced on one member’s cell phone!). The last four to complete their doctoral degrees (Michaelann, Tim, Gayle, and Deirdre) often gathered for dissertation writing days. Although at different points in our doctoral studies at

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the time—some just beginning, some mid-inquiry, and some having completed their research, our scheduled writing days helped to alleviate procrastination and promoted individual progress of the work at hand. In fact, the Portfolio Group’s collective eyes were most often the first to gaze upon our drafted texts before sharing them with Cheryl as our advisor. The feedback received as we interacted as peer mentors and coaches helped each to refine our writing and to assure that each submitted quality work. Engaging in narrative inquiry was a learning process for all of us. But it was also a being and becoming process (Vinz 1993), as we each in turn took on the identity of narrative inquirers. In the following section, we reexamine our dissertations for common themes, explore individual challenges encountered in the midst of our inquiries, and share our big takeaways.

Journeys to Becoming Narrative Inquirers Sometimes in the telling of lessons learned and wisdom earned a golden leaf is overturned—a treasure in disguise. Then someone reads between the lines of what was said and what was heard; and somehow gems of truth emerge enriching soul and mind. Sometimes in retelling, when pain is less and joy is more, we see a meaning lost before, clearly in new light. With present lens and rearview sight reflection leads a soul to grow with countless, deeper ways to know when journey is the prize. —From Stories by G. Curtis (2013b, p. 210)

Overview of Dissertation Studies Although our dissertation studies were spread out over twenty-one years between Cheryl in 1992 and Gayle and Deirdre in 2013, each employed narrative inquiry methods and focused on some facet of teachers’ daily lives. Included in our overview of dissertation studies are the five Portfolio Group members who completed their doctoral studies with Cheryl: Simon, Michaelann, Tim, Gayle, and Deirdre. Although Simon is no longer active in the Portfolio Group because he moved 300 miles away, he was an active participant for many years during the school reform era when he was a high school mathematics teacher at Eagle High School, working alongside Michaelann, then a fine arts teacher. Simon is now

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a national mathematics consultant and textbook author with whom we maintain close contact. Deirdre, like others in the Portfolio Group, has at times needed to step away from regular, active participation in the group to attend to professional or family responsibilities. The writing of this book was just such a time as she returned to the teaching force and her twin daughters, now in high school, prepare to make their own educational journeys into university settings. Simon and Deirdre’s work is highlighted here to paint a full picture of the Portfolio Group’s doctoral work. And of course, Cheryl’s dissertation study is included as she was the first among us to achieve this goal (Fig. 6.1). Cheryl’s dissertation (Craig 1992) examined the connections that beginning teachers make between their personal professional knowledge and professional knowledge contexts of schools. In it, she introduced her concept of knowledge communities lodged within professional knowledge contexts “as a way to crystalize how professional knowledge becomes a part of beginning teachers’ personal practical knowledge” (p. 7). Since then, the term knowledge community has come to be part of the educational vernacular, representing safe spaces that often form organically out of teachers’ collegial relationship s and teachers’ need to engage in conversations about practice within education contexts. Knowledge community qualities include ongoing reflection, resonance among teachers’ experiences, the development of shared ways of knowing, and the bringing of moral unspoken horizons into view and into word (Craig 1995, 2007).

Fig. 6.1 Overview of Portfolio Group dissertation narrative inquiries

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Simon’s 2008 dissertation was a historical examination of the Portfolio Group. At that time, the Portfolio Group had existed for ten years, with members coming and going, some moving on to other endeavors when grant funding ended and some returning after being pulled away due to personal or professional obligations. The metaphor of “core and satellite” members emerged as a way to make sense of this shifting membership and level of participation. Simon’s inquiry looked at how teachers in the Portfolio Group learn alongside one another in a knowledge community. It revealed teachers’ counterstories of “different encounters they faced when their narrative ways of knowing bumped into the boundaries of formalistic and reductionist ways of knowing found in what Clandinin and Connelly (2000) have termed the grand narrative of education” (Gray 2008, p. vi). In 2012, Michaelann analyzed the collaboration and reflective practices of a Critical Friends Group® (CFG® ) (National school reform Faculty 2019) comprised of teachers at an inner-city school in Houston. It revealed accomplishments of individuals and the CFG® despite evershifting contingencies of leadership, emergent issues on the school landscape produced through the grand narrative of educational policies, and the important part outside entities played in advancing the work of schools. The inquiry also highlighted the value of studying experience over time, the significance of relationship s in this process, the necessity of a growth mindset (Dweck 2006) in collaborative work in schools, and the recognition of a knowledge community within the CFG studied (Kelley 2012, p. 306). Later that year, Tim’s (Martindell 2012) dissertation explored peer coaching and its impact on professional relationships while navigating difficult situations within three different professional knowledge communities. Seeking to provide “alternatives to the narrow focus on empirical data as the sole view that permeates the data-driven discourse” (p. 146), this work presented “stories of innovative practice and transformed teachers.” It uncovered the peer coaching and co-learning that occurs within different communities of knowing and emphasized the use of protocols in addressing significant situations and engaging in critical professional discourse while in relationship. In 2013, Gayle’s three-year inquiry1 (Curtis 2013a) employed the metaphor of harmonic convergence and the representational form of parallel stories (Craig 1999) in the examination of Sarah’s novice teacher experiences paired with Gayle’s novice researcher experiences as they

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moved together through the inquiry. Sarah’s novice teacher stories illuminated teachers-as-curriculum-makers (Clandinin and Connelly 1992), the importance of teacher–student relationships, unintended consequences of high-stakes accountability environments, critical incidents in school contexts, and the personal and professional needs met by knowledge communities. Gayle’s novice researcher reflections shone a light on entering in the midst of ongoing narratives, tensions in taking on the role of researcher, importance of researcher–participant relationships, challenges in rendering field texts to research texts, and narrative inquirer identity development. Deirdre followed that same year with a narrative inquiry examining how early career teachers perceive the purpose of reflection and how they make meaning of and through reflective practice. Findings indicated that early career teachers valued learning from one another and participating in an intellectually stimulating group. The study also found that early career teachers were just as likely to seek out the group’s assistance with professional relationships as they were to request help with instructional concerns. In examining novice teachers’ perceptions of the use of protocols, the embedded conceptual metaphors evidenced in participant responses suggested that early career teachers draw on a multitude of varied sources to make meaning of their use of protocols (Reid 2013). Common Narrative Threads Turning back to reexamine our dissertation narrative inquiries, we identified a number of common threads interwoven across all the noted dissertation studies. We focus here on the most prominent of those emergent themes (Fig. 6.2). Narrative threads spanning across all six studies bore such themes as teacher experience, reflective practice, teacher knowledge construction, and relationship being embedded in what teachers do. Still other common themes were evidenced in multiple (but not all) studies: knowledge communities (Cheryl, Simon, Michaelann, Tim, Gayle), beginning teacher experiences (Cheryl, Gayle, Deirdre), teacher collaboration/critical friends (Simon, Michaelann, Tim), and coaching (Tim, Deirdre). As can be seen, there were common threads that held us together as group members, but also individual expressions that linked with the unique unfolding of our personal practical knowledge in context and secondarily—and after the fact—with each other.

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Fig. 6.2 Narrative threads across dissertations

Living Our Narrative Inquiries: Tensions and Treasures Having identified narrative threads interlaced in our doctoral dissertations, we reflected on the lessons learned in the midst of carrying out our first narrative inquiries and how those experiences helped to shape our becoming narrative inquirers. Included in the reflective process was Mike Perez, who actively joined the Portfolio Group after attending the S-STEP (Self-Study of Teacher Education Practice) Castle Conference in 2016 but who has been interacting closely with the group and providing feedback for the last nine years. What was especially provocative in our reflections was how challenging situations often became gems, leading to the most insightful and fullest learning experiences. Whether tensions turned treasures, or jewels all the while, those experiences informed our understanding of the work at the time of our dissertations and are carried forward in our current work across multiple professional landscapes. Letting stories unfold. We begin with Cheryl’s initial narrative inquiry experience in which she learned to “let situations unfold.”

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When I started studying with Jean Clandinin, it was a different stance than I had experienced previously as a doctoral student as well as a practitioner because I had entered higher education after serving as a curriculum consultant with the local school district. Also, my first advisor as a doctoral student had been a critical theorist. So, I entered the narrative inquiry field with strengths in areas about which narrative inquirers would be skeptical (I won’t say critical).

She elaborated: First, consultants are often blamed for providing teachers with answers without allowing teachers to seek and find their own truths. Also, critical theorists begin with a critical lens that determines—even before fieldwork is conducted and with no evidence in hand—that the situation is unfair. I had never been quick to jump to conclusions—and I was a person who believed in working alongside teachers as I had been a teacher myself—but I still had to learn to let situations unfold on their own without my forcing them. This is not difficult to do when things are going smoothly; however, it is challenging when situations are not going as planned. Part of this is because others (other professors, principals, teachers, parents) believe you are the expert and that you need to act like one. They impose this plotline on you, and you begin to feel deficit because you are not living up to others’ expectations (which is hard for high achievers). However, the wait, I have found through hard-wrought experience, is well worth it.

The idea of letting stories unfold was also prominent in Gayle’s story of coming to the inquiry in which she followed novice teacher Sarah’s experiences for three years. During the first year of the inquiry, however, she was in a quandary when it came to defining the phenomena she was studying. In the midst of an Invisible College doctoral seminar, probing questions from Vicki Ross were formative in Gayle refining her inquiry’s focus and letting her participant’s story unfold. Six months into what would be a three-year inquiry, my doctoral seminar brief paper was all over the place…from my participant Sarah’s novice teaching experiences in a diverse inner-city high school to my recent experiences as a school administrator in a much-contested and contentious space with troubling interactions between and among staff and community. When Vicki asked the simple question, “So is this study about Sarah

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or about you?” I was taken aback…The fact was that I just did not know at that point and did not have an answer for her. Reflecting on Vicki’s question I realized the need to refine the focus of my inquiry. Turning my primary focus to Sarah enabled the uncovering of her rich novice teacher stories as they unfolded over time. Following her for an extended period illuminated her growth and development as a teacher navigating shifting education landscapes. In the end, I found a way to weave my story and Sarah’s story together and credit Vicki Ross for getting me started in the right direction.

The idea of letting stories unfold on their own is meaningful to us all. JoAnn Phillion (2002), Michael Connelly’s former doctoral student, relayed this thought when she described how she went into an inquiry with “a script of expectations” (p. 268), internal researcher pronouncements of the teacher qualities and classroom engagement she presumed would be found. In retrospect, Phillion realized that her “script served as an undetected, unspoken hypothesis for [her] planned inquiry.” She came to understand, as we each did in succession, the importance of not laying our anticipated story over the stories of participants and the critical need to wait for participants’ stories to unfurl on their own accord. As Clandinin and Connelly (2000) explain, rather than posit certain outcomes, narrative researchers “make themselves as aware as possible of the many, layered narratives at work in their inquiry space. They imagine narrative intersections, and they anticipate possible narrative threads emerging” (p. 70). When Gayle began her inquiry, for example, the impact of high-stakes accountability systems and related tensions on the lives of teachers weighed heavily on her mind. Phillion’s “script” experience served as a constant reminder and internal check for Gayle to wait on her participant Sarah’s story to reveal itself. When accountabilityrelated tensions did arise, they came out of Sarah’s lived experiences which intersected with many other ongoing narratives and not from Gayle’s predetermined expectations. Narrative inquiry’s time commitment. In learning to wait and let situations unfold organically, Cheryl’s story hints at the extensive time commitment involved in narrative inquiry research. She further explained the benefits of this time investment.

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If I had not been willing to wait as a narrative inquirer, none of my bestknown pieces would have been written because I would have left the research sites prior to the action happening in ways I could understand it through the eyes of teachers. Here I am thinking of “The Monkey’s Paw,” (Craig 2001) “The Dragon in School Backyards,” (Craig 2004) “Butterfly Under a Pin” (Craig 2012) and so forth…I always seem to experience field-based famine—a sense of nothing significant or special happening—before the contexts I research bear amazing fruit.

Time was also prominent in Michaelann’s journey to becoming a narrative inquirer. Since her inquiry covered a 10-year span, she found that studying participants’ lived experience over time not only allows stories to unfold naturally but is in fact needed in order to reveal the depth and breadth of teachers’ lived experience within changing social and contextual environments. Still another aspect of time occurred when Michaelann needed some temporal distance before writing her research text about a group of teachers with whom she was intimately involved. In the process of becoming a narrative inquirer, I was also in the process of becoming a critical friend, and a knowledge community facilitator at Eagle High School. I think the problem for a researcher is always the messiness of being a part of and having to report on and then write about an experience in which one is immersed.

She continued: I took quite a long time to step away from being in the midst of the work before I could report on the work and then finally take those field notes and process them into a paper. I finally was able to put the work into context and write from hindsight rather than in the midst.

Researcher–participant relationships. Michaelann’s reflection draws attention to the challenge of researching groups, contexts, and situations to which the researcher is closely connected and that narrative researchers are always cognizant of the need to nurture and maintain trust in their researcher–participant relationships. This idea was also emphasized by Gayle when she discussed her dissertation inquiry.

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A big take-away was the central position the researcher-participant relationship holds in narrative inquiry—and the ethics that surround that relationship. Establishing a trusting relationship with Sarah and being transparent in our interactions were crucial to my being able to capture her storied experiences in an in-depth and authentic manner over the three-year inquiry. Without the safe space of our relationship, I doubt that she would have been as forthcoming with her concerns, uncertainties, and feelings about difficult situations. Without her candidness, my dissertation would have been far less rich and meaningful.

Tensions in the work of narrative inquiry. In his dissertation study, Tim investigated educator interactions within three knowledge communities of which he was a member. Here we see the substance of Cheryl’s doctoral dissertation (Craig 1992) forming a foundation—and providing a conceptual language—that Tim adopts and uses with ease: [His] narrative research sprang from the collective lived experience of a group of literacy coaches grappling with Maya’s dilemma and its profound and long-lasting effects on the members of the group. As [he] reflected on that day, restorying and reliving the events around that table, [he] wondered how key those critical incidents were to fostering reflective practice, and indeed, if [he] would find that the participants in this dissertation study had lived similar stories. (Martindell 2012)

Continuing, Tim added, As [he] grappled with and reflected on that day, restorying and reliving the events around that table, [he] wondered how key those critical incidents were to fostering reflective practice, and indeed, if I would find that the participants in this dissertation study had lived similar stories. Tim’s initial inquiry centered around questions of whether the critical incident was a catalyst for change or whether the critical relationships were responsible for the critical incidents. The classic question of which came first – the chicken or the egg? (Martindell 2012)

For Gayle, tensions were palpable when she moved on to writing her research text, presenting a dilemma which was only resolved with the aid of a critical friend. She shared:

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As a novice researcher, I did not anticipate my strong reaction to some of the dilemmas my participant Sarah encountered. When she was visibly shaken after a colleague made derogatory statements directed at the school’s students and parents, the situation slammed hard against my internal moral and emotional compass. Sarah’s critical moment was also my critical moment in that I could not see past the situation to understand how to render the experience into a research text. Coming alongside me as critical friends, however, Tim and a university professor asked questions— both clarifying and probing—which helped me to regain and reformulate my perspective, to articulate my personal emotional and moral stance, and to identify the many layered narratives that were playing out and intersecting in the situation…which ultimately became my inroad into rendering my fields texts into research texts.

The chosen tensions shared here illustrate the ways in which teachers, and the researchers who walk alongside them, experience situations, not only physically and intellectually, but also emotionally, morally, and aesthetically (Clandinin and Connelly 2000; Fenstermacher 1994). Shifting identities. Reflecting later on the tensions of being both researcher and group participant, Michaelann raised the question: “How do you walk that fine line between friend, colleague, and ultimately researcher?” This question also followed others in their journeys to becoming a narrative inquirer. Gayle used the metaphor of “changing hats” to make meaning of her shifting identity. Early on in my study, two circumstances arose that I call my “changing hats” experiences. One had to do with an accountability-related campus situation that left Sarah demoralized and the other when a fellow teacher maligned the school’s students and parents to the extent that Sarah was visibly shaken. In those moments, I was uncomfortable with documenting our interviews when Sarah seemed to be in a vulnerable state. Concerned with her well-being, I took off my researcher’s hat, put on my coach’s hat, turned off the recorder, and stopped taking notes. In those moments, I was not comfortable enough with my narrative inquirer identity to continue. Because both incidents shined a light on the complexity of teachers’ lived experiences, they eventually made their way back into the research text…but only after discussing them in detail with Sarah. In the end, I came to see these experiences as finding my place as a narrative inquirer, as striving to be one who privileges teacher stories of experience and lived realities, who is mindful of sensitive issues captured in teacher’s shared stories, and who honors the researcher-participant relationship.

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Though centering on different aspects of being a narrative inquirer, Gayle’s “changing hats” story about adjusting to her new role as narrative inquirer reminds us of Freema Elbaz-Luwitch’s (1997) discussion about narrative inquirers wearing different sets of clothes to adapt to the various politically charged environments in which they interact. Claiming new identities. Going into our dissertation inquiries, we each carried multiple professional identities—teacher, administrator, coach, facilitator, colleague, teacher educator, portfolio-maker, teacher researcher, and critical friend (Beijaard et al. 2004). Each also brought many personal identities to our inquiries—spouse, partner, sister, brother, mother, grandmother, son, daughter, gay, straight, musician, artist, writer, white, Latinx, bilingual, biliterate, multicultural, etc. We all left the inquiries with an added identity…that of narrative inquirer. As Michaelann explained, To this day, I see myself most times as that young teacher—just six years in when I became the coordinator of a huge school reform grant. Most of the time I still see myself as that young teacher and then, as researcher…always striving to be better and to give my students all the opportunities they deserve.

For Tim, the shift in identity was realized when I started to see that my initial inquiries and reflections were being actualized. Prior to my work in narrative inquiry, I spent little time in reflection and my classroom teaching lacked the depth of planning that comes with reflection and self-study of practice.

Gayle drew on her musical background when talking about becoming a narrative inquirer. Learning what it means to be a narrative inquirer has been much like learning a new instrument: learning to read the music, practicing the placement of my fingers until the notes come naturally, rehearsing various tempos and volumes, exploring the limits of my instrument, and developing sufficient proficiency to play with my own expressive style. (Curtis 2013a, p. 170)

Cheryl’s thoughts on claiming her narrative inquirer identity reminded us of Atticus Finch’s statement to his daughter Scout in To kill a mockingbird

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(Lee 1960), “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” (p. 36). I always find myself trying to get inside the skins of the teachers whose work, interactions and lives I study. What speaks to them most in interactions? What irks them most when particular situations arise? Why? And, of what consequence is it that this or that happened/not happened? Furthermore, why do teachers care so much about happenings that others take lightly?

Becoming narrative inquirers was a journey for each of us; a transformational process brought about by our leading, designing, and participating in these initial inquiries. As Connelly and Clandinin (2006) remind us, narrative inquirers “begin with participants’ living because in the end, narrative inquiry is about life and living” (p. 478). We came to understand narrative inquiry as—again using Connelly and Clandinin’s direct words— “a more difficult, time-consuming, intensive, and yet, more profound method” of research as compared to other research genres. For us, “all of these experiences reinforced the relational qualities of narrative inquiry, providing a sense that [we were] not conducting an inquiry, that it was not something [we were] doing, but rather that it was something [we were] living (Clandinin and Connelly 2000)” (Curtis 2013a, p. 161).

Getting Started in Narrative Inquiry As our narrative inquiry journeys go on and we continue to learn, we also have had many opportunities to share our related knowledge and experiences with others as we listen to their stories of experience and then give their narrative understandings back to them in their own but new ways. In spring 2019, we sat down with a group of education doctoral students for a discussion about narrative inquiry. Since most of the doctoral students were utilizing narrative inquiry methods for the first time in their dissertation studies, we were curious about the students’ knowledge of, and their level of comfort with, narrative inquiry…particularly as it compared to our own experiences when we first took up our dissertation narrative inquiries. The aim of the afternoon’s conversation was to benefit the students’ knowledge base, their research efforts, and their dissertation

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development. We use the conversation that ensued as a jumping off point for a further discussion on narrative inquiry. The conversation on narrative inquiry began with brainstorming a chart to determine the group’s current related knowledge base and to ascertain the wonderings or concerns still remaining. The group started by creating the following list of “What we know about narrative inquiry.” • Concept of Connelly and Clandinin (1990) and Clandinin and Connelly (2000); • Draws on: Dewey (experience is education); Schwab (4 commonplaces of teacher, student, content, and milieu = teacher-ascurriculum-maker [1973, 1983]); Jackson (looking at classrooms and teaching in a holistic way); Barone (researcher as storyteller); Schön (reflection in action [1983, 1987]); Eisner (primacy of experience and the politics of method); Bruner (life-likeness of exemplars [1986] and life as narrative [1987]); • Phenomenological approach: Narratives (stories of experience) are the phenomenon studied, the method used, and the form of research text; An approach that is a method of investigation and a mode of representation (Connelly and Clandinin 1990); • Centers on stories of experience: Stories come in the front door; theory comes in the back door; uses story as an entry point into understanding teacher experiences; • Post-structural way of looking at research: Examines multiple sources in meaning-making; • Postmodern research method: Nonlinear; • Fluid and dynamic method: No “how to” guide; • 3-dimensional research space: Temporality, sociality, place (Clandinin and Connelly 2000); • No hypothesis: Not seeking to answer a research question in a traditional sense; • Researcher waits for phenomenon to unfold; • Reflective inquiry: Past, present, future, inward, outward; • Relational research: Close relationship between researcher and participant(s); • Ethics: Key factor, strongly influenced by researcher–participant relationship; • Participant meaning negotiations are routinely sought;

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• Tools: Telling and retelling, storying and restorying, burrowing, broadening, fictionalization; • Employs multiple data sources: Triangulation/Corroboration; • Metaphor as interpretive tool; • Connects mega-narratives and counter-narratives; • Coherence: Shows unity as a whole; • Representational forms: Story constellations, parallel stories, telling stories; • Not intended to generalize; • Truth/Trustworthiness: Draws on Mishler’s (1990) work, employs exemplars for verisimilitude and believability. As we (the Portfolio Group) examined the aforementioned list and thought about what we individually and collectively knew about narrative inquiry when we initiated our doctoral inquiries, we considered this group of doctoral students to be much farther along in their understanding of narrative inquiry than we were at a similar point. We wondered whether it may be as Cheryl suggests, the field is becoming more developed and different iterations and representations of narrative inquiry are now available to us. Resisting becoming formulaic, narrative inquiry’s generativity has propelled new generations into new investigations of what can be known, while always remembering that the knower and the known (Fenstermacher 1994) are not distinct entities but mutually informing, deeply nuanced, intertwined relations so antithetical to the accountability agenda that swirls in the backdrop of our beings and becomings (Vinz 1993). The doctoral students then moved on to “Wonderings about narrative inquiry” or aspects of narrative inquiry about which they wanted to learn, were unsure, had concerns, or felt they needed further experience and understanding. • Challenges/concerns with the inquiry process: – – – – – – –

Letting stories unfold; Not prescribed, no guidelines; Explaining rationale for research; Finding multiple data points; Determining emergent themes; Deciding when to leave (end) the inquiry; Ethics.

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These points bring us back to the organic nature of narrative inquiry, to the idea of letting participant stories unfold and allowing narrative threads to emerge. We understand from our own experiences how challenging this can be for novice narrative inquirers. At the same time, we recognize that the waiting honors participants’ knowledge and experiences, and demonstrates that researchers value the stories shared. We have found that it often takes much time and researcher reflection for participant stories and their intersections with other landscape narratives to come together in what is rendered as the research text. Regarding the rationale for research, finding multiple data points, and determining emergent themes, we have come to see these as researcher-centered aspects of narrative. Different researchers examining the same field text or data pool will potentially arrive at different conclusions related to each of these matters. That is because each researcher brings with them to the inquiry their own set of content, theoretical, and context knowledge, as well as personal culture, values, interests, concerns, political/educational stance, and multiple I’s. It seems that these aspects are also tied to the organic nature of narrative inquiry. About deciding when to leave an inquiry, we might offer up a different thought—deciding when sufficient field text has been gathered to compose a research text. Some research projects go on for years, potentially yielding a number of research texts at various points in the inquiry. Finally, in regard to ethics, we are reminded that an important role of the narrative inquirer is to protect the research participants. The doctoral students went on to express other concerns. • Challenges/concerns with composing the research text: – [There is] not a common format; – How do researchers balance their voice and that of their participant—How do they avoid narrative smoothing?; – What are the expectations of story?; – How to explain that findings are not generalizable?; – Avoiding/leaving out/dealing with cause and effect statements. In our narrative inquiries, we have each had our own tensions with some or all of the concerns put forward by the doctoral students. No matter the specific format we choose, we try to keep two ideas at the forefront: (1) we are restorying our participant’s story (even when some of our story is intermingled in the retelling); and (2) we consider what our reader might

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need to know in order to make their own connections and to draw their own conclusions (e.g., researcher stance, theoretical framework, methods, etc.) regarding the contextualized situations shared in our participants’ narratives. The doctoral students’ final concerns had to do with narrative inquiry in general. • Challenges/concerns with the research genre: – Epistemology/Ontology; whose knowledge counts?; – Deeply philosophical, but how do we know?; – Respect for narrative inquiry as a research genre, stigma that narrative inquiry is not rigorous, misunderstood by some; – Responding to questions of validity and criticism of narcissism. Reflecting on this last series of questions and concerns called to mind Gary Fenstermacher’s (1994) discussion of the knower and the known in education research in which he offers a rationale for studying the nature of knowledge and what type of knowledge is valued in the work of studying teacher knowledge and experience. One may, with reason, wonder whether any benefit is to be gained by working one’s way through the epistemological underbrush while traversing the teacher knowledge terrain. The value is in having a better understanding of what is involved in researchers’ claims to know something about teaching, as well as their claims that teachers know some things about teaching. (p. 4)

Borrowing from and greatly paraphrasing Fenstermacher’s discussion of formal teacher knowledge (TK/F) and practical teacher knowledge (TK/P), we think of narrative inquirers as studying teacher’s professional practical knowledge (connected to the Greek techne, referring “to knowing how to do something” [p. 21] such as teaching) rather than their formal knowledge (connected to episteme, referring to “established knowledge of the world,” or in this case knowledge about teaching). While there are various strands or perspectives on what constitutes teacher practical knowledge (e.g., Elbaz|Clandinin|Connelly; Schön|Munby|Russell; Shulman; Cochran-Smith|Lytle), our perspectives are more ontological (having to do with being) than epistemological (having to do with the nature of knowledge itself) (Pinnegar and Hamilton 2009).

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In response to the last areas of concern, we would like to share that the more we engage in narrative inquiry and build our understanding of this research genre, the better we are able to present a justified counterstory to possible critics. Our own experiences with narrative inquiry as shared here demonstrate that narrative inquiry is a rigorous research method whose nature is continuously unfolding. This is evidenced by the high number of narrative inquiry research articles published in top-ranked, peer-reviewed journals annually.

Conclusion The Portfolio Group’s experiences shared in this chapter illuminate the ways in which story and narrative inquiry are intertwined threads indelibly interwoven in our shared history. Borrowing from Tim’s (Martindell 2012) dissertation, individually we contend: “as a constructivist learner I learn best when I get my hands in Schön’s ‘swampy lowlands’” (p. 149). In other words, although we brought theoretical and “book” knowledge with us into our inquiries, we learned the most about narrative inquiry by doing the work of narrative inquiry researchers. Ultimately, we like to think that our individual and group journeys with narrative inquiry are ongoing rather than terminal and that we continue to grow as narrative inquirers by doing what narrative inquirers do. Sometimes in reliving, replaying landscaped histories, hidden stories, mysteries, join voices to our song. The who we were and who we are, join in resonating harmony, creating a new melody, of who we will become. —From Stories by Gayle Curtis (2013b, p. 210)

Note 1. Gayle Curtis was awarded the AERA Narrative SIG Outstanding Dissertation Award for her dissertation entitled “Harmonic convergence: Parallel stories of a novice teacher and a novice researcher.”

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References Beijaard, D., Meijer, P., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(2), 107–128. Bruner, J. (1986). Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bruner, J. (1987). Life as narrative. Social Research, 54(1), 11–32. Bruner, J. (1997). A narrative model of self-construction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 818, 145–161. Clandinin, D. J. (1985). Personal practical knowledge: A study of teachers’ classroom images. Curriculum Inquiry, 15(4), 361–385. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1988). Studying teachers’ knowledge of classrooms: Collaborative research, ethics, and the negotiation of narrative. The Journal of Educational Thought, 22(2A), 269–282. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of research on curriculum: A project of the American Educational Research Association (pp. 363–461). New York, NY: Macmillan. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1994). Personal experience methods. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 413– 427). London, UK: Sage. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1995). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1996). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes: Teacher stories—Stories of teachers—School stories—Stories of school. Educational Researcher, 25(3), 24–30. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1998). Stories to live by: Narrative understandings of school reform. Curriculum Inquiry, 28(2), 149–164. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Wiley. Clandinin, D. J., Huber, J., Huber, M., & Murphy, M. S. (2006). Composing diverse identities: Narrative inquiries into the interwoven lives of children and teachers. New York, NY: Routledge. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educational Researcher, 19(5), 2–14. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1994). Telling teaching stories. Teacher Education Quarterly, 21(2), 145–158. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1995). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes. New York, NY: Teachers’ College Press. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (2006). Narrative inquiry. In J. L. Green, G. Camilli, & P. B. Elmore (Eds.), Handbook of complementary methods in education research (pp. 477–488). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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Connelly, F. M., & Dienes, B. (1982). The teacher’s role in curriculum planning: A case study. In K. Leithwood (Ed.), Studies in curriculum decision making (pp. 183–198). Toronto, ON, Canada: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Craig, C. J. (1992). Coming to know in the professional knowledge context: Beginning teachers experience (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: University of Alberta. Craig, C. J. (1995). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know in their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–175. Craig, C. J. (1997). Telling stories: Accessing beginning teacher knowledge. Teaching Education, 9(1), 61–68. Craig, C. J. (1999). Parallel stories: A way of contextualizing teacher knowledge. Teaching and Teacher Education, 15(4), 397–411. Craig, C. J. (2007). Illuminating qualities of knowledge communities in a portfolio-making context. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 13(6), 617–636. Curtis, G. A. (2013a). Harmonic convergence: Parallel stories of a novice teacher and a novice researcher (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/10657/960. Curtis, G. A. (2013b). Stories. Harmonic convergence: Parallel stories of a novice teacher and a novice researcher (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/106 57/960. Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and education. New York, NY: Touchstone Books (Original work published 1938). Downey, C. A., & Clandinin, D. J. (2010). Narrative inquiry as reflective practice: Tensions and Possibilities. In N. Lyons (Ed.), Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry: Mapping a way of knowing for professional reflective inquiry (pp. 385–400). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset, the new psychology of success: How we can learn to fulfill our potential. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. Eisner, E. W. (1988). The primacy of experience and the politics of method. Educational Researcher, 17 (5), 15–20. Elbaz-Luwisch, F. (1997). Narrative research: Political issues and implications. Teaching and Teacher Education, 13(1), 75–83. Fenstermacher, G. D. (1994). The knower and the known: The nature of knowledge in research on teaching. Review of Research in Education, 20, 3–56. Gray, Jr., P. D. (2008). Narrative ways of knowing: Using portfolios to illuminate teacher learning from a knowledge community perspective (Doctoral

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dissertation). Houston, TX: University of Houston. Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://library.uh.edu/record-b41 89999~S11. Kelley, M. (2012). Critical friends groups: Building knowledge through collaboration and reflection (Doctoral dissertation). Houston, TX: University of Houston. Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/10657/620. Lee, H. (1960). To kill a mockingbird. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott. Martindell, P. T. (2012). A narrative inquiry into the influence of coaching methodology on three specific teacher knowledge community (Doctoral dissertation). Houston, TX: University of Houston. Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/10657/609. Mishler, E. (1990). Validation in inquiry-guided research: The role of exemplars in narrative studies. Harvard Educational Review, 60(4), 415–442. National School Reform Faculties. (2019). Critical Friends Group work. Bloomington, IN: Author. Retrieved from https://nsrfharmony.org/. Pembrook, R., & Craig, C. J. (2002). Teaching as a profession. In R. Colwell & C. Richardson (Eds.), The new handbook of research on music teaching and learning (pp. 786–817). Oxford, UK: Oxford University. Phillion, J. (2002). Becoming a narrative inquirer in a multicultural landscape. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 34(5), 535–556. Pinnegar, S., & Hamilton, M. L. (2009). Self-study of practice as genre of qualitative research: Theory, methodology, and practice. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Reid, D. J. (2013). Exploring reflective practice in early career teachers (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Houston, TX: University of Houston. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books. Schön, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Schön, D. A. (1991). The reflective turn: Case studies in and on educational practice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Schön, D. A. (1995). Knowing-in-action: The new scholarship requires a new epistemology. Change, 27 (6), 27–34. Schwab, J. J. (1973). The practical 3: Translation into curriculum. The School Review, 81(4), 501–522. Schwab, J. J. (1983). The practical 4: Something for curriculum professors to do. Curriculum Inquiry, 13(3), 239–265. Vinz, R. (1993). Composing a teaching life: Partial, multiple, and sometimes contradictory representations of teaching and learning literature (Concept Paper No. 12). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

CHAPTER 7

Traveling Journals as Inquiry and Professional Development (2004–2006)

But it all winds back to leadership. In rough times, we need leaders telling and living stories from which we can draw energy and courage. Cheryl Craig (November 24, 2006, Buddha Traveling Journal on Leadership)

Working collaboratively in the Portfolio Group over the continuum has not been an easy feat for us. Even though our personal, professional, and social relationships have been secure, our shared practices and research interests have diverged considerably since we began our collaborative work in 1998. This is due in large part because we each moved to different places of work and assumed new job responsibilities, leading us to new areas of interest. In this chapter, we sketch how we used traveling journals for a period of time as a research tool to document our personal and shared inquiries as our work moved forward. We will also discuss the risks associated with changes in personal and institutional priorities at this time in our group’s history and discuss how Cheryl Craig continued to work with the Portfolio Group and our schools in a manner consistent with what Schwab (1983) would have university professors do. Most importantly, we focus on the teacher knowledge we excavated and which we made visible and accessible through our use of the traveling journals as a research tool to plumb our individual and our group’s knowing. The story we tell finds its roots in our group’s origins and in how traveling journals became a “commonplace of experience” (Lane 1988) for us © The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_7

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as we experienced massive transitions in the midst of a reform movement whose priorities were radically changing as a high-stakes method of school accountability took hold first in Texas and then spread like wild-fire across the United States through the federal adoption of the No Child Left Behind Act (2002). Annual school portfolios that we began compiling for grant evaluation purposes in 1998 became reflective tools that helped us to demonstrate the degree of success of our past efforts and provided us with rich insights of where our personal and professional—and our schools’ paths as well—might lead in the future. Our Portfolio Group meetings, we soon discovered, proved beneficial beyond the original intent of our group’s formation; they became a resource for our school portfolio development and our individual professional growth as well. As teachers we had researched reflective practices, explored portfolio-making, examined professional dilemmas in the midst, and conducted text-based discussions in critical friendship with one another. At monthly sessions, we learned approaches for including a wide range of portfolio contributors, gained insights into the development of narrative formats, and shared a wide range of strategies relating to reflective practice. As colleagues from different districts, schools, grade levels, and content areas, and as members of the Portfolio Group, we shared experiences, successes, and challenges of school reform. Simultaneously, we developed an understanding of, and appreciation for one another’s work orientations and workplaces. The personal professional growth stemming from this continued and long-term interaction led us as members of the Portfolio Group to share our understanding of reflective practices at numerous local, national, and international conferences. Also, as members of our group, we broadened the scope of our reflective practices by creating a weblog site, making the work available to others outside of the Portfolio Group, and increasing the feedback we received from other educators. As group members, we met and continue to meet monthly to consider new ideas, discover commonalities, analyze current efforts, and examine possible actions. By 2002, the grant supporting our schools’ reform initiatives had ended and a much smaller group of about ten decided to continue the Portfolio Group collaborative work. As we “regrouped” financially, physically, and metaphorically, we knew we needed to develop new projects which captured the attention of all of us and to find funding for the group’s continued work. For example, in 2004, our group’s unfunded research study was driven by the following inquiry question, “How do

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teachers and administrators like us know that our individual practices impact learning in aesthetics and literacy?” Already our work was beginning to branch out in a multitude of directions due to members’ job transitions and content area specialties. Then, in 2005–2006, our topic of inquiry examined how we work with students and, on occasion, the situations of fellow teachers who are “falling through the cracks.” Ron Venable’s reflection on the impact of Portfolio Group participation at the time seemed to evoke the sentiments felt by all of us. If it was not for the work of the Portfolio Group and the campus grant; I would be retiring as a good teacher rather than planning for the retirement of a reflective practitioner that is willing to go the extra mile for his students and the school.

While the latter topic provided shared content that helped us mediate the increasing diversity of positions and interests among group members, it became clear to us that we needed to actively create common ground in other ways to empower ourselves as leaders of our own learning, rather than merely fitting a sponsor’s funding agenda. Landing upon a new common focus of group interest became a particularly pressing matter since the reform movement had radically changed its mission in response to the high-stakes state and national policies and shifted its priorities to leadership and college readiness and away from teachers and schools. This forms the vital backdrop against which our idea of traveling journals was birthed.

Origin of the Traveling Journals Concept As we assumed leadership positions in schools, universities, regional education service centers, and the reform movement funding organization, the glue that held the group together—that is teachers’ practices, particular school contexts, portfolio work, and the shared reform movement—became eroded by the policy backdrop in which we were embedded. At the same time, members of the Portfolio Group were intellectually fueling all sorts of other projects based in part on our successful membership in the Portfolio Group. The upshot of all of this is that our group was losing a focal point of interest as work focusing on teachers and schools was being stripped away. When the group embarked on the “falling through the cracks” theme, Cheryl shared how she had heard

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about Australian literacy teachers who were separated by geographical distance, who used traveling journals to examine their shared interests. She brought the “traveling journal” idea forward to us as we had always thrived on individual journaling, a practice in which we had been engaged since the Houston Annenberg Challenge’s inception in 1997. Undoubtedly, the individual journaling with reflective feedback helped to fuel our own reflective practice. Discussing the possibility of traveling journals for the group, Michaelann Kelley reminisced about the feelings we had at the beginning of the work when we received feedback, reflective questions, or warm comments from Cheryl to our individual reflective journal entries. The addition of this new layer of exchange would help to continue our own growth in our learning process of becoming reflective practitioners. The sticky notes that Cheryl would leave in our journals sometimes served as a lifeline in the theory-in-practice divide we constantly traversed. If the power of one of the people in the group moved our work in such a positive way, just think what the power of the group would have in pushing our work in a new less traveled path…a new landscape to explore. The result of our discussion was that we created nine common journals. Each journal was contributed by a member of the Portfolio Group since the group no longer received funding from the reform movement. The journals soon became associated with a specific topic of inquiry which, in democratic fashion, was decided on by the group. Interestingly, each of the traveling journals soon became known by its cover, not its theme. The journals and topics they explored were as follows: 1. Keith Harring Journal: Special Needs Students 2. Gray Journal: Politics of Education 3. Black Cover Journal: Reflective Practice 4. Buddha Journal: Leadership 5. Flower Journal: Relationships 6. Blue/Map Journal: Culture/Climate 7. Pink Circles Journal: Critical friend 8. I Feel Journal: Emergent Issues 9. The Dream Journal: Literacy The journals would become a time period of discovery of personal ways of working, a period that created tensions, and ways of leaving.

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Our use of traveling journals is rooted in the idea that teacher knowledge is personally and socially funded (Dewey 1938/1997) and narrative in form (Bruner 1987; Connelly and Clandinin 1990; MacIntyre 1981). Most specifically, it builds on Clandinin’s (1986) notion of personal practical knowledge which is “the experiential knowledge that [is] embodied in us as persons and [is] enacted in our classroom practices and in our lives” (Clandinin 1993, p. 1). The concept of personal practical knowledge acknowledges that teachers’ personal practical knowledge is continuously shaped and reshaped by experience, situations, relationships, and contexts over time. It is knowledge that reflects the individual’s prior knowledge and acknowledges the contextual nature of the teacher’s knowledge. It is a kind of knowledge, carved out of, and shaped by, situations; knowledge that is constructed and reconstructed as we live out our stories and retell and relive them through the process of reflection (Clandinin 1992, p. 125). This definition of teacher knowledge leads to another major underpinning of our teacher research work. In order to situate our professional knowledge in the contexts of teaching, Clandinin and Connelly offered a second narrative idea—professional knowledge landscape—that nested the provisional knowing of teachers in the places within which their knowledge was storied and restoried. In the authors’ words, a landscape metaphor allows us to talk about space, place, and time. Furthermore, it has a sense of expansiveness and the possibility of being filled with diverse people, things, and events in different relationship s…Because we see the professional knowledge landscape as composed of relationships among people, places, and things, we see it as both an intellectual and moral landscape. (Clandinin and Connelly 1995, p. 5)

We understood that our educational landscapes, while different in their compositions—for example, schools, universities, school reform offices, and regional education service centers—are also storied landscapes composed of in-classroom and out-of-classroom places and influenced by in-school and out-of-school forces. This traveling journal work in some ways addresses how politically and socially charged out-of-school forces impacted in-school and in-classroom places on educational landscapes. In our teacher reflective inquiries, we used research tools to study our sense of self in relationships with others. Hence, we engaged in interviews and conversations, participant observation, document analysis, and the

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use of personal journals—and, in the case of this particular chapter, traveling journals—as part of our research process. Additionally, one of our members, Deirdre (pseudonym), created a weblog to track our progress and our interim communications. The exploration into technological traveling was always a part of the reform work and to our learning—but most times our work was best done pencil to paper. Where modes of analysis are concerned, we used broadening (Connelly and Clandinin 1990) to set up the general context—indeed, the topics— of our traveling journals. Broadening helped us to identify shared interests—commonplaces of experience—pertaining to our teacher practices. It necessarily brought to the fore such contextual considerations as the ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, and ability composition of the students populating the campuses where we work. Through broadening, the influences and complexities of the professional knowledge landscapes where we were employed became revealed. How context—whose reach is believed to be limitless (Schwab 1961/1978; see also Bruner 2002)— shapes what was available for us to know bubbled to the surface. The Politics in Education journal presented the complexities of the group. We realized that when some of our group was working inside the system and some working outside the system many tensions were either kept to yourself or you had a “conflict” in attending the Portfolio Group meeting. It was not until much later in our time together that we were really able to talk openly about this time in our group. Looking back now to assess the situation, we realize that as a group we chose maintaining relationships with one another over pushing tensions to the forefront. Burrowing (Connelly and Clandinin 1990) is the second analytical tool we used. It allowed us to reconstruct events, which we routinely do in our traveling journals. In this way, our perspectives deepened as layers of feedback became added to original entries. Burrowing also allowed the emotional, moral and aesthetic qualities of our teacher knowledge to surface. In the process, tough realities and gritty details were disclosed as “moment-by-moment relationships and happenings on [our] landscape[s]” (Clandinin and Connelly 2000, p. 76) were made public. This analytical tool, which at the beginning of our journals was simple sticky notes, became so useful in reconstructing our group through the travelling journals. Our third analytical device, restorying, captures changes in our professional knowledge landscapes in terms of our own and others’ actions and

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meaning-making. Restorying allowed for “unsystematic, uneasy, pragmatic, and uncertain unions and connections” to be made by us, that gave rise to “changing connections and differing orderings at different times” (Schwab 1969, p. 10). Restorying made the turbulence, tensions, and epistemological dilemmas that invariably appeared in our professional lives visible. The ways in which competing and conflicting stories bumped into one another emerged and were shared among our group members. Through restorying, we were able to pinpoint “different partitionings” and “divers[ions] to the flow of events.” Furthermore, “new connections become probable, and new ways of interacting…arise” (Schwab 1956/1978, p. 136). In the end result, restorying did not provide us with answers. Rather, it offered a means for us to think more deeply about the dilemmas and challenges we faced as educators in relationship with one another and enabled us to revisit our questions as our perceptions became increasingly focused. Our reading of Bruner (2002) reminded us that “story is enormously sensitive to whatever challenges our conception of the canonical. It is an instrument not so much for solving problems as for finding them” (p. 15). The restorying of this journey on our timeline as a group has proven to be both a dark time and one leading to enlightenment. We liken it to some of the art of the middle ages with illuminated manuscripts and stylized figures. The traveling journals writings provided narratives of the group’s experiences, many of which carried a moral to their story…much the same way Bible stories carried moral-laden stories to the masses in the middle ages. Similarly, just as art history notes that following the middles ages came the Renaissance and the age of discovery, the traveling journals enlightened our knowledge of school contexts and the women and men who work within them. The Portfolio Group’s journey into using traveling journals began as a natural extension of our personal journal writing and personal portfoliomaking, serving to bring an increasingly diverse group of people—mostly due to job reassignment—into sustained, shared inquiry. The group was looking for a way to communicate and grow while still doing purposeful work. While we in the past had found that mulling over issues during portfolio meetings was sufficient enough to get a feel for each member’s perspective on topics of inquiry, we soon discovered that the traveling journals offered an additional forum for in-depth exchange between meeting times. These discussions coalesced around a kaleidoscope of themes. We center on three themes that organically emerged in the

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written reflective exchanges recorded between meetings: (1) reflection (2) collaborative inquiry into big ideas and struggles, and (3) bumping up places with policies and procedures.

Traveling Journals Theme 1: Reflection Because reflection has been foundational (Craig 2003) to our Portfolio Group’s work since 1998, it is little wonder that it surfaced as a prominent thread throughout the journals and as well as the core topic of the “black cover” journal. Over time, our reflective processes have included individual journal writing, individual journal writing with responses from Cheryl, and now group reflection employing the traveling journals concept. However, this new collaborative process worked for most but not for all Portfolio Group members. For example, Tim was challenged to change his already embedded practice of personal journal writing into a “different” journal format for more public viewing and response. His struggle as he explained later “made [him] feel that [he] had to cram things into the journal at the last minute to bring something to the meeting.” Tim’s dilemma of maintaining two competing journals is also indicative of the competing private and public spaces underlying reflection. Our group in its traveling journal titled Reflection moved in and out of the two spaces of private and public discourse by focusing on two strands in a dialectical way. The first strand was public and more theoretical, and the second was private and could be viewed as the practical (Schwab 1969) or in Schön’s (1983) vernacular, reflection-in-action. Cheryl explained, “Reflecting with others is very rich in perspective and diversity of response but reflecting with and on self, brought more of our personal multiplicities to the fore.” Michaelann initiated the Reflection journal writing. She chose to open the journal with a chapter by Joy Amulya (2003), titled “What is reflective practice?” This chapter provided a common language for initial discussions on reflection, but also was the first time we had explicitly explored the notion of collective versus individual reflective practice. Michaelann confessed, “Starting the journal on reflective practice to me was a very daunting and large task. We are setting high expectations for reflective practice.” Michaelann, a Critical Friends Group® (CFG® ) coach, made many connections with the processes that CFG® groups use to promote or introduce reflection to teachers. She particularly wrote about using a

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CFG® activity for personal reflection and how she extended its use to her work with adults, “Using Connections is a good time for me to reconnect to myself…to think about my role as a CFG® facilitator and my influence in molding others’ thoughts and processes by my actions,” she observed. The struggles that Michaelann discussed in her practical work with CFG® coaching spurred Cheryl to connect with the theoretical. “Is this an example of the ‘learned incompetence’ of which Schwab spoke?” Cheryl queried, “Have teachers become so dulled by mass standardized approaches that they can no longer be trusted to light their own candles even when provided models/stories to live by?” The tension that one lives in a small group dynamic like the Portfolio Group is reminiscent of the larger educational microcosm. Cheryl was always one to bring the larger perspective of the educational landscape to our group. Her perspective is that of the marching band director in his/her perch on the field. The band members understand their purpose and know the choreography but are not always aware of the bigger picture being created and changed by their movements. In the Portfolio Group members’ in- and out-ofclassroom experiences, they always were very cognizant of the impact they had on their students, but seldom realized the impact of the work of the Portfolio Group in the greater educational landscape. Michaelann also introduced to the reflection journal a term that Argyris and Schön (1978) wrote about: single-loop learning. She then connected the term to her work with CFGs® and provided an example in support of Cheryl’s metaphor of “teachers no longer being able to light their own candles.” She explained, “Single-loop learning is what I think many CFGs® do in their groups; the work is good and has high quality, but the problem arises because there is no continuous looping of the knowledge and the work to make the depth apparent.” Cheryl then responded several times, developing her—and our—thinking each time around, commenting that “Teachers need to be engaged in their personal learning (allowed to do so by those supervising them) in order to turn around and engage students,” a point with which we all were in agreement. Michaelann reflects now how this learning process has illuminated her learning and the path she chooses to follow in her current position in district administration. Michaelann’s last entry before the traveling journal was passed on captured her uncertainty of the outcome of the traveling journals. She reflected,

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I thought about Ernie Stringer’s (2004) Index of Engagement [Action Research in Education] that keeps a group going. I wonder what level the Portfolio Group is on or if different people have different perspectives of where the level of interest is on the teacher research of the group.

Cheryl picked up on Michaelann’s thought, offering, But in the Portfolio Group, we have to purposely work to find commonplaces. In addition, we have used processes from time to time as our commonplaces: portfolios, CFG® protocols, the Blog, and traveling journals. Then, there are the other things: professional relationships, shared presentations, shared writing, and a sense of obligation. Even then, this may not be enough for some people.

The purposeful search for commonplaces sometimes leads to tumultuous dynamics among our group members. Quests for leadership emerge as members encourage others to line up behind their vision. As well, conflicting interests and tensions emerge. In the midst of this reflective exchange, Cheryl inserted one of her long-term wonders: “I have always been struck by Nona Lyons’ comment that the Portfolio Group is a group of ‘super-teachers.’ Is it our abilities to reflect and your activities resulting from your reflective practices that make you so?” The quote from Nona Lyons (1998) is something that always brings a smile to our faces, yet the burden of this title weighs heavy on our work and our continuous questioning of, “Is it ‘super’ enough?” Our group, in its quest to find commonplaces due to our individual diversity in learning and reflecting involves a multiplicity that is often hard for others to grasp. Cheryl, in her effort to explain the Portfolio Group’s work in words, started investigating Lugones’s (1987) scholarship. Cheryl reflected upon her discovery, There is a researcher, Maria Lugones, who writes about people who only view things from their own vantage point. She calls this ‘arrogant perception’…when Lugones was asked what might be done to overcome this arrogant perception, she replied, ‘world traveling’ – the experiencing of others’ worlds and views—Is this not what the traveling journals do? Lenses into others’ worlds? Hot topics? Interests? Concerns?

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Cheryl continued days later, “I wonder what we will learn/teach each other through the process of exchanging the traveling journal? What will we learn about reflection?” Lugones’ notion of world traveling brought our Portfolio Group back full circle to the 1999 International Teacher Research Conference, when we attended a session presented by teachers in a village of Nunavut, a then-newly created Canadian territory carved out of the remote frontier of the Northwest Territories. Teachers there had embarked on a project to take Native Canadian (First Nations) students from the village and expose them to world travel. The teachers in that group noted that travel and exposure to a world outside their immediate surroundings made a significant difference in students’ learning and world awareness. The cyclical nature of reflective practice emerges from Cheryl’s mention of Lugones’ methods of overcoming the arrogant perception. Like the students in Nunavut, we also began to confront our own “arrogant perceptions” as the traveling journals broadened each member’s world lens. This conference has become one of the times and places that Michaelann and Simon Cosenza (pseudonym) both mark as a pivotal moment in their learning. Their learning and work not only benefited from the theoretical world traveling, but also from the actual travel. The conference served as a catalyst into the knowing of narrative research and would be storied and restoried as a learning journey. As the journal made its rounds through the group membership, Cheryl’s query about what we as group members would learn from and teach each other appeared in other Portfolio Group contributions. For example, Anna Hart (pseudonym) found earlier definitions of reflection and then connected them with her personal lens, The reason why I feel reflection is so important to teaching—education…is because without it we are stuck, stuck in the same-old, same-old rut. Before working with the local reform movement, I was just existing as a teacher. Now I feel not only am I a teacher but an educator!

In this excerpt from one of Anna’s many entries, she reiterates Michaelann and Cheryl’s thoughts on teachers and how their everyday routines can get in the way of the powerful reflective practices they can put in place. In her reflective journal entry, Anna then tied the practical to the theoretical idea Cheryl introduced from Lugones’ research concerning world traveling,

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We all have been traveling so much together, Maybe that is why our group has stayed together…not only does the group have professional ties but we each have a sliver of a memory for everyone as an individual. That is what makes reflective practice so wonderful to me. I would never have thought out loud about our group, but so often my subconscious thinking surfaces in my writing.

Michaelann and Anna were at this time in very parallel positions, although at different schools both were teaching art in the same district. Although Michaelann has changed positions, the “slivers of memories” have made the professional transitions smooth. Ron Venable in his time with the reflection journal also wrote about the current context of the group and its meetings. He centered on Nona Lyons’s personal visit with us and “her positive reaction and interest in the traveling journals, her input [on the traveling journals I created] with Michaelann and our classroom traveling journals were also a high point.” Ron’s perspective of Lyons’s evaluation of his work helped his already lit candle to continue to burn even more brightly in ways that would fuel future inquiries. Nona’s additional input also pushed his work into the next spiral rather than continuing in a single-loop configuration. As Ron noted in his last entry of the reflection journal, “This [traveling journals idea] [is] a very good thing—It forces me to step up to the plate, re-work, and reflect more on my practice.” As one of nine traveling journals, the reflective practice journal provided us with the space and opportunity to delve into the theoretical underpinnings of our work, explore new research, and more importantly examine our personal perspectives on our own and others’ practices. The “world traveling” of each of our group’s members helped us to develop more solid relationships among us, as the traveling journals also became the vehicles through which we learned from and taught each of us about our newly connected knowledge gleaned from our work in highly diverse contexts.

Traveling Journals Theme 2: Collaborative Inquiry into Ideas and Tensions A second major theme that wound its way through our traveling journals was collaboration with others around big ideas and the tensions we as Portfolio Group members experienced between leadership and

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collaboration. For example, Cheryl discussed collaboration in teacher learning groups as opposed to the more traditional “sit and get” professional staff training. Cheryl wrote, “But teacher learning in groups is a much more subtle, and I think, more powerful model.” She continued in this entry to reflect and elaborate on the different assumptions at play in teacher collaboration, which later manifested themselves in student learning as well. Michaelann was the first to respond to Cheryl’s entry on teacher learning groups. From her perspective as a high school teacher, she focused on “leadership” and its relationship to how teachers such as us learn in community. Michaelann specifically noted in her reflective reply that she believed there was a “need for a convener (if that is a word) or a leader to bring a group together.” This response reflected the degree to which an ingrained educational hierarchy was alive on Michaelann’s school landscape despite her campus’s involvement in organized reform initiatives for 10 years. Underneath this cover story (Clandinin and Connelly 1996; Olson and Craig 2005) lay the unexamined assumption that collaboration is a great learning strategy for teachers as long as someone—most often someone in a formal leadership position—is in charge. Months later, Michaelann was still wrestling in the traveling journals with how collaboration, influence, and power surface in school contexts. How could she be a change agent or a leverage point for a school making shifts? she queried. “The realm of influence of a teacher such as me seems to be that of no power—but it is the power of influence that really can make a difference to a school context,” pondered Michaelann. Entries such as these helped to create and maintain a written dialogue among us and supplied a written map—particularly in the collaboration and leadership journals—of the group’s growing understanding of big ideas and how they resonated or failed to resonate with one another. Our colleague, Anna Hart, on her early morning drive to teach middle school in a historically underserved African American community had some quiet time to reflect. Her mind wandered and she began to ponder why people on her educational landscape created detailed “signatures” for their email transmissions. Anna wrote, “Somehow my mind drifts to email…I’ve been noticing how everyone signs off by stating their name, degree, title, school, etc. …my sign off would be longer than my emails.” Anna continued, “So are these titles - leadership or power, broadcasting how important I might be…for who, what, and why?” Anna’s musing

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led many of us to reflect on their reasons for their journeys into higher education, new school positions, and their need to seek this perceived power of leadership. In the Portfolio Group, while many of its members have gone on to receive their doctorates and have ventured into higher education, earlier journal entries such as this act as a constant reminder to be ever-cognizant of and responsible in managing the power—real or perceived—that accompanies our leadership positions. Our nine Portfolio Group members at the time of the Traveling Journals were diverse yet similar. One member was an already well-established and respected professor and author, four members were actively in pursuit of their doctoral degrees, five members had or were pursuing their administration certification, eight had master’s degrees, at least three had been the “teacher of the year” in their buildings, and one has been “district teacher of the year.” The “sign offs” for all of us would have been longer than our email communiqués; yet our traveling journals are filled with struggles regarding positions that were experienced by ourselves and our colleagues in schools. Michaelann, in responding to Anna, wrote, “Makes me wonder why I went/go to school—I do not believe that it was for power—I think I was seeking new knowledge to better myself as a teacher and to understand the perspective of the administrators…know thy enemy.” This last statement conveyed Michaelann’s deeply held belief that power corrupts, even in schools. It also belies a contradiction in that while Michaelann denied a quest for power, in a manner reminiscent of Crites’ (1971) cover stories, she used a power-laden term, “know thy enemy” to issue the denial. Anna continued with her train of thought by discussing why administrators become administrators, Ron chimed in and suddenly, there was an en masse downward spiral of negativity toward appointed leaders until Cheryl responded, “But it all winds back to leadership. In tough times, we need leaders telling and living stories from which we can draw energy and courage.” Many years after this exchange and the power question, Michaelann transitioned into administration. She states, “I interviewed for the position not to tell others what to do, but so that others could not tell me what to do.” She continued, “After being in the Portfolio Group for 15 years at that time and a CFG® coach for that long, I wanted to implement and use the reflective practices that I know work on a larger scale.” Anna, at the end of her month-long entry, came to a personal understanding of what makes a good leader. “I feel you have to be true to

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yourself, trust your intuition, maintain respect for yourself and others.” Deirdre added, “…also be able to plan and do.” In the midst of the dialogue, Cheryl observed, “I think it is easier to describe a good leader in terms of the opposite qualities of bad leaders.” Ron then consulted Webster’s dictionary for clarification and added his viewpoint on leadership: “I define leadership as someone who practices what they preach. Show me, do not tell me. Walk the walk, talk the talk.” Ron then immediately translated that idea to his personal context and reflected on his leadership in mentoring student teachers, “I made it clear to each of them what I expect from them—the same as what I expect from myself.” After defining his view of leadership and providing an example in his life of how he demonstrates “walk the walk,” as he described it, Ron reverted to his own school’s story. “At Eagle High School when they [appointed school administrators] make mistakes, they never admit to the mistake, but either dismiss it or give excuses.” Ron’s comments spurred Cheryl’s thinking and she began to discuss how leadership can be viewed as “leadership from the front…leadership through walking alongside…leadership in the midst…if one is looking for the out-front stuff, leadership in the midst could be overlooked.” It is the concept of leadership in the midst that we as members of the Portfolio Group exude within the context of our group meetings but also within our respective educational landscapes. Michaelann included in one of her entries a chapter on change and leadership. The chapter mentions a term, kaizen, which is Japanese for continual improvement. Kaizen is not a new term, but one she has heard from her sister who works in a Fortune 500 company. However, in the context of school reform, neither the idea nor the term is discussed. A leader in the midst strives for continual improvement and the notion that there is no end embedded in the way the individual works. Struggles emerge, however, when the leader in the midst encounters others who are of the mindset that “this is the way it has always been done,” as well as the relatively new train of thought produced by the policy, No Child Left Behind, and high-stakes accountability, which is, “if we reach this number, then we are done.” These two huge obstacles sit on the horizon and continually cause leaders in the midst such as us not only to bump, but to bang our heads against the wall as we pursue incremental change in an environment where challenges are expected to be immediately solved.

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Traveling Journals Theme 3: Bumping into the Boundaries of Policy and Procedure A third theme that occurred and reoccurred in the traveling journals exchanged among us as Portfolio Group members had to do with bumping into the boundaries of policies and procedures. Ron, for example, repeatedly referred to times when policies and procedures were applied to him and his students in ways that were experienced as obstructionist and miseducative. On one occasion, he told a story of a female student entering his advanced art class somewhat late in the semester. When the counselor introduced the teen to his classroom at the prearranged time, the teen expressed apprehension about drawing, which Ron found “rather strange,” given the subject area he taught. Ron subsequently consoled the young person, “assuring her that everything would be okay.” However, it was not until the teenager removed her jacket that Ron realized the utter inappropriateness of his response. What the counselor had neglected to tell him was that the teen was missing her right arm and that alternative activities to drawing would most certainly need to be pursued. Here, Ron experienced policy and procedures being enacted in partial ways that offered neither he nor the student in question a full view of the particularities of their shared situation and the utter necessity of certain kinds of instructional modification. On a second occasion, Ron wrote about the classroom absence of another student who was within six weeks of graduation. In contacting the Hispanic young man’s parent, Ron learned that the student had entered the workforce in order to financially provide for his mother and siblings. When Ron heard of this dire situation, he knew that the student’s timetable could be adjusted over the short term to fit his work hours. Ron also suggested to the student’s mother that she should request this program adaptation. In the meantime, Ron built a strong case for the student’s class changes with the assigned school counselor. When action was not taken and the student’s successful graduation remained in limbo, Ron felt the need to advocate for the student through communicating directly with the lead counselor. The student was subsequently reinstated and able to graduate, having previously satisfied all standardized testing requirements. However, when this story began to circulate in the school milieu, it was the head counselor who was credited with averting a potential dropout situation when in fact it was Ron, a teacher and a fellow Portfolio Group member awake to the special circumstances surrounding

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a particular student at risk of school failure, who played an advocacy role in getting the students’ classes—and high school graduation—sorted out. In the traveling journals, Cheryl similarly discussed occasions when she rubbed against the boundaries of policy and procedures, but in the higher education context. She particularly told of two summer classes that were not assigned classroom space. Although all classrooms—with the exception of a science lab—were empty in her building on Friday mornings and afternoons, the times when Cheryl taught, no classrooms were reserved for her. Even Cheryl’s appeals to those with hierarchical authority and a jointly signed letter of concern authored by both classes of graduate students did not bring resolution to the matter. Consequently, Cheryl and the students were told each Friday morning and afternoon the revolving location where their classes would be held. Such communications typically took place moments before instruction was to begin. In direct contrast, when Cheryl found her classes filled beyond capacity in the fall term of the same academic year, there was no problem whatsoever in switching Cheryl from a seminar room to a classroom space that would accommodate thirty students—even with all other space in her building in use. In both Ron’s and Cheryl’s detailed accounts in the traveling journals, educational policies and procedures appeared to take on lives of their own, playing out in unpredictable and confounding ways. Also, in both cases, there were people behind the written policies and procedures who could work to assist Ron and Cheryl in addressing the experienced dilemmas or could impede their and others’ attempts to make the situation workable. While neither Ron nor Cheryl knew of the concurrent issues with which their counterparts were dealing, both did know that the aforementioned situations could have been handled in a more sensitive and proactive ways for the particular high school and university students involved. When the above traveling journal exchanges were shared in our next Portfolio Group meeting, yet another layer of interpretation became added to these experiences through the reflective scaffolding we offered one another. A discussion about how those lower in the educational hierarchy are held accountable to those above them (but not the other way around) ensued. Furthermore, talk of how compliance is demanded of those with the least power, whereas those with the most power have a choice as to whether they act in responsible or capricious ways as both Ron’s and Cheryl’s traveling journal entries demonstrated. One last significant point concerning the policy and procedures theme warrants inclusion in our discussion of our traveling journal work. In

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both of the aforementioned situations, others of us as Portfolio Group members were on the scene and could attest to the veracity of the accounts authored by Ron and Cheryl in the traveling journals. Michaelann taught art next door to Ron and witnessed the actions and responses and/or lack of response to the situations Ron described. As for Cheryl’s classroom space fiasco, Tim was a doctoral student enrolled in the classes and knew first-hand the details of what transpired from his experience of “chasing around the building on Fridays, trying to find the room where classes would be held.” His verification authenticated the experiential texts in layered ways, which lent further heft to the idea of demands for accountability running down the conduit (Craig 2009) and acts of compliance running up. Also, we, as Portfolio Group members, wondered how Ron’s and Cheryl’s experiences might have been otherwise if hierarchical demands for accountability and compliance were less intrusive and approached in a mutually informing (and satisfying) way. We deliberated whether this would relieve some of the confusion and unpredictability in teaching-learning situations such as those Ron and Cheryl captured in their traveling journal entries.

Looking Backward, Imagining Forward Our group’s use of traveling journals provided us with a forum for individual and layered forms of collective sense-making as our featured themes of reflection, collaborative inquiry into ideas and tensions, and bumping into the boundaries of policies and procedures make clear. As indicated, we, as members of the Portfolio Group, participated voluntarily in the written dialogues, contributing as much or as little as we wished to the emergent reflective conversations. Also, some members chose to contribute to the discussion of certain topics—for example, Gayle in her new role as principal concentrated on the culture/climate and special needs students traveling journals—but not on others. Whereas most of us group members willingly wrote in all the traveling journals, one member, Tim, preferred his personal journal writing to the new research tool with which we were experimenting. At the same time, not one of us in the Portfolio Group would recommend the wholesale adoption of traveling journals as teachers’ sole reflective devices. Rather, traveling journals like personal journals, interviews, participant observation notes, and audio-taped Portfolio Group discussions as well as a bevy of other approaches are but one of a whole repertoire of research tools we

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as teacher researchers, reflective practitioners, critical friends, and knowledge community members can use to cultivate and scaffold our reflective thinking, research, and practices. The traveling journals also provided an interesting medium for us, as both core and satellite members, to contribute to the shared knowledge of the group. In conversations among the group, Cheryl used Simon’s metaphor of “core and satellite” members to address tensions emerging from the dynamic nature of group membership and involvement. “Core” members are those of us who seem to be perennially involved in the work of the group. We are the ones who attended every meeting, responded in every journal, and regularly contributed their thoughts, energy, and work to the good of the group. The “satellite” members were those of us who, by virtue of whatever force, enter and exit the group membership. Like comets in orbit around the sun, these “satellites” work in orbits that periodically bring them into our Portfolio Group fold. While there, they burn bright and make significant contributions to our group and our shared body of knowledge. Over time, their orbits recede, and the dazzling brightness fades, making room for the light of others of our satellite members to emerge. What readers are unable to see in our traveling portfolio documents are the unique ways that we as group members put our “signatures” on our reflective contributions. Gayle, for example, often included music lyrics and poetry in her entries whereas Michaelann frequently pulled on her art background and affixed student artwork, personal sketches, and art reproductions in the midst of her and others’ commentaries. Also, the fact that Tim wrote outside the lines in his personal journal may be one of the reasons the traveling journal has yet to work for him. Pulling together “stuff” like others characteristically may not have been his signature whereas writing sideways—a practice with which Tim is not yet publicly comfortable—may have been, as his years of personal journaling attest. All in all, the traveling journals concept has proven valuable in igniting our shared teacher-led inquiry (Craig and Ross 2008), crossing our institutional boundaries, and elucidating our teachers’ knowledge. It additionally has been helpful in connecting theory, practice, and policy and merging teachers’ professional development with our subsequent classroom actions. Finally, it has allowed our Portfolio Group members—amid our significant job transitions—to continue to grow in relationship and in knowledge as members of our honorable profession.

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References Amulya, J. (2003). What is reflective practice? Center for Reflective Community Practice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved from http://crcp. mit.edu. Argyris, C., & Schön, D. (1978). Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Bruner, J. (1987). Life as narrative. Social Research, 54(1), 11–32. Bruner, J. (2002). Making stories: Law, literature, life. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Clandinin, D. J. (1986). Classroom practice: Teacher images in action. Philadelphia, PA: Falmer Press. Clandinin, D. J. (1992). Narrative and story in teacher education. In T. Russell & H. Munby (Eds.), Teachers and teaching: From classroom to reflection (pp. 124–137). New York, NY: Falmer Press. Clandinin, D. J. (1993). Teacher education as narrative inquiry. In D. J. Clandinin, A. Davies, P. Hogan, & B. Kennard (Eds.), Learning to teach, teaching to learn: Stories of collaboration in teacher education (pp. 1–15). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1995). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1996). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes: Teacher stories-Stories of teachers-School stories-Stories of school. Educational Researcher, 19(5), 2–14. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educational Researcher, 19(5), 2–14. Craig, C. J. (2003). Narrative inquiries of school reform: Storied lives, storied landscapes, storied metaphors. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing. Craig, C. J. (2009). The contested classroom space: A decade of lived educational policy in Texas Schools. American Educational Research Journal, 46(4), 1034–1059. Craig, C. J., & Ross, V. (2008). Cultivating the image of teachers as curriculum makers. In F. M. Connelly (Ed.), Handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 282–305). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Crites, S. (1971). The narrative quality of experience. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 399(3), 291–311. Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and education. New York, NY: Touchstone Books (original published in 1938). Lane, B. (1988). Landscapes of the sacred: Geography and narrative in American spirituality. New York, NY: Paulist Press.

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Lugones, M. (1987). Playfulness, “world”-travelling, and loving perception. Hypatia, 10(2), 23–43. Lyons, N. (1998). Preface. In With portfolio in hand: Validating the new teacher professionalism. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. MacIntyre, A. (1981). After virtue. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) Public Law 107–110, 20 U.S.C. § 6301. (2002). Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/ese a02/index.html. Olson, M., & Craig, C. J. (2005). Uncovering cover stories: Tensions and entailments in the development of teacher knowledge. Curriculum Inquiry, 35, 161–182. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books. Schön, D. A. (1991). The reflective turn: Case studies in and on educational practice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Schön, D. A. (1995). Knowing-in-action: The new scholarship requires a new epistemology. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 27 (6), 26–34. Schwab, J. J. (1956/1978). Science and civil discourse: The uses of diversity. In I. Westbury & N. Wilkof (Eds.), Science, curriculum and liberal education: Selected essays (pp. 133–148). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Schwab, J. J. (1961/1978). Education and the structure of the disciplines. In I. Westbury & N. Wilkof (Eds.), Science, curriculum and liberal education: Selected essays (pp. 229–272). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Schwab, J. J. (1969). The practical: A language for curriculum. School Review, 78, 1–23. Schwab, J. J. (1971). The practical: Arts of eclectic. School Review, 79(4), 493– 542. Schwab, J. J. (1983). The practical: Something for curriculum professors to do. Curriculum Inquiry, 13(3), 239–265. Stringer, E. (2004). Action research in education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

CHAPTER 8

Engaging in Self-Study Research (2011–Present)

Personal story, situations and contexts self-directed agency, curriculum-maker lens personal practical knowledge self and expert with knowing and sensibilities teaching through showing and personal interaction naturally gravitating toward the best-loved self. —From The Best-loved Self 1 by G. Curtis (2013, p. 211)

Reflecting on our entry into and engagement with self-study research, our consensus is that inquiry into one’s practice is integral to defining, refining, and living out one’s best-loved self (Craig 2013). Joseph Schwab (1954/1978) first drew attention to the notion of the best-loved self of teachers/teacher educators when he discussed his own practice in “Eros and education”: He [Joseph Schwab] wants something more for his students than the capacity to give back to him a report of what he himself has said. He wants them to possess a knowledge or a skill in the same way that he possesses it, as a part of his best-loved self…He wants to communicate some of the fire he feels, some of the Eros he possesses, for a valued object. His controlled and conscious purpose is to liberate, not captivate the student. (pp. 124–125)

© The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_8

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Schwab’s desires for his students and himself provides insights into who he was an educator—one who was passionate about the work he valued and for which he held a life-preserving instinct (Eros) to protect. He desired that his students take up new knowledge on their own terms (not through mimicking and/or pleasing him), to make it their own as part of their personal practical knowledge, “the experiential knowledge that [is] embodied in us as persons and [is] enacted in our classroom practices and in our lives” (Clandinin 1993, p. 1), and, importantly, as part of our and our students’ best-loved selves. We understand that teachers/teacher educators are knowledgeable and knowing persons who experience situations holistically—intellectually, physically, emotionally, and aesthetically (Clandinin and Connelly 2000; Connelly and Clandinin 1988). Considering this, we see the concept of best-loved self as the best image we have of our innermost selves in our entirety…the personal self at one with the professional self. Our aim then is to live our best-loved selves in our daily work so that we may enjoy satisfying lives, which, for Schwab (1954/1978), was the ultimate aim of education. In our view, the orientation of self-study toward improvement of practice is not only beneficial to our becoming better teachers/teacher educators, but also strikes a chord with our best-loved selves as reflective practitioners who desire continuous growth and development. We acknowledge that as practitioners, we live and work in a constant flux of change—from the people with whom we work and live, to the contexts in which those interactions occur, and even to our personal and professional selves. We are continuously growing and developing as new knowledge and experience becomes a lived part of our personal practical knowledge (Connelly and Clandinin 1988; Connelly et al. 1997; Elbaz-Luwisch 2010) and enacted in our practice. The implication is that improvement of self and craft is an ongoing process—a process in which we have found self-study to be both illuminating and beneficial. In this chapter, we reflect backward on our individual and shared experiences related to self-study research, or more precisely, self-study of teaching and teacher education practices (S-STEP) (which we refer to simply as self-study). Through sharing personal stories of the Portfolio Group, we revisit our entry into this qualitative research genre and delve into some of the Portfolio Group’s self-studies thus far to ponder the significance of our research discoveries as they relate to our improvement of practice and our enactment of our best-loved selves. We also examine the ways in which self-study connects to our previous work,

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and share how particular situations shaped our identities as self-study researchers. Intermingled are discussions of selections of self-study literature that enlightened us as to the theoretical underpinnings of self-study and how the work of self-study is done, illustrating the way in which our coming to know self-study research unfolded.

Emergence of a Metaphor Over the years, the Portfolio Group had studied our individual and collaborative school reform efforts, as well as our efforts to evidence the progress of that work via school portfolios. Also, we had individually, and at times collaboratively, engaged in teacher action research for the purposes of arriving at solutions for curriculum and instruction problems or evaluating outcomes to particular teacher-initiated instructional changes. Throughout, the Portfolio Group has acted as our knowledge community (Craig 1992, 1995), a safe and trusted space in which to story and restory our experiences, to receive mindful feedback from critical friends offering different perspectives based on different experiential lenses, and to reshape our understandings of personal experiences in education. It was not until 2011, however, that we turned our collective critical eye to the Portfolio Group itself and began to examine what makes our group function as a knowledge community, our group characteristics that contribute to sustainability, and the implications on our practice within other teacher/teacher educator communities (Curtis et al. 2012, p. 175, see also Craig et al. 2016; Curtis et al. 2013). Connecting to a Metaphor Our coming to self-study research happened unexpectedly. It all began with the “braided rivers” metaphor that organically—and serendipitously—emerged in a 2011 conversation between Gayle Curtis and Deirdre Bamboo (pseudonym) during a road trip from Houston to New Orleans to attend the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference. As they discussed the history of the Portfolio Group, they began exploring the ways in which the lives of Portfolio Group members are intertwined—merging, diverging, and reconverging over time—like the braided rivers Deirdre had seen in Alaska and Gayle had studied in earth science. After continuing their conversation around the

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metaphor at AERA, Gayle and Deirdre were eager to share their thoughts with the rest of the Portfolio Group. Gathered around Tim Martindell and Mike Perez’s dining room table a few weeks later, the braided rivers metaphor was presented to the group as a lens through which the Portfolio Group might examine its collaboration. Although Gayle and Deirdre had some knowledge about braided rivers that led them to connect the metaphor with the Portfolio Group’s journey, the rest of us did not. It should be noted at this point, that unbeknownst to the rest of our group, the braided rivers metaphor had recently appeared in a project involving another of Cheryl Craig’s collaborative groups. She decided, however, to withhold that information in order to maintain the confidentiality of both groups and to allow the Portfolio Group’s exploration of the metaphor to play out naturally. So, when the braided rivers metaphor was shared around the dining room table and everyone’s first reaction was to reach for their smartphone or computer to look up the description of braided rivers, Cheryl followed suit. This is what we discovered about braided rivers: 1. Braided rivers are comprised of multiple channels, flowing downstream, separating, rejoining, and draining into a common body of water (most often in multiple channels) (World Landforms, n.d.); 2. They are laden with gravel and coarse sediment that are deposited along the way; 3. The separate pathways are formed by deposited sediments and changes in the terrain; 4. They experience “sporadic, high-discharge events” (University of Toledo, n.d.) Metaphor as a Provocation for Self-Study The characteristics of braided rivers in this metaphor provoked our interest in examining the sustaining characteristics of the Portfolio Group. Having not previously turned a critical eye on ourselves as a group, we sought to better understand the factors that contribute to the successful interactions and longevity of teacher groups like ours. The metaphor provided a metaphorical lens for our reflective journaling and critical professional dialogue (Guilfoyle et al. 2004). We tried not to get too

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swept up in our imaginations, but rather to make connections that made sense to our experiences in the Portfolio Group, yet aligned with the metaphor. Looking back, we have to admit that with some of us (well, maybe all of us) having active imaginations, we sometimes got carried away with the metaphor. As typically happens in our group, one person or another would eventually pull us back on track (back to reality) and connections that were quite thin were quickly (although sometimes reluctantly) set aside. There were, however, a number of substantial connections between braided rivers and the Portfolio Group that held meaning for us individually and collectively. We were particularly struck by the interconnectedness reflected in the metaphor. One river being made up of multiple channels which flow in the same direction seemed akin to the Portfolio Group being comprised of individuals, all in education, and all with a similar direction of pursuing quality, change, and equity in education. Like braided rivers, our professional and personal lives are intertwined, and our career pathways are interwoven as well. Together, we form the Portfolio Group. We have a long history of shared experiences in similar contexts that bind us together, all of which unfolds alongside meaningful relationships with one another. As relational teachers/teacher educators (Kitchen 2005, 2009, 2016; Kitchen and Ragoonaden 2019; Noddings 1984, 2005), we hold and strive to convey respect and empathy within our group interactions and in our work with students and colleagues. This connection to the metaphor reminded us of the importance of shared experiences within other professional groups in building relationships and trust, along with creating and sustaining a group identity. Also, we saw a connection to periodic high releases of water such as during the spring ice melt when braided river volumes increase dramatically and flow rapidly. For us, this seemed to represent our collaborative work on projects over the years when we experience lulls with no determined projects, followed by a calm steady flow of project-related meeting discussions, and then high bursts of activity as we push to complete projects such as this book manuscript. While this connection seemed to characterize our project work within the Portfolio Group, it did not necessarily speak to us regarding how to improve our work with other collaborative groups. We knew we had to go deeper. Before going further in showing what we learned through the braided rivers metaphorical lens, we thought it important to share how we

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decided to take up self-study research and the connections that make selfstudy meaningful to us beyond the scope of personal and professional improvement.

Coming to Self-Study Personal history, non-replicable, self-moving living thing product of education, product of self-made choices debate, deliberation, decision translating reflections into actions testing reflections, actions, and outcomes practices and consequences, strengths and reflections discretionary power, enactment, and active engagement illuminating the best-loved self. —From The Best-loved Self by G. Curtis (2013, p. 211)

Somewhere in the initial phase of our reflective journaling and professional dialogue, Cheryl suggested that what we were doing was engaging in self-study using the narrative inquiry research method. Although she was very familiar with self-study research, the rest of us were not. Because of our relationships and shared history, however, we trusted Cheryl’s opinion and agreed as a group to look into self-study. So, as we delved deeper into the sustaining characteristics of the Portfolio Group, we also dove into the self-study literature. In the process, we discovered many relevant linkages between what we already knew about other research methods and what we were learning about self-study, along with some surprising connections. Thus began our journey to becoming self-study researchers with a distinctive narrative inquiry bent. Diving into the self-study literature, the rest of us counted on Cheryl to get us started by pointing us in the direction of articles and handbook chapters that would help us better understand self-study research. Gradually, each member of the Portfolio Group (including Cheryl) brought more and more literature discoveries back to the group for discussion. We quickly realized that, like any other research genre or field of expertise, self-study has its own vernacular…its own language, so to speak…terms that are applied a certain way in this qualitative research genre. Not only did we need to learn the language, but we also needed to develop a common understanding of this research genre that was new to us— its theoretical underpinning, the methods of inquiry, and so on. Our independent reading and reflection followed by group discussion were instrumental in this process.

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Importantly, we found that there were many aspects of self-study with which we identified—particularly as action researchers striving to improve practice and narrative inquirers using participants’ stories of experience to better understand their situated experiences and the meaning attached to them. Unexpectedly (to everyone but Cheryl), we instantly connected with some of the self-study literature because of past interactions and relationships with the authors and links to the Portfolio Group’s past collaborations. The following are a few examples. Connecting Self-Study to Past Portfolio Work In discussing trustworthiness in self-study, Nona Lyons and Vicki LaBoskey (2002) explain how exemplars, or examples, show “how a practice works” (p. 6) which in turn helps to build credibility and transferability for the reader. We immediately paid attention to what Nona and Vicki had to say about self-study because they were educators familiar to us. Although we had previously met Nona Lyons when she visited with the Portfolio Group in Houston, we really got to know her during a snowy January week in 2000. This was when, at Nona’s invitation, we shared our school portfolio work at the Portfolios and Teacher Learning and Professional Education Conference at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As for Vicki LaBoskey, we were already reading her 2004 chapter on the characteristics of self-study research, but knew her previously through our school portfolio work. Some of us (Michaelann, Gayle, Cheryl) met her at the Harvard portfolio conference organized by Nona Lyons. Vicki had been instrumental in helping us deepen our understanding of the relationship between narrative and practice. In their discussion of trustworthiness in self-study, Lyons and LaBoskey cited Elliot Mishler’s (1990) reformulation of “validation as the social construction of knowledge” (p. 417), making an additional connection to self-study research. Seeing Mishler’s name also returned us to Nona’s portfolio conference that was held at Harvard University in 2000. All these years later, Mishler’s critical feedback that our presented school portfolio work was “too pretty, too clean” and did not “reflect the richness of the struggles” continues to echo in our minds (see Chapter 3 for the full story). His words remind us to not tell the story but to show the story—through exemplars—and to allow readers to make connections (transferences) with their own stories. In particular, Mishler’s words

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remind us to not show the cover stories that we are naturally drawn to, but to illuminate the lived story that is full of challenges, struggles, successes, and failures. This corroborated one of the main lessons Cheryl took away from studying with Clandinin and Connelly and is a point she also underscores time and time again. Connecting Self-Study to Narrative Inquiry The notion of showing experience through examples and thereby establishing trustworthiness was familiar to us through our previous experiences engaging in narrative inquiries. As detailed in Chapter 6, narrative inquiry is a method employed by the Portfolio Group in both individual and collaborative research. Like narrative inquirers who utilize participant stories to show how experiences unfold and how meaning is made, we found that self-study researchers use their own stories as exemplars and areas of exploration. Similarly, we identified with the way in which exemplar storied experiences are unpacked and analyzed in relation to contexts, cultures, relationships, the broader professional knowledge landscape, and so forth. While narrative methods are not the only methods employed in self-study research, we noted that they are often used in self-study as evident in the literature (Zeichner and Noffke 2001). We connected to self-study in other ways as well. An important link is that researcher reflection/reflexivity is central to self-study (Loughran et al. 2004) and to narrative inquiry (Clandinin and Connelly 2000), and a practice in which we have engaged since 1998 (Schön 1983, 1995). For us, both individually and as a group, reflection is vital to our continued growth and improvement. Furthermore, we consider being reflective practitioners as primary expressions of our best-loved selves. Finally, we noted that self-studies incorporate a critical friend or trusted colleague with whom the researcher(s) shares ideas and discusses findings. In group self-studies such as ours, individuals work alongside one another both as researchers and critical friends, employing “dialogue as an essential element of the coming-to-know process” (Pinnegar and Hamilton 2009). Again, both Stefinee Pinnegar and Mary Lynn Hamilton were familiar to us through the narrative inquiry community. We appreciated their description of “coming to know” through dialogue, as this is a practice very close to home for the Portfolio Group. When we meet, we construct meaning by discussing critical issues in our practice and offering feedback from different perspectives as critical friends. When we began to

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interact with the self-study community, however, we came to a new understanding of what that feedback could look like, a topic we take up later in the chapter. As we did the work and studied the literature, the Portfolio Group’s coming to self-study happened in a very natural manner, similar to the way the braided rivers metaphor emerged organically in conversation. We found that identifying personal/professional connections with this research method was helpful in constructing our own understanding of a research genre that was new to us. By sharing these connections with self-study research, we do not mean to suggest that we knew all there was to know about self-study as we set out. On the contrary, we had much to learn as we engaged in our first self-study, and are still continuing to learn. What we do mean to say is that our past work and experiences aligned with self-study research in such a way that we considered self-study research as a genre that resonates with us as a group of reflective practitioners and is a right fit for our investigation into the group’s sustaining qualities.

Delving Deeper into the Metaphor Fountainhead, agent, engaging in the practical, interacting in complex milieus the teacher commonplace, organic, interactive, mentor, guide model, ally and participant face-to-face and dwelling with and laboring alongside amid the learning process with narrative authority -personal practical knowledge in actionconveying ideas and images to liberate not captivate learning to live together coming to know the best-loved self. —From The Best-loved Self by G. Curtis (2013, p. 211)

We now turn back to what we were uncovering through reflective journal writing and professional dialogue while concurrently exploring self-study literature. Of the metaphor connections we found meaningful were: • the idea of deposits (knowledge) left behind by braided rivers (teachers/teacher educators), • the notion of multiple rivers following similar, often parallel, paths through the shifting landscape (teachers/teacher educators working

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and living alongside one another in the ever-changing field of education), and • the shaping power of the terrain on the course and characteristics of braided rivers (influence of environments on practice, career pathways, and teacher identity). Knowledge Carried Forward Just as braided rivers carry gravel and coarse sediment that is deposited along its path, the knowledge that we (all teachers/teacher educators) hold is “deposited” (shared) in practice within school and institution communities through daily interactions with students and colleagues. That knowledge is further deposited (shared) in the broader education landscape through presentations, publications, guest lectures, and the like. That knowledge is also carried forward by our students in their personal practical knowledge. In the midst of teaching (and sometimes long after), however, we frequently question whether or not our students are really constructing their own knowledge from shared classroom materials and discussions. For example, with the students and preservice teacher candidates we teach, it is often unknown to us what knowledge from our interactions are taken up in their personal practical knowledge and enacted in practice or their daily lives. On occasion, however, we are able to maintain close contact with students and see evidence of this in their work as they establish themselves in the field. An example of this is Jing Li, Cheryl’s former doctoral student, who currently is a super postdoctoral research fellow at East China Normal University in the People’s Republic of China. Jing’s research focuses on teachers’ lives and teacher education in high needs areas in the urban United States (US) and rural China. She employs narrative inquiry and digital narrative inquiry methods in her current projects regarding teachers’ fostering their best-loved selves in rural China. As her research methods and current projects show, Jing is productively carrying forward knowledge and experiences garnered while studying and working with Cheryl in the US. Her story evidences some of the ways that knowledge taken up through our interactions with students finds its way into new and different landscapes. It also gives us confidence that it is being carried forward by others as well. Jing’s story reminds us of the importance of building and maintaining relationships with our students.

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Parallel Journeys We were particularly struck by the way in which the multiple streambeds of braided rivers flowing toward the sea repeatedly come together, separate in response to the terrain into somewhat parallel flows, and then come back together again. Along their course, braided rivers all flow in the same direction, pulled by gravity to the coastline and the open sea. This is akin to the way that the Portfolio Group formed around school reform and improvement and how some members have at times left the group in response to other demands in education and life landscapes and then returned to the group. It also takes into account those individuals who after many years of active participation in the group, left to pursue other professional dreams and goals. Although our intersections with these colleagues are now often more social than professional, the bonds still exist, and our career pathways continue to be forged mostly in parallel directions in education and in similar contexts. An example of this is Jennifer Day, who joined the group in 1999 alongside Gayle as representatives of Heights Community Learning Center where Jennifer was the dual language coordinator and Gayle the school reform coordinator. As Gayle explained, It is interesting because we both interviewed for the two coordinator positions. Jennifer’s past experience in a quality dual language school was invaluable to Heights. We formed a close relationship working side by side on all aspects of school activities…instructional programs, professional development, school portfolios, parent engagement, community partnerships, and school administration. With a less-than-reflective administration, the reflective practice we engaged in together was key to sustaining our work.

During Houston’s school reform era, Jennifer participated actively in the Portfolio Group and in grant-related professional development opportunities such as leadership and Critical Friends Group® (CFG® ) coaches’ professional development provided by the grant funder. When the extended school reform grant ended in 2002, Jennifer was among the Portfolio Group members who decided to stay together as a knowledge community, even though the group did not know what that would look like at the time. As it turned out, it took some years of exploring various collaborative prospects for the Portfolio Group to land upon projects with which the entire group identified. Simultaneously, Heights experienced

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several administrative changes that required more time and effort from Jennifer to assure the continued integrity of the dual language program that had prospered under her expertise, care, and guidance. With this as the backdrop and after contributing to an American Educational Research Association presentation in 2005, Jennifer left the Portfolio Group to concentrate on her work at Heights. In 2010, Jennifer was appointed principal of a Houston area urban K8 dual language school where she employs in her leadership position the knowledge and skills gained through her work at Heights and the school reform era professional development. As she explained, I routinely use many of the CFG® strategies and protocols in meetings with staff and our school community to help keep our conversations focused on the issues at hand. This has been particularly important in working through the changes that occurred as our instructional programs have evolved and improved.

As we write this book, Portfolio Group members are exploring ways in which they can collaborate with Jennifer in her current school efforts. Jennifer’s story highlights the ways in which career pathways of current and former Portfolio Group members have diverged yet continue to carry common experiences and knowledge forward into new contexts with a shared aim of improving the educational experience of our students and the teachers that serve them. Her story also demonstrates how when the regular interaction with the group ceased, the close bonds formed through years of collaboration remain firmly in place. In reflecting on the idea of parallel journeys of former Portfolio Group members, stories also emerged having to do with former students entering the teaching profession and now following similar career trajectories as their Portfolio Group member teachers. Michaelann brought a story involving a former student, Erik Torres, with whom she reconnected after his high school graduation and with whom she now works in the same school district. Erik, currently an assistant principal in the Northside District, was a student in Michaelann’s visual arts class during the Houston Annenberg years and, as he describes, is not a very good artist. A few years after graduation, Erik was working as a restaurant manager when Michaelann ran into him at a coffee shop where they talked, and she encouraged him to go back to school and start teaching. Two years later, they met again at a district celebration for teachers going over and

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above expectations. Erik had taken Michaelann’s advice, gone back to school, and was now an outstanding first year teacher. Since then, Michaelann and Erik have continued their working relationship, collaborating on projects within their district, and giving professional development sessions together. Erik also teaches at a local university where Michaelann has served as his course guest lecturer. According to Michaelann, “Erik’s success is due to his hard work, but it is the common passion for the students and our belief in student success that binds our work.” Michaelann’s and Erik’s story is an excellent example of building and sustaining relationships in nonlinear ways. Influence of Environments on Career Pathways and Identity Most of the Portfolio Group was just beginning their careers in teaching in the 1990s when Texas became a front-runner in developing school and subsequently teacher accountability standards and systems. Although some of us have moved to administrative and district positions, or to higher education, we share the experience of having lived and worked during a tension-filled time in American education characterized by a gradually escalating focus of education away from informed teaching and increasingly toward student performance (and by default teacher and school performance) (Ravitch 2010) with what is tested supplanting curriculum. With evidence across the country of more and more sweeping district-mandated instructional programs that shift with the winds of each changing district administration as commonplace, the focus of education on performance over informed teaching has yet to change. At times, this has taken its toll on our teacher agency and our teacher identities. When thinking about how the terrain influences the winding nature of the braided rivers we related this to the ways in which external professional and personal situations have caused some to move away from active participation in the group for a time. For example, when Gayle was principal in a very contentious school setting interaction in Portfolio Group meetings was difficult in that it presented the potential of her inadvertently sharing confidential school stories (see Chapter 9). Although her voice in group discussions diminished during this time, she supported the group by providing a space at her school for Portfolio Group meetings. We now consider pulling away from the group at times like this to be ethical decisions. This conclusion, however, came only recently while

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reexamining our group’s history. Gayle’s story represents similar situations in which the withdrawing of some members caused tension within the group because there was much that went unsaid, and as such was not fully understood. At the time, we chose to focus on our relationships rather than explore the tensions through potentially uncomfortable conversations. Closely and honestly examining stories like this in the course of our self-study was not easy but it came about in the midst of trusting and supportive relationships from individuals who were not seeking to chastise but only to understand. For us, Gayle’s story reinforces the notion that in living our best-loved selves as collaborators, educators, and researchers, we need to, as Mishler said, “reflect the richness of [our] struggles.” Discovering a Previously Unnamed Theme Finally, we would like to add that in the process of revisiting the findings of our initial self-study, we came upon the following in our description of the Portfolio Group that also speaks to the factors that have influenced the group’s sustainability. From the start, participation has been voluntary with teachers meandering in and out of the group, entering, exiting, and remerging as their work and private demands allowed. As participation fluctuated and a sixth school joined by 2000, the numbers shifted between seven and sixteen members. Although the teachers represented schools receiving grant funding, the group uniquely existed (and still does) independent of any education or funding system, outside of “the conduit” (Clandinin and Connelly 1992, p. 364) in a distinct space situated in the midlands of personal and professional landscapes. (Curtis et al. 2012, p. 10)

The fact that participation in the Portfolio Group is voluntary and that the group is not affiliated with any school system, organization, or institution of higher learning is something that we have discussed repeatedly over the years. It was not, however, part of our initial self-study findings. Returning now to these ideas, we see them not only as unique descriptions of the Portfolio Group but as unique contributing factors to our sustainability. The voluntary nature of the group is important to us. In fact, we have long struggled with using the term “Portfolio Group members” because we do not consider ourselves to be a formal

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group that requires a membership process (despite the fact that some school-age students have referred to the Portfolio Group as “the club”). Equally important is the fact that we are not associated with a formal entity or governing body, but, as stated above, we exist “outside of ‘the conduit’ (Clandinin and Connelly 1992, p. 364) in a distinct space situated in the midlands of personal and professional landscapes” (Curtis et al. 2012, p. 10; see also Craig et al. 2016; Curtis et al. 2013, 2018). In other words, the work we do within the Portfolio Group, we do for ourselves…for our own continued professional growth…a work made possible by the strong bonds and trusted community we have formed (Fig. 8.1).

Fig. 8.1 Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex, England; site of the Self-study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP) conferences

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Coming to the Self-Study Community Personal narrative of agency, autonomy, identity, and moments of choice self-education, dialectic reflection and intelligent rebellion practice, repertoire, self-image and change strength and natural sources within a sense of self in the midst of it all free and resonating navigating, advancing and improving ephemeral, passionate, shadowy and significant high quality and satisfying life learning to be the best-loved self. —From The Best-loved Self by G. Curtis (2013, p. 211)

Sharing our self-study at the 2012 Self-study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices Castle Conference was an impactful experience for each of us…and yes, the conference is held in a castle!2 The conference introduced us to the self-study research community and contributed to shaping our identities as self-study researchers in unexpected ways. It opened up opportunities to listen to, learn from, and interact with founding researchers of self-study, established self-study scholars, and novice self-study researchers like ourselves. The generosity of shared knowledge, inclusivity we felt, and mindful feedback offered in response to our presentation made us feel a part of the self-study (S-STEP) community. We realized we had taken a big step in a new direction…we had become self-study researchers. Tim (Martindell 2012) aptly described the experience as follows: “Though not the group’s first international presentation, the Castle Conference provided a figurative place for us at the ‘grown-ups table’” (p. 98). Although Cheryl knew many of the Castle Conference attendees quite well, for the rest of us it was our introduction to a new research community—one that welcomed us as peers, even though we were novice self-study researchers. Our experiences at the Castle Conference validated our self-study work to date. But it also raised unanswered questions that encouraged us to dig deeper and to continue our self-study work. At the same time, our experiences at the Castle caused us to reexamine our understanding of critical friendship and the feedback given. Early in Houston’s school reform era in the late 1990s, we all participated in CFG® coaches professional development and subsequently adopted tools and strategies that became embedded in our daily

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teacher/teacher educator practice. In fact, we naturally drew on our CFG® toolkit in providing feedback to one another and consider our critical friendship a key sustaining factor of the Portfolio Group. Listening to the research shared at the Castle Conference, however, we noted that the self-study collaborators acting as critical friends for one another often shared the personal side of their work alongside the professional. This was different from the way we were taught that critical friendship works. As Michaelann described it, In our CFG® professional development, we learned strategies for formulating and asking both clarifying questions and probing questions. We also learned to focus our responses on the work rather than the person and his/her motivations, desires, feelings, and so forth related to the work.

The Portfolio Group has long considered that we are all critical friends. In fact, some of our group are even national professional developers and facilitators in CFGs® . We should add that we all consider our work in education to be nested in very personal motivations and convictions. However, in examining another’s work, we had been taught to focus on the work and not the personal—or the person—behind it. What we took away from the Castle Conference was that we had to change the way we approached critical friendship. Using Vinz’s (1993) term, we needed to “un-know” the concept of critical friendship and to reformulate a new understanding of critical friendship in response to new learnings. By turning the spotlight on ourselves rather than solely the work, we discovered many previously unexplored avenues for understanding our practice and our collaboration. Adopting this more holistic view of critical friendship also meant that we were living our best-loved selves as reflective practitioners who embrace changes in their learning.

Concluding Thoughts We hope that the stories of experience shared illustrate how we employed the metaphorical braided rivers lens as a tool for examining and learning from our own lived situations. For us, “teachers [use] metaphors not only as embodied containers to hold their empirical knowledge refined in context, but also as spoken forces through which their heartfelt emotions and relational knowing [can] be expressed” (Craig 2013). In sharing our

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stories we became increasingly cognizant of our responsibility to be trustworthy, even when it meant “revealing understandings about ourselves and our actions that we might rather have kept secret” (Pinnegar and Hamilton 2009, p. 160). As a group, we acknowledge our lack of knowledge and understanding, and the need for our knowledge and understanding to change in response to new learning (Vinz 1993). Because we are in a constant state of becoming—both as individuals and as a group, even the situations of what Vinz termed “un-knowing” are threaded back into the fabric of our group. By that, we mean those times of “giving up present understandings (positions) of our teaching to make gaps and spaces through which to (re)member ourselves as we examine the principles behind our practices, as a way to articulate our theories in practice, or transform pedagogical principles and purposes into new becomings” (p. 139). Like Schwab (1954/1978), we want the students, preservice teachers, and teachers with whom we work to find their passion as relational educators (Cooper et al. 2019), to construct their own personal practical knowledge (Connelly and Clandinin 1988; Connelly et al. 1997), and to claim their narrative authority (Olson 1995) and teacher agency as curriculum makers (Connelly and Clandinin 1988). Further to this, we want to empower individuals to become reflective practitioners as they strive to be the best-loved self they envision for themselves. For us, considering one’s best-loved self is a reflective practice “which advances teachers’ sense of knowing on the learning continuum and propels them to continue to improve in an effort to become the teachers they could be” (Craig 2013, p 268).

Notes 1. The best-loved self , a poem by Gayle Curtis was Inspired by ‘Teacher education and the best-loved self’ a keynote address by Cheryl J. Craig at the 2011 International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) conference, Braga, Portugal. 2. Located near Herstmonceux, East Sussex, England, Herstmonceux Castle is a brick-built castle dating back to the fifteenth century and one of the oldest significant brick buildings in England. Owned by Queen’s University in Canada, it operates as an International Study Centre for the university.

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References Clandinin, D. J. (1993). Teacher education as narrative inquiry. In D. J. Clandinin, A. Davies, P. Hogan, & B. Kennard (Eds.), Learning to teach, teaching to learn: Stories of collaboration in teacher education (pp. 1–15). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of curriculum (pp. 363–461). New York, NY: Macmillan. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1988). Teachers as curriculum planners: Narratives of experience. New York, NY: Teachers’ College Press. Connelly, F. M., Clandinin, D. J., & He, M. F. (1997). Teachers’ personal practical knowledge on the professional knowledge landscape. Teaching and Teacher Education, 13(7), 665–674. Cooper, J. M., Gauna, L. M., Beaudry, C. E., & Curtis, G. A. (2019). A relational approach to collaborative research and practice among teacher educators in urban contexts. In J. Kitchen & K. Ragoonaden (Eds.), Mindful and relational teacher approaches to social justice in teacher education (pp. 115–130). New York, NY: Rowan & Littlefield. Craig, C. J. (1992). Coming to know in the professional knowledge context: Beginning teachers experience (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Craig, C. J. (1995). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know in their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–175. Craig, C. J. (2013). Teacher education and the best-loved self. Asian Pacific Journal of Education, 33(3), 261–272. Craig, C. J., Curtis, G. A., & Kelley, M. (2016). Sustaining self and others in the teaching profession: A group self-study. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.), Enacting self-study as methodology for professional inquiry (pp. 133–140). Hertfordshire, UK: Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices Community. Curtis, G. A. (2013). The best-loved self. Harmonic convergence: Parallel stories of a novice teacher and a novice researcher (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/ 10657/960. Curtis, G. A., Craig, C. J., Reid, D., Kelley, M., Glamser, M., Martindell, P. T., & Gray, P. (2012). Braided journeys: A self-study of sustained teacher collaboration. In J. R. Young, L. B. Erickson, & S. Pinnegar (Eds.), Extending inquiry communities: Illuminating teacher education through self-study (pp. 82–85). Provo, UT: Brigham Young University.

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Curtis, G. A., Kelley, M., Reid, D., Craig, C. J., Martindell, P. E., & Perez, M. (2018). Jumping the Dragon Gate: Experience, contexts, career pathways, and professional identity. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.), Pushing boundaries and crossing borders: Self-study as a means for researching (pp. 51–58). Herstmonceux, UK: S-STEP. Curtis, G. A., Reid, D., Craig, C. J., Kelley, M., & Martindell, P. T. (2013). Braided lives: Multiple ways of knowing flowing in and out of professional lives. Studying Teacher Education, 9(2), 175–186. Elbaz-Luwisch, F. (2010). Narrative inquiry: Wakeful engagement with educational experience. Curriculum Inquiry, 40(2), 263–279. Guilfoyle, K., Hamilton, M. L., Pinnegar, S., & Placier, P. (2004). The epistemological dimension and dynamics of professional dialogue in self-study. In J. J. Loughran, M. L. Hamilton, V. K. LaBoskey, & T. Russell (Eds.), International handbook of self study of teaching and teacher education practices (pp. 1109–1168). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer. Kitchen, J. (2005). Conveying respect and empathy: Becoming a relational teacher educator. Studying Teacher Education, 1(2), 195–207. Kitchen, J. (2009). Relational teacher development: Growing collaboratively in a hoping relationship. Teacher Education Quarterly, 36(2), 45–62. Kitchen, J. (2016). Looking back on 15 years of relational teacher education: A narrative self-study. In J. William & M. Hayler (Eds.), Professional learning through transitions and transformations: Teacher educators’ journeys of becoming (pp. 167–182). New York, NY: Springer. Kitchen, J., & Ragoonaden, K. (Eds.). (2019). Mindful and relational teacher approaches to social justice in teacher education (pp. 115–130). New York, NY: Rowan & Littlefield. LaBoskey, V. K. (2004). The methodology of self-study and its theoretical underpinnings. In J. J. Loughran, M. L. Hamilton, V. K. LaBoskey, & T. Russell (Eds.), International handbook of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices (pp. 817–869). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer. Loughran, J. J., Hamilton, M. L., LaBoskey, V. K., & Russell, T. (Eds.). (2004). International handbook of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices. New York, NY: Springer. Lyons, N., & LaBoskey, V. K. (Eds.). (2002). Narrative inquiry in practice: Advancing the knowledge of teaching. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Martindell, P. T. (2012). A narrative inquiry into the influence of coaching methodology on three specific teacher knowledge communities (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http:// hdl.handle.net/10657/609. Mishler, E. (1990). Validation in inquiry-guided research: The role of exemplars in narrative studies. Harvard Educational Review, 60(4), 415–442.

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Noddings, N. (1984). Caring: A feminine approach to ethics and moral education (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Noddings, N. (2005). The challenge to care in schools: An alternative approach to education (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Olson, M. R. (1995). Conceptualizing narrative authority: Implication for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11(2), 119–135. Pinnegar, S., & Hamilton, M. L. (2009). Self-study of practice as genre of qualitative research: Theory, methodology, and practice. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Ravitch, D. (2010). The death and rise of the great American school system: How testing and choice are undermining education. New York, NY: Perseus Books. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books. Schön, D. A. (1995). The new scholarship requires a new epistemology. Change, 27 (6), 26–35. Schwab, J. J. (1978). Eros and education: A discussion of one aspect of discussion. In I. Westbury & N. Wilkof (Eds.), Science, curriculum and liberal education: Selected essays (pp. 105–132). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press (original published in 1954). University of Toledo. (n.d.). Braided rivers. Retrieved from http://www.eee science.utoledo.edu/faculty/krantz/Hazards/Hazards.Chap_05c.braided_r ivers.pdf. Vinz, R. (1993). Composing a teaching life: Partial, multiple, and sometimes contradictory representations of teaching and learning literature (Concept Paper No. 12). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. World landforms. (n.d.). Braided rivers. Retrieved from http://worldlandforms. com/landforms/braided-river/. Zeichner, K., & Noffke, S. (2001). Practitioner research. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (4th ed., pp. 298–330). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

CHAPTER 9

Negotiating Career Pathway Challenges (1998–Present)

Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. (Scott Peck, n.d.)

Across professions, career pathways of individuals are less likely to be characterized as a straight line and more likely to be described as a series of zigs and zags as one moves from one part of the professional landscape to another and then another. Education is no exception…nor are the career trajectories of the Portfolio Group members. In this chapter, we explore our individual pathways across the professional landscape with the purpose of examining the forces that influence teacher/teacher educator career choices. We begin with a metaphor that came to us as representative of challenges overcome.

Metaphor as a Tool to Understand Our Negotiation of Career Pathways “Somewhere in one of the rivers of the land, there is a great and powerful waterfall; it is so high and so vast that it is as if water was gushing from a cut in the heavens. At the top of that waterfall, beyond anyone’s view, is the Dragon Gate” (Lin 2009, p. 93). Atop the Gate sit dragon ornaments © The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_9

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holding “the secret to the Dragon Gate…for if ever a fish is able to swim up the waterfall and pass through the gate…the dragons will shake with power. As the fish goes through, its spirit enters the gate…and bursts out of one of the ornaments—changing the fish into the form of a flying dragon! (Curtis et al. 2013, pp. 93–94)

The Dragon Gate and Other Metaphors The Portfolio Group huddled around the dining room table at the home of members Tim Martindell and Michael “Mike” Perez, each person bent over their individual laptops feverishly writing. The task at hand was to reflect on, explore through writing, and ultimately uncover the dragon gates that we have individually and collectively jumped through as part of our individual and group career trajectories. In early 2017, Cheryl Craig introduced us to the secret of the dragon gate—an ancient Chinese story used today in modern China as a metaphor that recognizes the courage and perseverance necessary to accomplish difficult life-goals. Cheryl launched our conversations about career pathways by discussing and seeking reflective input on her professional journey. She told of how she studied as a teacher in a primarily rural Canadian province, continuing her graduate and postgraduate education, and, after a career as a tenured professor at a Tier-One Research University where she felt pushed toward retirement, changed her career trajectory and accepted an endowed chairship at Texas A&M University. As the conversation continued around the dragon gate metaphor, each member of the group contributed a similar story of their own personal trajectory in education, paying particular attention to the challenges, contexts, and circumstances that influenced career pathway decisions along the way. After twenty-two years together, the Portfolio Group members can easily retell the dragon gate stories each member brings to the table. Using metaphors to capture our experiences in our discussions was not new. From the onset of the Portfolio Group’s work together, we have employed metaphors to examine and define our individual and collective practice. Cheryl describes our need to understand practice through the use of metaphors, explaining, “Human beings characteristically used metaphors to story and make sense of their lived experiences for themselves and to carry across their meaning interactively to others” (Craig 2018b, p. 301). Beginning with her earliest narrative research within our schools, Cheryl interpreted the reform work by using a variety of

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metaphors that emerged from participant interviews. These included: “a dragon in the school backyard”—a metaphorical fire breathing dragon that represented school accountability versus the school reform movement that sought to make the school more relevant (Craig 2004), “rainbow fish”—a story about tensions between a school’s outward appearance and the realities of living in a fishbowl (Craig 2003), and “the monkey’s paw”—a narrative about being careful of what you ask for (Craig 2001). The Portfolio Group was born into this metaphorical milieu as a means for supporting five of the original Houston Annenberg Beacon schools (of the initial eleven Houston Annenberg Challenge campuses). As we became familiar with Cheryl’s research, the use of metaphors became a reflective lens through which to examine our own practice and our collaboration. Through the years the Portfolio Group has looked at our work through several lenses members have suggested. Like the teachers/administrators from whom they originated, metaphors such as “the monkey’s paw” and the “dragon in the school backyard” created a shared understanding within the Portfolio Group— even to the point that such metaphors became a language of their own within the group’s dialogue. Early on in our collaboration, those metaphors came out of experiences that occurred at campuses other than our own, but represented experiences with which we were all familiar and had retold and restoried in our Portfolio Group sessions. Over time, however, metaphors began emerging out of the Portfolio Group as well. By the fall of 2011, for example, we likened ourselves to the braided rivers of Alaska (elaborated in Chapter 8) in that our lives and membership in the group seemed to all flow in the same direction with individual members on paths that both diverged and converged with the flow of the Portfolio Group. When we were Cheryl’s doctoral students, our individual and collective doctoral research touched upon our critical friendship, narrative inquiry, and membership in the Portfolio Group, experiences akin to the small channels that make up a braided river. Eastern Metaphor: Western Meaning When Cheryl first introduced the dragon gate story, she told of herself being given back a story by her Chinese hosts. They described Cheryl’s academic journey as being like that of the golden carp jumping through the dragon gate and becoming an all-powerful, all-knowing dragon.

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In the eastern view, the dragon represents wisdom and is not something to fear, but is a sign of great struggles to accomplish an arduous goal. Whether it was our Western sensibilities or simply our interpretation, it seemed to us that the metaphor, with fish jumping through the gate to become dragons, recognized the challenges of the journey but put more emphasis on the destination. As seasoned educators, we have lived through many challenges in our varied careers. Hence, it was not surprising that our exploration of career trajectories quickly turned to the struggles encountered and the influences on career pathway decisions. As we talked through the metaphor, the individual stories of career pathways came tumbling forth. The more we identified the dragon gates through which we passed, the more the notion of career pathways, somewhat dictated by the status quo of schools, ballooned into full-blown personal stories. Each of us had also experienced trajectories in which slight changes from the “normal teacher career path” opened the gates to very different opportunities, while we simultaneously maintained our knowledge community association.

The Shaping of Contexts and Situations on Career Trajectories Reflecting on the shared stories of career pathways, with all their twists and turns and changes in positions, brought forward the ways in which the contexts in which we work and the situations in both our personal and professional lives influence our career decisions. We took note of how, for many us, career changes to some degree built upon one another. This reminded us of Dewey’s (1938) discussion in Education and experience of the continuity of experience. Of particular interest was his description of how one experience leads to and influences another, leading to and influencing another, and another, and so on. As Dewey asserted, … there is some kind of continuity in any case since every experience affects for better or worse the attitudes which help decide the quality of further experiences, by setting up certain preference and aversion, and making it easier or harder to act for this or that end. Moreover, every experience influences in some degree the objective conditions under which further experiences are had. (p. 37)

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No matter the profession, shifts in positions or places of employment are common. Sometimes these changes come about in response to unexpected opportunities, other times as strategic moves in one’s planned career pathway. In still other instances career moves are brought on by deteriorating work environments or a complex myriad of relational/contextual situations impacting one’s sense of agency, self, and identity in a less-than-desirable way. That said, professional shifts can often be traced to a series of events or a growing personal need for change. These inevitable career changes most often lead to new possibilities and the next best step in one’s career pathway. Arriving at the decision to make a change can be difficult, however, as it means leaving familiar colleagues and environments, breaking with a sense of loyalty to one’s work context and entering into unfamiliar settings with unfamiliar faces is often difficult. The following stories from the Portfolio Group illuminate how all of these factors come into play in the career pathways of teachers/teacher educators. Cheryl’s Story: From a Story of Leaving to a Story of Beginning Again The idea of leaving the familiar and starting anew with the unfamiliar swirled in Cheryl’s thoughts in 2014 when she began mulling over a possible change from the university campus where she had taught, mentored, and conducted research for over fifteen years. Then events unfolded in a way that no one could have predicted to solidify her decision to leave. At an American Educational Research Association conference, Cheryl was honored with the Michael Huberman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Understanding the Lives of Teachers. At the award ceremony, Yali Zou from the University of Houston (Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) spoke about Cheryl’s generosity as a colleague and consummate scholar and Gayle Curtis shared current and former doctoral student thoughts on Cheryl’s attributes as a teacher educator and mentor as well as the perspectives and stories from Portfolio Group members. Lily Orland-Barak, Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel, ended the presentation with a slideshow of the global reach and impact Cheryl has had as an internationally known teacher educator.

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Among the audience that day were nine of Cheryl’s current/former doctoral students, an assistant professor from her department, and thirty plus teacher educators from across the United States and around the world, including six international deans of education who found time in their busy schedules to participate. The presence of these deans made the absence of Cheryl’s then university dean of education and senior department colleagues even more conspicuous. Cheryl described what happened next, On one of the conference days that followed, a curious thing happened. As I was busily walking from hotel to hotel for different presentations, I happened to come across individuals from Texas A&M University at three different spots along my route…these were three completely separate and unexpected meetings.

To her wonderment, each conveyed the same message—encouragement for Cheryl to take up a position (which eventually morphed into an endowed chairship) at Texas A&M. The seemingly incongruous yet serendipitous meetings brought Cheryl’s contemplation to an end, and directed her career pathway to Texas A&M University where she received the Outstanding New Faculty Award in 2019. This series of events became her story to leave by (Clandinin et al. 2009), but more importantly, they also formed a story to begin again by (Craig 2003) for her. Tim’s Story: Claiming One’s Teacher Narrative Authority Tim began his teaching career at Maize High School (MHS) in a traditional African American ward of Houston, Texas. The school, once a powerhouse of the community, had suffered greatly from the decline of the neighborhood and the introduction of magnet schools which attracted students to other schools, often located in more prosperous neighborhoods of the city than students’ home communities. By the time Tim started teaching, Maize was a shadow of its former self. During his first year at MHS, there was an on-campus shooting of a fellow teacher, which was followed by a shooting of a student just down the street from the school the next year. Maize was fraught with constant tensions with many of the students being primary and secondary victims of trauma. Still, there was a dedicated group of mostly gay and lesbian teachers who

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banded together to support each other and their students. In 1989 his longtime mentor, Jim Nichols, died from AIDS-related complications, and Tim began to reexamine his reasons for staying. When the first-hand experience of school and community violence became interwoven with the death of a dearly beloved friend, Tim’s story to leave by Clandinin et al. (2009) found root. After eight years of highly committed teaching in a hard-to-staff campus, Tim moved to a suburban high school in Northside District that promised to provide a lower-stress environment in which to teach. However, he soon became awakened to the old adage that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. Four years later Tim transferred again, this time to Northside District’s Hardy Academy, a former detention school in one of America’s most historical African American communities whose failure to desegregate properly court ruling was among the last to be resolved in the country (see Chapter 1 for associated information). Hardy Middle School was to be reborn as a middle school magnet for math, science, and fine arts called Hardy Academy. Tim quickly acclimated to middle school and his teaching practice flourished. He soon became a trainer for the Abydos Learning writing project (formerly the New Jersey Writing Project in Texas) and coached his first Critical Friends Group® (CFG® ). He also became involved in Hardy’s school reform work for which Cheryl was the school’s Annenberg grant planning and evaluator. This association brought Tim to the University of Houston to begin graduate school in 1997 and to the Portfolio Group later in 2001. In the fall of 2002, Tim joined the staff of the Houston A+ Challenge (HA+C), the former reform funder. At HA+C, he enjoyed the chance to lead teacher reflective practice professional development, as well as being the resident guide in literacy initiatives for the Houston region. As Tim recalls, “Unfortunately, the halcyon days at A+ did not last forever and came to a screeching halt with a change in leadership which I took as a signal to move on,” this time as the coordinator of secondary English for a large, diverse Houston area school district, not involved in the HA+C school reform work. Just as the changing environments at Maize High School and HA+C provoked moves, Tim saw the writing on the wall at this next position when his staff was reduced from five to two helping teachers, while at the same time the workload and standardized testing focus was ramped up, becoming that district’s dragon in the backyard rearing its head. Amid this environment, Tim felt his narrative authority (Olson 1995; Olson and Craig 2001) waning in spite of simultaneously being president of the

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local and Texas affiliates of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). He became constricted more and more by an ever-increasing contested space (Craig 2009) fueled by the high-stakes accountability movement and eventually the use of value-added modeling to determine the worth of teachers’ annual work. In response to veiled threats of, “we’ll all lose our jobs if the test scores don’t go up,” Tim perceived that he was at the dead end in his career with the school district because of his age and the unspoken ageism that comes with it. He surprised his district supervisors by suddenly retiring from the school district in 2015 and announcing his return to teaching as a fifth-grade teacher at a private inner-city school and an adjunct at a local university…both institutions that valued his experience—as a teacher and as a curriculum leader—and trusted his expertise in the classroom. According to Tim, “It had reached a point where my experience, my narrative authority, was not appreciated to its fullest. Retiring and starting again gave me the opportunity to reclaim my narrative authority as a teacher and teacher educator.” Like Cheryl’s move, Tim’s change was timely. Moreover, it allowed Tim to better know and live his “best-loved self” and embark on “a story to begin again by.” Gayle’s Story: Opportunities, Obstacles, and Optimism As Gayle discussed her career pathway with the Portfolio Group, Tim remarked, “I find your career trajectory very interesting because you always seem to reinvent yourself…from being in the oil industry to becoming a bilingual teacher, then a school administrator, and now in higher education. It is like a metamorphosis.” Reflecting on her caterpillar to butterfly journey, Gayle agreed that her work history exhibits quite a few zigs and zags in seemingly divergent directions. After fifteen years in the industry, she began her education career as a bilingual classroom teacher before moving into school administration, first as a school reform coordinator with Heights’ dual language program, then as an administrator in inner-city middle and high schools. She shared, At my core, I am a learner and also somewhat of a risk-taker. So when opportunities to learn something new have opened up over the course of my career, I have always been drawn to learning different concepts and skills…and in the process, hopefully refining my practice. Often, taking

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those opportunities came with the risk of failure as I took on new responsibilities within different, and sometimes challenging contexts. But mostly, they presented the chance to grow in new ways.

After some years in school administration, Gayle was named principal of Lamar K-8 in 2006, an experience that almost caused her to exit the teaching profession altogether. Lamar was in its second year of transitioning into a school-wide Hands-On Learning (HOL) instructional program with multi-grade classrooms. The program change had been a district decision and had expanded to third grade by the fall of 2006, resulting in an 88 percent teacher turnover on the school campus. Teachers, the former principal, and district supervisors shared with Gayle that the previous year had been tumultuous (with one supervisor describing the staff as “dysfunctional”). On one side, the neighborhood parents were in an uproar over being excluded from the decision-making process. On the other side, HOL parents claimed that the district had not followed through with its promise to provide an “empty” or newly closed school in which to develop a magnet HOL program and pushed to remove from Lamar the mainly Latinx neighborhood students whose parents tended to work in the service industry. Adding to the mix, a HOL expert “mis-spoke” during an introduction to HOL instruction describing Lamar’s teachers as “less-than” when compared to HOL teachers, creating a tremendous rift among the school’s faculty. As a former teacher Ms. Bach (pseudonym) remembers, “The message was that we, the non-HOL prepared teachers, were not as gifted as the HOL teachers. As a veteran teacher, I just wanted to be respected for my expertise as a teacher…and for myself as a person.” Perhaps inevitably, harsh statements and even obscenities were hurled from both sides, amid which the previous principal worked tirelessly and resiliently to squelch the discord while at the same time asserting that the primarily Latinx neighborhood students would remain at Lamar because it was their home community, too. Although this all occurred the previous year, the repercussions were still reverberating through Lamar’s hallways when Gayle moved to the campus. As she recalls, “Coming to Lamar, I was excited to work with teachers in developing a new program. What I found was a fractured and distrusting community, still raw from the parent-community-district in-fighting from the previous year.” In Gayle’s opinion,

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The campus needed time to heal, time to rebuild trust and a sense of community, and time to build a quality program. My aim was to work with teachers and the community to achieve these things together…And I was assured of district support in the process.

Over the next several years, some small headway was made in rebuilding Lamar’s sense of community, the HOL program expanded rapidly, an instructional program for children with autism was established, and great efforts were made to teach parents about the HOL program. However, the fracture had not healed, and parent and teacher complaints were ongoing. Meanwhile, the district adopted a value-added system linking student achievement scores to teacher appraisals and bonuses. At the same time, Lamar’s state accountability rating fell from Recognized to Academically Acceptable. While this is not entirely unexpected when transitioning to a new instructional program (Fullan [2001] terms this an implementation dip), it was not met favorably by the district which then required Lamar teachers to administer more periodic benchmark tests to track student progress and to participate in off-campus strategy meetings as well. This escalated the brouhaha, which had been underway for years, to yet another fever pitch. This time, however, it was under Gayle’s watch as a leader. When a district supervisor met with Lamar’s staff on a Friday to stress the importance of maintaining high test scores then returned on Monday to apologize if there was some misunderstanding that the HOL program was in jeopardy, it seemed emblematic—and symptomatic of—the micropolitics (Kelchtermans 2005) of the situation. As Gayle explained, “While I did my utmost to buffer the accountability pressures flowing into the school, it was an uphill battle.” With outside pressures mounting to assure student test scores, Gayle found herself navigating one complex situation after another, from teachers concerned about district scrutiny of their teaching practices, to oncecollaborative grade-level teams sniping about one another and who did or did not contribute to accountability ratings, and from parent demands about what and how content was taught in the classroom, to students as young as first grade telling teachers that their parents said they did not need to comply with teacher requests because particular teachers were not HOL-certified. Ms. Bach refers to this time at Lamar as a “no-win situation.” For Gayle, the well-being of the teachers working in such a tensionfilled environment was of major concern, but equally so was the lack

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of district support which she considered a hindrance to her ability to lead her school in a manner consistent with living her best-loved self. Increasingly, attention shifted away from teacher practice and actions and decrees coming down the conduit, coupled with non-educator pressures, impeding the daily goings-on of classrooms and the school. After three years, Gayle arrived at the difficult decision to leave Lamar. The HOL program was growing and our program for students with autism was flourishing. I loved working with students and teachers at Lamar and was committed to the community, however, I was conflicted. Professionally and personally, I reached an impasse where my professional agency, my narrative authority as an instructional leader, and my ability to constructively contribute to the professional growth of teachers, and the school’s growth as well, was constantly negated. I had not met the goals I set for myself and in this way had failed. At the same time, I had done my best while trying to stay true to my best-loved self within an impossible situation with less-than-minimal support. After many years in education, I had lost the love I once held for the profession.

When Gayle exited Lamar her intention was to retire and bring closure to her association with schools and teaching. After several months away, however, when she could not abandon her concern for the state of education, teachers, and students, Gayle returned to education. She obtained her doctorate in education and entered higher education where she now uses her expertise and lived experiences in her role as a teacher educator, researcher, and mentor…and where she hopes to make a difference in the lives of students and the lives of teachers. She now fuels others’ bestloved selves through enacting her best-loved self in educational milieus where she experiences increased opportunities to be agentive and to make a difference. Mike’s Story—The Best-Loved Self Mike began his teaching career as a long-term substitute, not imagining at the time that he would still be in the classroom twenty-seven years later. He started out at Broadway Middle School, an older, “well-worn,” middle school situated in one of Houston’s high poverty neighborhoods and serving a student body that was ninety-seven percent Latinx. As Mike explained, “I was the product of a middle class upbringing and a private

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Catholic education. I began my teaching career with no personal experience in public education.” After two years as a substitute teacher in the same position, he was accepted into a district alternative certification program in partnership with a local university. Mike continued in his position for another decade and watched as the school slowly spin into chaos. Similar to Tim’s changing-school story, the deteriorating environment at Broadway spearheaded Mike’s decision to move to another school. It was a heart-wrenching decision to make, however, because he cared a great deal for the students and his fellow colleagues at Broadway. Of paramount consideration in his decision, according to Mike, was his safety and sanity. Increasing gang activity ultimately led to the on-campus murder of a student, with Mike being the first teacher to arrive on the grueling scene. The images of that morning and of the dying student are permanently etched in his mind. “I can tell you every detail about that morning,” recalled Mike, “the student slumped on the floor, the shirt I was wearing, the weather outside, the temperature in the hall…” The administration labeled this as “a random, unfortunate, isolated incident” and did little to alter the tensions in the school that foreshadowed and precipitated the tragedy. For Mike, an environment of being on constant alert was not one conducive to optimum learning and teaching. The tragedy was followed by a series of administration changes at the school that caused teachers to lodge complaints about an administrator, with Mike serving as the campus union steward. Dealing with the issues of other union members became a greater and greater part of his daily work life, adding new forms of stress to his already highly contested teaching situation. Mike yearned for a place to teach where he could feel his physical, social, and emotional needs were taken care of, one where he could focus intently on his own practice. After the district’s open transfer period closed a teaching position became available at Tumbleweed Middle School and he was permitted to relocate. His new principal, who incidentally was prepared in CFGs® by Portfolio Group member Michaelann Kelley, valued his rich experiences and keen insights into how the school CFGs® could be incorporated into staff meetings. Mike became a department chair after his first year at Tumbleweed, and remains there fourteen years later.

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As much as the work that I do in the classroom with my middle school students, working with preservice and novice teachers is something that has kept me inspired and sustained in education. At Tumbleweed, we have grown our own teachers, mentoring teacher candidates when they do their field work, then hiring them to join our team. In the fall of 2017, I “surrendered” my position as science department chair to one of my previous mentees and moved back to 6th grade as teacher and 6th grade team leader.

For Mike, the move to Tumbleweed provided him with time to establish a place like his department chair did at Broadway, where teachers come to have coffee and share ideas in a low-stakes, highly interactive environment. They all meet in the morning to drink a “cup of joe,” share student work, share their own experiences and knowledge as teachers, and discuss ideas about learning and teaching. Supporting the team in this way, working with student teachers, and his tenure as a senior faculty member make Mike feel, “as though I am treated as a Bodhisattva— someone who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so in order to help others reach nirvana.” Mike has been eligible for retirement for several years but has remained in education because he still enjoys teaching and is still growing. In particular, the work that he does with the student teachers and the young teachers on campus infuses his practice with new ideas and enthusiasm. As he explains, “The student teachers are chomping at the bit and the new teachers are fresh out of the gate. They are full of excitement and new ideas which in turn feeds my internal passion for science, learning, and teaching.” For Mike, his move to Tumbleweed provided a space for him to also live out a better version of his best-loved self (Craig 2013). Michaelann’s Story—Learning to Lead Adults At first glance, it might seem that there has been very little change in Michaelann’s career pathway as she has spent the past twenty-eight years in the same school district and in the same subject area. When we delve deeper into her career, however, there are many places in which changing roles have pushed up against the boundaries of traditional job descriptions. Michaelann quickly describes herself as an art teacher for twenty-three years. During those years, many additional responsibilities and roles were assumed while she continued to be just an “art teacher.” The first major

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leadership position that Michaelann took on was being the Annenberg reform coordinator for Eagle High School, the birthplace of the “dragon in the school backyard” metaphor. In this position, she was responsible for organizing and documenting the work of the multi-million dollar funding over the course of five years. This included enacting the campus theory of action and working with the 180 faculty members and the 3000+ students for five years. Each day after teaching a full class load, Michaelann would work another six hours on shifting the milieu of a large comprehensive high school that had changed from being an awardwinning campus to one struggling to meet state standards. All of this was directly connected to a downturn in the oil industry, which triggered at least three student population shifts as Eagle changed from being predominantly populated by White students, to largely being a Black campus to finally having a high number of Latinos. As she put it, “It was like working a second job, not uncommon for many teachers, even now.” Her ability to work many different agendas simultaneously, and with an array of diverse adults and students, became a real benefit. According to Michaelann, “This high-stakes training ground really helped build my skills of self-reflection, reflective questioning, and collaboration.” During the first year of the grant, Michaelann attended CFG® training and quickly stood apart on the local landscape, soon becoming a national trainer and facilitating local new and experienced coaches training. Her experience in CFG® work developed into the focus of her doctoral dissertation, a 10-year narrative inquiry into teacher knowledge communities (Craig 1992, 1995). The longitudinal study reflects her commitment to creating safe places to grow and reflect as learners. She has used her experiences in teaching art, mentoring teachers at Eagle High School, and working with the reform initiatives across the country to inform her next experience as a district administrator. In 2014, Michaelann became the Director of Visual Arts in what was a very sad and, to Michaelann, a very awkward circumstance when her “art boss” was involved in a deadly car crash transporting artwork in the city. Sean Byrne (pseudonym) was a beloved art leader in the Northside District where he had worked for the previous 18 years. Michaelann heard of Sean’s tragic passing while on a learning grant trip to Germany. Shortly after learning of his passing, she received a call from the district assistant superintendent asking her to plan the professional development for the art teachers. As with many of the other members of the group, a death in their educational community formed an impetus for change. Michaelann

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retells, “I never wanted to leave the classroom to count textbooks or door keys. I always felt my calling was in curriculum and instruction, specifically, guiding teachers to become their best for our students.” Ultimately, she decided to apply for the position and discovered that she had unknowingly been laying the foundation for the transition through her leadership work in the district. She explained, “I was laying in the hotel room in Berlin typing my letter of intent to apply on my smartphone. I emailed it to the human resources department who already had my needed documents because two years previously I had been part of a growing leaders’ cohort.” Michaelann was always grateful that she had seized opportunities to grow without always knowing the specific outcomes for the learning. She continues to use her knowledge and skills in promising practices to support the art teachers across the district. In her new position, she has found a way to use her experiences as an art teacher and CFG® coach in working with adults to help the over 67,000 students in the Northside District. Regarding the dragon gate metaphor, Michaelann reflected, “I have moved from the mainstream and onto the mountain of traditional ivory tower educational structures, but am still looking for my own path to the dragon gate.” Her story illustrates the ways in which learning to lead adults is acquired over time, with continuous learning, practice, and persistence.

Unpacking Our Stories The ancient Chinese metaphor of the dragon gate celebrates achieving a major goal and the arduous journey that accomplishment entailed. Employing the metaphor as a lens through which to examine our career pathways led us to explore specific experiences that stood out as influential in our coming to where we are now in our careers as teachers/teacher educators. The stories shared provide insights into the complicated landscape of education and the complexities of life that influence teacher career pathway decisions. Among the emergent themes weaving their way in and out of our stories as shaping factors of career trajectories were the following: community, shifting environments, professional growth and teacher narrative authority (Olson 1995), and living one’s best-loved self. The importance of teachers/teacher educators having a sense of community emerged in several of our career pathway stories. This is illustrated in Tim’s loss of community after the death of his mentor and in

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Mike’s desire to find a workplace where his physical, social, and emotional needs were met. Both situations propelled their decisions to change positions, leading them to new contexts which gave them the sense of community needed as teachers/teacher educators. The sense of community also comes forward in the stories of Michaelann who built community with her campus colleagues, of Cheryl whose sense of formal university community was waning for everyone in it, and Gayle who struggled to restore a school community. Their experiences speak to the key role of school/institutional environments in contributing to teacher/teacher educator job satisfaction. This brings us to the second theme, the impact of shifting environments on career pathway choices. In Michaelann’s story, we see how population shifts in the surrounding community changed the school environment and the focus of her work and how unfortunate circumstances changed her broader district environment, opening up an unexpected opportunity for her professional growth and advancement. In the case of both Tim and Mike, school violence was linked to their subsequent decisions to leave familiar spaces for new, but unfamiliar ones. This is especially present in Cheryl’s story of leaving an institution where she had worked as a teacher educator, researcher, and instructional leader for over fifteen years but whose climate was on a seemingly never-ending downward spiral. The absence of departmental and institutional presence at the Huberman award ceremony was illustrative of the shifting environment that did not give her the support she needed, and moreover, deserved, in accordance with her international standing within the national and international education community. The impact of environment on the quality of teachers/teacher educators lived experiences is strongly present in Gayle’s story of Lamar’s highly contentious and political space that potentially could have ended her career in education and her subsequent contributions to the field. In both stories, changes and complexities in their professional contexts shaped their stories to leave by, but also opened new opportunities and stories to begin again by. The third theme, professional growth and teacher narrative authority, is a touchstone across experiences in that all stories reflect our desires to be respected for our expertise while continuing to develop as teachers/teacher educators. We intentionally pair these concepts because teacher narrative authority is not acquired without professional growth, and for that matter, without perseverance. This is evidenced in Michaelann’s story where she worked endless hours in what seemed to be

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“second job” in order to support her school’s reform efforts. Added to this was years of working with colleagues that not only helped to prepare her to lead adults in her current position but also increased her confidence in her narrative authority. Although the stories from the remaining Portfolio Group—Cheryl, Tim, Gayle, and Mike—speak of different contexts and situations, their similarity lies in a waning appreciation of their professional expertise: their teacher narrative authority. In each of their cases, the desire to live and work in a place where they could express their narrative authority to the fullest contributed to changes in their career pathways. Like teacher narrative authority (Olson 1995), the notion of the bestloved self (Schwab 1954/1978; Craig 2013) is intertwined with our lived career journeys. Important to us all is what Cheryl continually describes as the importance of “being good people, doing good work.” While our career pathways have taken us to different positions and different levels of responsibilities over the years, at the center of each of us has been a desire to live, breathe and animate our best-loved selves, and to be fully engaged in the meaningful and important problems of the “swampy lowlands” (Schön 1995, p. 28) of daily practice which are “messy and confusing and incapable of technical solution.”

Concluding Thoughts We end this chapter with an unmentioned theme playing out in the background of these dragon gate stories which highlight varied pivotal moments or situations that influenced the directions of our careers—the Portfolio Group. Over the past twenty-two years, we have walked alongside one another as these stories unfolded in real time. In a sense, we hold these stories as part of our shared history, evidenced by the fact that Portfolio Group members can easily recount the dragon gate stories of others in the group. As mentioned in other chapters, the knowledge community of the Portfolio Group is a trusted space in which we tell and retell, and story and restory our experiences. This has been particularly important as we individually have taken on different leadership positions within the field, oftentimes with fewer colleagues with whom we can confide. For all of us, the support of the Portfolio Group has been foundational to our ability to navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of our professional careers. It is a homeplace to which we have repeatedly returned for support, nurturance, and sustenance, a vital source indispensable to our personal and professional “well[s] of being” (Weill 2016).

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Cheryl considers the Portfolio Group as a consistent thread running through the greater part of her professional career. What she established as a place for teachers to share and restory experiences of school reform work with her as the primary facilitator, transformed into a knowledge community of like-minded colleagues—leaders among leaders—challenging the norm and a haven of support within the changing education landscape. For Michaelann, the work with the Portfolio Group and her work as the school reform coordinator has been, in her words, “a wonderful and gradual learning experience.” She was already well-versed in working with her students, but, as we see in many school leaders, the transition from being a great teacher to an excellent administrator often hinges on their ability to move from teaching students to learning with adults. The work of learning alongside and with her Portfolio Group attributed to Michaelann’s ability to easily transition into administration. As for Mike, the Portfolio Group offers an intellectually stimulating space that connects theory and practice that serves as an inspiration for his continuing professionalism. For some of us, the Portfolio Group provided a sense of community when it was absent or difficult to find in our work contexts. According to Gayle, this was especially true during her years at Lamar when, although she found it inappropriate to share the full extent of the situation with the Portfolio Group, she refers to the group as “a major supportive factor during the years at Lamar and a constant reminder to strive to be a good person doing good work.” For Tim, conversations around his dining room table, in coffee shops, and restaurants, provided in the Portfolio Group were key to finding his teacher narrative authority. His journey as a teacher and teacher educator, in many ways mirrored the trajectory of the Portfolio Group in that as we began our journey, none of us (including those not currently around the metaphoric table), would have imagined the travels that lay ahead. As shown in this chapter, teacher/teacher educator career pathway decisions are shaped by complex situations and contexts where both professional and personal aspects of teachers’ lives converge. We are reminded that, like carp jumping the dragon gate, professional trajectories across the landscape are never uni-directional pathways (Blacker 1997) and never in a continuously smooth flow. Rather, they are most often marked by unforeseen twists and turns, each with their own series of rapids and waterfalls to overcome. In navigating those sometimes arduous journeys, teacher knowledge communities provide a sense of continuity,

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a sense of constancy, and a sense of support. In sum, while discomforting challenges often propel us in new directions, the continuity of a community of knowing helps to fortify our confidence to “start searching for different ways or truer answers” (Peck, n.d.).

References Blacker, D. J. (1997). Dying to teach: The educators’ search for immortality. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Clandinin, D. J., Downey, C. A., & Huber, J. (2009). Attending to changing landscapes: Shaping the interwoven identities of teachers and teacher educators. Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 37 (2), 141–154. Craig, C. J. (1992). Coming to know in the professional knowledge context: Beginning teachers experience (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Craig, C. J. (1995). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know in their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–175. Craig, C. J. (2001). The relationships between and among teachers’ narrative knowledge, communities of knowing, and school reform: A case of the monkey’s paw. Curriculum Inquiry, 31(3), 303–331. Craig, C. J. (2003). Narrative inquiries of school reform: Storied lives, storied landscapes, storied metaphors. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Craig, C. J. (2004). The dragon in school backyards: The influence of mandated testing on school contexts and educators’ narrative knowing. Teachers College Record, 106(6), 1229–1257. Craig, C. J. (2009). The contested classroom space: A decade of lived educational policy in Texas schools. American Educational Research Journal, 46(4), 1034– 1059. Craig, C. J. (2013). Teacher education and the best-loved self. Asian Pacific Journal of Education, 33(3), 261–272. Craig, C. J. (2017). Sustaining teachers: The best-loved self in teacher education and beyond. In X. Zhu, A. L. Goodwin & H. Zhang (Eds), Quality of teacher education and learning: Theory and practice (New Frontiers of Educational Research Series). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Publications. Craig, C. J. (2018a). From stories of starting to stories of staying to stories of leaving: The career experiences of an English as a Second Language teacher in the U.S. (Research Papers in Education), pp. 1–32. Craig, C. J. (2018b). Metaphors of knowing, doing and being: Capturing experience in teaching and teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 69, 300–311.

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Curtis, G. A., Kelley, M., Martindell, P. T., Reid, D., Craig, C. J., & Perez, M. (2018). Jumping the dragon gate: Experience, contexts, career pathways, and professional identity. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.), Pushing boundaries and crossing borders: Self-study as a means for knowing pedagogy (pp. 51–58). Herstmonceux, UK: S-Step. Curtis, G., Reid, D., Craig, C. J., Kelley, M., & Martindell, P. T. (2013). Braided lives: Multiple ways of knowing flowing in and out of professional lives. Studying Teacher Education, 9(2), 175–186. Dewey, J. (1938). Eros and education. In Experience and education. New York, NY: Basic Books. Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco, CA: JosseyBass. Hamilton, M. L., & Pinnegar, S. (1998). The value and the promise of self-study. In M. L. Hamilton (Ed.), Reconceptualizing teaching practice: Self-study in teacher education (pp. 235–246). London, UK: Falmer Press. Kelchtermans, G. (2005). Teachers’ emotions in educational reforms: Selfunderstanding, vulnerable commitment and micropolitical literacy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(8), 995–1006. LaBoskey, V. K. (2004). The methodology of self-study and its theoretical underpinnings. In J. J. Loughran, M. L. Hamilton, V. K. LaBoskey, & T. Russell (Eds.), International handbook of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices (pp. 817–869). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer. Lin, G. (2009). Where the mountain meets the moon. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company. Munby, H., & Russell, T. (1995). Towards rigor and relevance: How can teachers and teacher educators claim to know? In T. Russell & F. Korthagen (Eds.), Improving teacher education practices through self-study (pp. 172–184). London, UK: Falmer Press. Olson, M. R. (1995). Conceptualizing narrative authority: Implication for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11(2), 119–135. Olson, M., & Craig, C. (2001). Opportunities and challenges in the development of teachers’ knowledge: The development of narrative authority through knowledge communities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17 (6), 667–684. Peck, M. S. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/52532the-truth-is-that-our-finest-moments-are-most-likely. Schön, D. A. (1995). The new scholarship requires a new epistemology. Change, 27, 26–34. Schwab, J. J. (1978). Eros and education: A discussion of one aspect of discussion. In I. Westbury & N. Wilkof (Eds.), Science, curriculum and liberal education: Selected essays (pp. 105–132). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press (original published in 1954). Weill, J.-P. (2016). The well of being. New York, NY: Flatiron Books.

CHAPTER 10

Relationships, Cross-Pollination, and Extended Collaborations (2002–Present)

After twenty-two years of working together, if there is one thing that the Portfolio Group has learned, it is that “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much” (Keller, n.d.). Together, as the Portfolio Group, we have presented at conferences at home in the United States and abroad, taken up education research projects using varied research approaches, and written multiple publications. Side by side, we have created a safe, trusting space in which to share our daily lived experiences as teachers and teacher educators. Together we have explored the ups-and-downs of teaching, examined the struggles to help every student achieve their best, mindfully sought out ways to improve our practice, inquired into school environments that sometimes run counter to our beliefs and understandings of teaching and learning, and even examined the sustaining qualities of our group. Together we have constructed knowledge, developed new ways of knowing, and storied and restoried our identities. Together we have been there for each other, supporting when life was at its worst and celebrating when life was at its best. Indeed, together, as members of a knowledge community, we can do so much. School-based reform and school portfolios brought us together in 1998, but the end of grant funding in 2002 left us wondering what would become of the Portfolio Group. Some members chose to step away from the group to refocus their efforts on the work of schools and some retired from teaching. Others wanted to continue the group. © The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_10

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We did not know what that would look like or exactly what our joint purpose would be. What we did know, however, was that we had found a generative knowledge community space (Craig 1992, 1995) within which a group of individuals wanted to professionally grow. For some, it was the stimulating, critical conversations about education that kept us in the group and for others it was the personal need for collaboration, for some it was a little of both, and for others it was the absence or limited presence of critical professional dialogue and collaboration in our individual settings. Whatever the personal reasons, we continued alongside one another, retaining the moniker of Portfolio Group with which we all identified. Looking back to 1998, or even back to 2002, none of us could have predicted that we would still remain in community with one another in 2020. As mentioned, the Portfolio Group’s collaborations over cumulative years have included numerous group projects made public through different venues. Not as visible are the numerous extended collaborations between group members that occur when individuals step in to help support another’s work in their school or university or when their career paths merge unexpectedly. Even more out of sight is the cross-pollination of ideas that happens as members share what they have learned through Portfolio Group interactions with others in their other knowledge communities—and beyond. Jointly, these interactions of extended collaboration and cross-pollination have impacted how we identify as a group and just as importantly contributed to the shaping of our ever-changing individual professional identities. The constant thread running through all of our exchanges—inside and outside the group—is relationship. This chapter explores the different ways in which Portfolio Group members have extended collaboration beyond the imaginary boundaries of group cooperation and how the personal practical knowledge held by members is shared in other environments in the broader professional education landscape. Interwoven throughout are common threads of relationship between individuals of the Portfolio Group and between them and their other colleagues in education.

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Relationship From strangers to trusted critical friends, Navigating experiences, exploring possibilities; From caring for, to caring about, Walking alongside one another amidst life’s variabilities. —From Collaboration by Gayle Curtis (2020)

Teaching is a complex endeavor, according to Hollingsworth et al. (1993). It is a “personal and emotional process, perhaps as much as a cognitive and rational affair” (p. 6). Clandinin and Connelly (2000) similarly assert that teachers’ emotions are inseparable from their beliefs, values, morals, actions, and teacher identities. Teaching is also a highly relational profession (Hargreaves 1998; Kitchen 2016a, b) in which teachers “co-construct meaning with students” as they interact together with curriculum (Craig 1995, p. 16). Like Kitchen and Ciuffetelli-Parker (2009), we have found that in teacher groups such as ours, “conversation, collaboration, and community can have a powerful impact on teachers’ confidence, capacity for professional growth, and willingness to share their practices with others” (p. 107). At the core of the Portfolio Group’s sustained twenty-two year collaboration are relationships—relationships that establish trust within the group and that have developed and have been (and continue to be) nurtured with care. Community of Care Our relationships began as professional and collegial in nature while working side by side on school portfolio work, then naturally grew as we gained an understanding of one another’s approach to education, areas of expertise, and standards of work. As happens in such relationships, the personal also entered into our relationships as we increasingly shared aspects of our private lives outside of schools. So along with the professional side of each person, we came to appreciate the personal attributes that both differentiate and connect us—individuality, devotion to family, dedication to work, sense of humor, curiosity, creativity, generosity, kindness, perseverance, reflexivity, self-motivation, tenacity…The list is endless. Reflecting on how our relationships shifted over the years, we realize the group began as individuals simply caring for others in a mostly professional way and over time became persons caring about others in closer

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professional and personal ways (Noddings 2001, 2012). By this, we mean that in our early relationships we provided for one another through the exchange of ideas and materials. We did this in order to meet each other’s needs in the collaborative and because the work of individuals reflected on the group as a whole. In this sense, we cared for, or took care of one another. Over the years, that sense of care strengthened and deepened to caring about the lives of others in both their professional and personal circumstances. Parallel to this was an intensification of our collaboration, moving from sharing information to providing feedback, and then to helping one another think through situations, and finally to co-constructing and developing ideas. If one were to listen in on how we begin our meetings by catching up on recent personal and professional events and pay attention to the inevitable elicited responses, our caring about one another would become clear. It would be apparent in the way in which responses reveal the listeners’ understanding of the speaker’s personal situations, knowledge of their work environments, and simple, authentic interest in and concern about what is being shared. It is often at these times, before debriefing recent collaborative activities, that we celebrate the birth and development of our children and grandchildren, commemorate milestones, and offer words of encouragement. As we debrief our collaborative work, the deepening of our relationships is also reflected in our interactions as critical friends. Whereas at one time we relied heavily on Critical Friends Group® (CFG® ) protocols and procedures to guide the way in which our feedback was given (i.e., centered on the work rather than the personal), our feedback now takes the personal experiences and contexts of others into consideration. Still, critical friendship remains integral to our relationships. Outside of meetings, our caring about one another is often found in simple gestures, such as taking part in a live stream of Tim Martindell and Mike Perez’s out of town wedding or sending a card and plant of sympathy to represent our presence when we cannot be there in person. Whether in celebration or in grief, we have stood by one another, giving needed support and understanding. Over the years, several expressions of caring about each other have been particularly meaningful.

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Expressions of Care The Portfolio Group celebrated with Cheryl Craig when she received the news that she would be named an American Education Research Association Fellow at the upcoming conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Knowing that we could not be present when Cheryl received the award, the Portfolio Group arranged with the hotel concierge to have a floral arrangement waiting in Cheryl’s room when she arrived. Whether it was our multiple phone calls to the concierge explaining the significance of the surprise flowers or simply a wonderful coincidence, her hotel room was unexpectedly upgraded without charge. As it turned out, this show of support was much needed to counter Cheryl’s disappointment when her dean and department colleagues did not attend the important award ceremony for a multiplicity of reasons. More recently, in 2014, Portfolio Group members supported Gayle Curtis during a family tragedy when her thirty-one-year-old nephew was put on life support and then sadly passed away as the result of a drug overdose. At the time, Deirdre Bamboo (pseudonym) and Gayle were collaborating on the curriculum redesign of a teacher education course for which they taught different sections. Gayle remembers, “When I received word about my nephew’s dire condition, all my energy went to prayers for him and getting to my family as soon as possible. I quickly sent off an email to Deirdre, trusting that help would be given when it was needed.” Without hesitation, Deirdre stepped into cover Gayle’s class. Confident that her preservice teacher students were in good hands and continuing their learning with Deirdre, this simple act of care (covering a class) allowed Gayle to focus her attention on family and personal needs at an extremely difficult time of devastating loss. This shared experience and Deirdre’s actions are a testament to the strong bonds forged between Gayle and Deirdre over the years. Other Portfolio Group actions in support of fellow members cannot be isolated to singular situations. For example, Tim Martindell has been undergoing kidney dialysis for several years now while waiting on a kidney transplant. Although there have been occasional missed meetings with the Portfolio Group due to treatment sessions, the necessary time commitment and physical fatigue have not stopped his professional pursuits. In fact, Tim has become adept at scheduling treatments after work and arranging activities around his treatments. He even had a dialysis treatment while participating in the Self-study of Teaching and Teacher

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Education Practices (S-STEP) conference at Herstmonceux Castle in England. Although all of this must have been a bother to arrange well in advance of the conference and an uncomfortable situation, Tim’s only comment was that he was “treated to a nice cup of English tea in a spalike atmosphere.” In times like these, the rest of us could and can only offer our support, words of encouragement, and sincere thoughts and prayers. We also marvel at Tim’s strength, determination, and perseverance as he continues to work and to meet professional obligations amid such personal physical challenges. These acts of kindness and care for one another further solidify our relationships because they carry the same unwritten message, “We care for you as a whole person.” We see relationship as having moral implications both within the group and in our educator work in general as we strive to be good people doing good work. As such, we recognize that we carry the lessons learned about relationship in our group and about interacting in sustained collaborations into all areas of our work where we aim to be ever-cognizant of, and responsive to our students and colleagues as whole individuals with rich and unique histories, particular gifts, and distinctive needs.

Cross-Pollination of Ideas Like bees collecting honey to feed a colony, We gather knowledge to feed our teacher souls; Taken up and embodied in practice As our best-loved selves seek continued growth. —From Collaboration by Gayle Curtis (2020)

The idea of pollination in the reproductive method of plants is well known, but may be an unfamiliar or seemingly fanciful notion when it comes to the way humans share ideas. We take up the term pollination and/or cross-pollination to make meaning of the ways in which we share ideas with others. Unlike the term dissemination, which implies a casting about of something such as throwing seeds in the air to land where they will, pollination infers direct contact between flowers and pollinators…say, bees. For the sake of clarity—let us review how this occurs in nature. According to the U.S. Forest Service (2019), most plants reproduce through the dispersal of their flowers’ seeds that carry the plant’s DNA, helped in finding new fertile ground by bees, birds, or the wind. However, “seeds can only be produced when pollen is transferred between flowers

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of the same species” (U.S. Forest Service 2019). So it is that bees (other species too), in their search for honey, land on one flower, inadvertently pick up pollen, and then unknowingly carry and leave it behind on the next flower, providing material needed for the flower to form seeds and recreate itself in something new. So we have come to think of such things as presentations and publications as dissemination, as the sharing of ideas and knowledge without knowing upon what fertile ground (or mind) they will fall. The term pollination/cross-pollination, on the other hand, provides a way of talking about how we interact directly with others, sharing knowledge and expertise with the hope of creating experiences for them to have collaboration and engagement similar to what we have as a group. Our desire is that in sharing, others will take up what is meaningful to them, add it to their personal practical knowledge (Clandinin 1993; Connelly and Clandinin 1988), and enact what they have garnered in ways new to them. The following stories describe how this cross-pollination has been evidenced in our collaboration. The Faculty Academy The formation of the Portfolio Group in 1998 was Cheryl’s brainchild; a way of bringing together teachers and grant coordinators from different schools and districts and diverse urban locations with the purpose of discussing their work. This was another—an associated—enactment of her conceptualization of knowledge communities (Craig 1992, 1995) safe spaces in which educators tell and restory experiences of practice. While all of our schools received grant funding from the same nonprofit organization and we were all involved in school portfolio work, participation was voluntary, meaning that we were not tied to any one school or school district. The Portfolio Group proved successful in that we did indeed engage in critical professional dialogue about our individual work. Not only did we gain knowledge about one another’s schools but we also came to a deeper understanding of the education issues confronting us all and engaged in many joint projects. The Portfolio Group then served as a parallel model for the Faculty Academy. In 2002, Cheryl extended her idea to higher education, forming the Faculty Academy and drawing in mostly junior faculty from varied fields and from different universities across the city. Like the Portfolio Group, participation in the Faculty Academy is voluntary and the group has no

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direct ties to any one institution. Meetings are held several times within both the fall and spring semesters, generally at different universities each time. This allows members to become at least somewhat familiar with one another’s physical contexts. Also like its predecessor, the Faculty Academy members have created a safe place in which to share their experiences of practice. Also like the Portfolio Group, Cheryl served as the primary facilitator during the early years of the Faculty Academy, organizing meeting times and places, and creating an agenda of topics. The role of facilitator was then taken up by a junior faculty member, Denise McDonald, who was mentored by Cheryl early in her academy experience and has since achieved tenure at another university. Cheryl continues to take a leader-among-leaders role in the Faculty Academy which now includes 25 members from six universities, some being Cheryl’s former doctoral students. The Faculty Academy provides a space in which Cheryl, Denise, and others can work together in new ways. Faculty Academy meetings are rather informal with typical topics of conversation ranging from dilemmas of practice, to being a novice faculty member navigating the academy, to preparing for promotion and tenure reviews. The unique combination of individuals from different concentrations of study and levels of the academy makes for rich professional dialogue, creating opportunities for mentoring exchanges to occur between senior and junior faculty, both within and outside of meeting settings. This cross-institutional mentoring has also opened up opportunities for cross-institutional collaborations outside of the Faculty Academy, including grants, projects, and research. For example, since the founding of the group eighteen years ago, members of the Faculty Academy have collaborated on numerous presentations and publications centered on their experiences in the academy. This includes the 2018 (McDonald 2018) volume entitled, Facing challenges and complexities in retention of novice teachers, which was edited by Denise and whose chapters were contributed by Faculty Academy members (e.g., McDonald et al. 2016; Craig et al. 2018a, b; McDonald et al. 2018a, b). As we write this book, Cheryl, Laura Turchi, and Denise are leading the Faculty Academy in a second book to be published in 2020, which belongs to the same series as our own.

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Las Chicas Críticas Discussing Dewey’s take on education as experience, Clandinin and Connelly (2000) assert that “experiences grow out of other experiences, and experiences lead to further experiences” (p. 2). This has certainly been the case with the Portfolio Group members’ experiences where one interaction with another group or person has led to other interactions, which has led to further interactions. Gayle’s relationship with Las Chicas Críticas (The Critical Girls) is one example. The Chicas are Jane McIntosh Cooper, Leslie Gauna, and Christine Beaudry, three female US educators who, upon starting doctoral studies around the same time, formed a peer support group or knowledge community of critical friends. They all have a background in K-12 urban schools, with Jane moving to education after a career in business, Leslie starting out as a bilingual/ESL generalist, and Christine beginning as a social studies teacher. What brought them together was their shared commitment enacting critical pedagogy and social justice in their relational teaching and learning (Kitchen 2016a, b). Jane, Leslie, and Christine were all working as university clinical instructors while pursuing their doctoral degrees when they began to investigate their individual classroom practice together. Thus was born Las Chicas Críticas as they critically and collaboratively examined their practice; a longitudinal study that has continued since 2011. As it happened, Las Chicas were embarking on their doctoral degrees when some of the Portfolio Group were finishing their doctoral studies at the same university but in different departments. Las Chicas were in the social education department while the Portfolio Group members were associated with teaching and teacher education. Despite this apparent difference in their concentration area of studies, paths intersected in very meaningful ways. In fact, all three Chicas participated in Cheryl’s narrative inquiry classes and she served on each of their dissertation committees. In this way, Cheryl came to have a deep understanding of each of the Chicas’ professional interests and stance regarding education. Similarly, Gayle came to develop a relationship with Jane, Leslie, and Christine when she enrolled in urban education classes alongside them. There was a certain affinity that she felt toward the group because her teaching background in urban schools is grounded in bilingual/ESL education, at the heart of which sits critical pedagogy and social justice.

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It came as no surprise then, when Las Chicas reached out to Gayle for feedback on their dissertation studies and interim texts. Similarly, when the Portfolio Group began to examine their collaborative group practice through self-study research, Gayle naturally wanted to share what she was learning about this research genre with Las Chicas. She explained, There are many parallels between the Portfolio Group and Las Chicas Criticas: we are all teacher educators, both groups formed organically around shared interests, and both groups reflect upon, discuss, and critically examine their practice. After the Portfolio Group completed its initial self-study into the group’s characteristics and qualities promoting sustainability, it seemed that self-study would be a good fit for the work that Las Chicas was already doing and a way to make their powerful work public.

As Gayle shared about collaborating with the Portfolio Group on selfstudy research and presenting at the Self-study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP) Castle Conference in 2012 and 2014, she encouraged Las Chicas to take up self-study research. Although at the time she considered herself a novice in self-study using the narrative inquiry method, Gayle began mentoring Jane, Leslie, and Christine in regard to self-study research, having conversations about the fit with narrative inquiry, and sharing articles and book chapters of interest. She became their critical friend, providing feedback on their collaborative longitudinal study. This unique and organically forming collaboration—Las Chicas plus One—has proven to be both a generative and productive relationship among teacher educators. Together they have examined how past experiences shaped their teacher educator identities and influenced their teaching and the ways in which they create opportunities for students to discover their teacher identities (Curtis et al. 2016a). Also, together they have explored the boundaries of critical pedagogy in their practice (Cooper et al. 2018) and burrowed into the relational aspects of collaborative research and practice (Cooper et al. 2019).

Extended Collaborations Knowing self and others in relationship, Shared histories with countless epiphanies; Interaction, collaboration, and partnership, Intersecting narratives with endless possibilities. —Gayle Curtis (2020)

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Although the majority of our interaction happens in the context of the Portfolio Group’s work, our collaborations also extend into one another’s daily practice and work contexts. That is one of the benefits of a long-standing collaboration…you know who to call upon when certain expertise or a helping hand is needed. Our years of working together and shared experiences have created a sort of shortcut in our conversations. Additionally, our knowledge of one another’s school contexts makes coming into those spaces seem quite familiar to the one transitioning in, although temporarily. We selected the following exemplars to illustrate the wide range of extended collaborations that occur among Portfolio Group members. Collaborative Curriculum Development and Academic Sisters Soon after their doctorate degrees were conferred, Gayle and Deirdre joined a teacher education team at their university in revamping a technology-integrated undergraduate teacher education foundations course. The course was paired with an instructional technology course designed to prepare preservice teachers in pedagogically-based educational uses of varied technology applications, with students’ assignments shared by both classes. As it happened, important events unfolded simultaneously that opened up this opportunity for an extended collaboration: the professor who taught the course for many years left the university and a new course textbook was adopted. As a result, new instructors were hired: an assistant professor with a strong teacher education program background, three recent doctoral graduates (including Gayle and Deirdre), and an instructional technology educator. Fortunate to the continuity of the courses, the technology instructional designer experienced in the courses stayed on, continuing to teach and offer her advice. All of this occurred just a few short weeks before the start of class, creating a six-member team to redesign curriculum and to teach multiple sections of the content and technology paired courses. Individually, team members delved into the new textbook and examined the college’s established course objectives, then quickly came together to compose linked syllabi for the two courses without as yet having developed the full curriculum. While each person knew one or two of the others, none were familiar with everyone on the team. Their first meetings uncovered that each person had a connection with

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at least one other in the group through recent and past collaborations, a shared doctoral advisor, or participation in the Portfolio Group. It was also established that all were committed to weekly collaborative meetings for continued curriculum development throughout the semester. When meeting after the first week of teaching, Deirdre and Gayle began sharing reflections on their classes, to which the other team members responded with their own reflections. Once introduced, reflection on practice became an integral part of the team’s meetings with each instructor sharing thoughts on the previous week’s classroom activities—what worked, what did not work, and how connections between the content and technology classes could be reinforced and/or improved for the following semester. In fact, the instructional designer found the reflective practice within the team to be so transformative that she added reflection time to her weekly calendar, something she adopted as essential to continued improvement across all her areas of work. Reflective practice reinforced their curriculum collaboration and brought the team together as teacher educators. The curriculum collaboration team came to see one another as “academic sisters” and their meetings as public homeplaces or “authentic public spaces…where people can appear before each other the best they know how to be” (Greene 1988, p. xi). Working together toward common goals, their public homeplace provided a safe space in which to “work at the very edges of their abilities, constantly pushing each other’s thinking into new territory, giving names to things that have gone unnamed, dreaming of better ways, discovering common ground, and finding ways to realize shared dreams” (Belenky et al. 1997, p. xxiii). For Gayle, the collaborative curriculum development was rewarding on multiple levels. It provided an opportunity to work with a fellow Portfolio Group member on a worthwhile and challenging project that brought them new relationship s with colleagues. Importantly, she was able to use the collaborative team as a model through which to engage her preservice teacher students in transparent conversations about teacher collaboration and different types of collaborative teacher/teacher educator groups. A Collage of Collaboration Other extended collaborations among Portfolio Group members have been short in duration, but no less impactful than the curriculum development experience just shared. Many times these collaborations spring

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out of individually pursued projects or the work we do on our individual campuses. One story dates back to the mid-2000s when the Eagle High School team was awarded a Teacher As Researcher (TAR) grant to examine their practice with high-risk students. Cheryl joined the team in the efforts, acting as mentor and critical friend, and gaining insight into her own practice at the same time. As a tenured professor and university aligned researcher and evaluator, Cheryl’s participation in critical friendship at Eagle High School presented a unique perspective on school reform. When the group decided to focus on high-risk students, Cheryl “initially wondered how my work with doctoral students at a Research I university could fit in” (Kelley 2012, p. 245). After reflecting on her students, she wrote, “I concluded that my doctoral students were as much at risk as the Eagle High School student population. While my students had gained entry into the most esteemed program our university offers, they similarly were at risk—for a plethora of reasons—of not completing their programs and not having their degrees conferred” (Kelley 2012, pp. 246–247). This reflection allowed Cheryl to see the additional needs of her doctoral students. Another example of extended collaborations involves Michaelann Kelley’s work with Eagle’s International Baccalaureate (IB) students on an end-of-year, art-integrated writing project. Her support of students in this effort began while a visual arts teacher at Eagle High School but continued after her move to a district position as director for visual art. For this annual project, students select a topic of interest, conduct related research, then write an opinion paper on their findings. In addition, students create an accompanying art piece that serves as a visual representation of their paper’s theme. Over the years, Ron Venable, Cheryl, and Gayle have been “enlisted” to work alongside Michaelann, the students, and Eagle’s teachers on these projects. This extended collaboration gives former and current Portfolio Group members the opportunity to share their creativity in new ways—Ron, his expertise in visual art composition; Cheryl, her knowledge of research and use of metaphor; and Gayle, her poetry-infused writing know-how. Notably, such experiences also help teacher educators to remain connected with public schools and their students and teachers.

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An Unexpected Collaboration Perhaps the most unexpected and unanticipated extended collaboration of the Portfolio Group was the writing of this book. The genesis of the idea can be traced back to a 5-1/2 hour road trip from Houston, Texas to the 2011 American Education Research Association conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a very long conversation between Gayle and Deirdre. Somewhere between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, the term “braided rivers” organically emerged in their conversation as a metaphor for Portfolio Group members’ movement over the years. The metaphor captured the way in which members have moved in and out of the Portfolio Group, their professional and personal lives repeatedly merging, separating, and then merging again. It also provided a visual representation of how we understand that knowledge and experience gained through the group’s interactions continue to flow through individuals’ practice even when they are no longer actively participating in the Portfolio Group. This somewhat casual conversation between two members led to the Portfolio Group taking up self-study research (as chronicled in Chapter 8) as a longitudinal exploration into the sustaining qualities and shared experiences of the Portfolio Group (see Curtis et al. 2012, 2013). Representing the group in 2018, Gayle, Tim, Mike, and Cheryl presented at the S-STEP Castle Conference, sharing thoughts on the complexities of the career pathways of teachers and teacher educators (Curtis et al. 2018). Tim recalls the reaction of the session participants when he offhandedly remarked that our group had been together for 20 years, “There was an audible gasp when I mentioned how long we had been together.” Gayle remembers, “After our presentation, we went outside to the castle bridge to debrief our session. As we began talking, Tim said that we should write a book about our collaboration and the legacy [Chapter 11 The Portfolio Group’s Legacy] of the Portfolio Group.” With that spark of inspiration, the group loaded up in Tim’s rental car and headed to the local Starbucks, as our group’s modus operandi is to collaborate around a table drinking coffee. At this table not far from the castle—and in England nonetheless, the essence of this book was conceived, and the chapter contents laid out. It was at the Castle Conference that we vividly saw lived connections between the local and the global—and the role we could play in authentically connecting the two.

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While the idea of collaboratively writing a book emerged unexpectedly, our self-study which began in 2011 gave us much to draw upon in composing this volume. After the 2018 Castle Conference, we spent the next eighteen months gathered in Michaelann’s living room, breaking bread at a local restaurant, and most often seated around Tim and Mike’s dining room table engaged in critical professional dialogue (Guilfoyle et al. 2004), reflection, and of course collaborative writing. The experience has illuminated our understanding of shared experiences, uncovering multiple interpretations along the way, and reinforcing our relationships. We hope that our readers will take away as much as we have in this exploration of our long-standing collaboration in the teaching and teacher education field, the varied iterations of our work, our shifts in identity over the years, and the vital role of relationship in sustaining knowledge communities—and emerging knowledge communities—among educators.

References Belenky, M. F., Bond, L. A., & Weinstock, J. S. (1997). A tradition that has no name: Nurturing the development of people, families, and communities. New York, NY: Basic Books. Clandinin, D. J. (1993). Teacher education as narrative inquiry. In D. J. Clandinin, A. Davies, P. Hogan, & B. Kennard (Eds.), Learning to teach, teaching to learn: Stories of collaboration in teacher education (pp. 1–15). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1988). Teachers as curriculum planners: Narratives of experience. New York, NY: Teachers’ College Press. Cooper, J. M., Beaudry, C. E., Gauna, L. M., & Curtis, G. A. (2018). Bridging theory and practice: Exploring the boundaries of critical pedagogy through group self-study. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.), Pushing boundaries and crossing borders: Self-study as a means for knowing pedagogy. S-Step: Herstmonceux, UK. Cooper, J. M., Gauna, L. M., Beaudry, C. E., & Curtis, G. A. (2019). A relational approach to collaborative research and practice among teacher educators in urban contexts. In J. Kitchen & K. Ragoonaden (Eds.), Mindful and relational teacher approaches to social justice in teacher education. Rowan & Littlefield: New York, NY.

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Craig, C. J. (1992). Coming to know in the professional knowledge context: Beginning teachers experience (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Craig, C. J. (1995). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know in their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–175. Craig, C. J., You, J., Zou, Y., Verma, R., Stokes, D., Evans, P., et al. (2018a). The embodied nature of narrative knowledge: A cross-study analysis of embodied knowledge in teaching, learning, and life. Teaching and Teacher Education, 71, 329–340 (Awarded paper). Craig, C J., Evans, P., Li, J., & Stokes, D. (2018b). The Gordian knot of teacher induction: When context trumps teacher preparation and the desire to teach. In D. McDonald (Ed.), Secondary teacher education in urban America. Charlotte, NC: Information Age publishing. Curtis, G. A. (2020). Collaboration (Unpublished poem). Curtis, G. A., Cooper, J. M., & Gauna, L. (2016a). Desenredando (unknotting) the threads of our educator practice: Elucidating the drive and essence of our present teacher education curriculum and practice. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.), Enacting self as methodology for professional inquiry (pp. 379–386). Self-study of Teacher Education Practices (peer-reviewed). Curtis, G. A., Craig, C. J., & Kelley, M. (2016b). Sustaining self and others in the teaching profession: A group self-study. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.), Enacting self as methodology for professional inquiry (pp. 133–140). Self-study of Teacher Education Practices. Curtis, G. A., Craig, C., Reid, D., Kelley, M., Martindell, P. T., & Gray, P. (2012). Braided journeys: A self-study of sustained teacher collaboration. In J. R. Young, L. B. Erickson, & S. Pinnegar, S. (Eds.), Extending inquiry communities: Illuminating teacher education through self-study (pp. 82–85). Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. Curtis, G. A., Kelley, M., Martindell, P. T., Reid, D., Craig, C., & Perez, M. (2018). Jumping the dragon gate: Experience, contexts, career pathways, and professional identity. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.), Pushing boundaries and crossing borders: Self-study as a means for knowing pedagogy (pp. 51–58). Herstmonceaux, UK: S-Step. Curtis, G. A., Reid, D., Craig, C. J., Kelley, M., & Martindell, P. T. (2013). Braided lives: Multiple ways of knowing flowing in and out of professional lives. Studying Teacher Education, 9(2), 175–186. Greene, M. (1988). The dialectic of freedom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Guilfoyle, K., Hamilton, M. L., Pinnegar, S., & Placier, P. (2004). The epistemological dimension and dynamics of professional dialogue in self-study. In J. J. Loughran, M. L. Hamilton, V. K. LaBoskey, & T. Russell (Eds.),

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International handbook of self study of teaching and teacher education practices (pp. 1109–1168). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer. Hargreaves, A. (1998). The emotional practice of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14(8), 835–854. Hollingsworth, S., Dybdahl, M., & Turner Minarik, L. (1993). By chart and chance and passion: The importance of relational knowing in learning to teach. Curriculum Inquiry, 23(1), 5–35. Keller, H. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/helen_ keller_382259. Kelley, M. (2012). Critical Friends Groups: Building knowledge through collaboration and reflection (Doctoral dissertation). University of Houston, Houston, TX. Retrieved from University of Houston Institutional Repository. http:// hdl.handle.net/10657/620. Kitchen, J. (2016a). Enacting a relational approach as a teacher education administrator: A self-study. In D. Garbett & Alan Ovens (Eds.), Enacting self-study as a methodology for professional inquiry (pp. 411–419). Herstmonceux, UK: Self-study of Teacher Education Practices SIG. Kitchen, J. (2016b). Looking back on 15 years of relational teacher education: A narrative self-Study. In J. William & M. Hayler (Eds.), Professional learning through transitions and transformations: Teacher educators’ journeys of becoming (pp. 167–182). New York, NY: Springer. Kitchen, J., & Ciuffetelli-Parker, D. (2009). Self-study communities of practice. In C. A. Lassonde, S. Galman, & C. Kosnik (Eds.), Self-study research methodologies for teacher educators (pp. 107–128). Boston, MA: Sense Publishers. McDonald, D. (Ed.). (2018). Facing challenges and complexities in retention of novice teachers. Charlotte, NC: Information Age. McDonald, D., Craig, C., Markello, C., & Kahn, M. (2016). Our academic sandbox: Scholarly identities shaped by play, tantrums, building castles and rebuffing backyard bullies. The Qualitative Report., 21(6), 1145–1163. McDonald, D., Craig, C., & Curtis, G. (2018a). A big picture view of teacher induction experiences across the disciplines: Helping policy makers see the forest through the trees. In D. McDonald (Ed.), Secondary teacher education in urban America. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. McDonald, D., Craig, C., & Curtis, G. (2018b). Situating teacher induction in the urban teaching context: A journey through new terrain as novice teachers’ share stories of finding their way. In D. McDonald (Ed.), Secondary teacher education in urban America. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Noddings, N. (2001). Care and coercion in school reform. Journal of Educational Change, 2, 35–43. Noddings, N. (2012). The language of care ethics. Knowledge Quest, 40(4), 52–56. U.S. Forest Service. (2019). What is pollination? Retrieved from https://www. fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/What_is_Pollination/.

CHAPTER 11

The Portfolio Group’s Legacy

Looking Back, Looking Forward Legacy, or what is handed down from the past, to our way of thinking, takes many forms (Fig. 11.1). This is a particularly salient point to ponder as we individually and collectively travel backward in time as Portfolio Group members, trying to assess our impact on our students, colleagues and ourselves, as well as others nationally and internationally. From the outset, we are acutely aware that our careers have been more like flights of butterflies than flights of bullets (Jackson 1968). None of us have had trajectories that have been entirely upward, indisputably direct, and completely on target. Neither has the Portfolio Group’s progress, as we have authentically shown, resembled an upward moving arrow. There have been zigs, and there have been zags as we have recalibrated and reinvented ourselves as individual teaching professionals and members of a shared knowledge community. We have changed and adapted with the times and in response to the opportunities we have found or made. Our hard-wrought metamorphoses from caterpillars to butterflies are one we claim with pride. Despite our cumulative experiences and age, we fully acknowledge that we are still in the making; we know that neither we nor the Portfolio Group is not fully made (Greene 1995) as we earlier shared with readers. Gayle Curtis’ first career was in the oil industry while she nurtured a music career on the side. She attributes her education career to having © The Author(s) 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0_11

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Fig. 11.1 Portfolio Group writing session (from left to right, Cheryl Craig, Gayle Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, M. Michael “Mike” Perez, P. Tim Martindell)

her hard work recognized by others. A series of doors subsequently opened, leading her to the calling (Hansen 1995) that she was one of the last to figure out. Most particularly, Gayle’s learning of Spanish and introduction to the Latinx culture through her church involvement awakened her to the need for empathetic teachers locally. Michaelann Kelley entered the workplace as a graphic designer in industrial hygiene. She became an educator after she returned to university for her master’s degree. There, she answered the calling her mother had always seen in her. Meanwhile, Mike Perez studied environmental science before realizing his science background could benefit urban middle school youth, many being Hispanic like himself. In contrast to Gayle, Michaelann, and Mike, Tim Martindell and Cheryl Craig entered teaching immediately following their initial teacher preparation. However, they also engaged in various pathways and variations on the teaching theme (curriculum leadership, consulting, clinical university teaching positions, and so forth). Cumulatively, we, as Portfolio Group members, have worked in different school settings, different school districts, independent schools, reform agencies, border crossed from schools to university contexts, and moved from two urban university backdrops (one private, one public) to a more rural university that is one of the most renowned public land-grant universities in the nation. From the outset, we have been acutely aware—particularly when we engaged in the original portfolio work from which our name, Portfolio Group, derived—that internal transfers of ideas happened among Portfolio Group members in the five initially participating schools.

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Internal Sharing of Ideas We now circle back to our early years of association and showcase excerpts of conversations that took place between faculty at Eagle High School (Grades 9–12) (Excerpt 1) and faculty at Hardy Academy (Grades 7– 8) (Excerpt 2). The passages speak to the internal communication and dissemination that took place among group members in their communities of knowing. We begin with an example from Eagle High School showcasing Michaelann (author), Mari Glamser, and Sandi Capps (shown with their published pseudonyms) refining their approach to portfoliomaking and the terms they decide to collectively use as members of an Eagle High School-based knowledge community: Exemplar 1: Eagle High School Bettylu: I don’t think we are only reflecting on our teaching in the school portfolio, I think we are also reflecting on our personal interactions with students. Liz: I think so, too. Bettylu: And I think a sense of belonging comes from reflecting on how you interact with students. Liz: Okay… Bettylu: I think that it all involves collaboration with students and with our colleagues. Liz: So, we’ll include that… Bettylu: I mean, we don’t need to change our school’s theory of action. It fits. Abbie: No. I think what we need to do is further elaborate what reflection means to us. Liz: Define those words… Bettylu: Define those words… Abbie: Yes, define those words. (Craig 2007, p. 624)

We next share a Hardy Academy example illuminating how Anna Hart, Lorne Richards, and Tim (author) (with Tim’s published pseudonym) exchanged knowledge in their Hardy Academy knowledge community. Through the process, they learned to work synergistically as a community of knowing:

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Example 2: Hardy Academy Anna [Art Teacher, Hardy Academy]: This is the way it’s working for us at Hardy. We have a new art room and we put everything we collected and organized it on the tables…Lorne is at the computer, he’s typing the narrative guide to the portfolio, Roxanne [an English as a Second Language Teacher], she’s working on photographs, Janice [a Skills Specialist] is doing some reflective writing, and I’m trying to make sure we are remembering everything…And we’re doing our school portfolio a little different. We’re actually putting titles like ‘Cultural Communications’ on the entries. Lorne: Yes, when the teachers [who did not assemble the portfolio] see it, I want them to know that their contributions were not in vain… Cheryl: So you are building in ownership? Anna: Mm-hm. Peter: Mm-hmm. Lorne: So, everyone has a piece. Cheryl: So that’s how you are building lots of teachers’ voices into the portfolio… Anna: Yes, we already have a reflective piece that our principal has written, and you [Cheryl] are going to contribute pieces as well. Cheryl: So, are you pleased with the way it is developing? Lorne: Oh, yes…very pleased… Anna: We really like it. It works well. Peter: Mm-hm…. (Craig 2007, pp. 627–628)

In addition to teachers discussing portfolio-making at their home campuses, they also conversed with one another across school campuses in a broader knowledge community. Here is an example of a T. P. Yaeger Middle School-Eagle High School interaction, together with an example of a Cochrane Academy-Hardy Academy-Eagle High School-Heights Community Learning Center exchange: Example 3: T. P. Yaeger Middle School-Eagle High School Interaction Sharleen [T. P. Yaeger]: But who are we preparing these portfolios for? I mean, is it for posterity, is it for an audience, is it really just for history or is it a recognized source of reflection for ourselves? I mean, we could add forever …. Liz [Eagle High School]: I think what we are trying to address [at Eagle] is our theory of action. And we want to be able to justify probably more to ourselves than to anyone else.… One of our problems with school reform has been that none of the stuff fits together…

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Sharleen: You need a linking pin? Liz: Our portfolio format, it connects—it works for us—I don’t know if it will work for anybody else. And we’ve talked about having different themes. Then the reader can decide how deep they want to go into our portfolio and around which topic. Cheryl: It seems to me that you are offering a narrative guide that will help you develop a shared approach and shared meaning. Sharleen: It is a little structure… Liz: That was our idea…and again whoever is reading it can decide how deep they go.

Example 4: Cochrane Academy-Eagle High School Interaction Hope [Cochrane Academy]: I take the portfolio home and look back on it and start to think about what I am going to do to move forward. And it causes me to reflect—just sitting there, thumbing through the pages—It causes me to think about, and turn back on, what we did last year, where we are now, and where we would like our school and our individual practices to go. When people ask questions, I go back to the portfolio and search for answers. Bettylu [Eagle High School]: I talk about portfolios in much the same manner. I want to discuss this with you further sometime… Hope: Yes, uh-huh. I just think when questions are asked or presentations are to be made, there is value in going back to the portfolio, thumbing through it, reflecting, and preparing for future action…. (Craig 2007, p. 623)

Further to this, issues experienced at one campus provided fodder for discussion of issues experienced at other campuses. Given that all the participating Annenberg schools were located in the same geographical region, subject to the same state’s educational policy, and shared the carbon-copy history of the locale, the conversations that were spearheaded were particularly insightful. In the example that follows, a significant theme experienced at Cochrane Academy and Hardy Academy (Tim’s middle school) located in the historical African American community (described in other chapters) spoke to an issue lived at Heights Community Learning Center (Gayle’s elementary school), which is located in an inner city, Latinx community, about 5 miles away:

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Cheryl: [Cochrane’s International Teacher Research Conference] proposal states that magnet schools will not work if they are based on the fact that someone decides a campus will be a magnet but does not give it the resources and help its people develop the perspectives needed to become a magnet. Bernadette [Art Teacher, Cochrane Academy]: That’s right. Cheryl: Nor can you atone the history of the past without including the historical African American community in the conversation. Lorne [Community Liaison, Hardy Academy]: Yes. Peter: Agreed. Cheryl: So, if we sketch Cochrane’s story and its theory of action, in very rough form, you would come up with something like community involvement and strong instructional programs rising from a magnet focus, contribute to a ‘good’ school? Liz [Eagle High School]: Right. Cheryl: And the community is a highly diverse population… Liz: And powerful, I mean, really powerful. Hope: And hard to pull together. Bernadette: Yes… Hope: That’s why we have to communicate and not just normal communication, I also have to especially think of the Hispanic community that cannot speak English. I would have more participation if I tapped into that community better. But I have to find someone to translate my messages and proofread them to make sure they are not offensive. Pamela [Reform Coordinator/Administrator, Heights Community Learning Center]: I know what you are talking about. Everything we do at our school also needs to be translated into Spanish. I know exactly what you mean…We had a visitor come to our building, and he said, ‘So, you are a Dual Language school?’ And we were telling him all the things we were doing. Then he said, ‘So how come there is still so much English in the building?’ There is ‘The Principal’s Office’—There is a Spanish term, you know… Hope: Yes. Pamela: So, it caused us to think hard and redirect. A lot of times, it is so easy just to put things out in English. Hope: Yes. (Craig 2007, p. 625)

On a second occasion, a fruitful dialogue between Portfolio Group members from Heights Community Learning Center (Pamela Chambers) and Cochrane Academy (Bernadette Lohle) was ignited. This time it had

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to do with the close relationship between language learning and artsbased education: Pamela [Heights Community Learning Center]: The beauty of all the test data we have collected is that, so far, Dual Language students are outscoring English-only students. Cheryl: People peak when they use their full range of intelligence. Bernadette [Cochrane Academy]: In a lot of cases, ESL students in art cope through using their visual skills. Pamela: Even before Bernadette said that, I was going to say that everything is visual. When you are an English speaker with a Spanish speaker and the Spanish speaker never stops talking Spanish the whole day, you have to have some kind of visuals to learn…And that’s what the Heights’s teachers are using with the children. And that is what Bernadette is talking about. And that is why our students are learning. Bernadette: It is a struggle in the beginning in Art. What we do is take the hand and instead of communicating with words—we communicate with gestures. Then I draw one thing, they draw one thing. I lead it one way; they lead it one way and it comes together like a visual puzzle and all of a sudden, they have it. And then they’re helping Englishspeaking students who are struggling with the concept. And sometimes you find out that learning is not just about the words you hear. It is about developing ‘a feel’ for what it is that you are supposed to be learning. (Craig 2007, p. 626)

On yet another occasion, a general discussion of magnet schools (Cochrane Academy, Hardy Academy) and their lack of geographical community took place between Hope and Bernadette from Cochrane Academy and Mari and Sandi from Eagle High School (Michaelann’s school), which is Cochrane’s feeder pattern high school: Liz: When I hear your school presenting, what I see as compelling is how you are trying to create a community that is non-geographic. That’s a problem with magnet schools. Kids are not on the same soccer teams, don’t go to the same birthday parties; they live too far away. Hope: That is a major part of our school portfolio…It is very, very hard. Liz: Making non-geographic communities… Hope: Just to pull a Boy Scout Troop together was too hard. Liz: But you have proven you have done it in the school… Abbie: That is what I have seen and heard… Hope: Have you heard that?

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Liz: That’s exactly what I have heard. Peter: That’s good… Hope: Yes, it is good to hear you telling me that. Liz: You have taken up a tremendous challenge…and have succeeded in doing it. And that, to me, is what I see in your portfolio. Abbie: You know, you said a while back, they may not all come, but I invited them. That’s your way of creating and building community. Bernadette: And when they come, I mean… Hope: …they come. Bernadette: And they come from all over…. (Craig 2007, p. 631)

A further topic of discussion later on had to do with what different school-based Portfolio Group members learned from other school-based group members about the portfolio-making process. We first present what Eagle High School (represented by Mari) and Cochrane Academy (represented by Hope) learned about portfolio-making from members working alongside one another: Liz: It is nice for us to experience each other’s work and perspectives. I mean, I tend to be very technical and, you know, I see so much humanity in the Cochrane work, and I’m looking at scores and data. Hope: And Liz, the minute Bernadette and I saw the Eagle approach we saw organization. Pamela (Heights Community Learning Center): Right. Liz: Cheryl, I thank you for bringing us together because I really think we need to see humanity and they may need to see the organization. Hope: Yes, we need to see organization. Cheryl: We are all going to have different approaches; there is not one right approach. Liz: No. Hope: Uh-hmm. Cheryl: And our portfolios should reflect the diversity of our campuses and how we uniquely approach the work. If all of our campuses and we started to become carbon copies of one another, we would have cause to be really worried. (Craig 2007, pp. 631–632)

Embedded in the process of what school teams learned from each other, we, as Portfolio Group members, could also pinpoint what individual members learned about themselves in the midst of the process. We share two early exemplars here: one from Lorne at Hardy Academy, and

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one from Gayle, who was previously an administrator at Heights Community Learning Center. Below is what Lorne said about his coming to know along the way: Lorne: I am very pleased with my community pieces… Anna: Mm—hmm. Lorne: And I mean, Cheryl has been…right…you know…right there…in a good sort of way. Because I was not into, like, writing, reflecting, and stuff like that…I did not really want to do that kind of stuff. And I was urged to keep a journal and that kind of stuff…But when I began to write it really brought some things out of me that I did not even know existed. I did not even know I had the ability to do that—write and think in that manner. So—it’s been really good for me personally and working with others has also been valuable as well. It helps a lot when we all work together to get things done…. (Craig 2007, p. 628)

We also are aware of what Gayle (pseudonym = Allene) learned when she became a Portfolio Group member after the others due to her late hiring as a reform coordinator/administrator: Allene [New Reform Coordinator/Administrator, Heights Community Learning Centre]: I really wanted to come today. Thank you, Pamela, and Cheryl, for including me, although I am not officially on board. When I heard what was happening, I wanted to be here. You know, I’ve learned a lot just looking at the portfolios, hearing you talk, and making notes about organization, teacher surveys, and questionnaires. Cheryl: So what do you see, being new and looking in on the process? What ideas have you picked up on in particular? Allene: Documentation—documentation; organization—organization. I say both twice because they are worth repeating. Then there is the teamwork, the journals, and the process of reflection. And the collaboration is so important…. (Craig 2007, p. 627)

As authors, we hope these carefully selected early examples communicate how knowledge and ideas initially spread internally among us in our multi-layered knowledge communities. This intra-group/inter-group knowledge community sharing continued when the next tier of schools came on board. For example, Gayle Curtis, formerly of Heights Community Learning Center, and Deirdre Bamboo (pseudonym), from Gray Middle School in the second

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round of Annenberg funding, were our two long-term group members who named the braided river metaphor (Curtis et al. 2013) as an image conveying the Portfolio Group’s work over time in a highly complex urban context. That work describes how new knowledge communities were birthed as is apparent in the relationship between Gayle and Deirdre, but also evident in the fact that the rest of us at that time (Michaelann, Tim, Cheryl) automatically took up the metaphor because we trusted our colleagues’ judgment since they belonged to our communities of knowing personally and collectively (Craig 1995a, b, 2007). The same goes for the dragon gate metaphor that Cheryl introduced the group. When she told us the story of her visiting Chinese professors calling her a “fish that jump[ed] the dragon gate” and how she had sieved her career experiences productively through the Eastern cultural metaphor (Craig 2019), we (Mike, Tim, Michaelann, Gayle) were desirous of engaging in the same kind of exploration (Curtis et al. 2018). And, it was Tim who initiated the coauthoring of this book. As a teacher and writing consultant, he urged the rest of us (Mike in particular) to cowrite this manuscript. Tim intuited “the time was ripe”—and it did not take long for the rest of us to come alongside, as he is an inspiration where the desire to write is concerned. As can be seen, the interpersonal, inter-school, and inter-institutional exchanges of ideas that happened between and among us are incalculable, particularly because there initially were sums of money under teachers’ control (thanks to Cheryl’s advocacy) that enabled them to spread their ideas locally, nationally, and internationally (see Craig 2003; Curtis et al. 2012; Kelley et al. 2007a, b, 2009, 2013). Further to this, dissemination was requisite to accessing continued financial support. Thus, sharing happened within and across the participating schools and school districts in previously unprecedented ways. As one teacher at the hub of the activities exclaimed, the Portfolio Group was “an integral part of Houston’s golden years of schooling.” Tim elsewhere in this book referred to those years as “the halcyon days of school reform.” Another leader called our group “a spark plug of innovation.” The irony is that those of us who were in the midst of it could feel the energy, excitement, and drive to succeed—the “verve,” as one of Yaeger’s African American teachers phrased it—but those outside of it seemed not to know what to look for—hence, sometimes were suspicious of us, while still others appeared jealous because they could not duplicate what we had going on. Alternately, they might have been too proud or competitive to join in because

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of the unspoken competition that existed between and among the leading campuses lodged in the reform movement but also with the second round of campuses (i.e., Gray Middle School) that joined somewhat later.

Why We Stayed in the Portfolio Group Without a doubt, the Portfolio Group produced a strong sense of internal combustion in “intensely personal networks” (Ben-Peretz and Craig 2018). Cheryl Craig, for one, has recently questioned why she bonded more with the teachers in the Houston area schools than with the professors at the universities where she was employed at the time. Some obvious reasons were that Cheryl had a teaching/curriculum background herself, had claimed a teaching/teacher education research agenda, and had been openly admonished when she first arrived in Houston for not taking a high ground of theory approach (Schön 1995) to setting her research agenda as a member of the American academy of researchers. As she has disclosed elsewhere (Craig 2019), her public scolding by a well-known male professor made absolutely no sense to her because: (1) conducting school-based inquiries was what [she] had been prepared to do (past), (2) [her] research with prospective/practicing teachers was foundational to [her] career success (present), and (3) the Annenberg Reform movement entering the city involved a $60-million award mostly directed to 11 lead campuses that needed university researchers to study them (future) (Craig 2019, p. 9). It is safe to say that Cheryl’s abandoning of the theoretical in favor of the “swampy lowlands of practice” (Schön 1983) made her somewhat of a second-class researcher in Greater Houston and the larger research community because of her chosen research niche and her innovative qualitative research method. Deep in her bones, Cheryl knew she was not only an alien from another country but also alien to her university peers in terms of her chosen research method and the research niche in which she was highly invested and deeply committed (and becoming increasingly known nationally and internationally). But there was more to it than what appeared on the surface. There was Cheryl’s admittedly reserved nature as a Canadian. If you are not already aware, Canadians are not inclined to refer to friends or to practice friendship lightly. Stereotypically, they are a generous—but aloof—group of people. However, when bonds of friendship are formed, they are not easily severed. Canadians do not use the terms, friends and friendships, loosely as Cheryl witnessed many of

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her southern US colleagues doing. Being called “honey” while having a knife metaphorically stuck in her back did not sit well with her. The somewhat syrupy commodification of friendship that she perceived made her exceedingly cautious about whom she would cultivate friendships with and whom she could trust and take into her fold as friends, given that the school, school district, and university milieus in which she was interacting were so different from those she had experienced in Canada. The teachers in the schools, particularly the Portfolio Group of teachers, fit Cheryl’s Canadian understanding of personal and professional friendship. As their personal and professional colleague, she would walk “the hard way” (Rich 1979) with them and they, in turn, would walk “the hard way” with her as each shaped the other’s sense of knowing. Through this process, the teachers individually—and the Portfolio Group of teachers collectively— would experience ongoing being and becoming (Greene 1995)—that is, becoming different today than yesterday—as we moved in the direction of an unknown future for the Portfolio Group and for each of us individually. Cheryl’s reflections backward on her commitment to the Portfolio Group caused each of us to engage in the same soul-searching. Gayle Curtis remembered how she came to the Portfolio work a year after the group’s inception and how she did not understand that school portfolios and participation in the Portfolio Group were optional! However, Gayle immediately bought into school portfolios as an evaluation tool, in part because she had previous experience with teacher portfolios, but mostly because of the engagement, professionalism, and creativity that she observed among Portfolio Group members during the initial meetings she attended at Rice University, Cheryl’s first place of university employment in the United States. The Portfolio Group, and simultaneously the Houston Annenberg Challenge/Houston A + Challenge, presented many learning experiences that increased and extended Gayle’s professional knowledge, all of which she integrated into her practice and shared with others, first at Heights Community Learning Center and later at Houston High School and Lamar Elementary. Gayle recognized that much of what she learned through the Portfolio Group work was constructed through conversations about school reform in other schools, problematic situations, or dilemmas of practice others lived that echoed her own experiences as well as countless ideas about what counted as evidence of school reform, reflective practice, school change, among many other matters. As a learner, this aspect of the Portfolio Group captured Gayle’s attention. She equally collaborated with

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others in presentations and projects. Such opportunities challenged her to reflect on and to articulate what she had been learning on her own and with others in her multiple knowledge communities. This all appealed to the teacher in Gayle. Importantly, Gayle had one other administrator on her campus, Jennifer Day, who also participated in the Portfolio Group, with whom she had a strong connection and collaborative history. Jennifer was the one person on Gayle’s campus with whom she could talk about practice or difficult situations and receive mindful feedback. Interacting with the Portfolio Group, who also greatly understood Gayle’s school environment, broadened that field of conversations about the work and reflective feedback. By the time the grant funding ended, Gayle had come to think of the Portfolio Group members as a community of knowing she could trust. Group members understood that confidentiality within the group was critical, reflective, and ethically centered on the work in schools. The Portfolio Group was such a generative space for Gayle that she never once entertained the thought of not continuing with the group. Michaelann also reflected backward on why she stayed a member of the Portfolio Group, particularly since her new position as Director of Visual Arts in her school district means that the responsibilities and commitments on her plate have increased. She initially became a member of the Portfolio Group as a young teacher with six years of experience. At that time, she latched onto the Critical Friends® and Portfolio Group collaborations because they addressed an aspect of her professional development that she craved. She recognized the power of collaborative work almost immediately. Her Critical Friends Group® and Portfolio Group colleagues were engaging in conversations that moved beyond the collegial (by this she means complaining about administration and students) to rich, illuminating, and thought-provoking talk based upon mutual respect for each other and for teachers as learners. The small groups of change agents in which she participated created a ripple effect and soon the context of Eagle High School (her place of initial employment) embraced these challenging conversations that ran against education’s grant narrative. Eagle embraced a counter story (Lindemann Nelson 2007), but when the leader changed and key players moved, the campus returned to a status quo state. To sum it up, Michaelann remained a member of the Portfolio Group because the group’s core has not wavered, and the direction has stayed relatively stable. Keeping people at the center and the group relationship piece front-and-center has been crucial to her. She chose to keep the Portfolio Group as a major

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component in her own learning because of the stability of the group, the “institutional” history she has made with the group, and most of all the way the group keeps her in “learner” mode. In Michaelann’s view, Cheryl has always modeled being a lead learner and actively participated in all endeavors. Michaelann aspires to write with the same commitment as Cheryl, and that Gayle now exhibits as well. In her view, the Portfolio Group has been a safe and trusting place to take on challenges and sometimes fail but the group works to help rather than destroy. In the end result, Michaelann has chosen to stay in the Portfolio Group because of the relationships and the work, which have become interwoven to form a beautiful fabric whose pattern reflects 20 years of experiences together. Tim Martindell’s memory of exactly when he joined the group is unclear because of the interwoven CFG® interactions that were occurring simultaneously, but he recognizes that the Portfolio Group is his touchstone for reflecting on his teaching practice. Around 2001, Tim transitioned into the Portfolio Group as a member of the grant leadership team at Hardy Academy where he helped assemble the campus’s earliest school portfolios. Many opportunities to present the reform work followed, which spurred his interest in the group’s interactions and his own reflective practice. The relationships built over time with group members became a support network akin to a professional family that has been one of the main constants through Tim’s job changes, his two advanced degree programs, and his and Mike’s wedding, in addition to his serious illness. The opportunity to reflect together often over a meal or around a dining table, as well as the challenge of passing on our collective teacher knowledge to future generations, are what keeps Tim a part of the Portfolio Group. Mike’s decision to stay in the group was based on professional growth and relationships. Unlike most of us, Mike did not participate in a traditional teacher education program or conduct doctoral level research. While he initially did not consider himself conversant in the more recent education theories, theorists, and researchers, which are ingrained in Portfolio Group discussions, he easily connected group discussions to more traditional education theorists with which he was familiar. It has been these conversations that have held the most import for Mike as they serve as learning spaces for informal professional growth and development. Integral to this is the way in which Mike witnesses individuals rephrase and restate to clarify various points during meetings. Also, Mike recognizes that both warm and cool feedback are offered, reflecting the group’s

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(including Mike’s) Critical Friends Group® -related practices that have become second-nature over time. Reflecting on the instinctiveness of the group’s interactions, Mike underscores the camaraderie and relationship s between individuals in the Portfolio Group as a refreshing experience to which he repeatedly returns.

External Dissemination In addition to the internal exchange of ideas occurring within the bonds of lasting friendship, there has also been external dissemination that took place in a plethora of ways (Weiss 1995; Husén 1988; Kogan 1984; Kogan and Hanney 1999). The external spreading of ideas did not necessarily have to shape specific practices of education, although in the case of the Portfolio Group it most certainly did. The work the Portfolio Group members engaged in “trickle[d] into the cognitive maps of what is problematic and what may be taken for granted, into the kinds of questions which [were] recognized as important” (Lauglo 1996, p. 3). We presented—and continue to present—a formidable counter narrative to the high-stakes accountability policy birthed in our state, embraced by our nation, and exported to the rest of the world as an international measuring stick for determining the degree of educational excellence. The Portfolio Group certainly has made its share of prestigious conference presentations (see Table 11.1). To reiterate, these have ranged from the group’s debut at the portfolio conference at Harvard University, to a teacher research conference in Quebec, Canada, to a portfolio-making meeting in Cork, Ireland, and to repeated presentations at the Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices Conference (S-STEP) at Herstmonceux Castle in Great Britain. Also, there have been Scopus ranked articles and book chapters published by the Portfolio Group and about the Portfolio Group (Olson and Craig 2001; Craig 2007, 2010a, b) as well as the invited research chapters in the Handbook of Reflection and Reflective Practice (2010) edited by Nona Lyons (see Table 11.2). When we checked the Scopus search engine to ascertain who had cited our work, we discovered that our Braided lives article (Curtis et al. 2013) had been cited by scholars in China, Israel, Korea, and Turkey in addition to citations by fellow North Americans. The Evaluation gone awry paper authored by Cheryl (Craig 2010b), which had to do with a challenging experience lived by faculty at Eagle High School, has been referenced

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Table 11.1 Portfolio Group presentations Year

Presentation

Presenters

2000

• Teacher learning and reflective practices through school portfolio making: Portfolios reflecting school change. Presentation at the Portfolios and Teacher Learning and Professional Education Conference, Harvard University, Boston, MA • Reflective practices and school portfolios. Presentation at the Portfolios and Teacher Learning and Professional Education Conference, Cork College University, Cork, Ireland • School portfolio and teacher learning: Using portfolios to make explicit what we know. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Conference, Seattle, WA. • Teachers’ ways of knowing: School portfolios by reform practitioners. Presentation for The Epiphany Series, Houston, TX • The value and validity of school portfolio making. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Conference, New Orleans, LA • Reflective school portfolios: Knowing practice, showing educational quality. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Conference, Chicago, IL • Reflective school portfolio development: What teachers came to know with—and from—one another. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Conference, San Diego, CA

• Michaelann Kelley, Mari Glamser, Ron Venable, Gayle Carter Curtis, Jennifer Day

2001

2002

2003

2004

• Michaelann Kelley, Ron Venable, Gayle Carter Curtis, Jennifer Day, Shannon Weigel • Cheryl Craig, Gayle Carter Curtis, Jennifer Day, Shannon Weigel, Ron Venable • Gayle Carter Curtis, Jennifer Day, Michaelann Kelley, Janet Gray, Donna Reid, Allison Hamacher, Peter T. Martindell

• Cheryl Craig, Tim Martindell, Michaelann Kelley, Gayle Carter Curtis, Ron Venable

• Michaelann Kelley, Cheryl Craig

• Michaelann Kelley, Cheryl Craig

(continued)

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Table 11.1 (continued) Year

Presentation

Presenters

2005

• Making sense of equity and excellence: The contributions of reflective practice and portfolio development. Symposium at the American Educational Research Association Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Canada • Portfolios from A to Z. Seminar at the Houston A+ Challenge Next Step Series, Houston, TX • Reflective practice: Addressing the “falling through the cracks’ phenomenon. Paper presentation at American Association for Teaching and Curriculum, Austin, TX • Of knowledge communities, pseudo-communities and professional learning communities. Symposium at the American Educational Research Association Conference, Chicago, IL • School Portfolio Group: Teacher group? Knowledge community? Symposium at the American Educational Research Association Conference, Chicago, IL • Teacher researchers and teacher research groups: From practice to publication. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Conference, New York, NY • Mapping the journey of collaborative reflective practices through traveling journals. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Conference, New York, NY

• Cheryl Craig, Paul D. Gray, Michael K. Sirois, Shannon K. Weigel, Sandi Capps, Mari Glamser, Gayle Curtis, Jennifer Day, Tim Martindell, Allison Hamacher, Janet Gray, Donna Reid • P. Tim Martindell, Gayle Curtis, Donna Reid, Michaelann Kelley, Allison Hamacher, and Mari Glamser • Michaelann Kelley, Cheryl Craig

2007

2008

• P. Tim Martindell, Cheryl J. Craig, Michaelann Kelley, Gayle Curtis, Donna Reid • Michaelann Kelley, Ron Venable, P. Tim Martindell, Donna Reid, Janet Gray, Gayle Curtis, Cheryl Craig

• Michaelann Kelley, Cheryl J. Craig, P. Tim Martindell, Donna Reid • Michaelann Kelley, Cheryl J. Craig, P. Tim Martindell, Donna Reid, Gayle Curtis, Jennifer Day, Allison Hamacher, Ron Venable

(continued)

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Table 11.1 (continued) Year

Presentation

Presenters

2009

• Reflecting backward, Living forward: Dreams sought, deferred, and reclaimed in a reforming high school context. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association. San Diego, CA • Growing reflective practice: A teacher perspective. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association. San Diego, CA • Braided journeys: A self -study of sustained teacher collaboration. Paper presentation at the 9th International Conference on Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices, Herstmonceux, UK • Sustaining self and others in the teaching profession: A group self -study. Paper presentation at the 11th International Conference on Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices, Herstmonceux, UK • Jumping the Dragon Gate: Experience, contexts, career pathways, and professional identity Paper presentation at the 12th International Conference on Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices, Herstmonceux, UK

• Cheryl J. Craig, Michaelann Kelley, Karen North • Cheryl J. Craig, Paul D. Gray, Jr., Michaelann Kelley, Donna Reid

2012

2016

2018

• Gayle Curtis, Cheryl J. Craig, Donna Reid, P. Tim Martindell, Michaelann Kelley, Mari Glamser, Paul Gray

• Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley

• Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, Donna Reid, Cheryl J. Craig, and Mike Perez

by scholars from Hong Kong, China, and Norway, and the Qualities of a knowledge community paper, also single-authored by Cheryl (Craig 2007), has attracted the attention of researchers in China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Canada, in addition to the United States. Additionally, Google Scholar indicated that our two chapters in Nona Lyons’ earlier mentioned book had been read by researchers in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, India, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, and Zambia, in addition to colleagues in the United States. Most notably, the Portfolio Group chapter in the Lyons’ compendium—the one coauthored by us (Kelley et al. 2010)—is arguably the only research chapter written by teachers in a scholarly handbook. It is

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Table 11.2 Portfolio Group publications Year

Publication

Authors

2001

• Opportunities and challenges in the development of teachers’ knowledge: The development of narrative authority through knowledge communities. Teaching and Teacher Education • School portfolio development: A teacher knowledge approach. Journal of Teacher Education • Overview and framework of Division 1. Philosophy, history, and design of accountability systems. In L. F. Deretchin and C. J. Craig (Eds.) International research on the impact of accountability systems • Summary and implications of Division 1. Philosophy, history, and design of accountability systems. In L. F. Deretchin and C. J. Craig (Eds.) International research on the impact of accountability systems • Illuminating qualities of knowledge communities in a portfolio-making context. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice • Posing questions: Teacher research groups in search of answers. In Teacher learning in small group settings. American Teacher Educators’ Yearbook XVII. • Within K-12 schools for school reform: What does it take?. In N. Lyons (Ed.) Handbook of reflection and reflective practice: Mapping a way of knowing for professional reflective inquiry • Reflective practice in the professions: Teaching. In N. Lyons (Ed.) Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry • “Evaluation gone awry”: The teacher experience of the summative evaluation of a school reform initiative. Teaching and Teacher Education

• Margaret Olson, Cheryl J. Craig (This article is Cheryl Craig’s most cited work)

2003

2007

2009

2010

• Cheryl J. Craig

• Michaelann Kelley, Donna Reid, Gayle Curtis, Ron Venable, Peter Tim Martindell, Allison Hamacher • Michaelann Kelley, Donna Reid, Gayle Curtis, Ron Venable, Peter Tim Martindell, Allison Hamacher • Cheryl J. Craig

• Michaelann Kelley, Karen North, Cheryl J. Craig

• Michaelann Kelley, Paul D. Gray, Jr., Donna Reid, Cheryl J. Craig • Cheryl J. Craig • Cheryl J. Craig

(continued)

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Table 11.2 (continued) Year

Publication

Authors

2012

• Braided journeys: A self-study of sustained teacher collaboration. In J. R. Young, L. B. Erickson, & S. Pinnegar (Eds.) Extending Inquiry communities: Illuminating teacher education through self -study • Braided lives: Multiple ways of knowing flowing in and out of professional lives. Studying Teacher Education • The political dimension of a teacher research group. In M. L. Buffington & S. W. McKay (Eds.) Practice theory: Seeing the power of art teacher researchers • Sustaining self and others in the teaching profession: A group self-study. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.) Enacting self -study as methodology for professional inquiry • Jumping the Dragon Gate: Experience, contexts, career pathways, and professional identity. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.) Pushing boundaries and crossing borders: Self -study as a means for knowing pedagogy • Informal knowledge communities in practice: Sustaining teacher and teacher educator collaborative work

• Gayle Curtis, Cheryl J. Craig, Donna Reid, P. Tim Martindell, Michaelann Kelley, Mari Glamser, Paul Gray • Gayle Curtis, Donna Reid, Cheryl J. Craig, Michaelann Kelley, Peter T. Martindell

2013

2016

2018

2020

• Michaelann Kelley, Cheryl J. Craig, Donna Reid, Paul D. Gray Jr.

• Cheryl J. Craig, Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley

• Gayle A. Curtis, Michaelann Kelley, P. Tim Martindell, Donna Reid, Cheryl J. Craig, and Michael M. Perez

• Gayle Curtis, P. Tim Martindell, Michaelann Kelley, Cheryl J. Craig, Michael M. Perez

important to add that in the same compendium, Cheryl chose to end her single-authored chapter by raising two of the most pressing issues facing teachers generally and our Portfolio Group members specifically: How can the powerful forces of the political, which undeniably need to be present in educational debates, be harnessed in ways that allow the knowledge and experiences of career teachers…to inform policy making? And when will teachers’ and teacher educators’ questions—rather than the questions of government-sponsored researchers or members of business forums—be given credence and afforded public attention and funding? (Craig 2010a, p. 206)

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And we, as representative Portfolio Group members (Kelley et al. 2010), concluded our chapter by determining that “highly convoluted and troubling matters” emanating from the theory-practice-policy split (Craig and Ross 2008) had mostly “render[ed] our individual and collective endeavors invalid [and] our contributions [as teachers] inconsequential” (Kelley et al. 2010, p. 294) despite our knowing otherwise. We repeated our counter story lived and told and relieved and retold over time: the “dire need for teacher inquiry…to balance the current…fascination with quantifiable results.” We underscored the fact that “the teaching profession is at a critical juncture” (p. 294), an observation we would repeat one-thousand-fold today.

Best-Loved Part of the Portfolio Group Legacy What we like best about the Portfolio Group’s legacy is (1) the fact that the Faculty Academy (a sister initiative spawned from the Portfolio Group model) and the Portfolio Group are the only discrete entities that have sustained themselves in the aftermath of the $60 million dollar investment in the Houston Annenberg Challenge (later called the Houston A+ Challenge), which is a major accomplishment in the world of reform, and (2) the stories that other people serendipitously give back to us about the Portfolio Group’s influence. A favorite story about the reach of the Portfolio Group and its influences comes from some of Cheryl’s doctoral research assistants at Texas A&M University, where Gayle also is employed as a postdoctoral researcher. Cheryl worked alongside three of her research assistants as they—of their own accord—produced a digital narrative inquiry product from her field texts and how they, following Cheryl’s lead, coauthored a manuscript, The wounded healer: the impact of a grant-supported scholarship on a minority STEM student’s career and life, which is currently under consideration for publication. The three doctoral students—Jing Li (now Dr. Jing Li, Super Postdoctoral Fellow, East China Normal University) from China, HyeSeung Lee, a then master of science degree student (now Ph.D. student) from Korea, and Ambyr Rios, a new Ph.D. student from the United States. The three young women worked diligently on the project often at Ambyr’s home where a meal was typically served. Jing and HyeSeung confided in Cheryl that Ambyr’s invitation to her home was the first time in five years for Jing and in two years for HyeSeung to be invited into an American peer’s home. What was

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even more incredulous was that Jing Li, HyeSeung Lee, and Ambyr Rios divulged that they wanted to be (were?) a knowledge community like the members of the Portfolio Group. They then added—in a near reverent tone—that they wanted to be the Second Portfolio Group with whom Cheryl worked. Cheryl was quick to share this high compliment with us as original Portfolio Group members. We collectively were touched by how this multinational group wanted to emulate the story we were living and telling, and reliving and retelling as original Portfolio Group members. In this exchange, we tangibly experienced our impact beyond the generational confines of the Houston Annenberg/A + Challenge and far exceeding the boundaries of Houston as one of the students has already returned to China, another will go back to Korea. and the third plans to move elsewhere in the United States or work internationally. We could clearly see our Portfolio Group story being given back to us in a form that none of us could even have imagined: a Digital Narrative Inquiry group aspiring to adopt our Portfolio Group’s plotline. But there are numerous other ways we know that our Portfolio Group has made its mark. When Gayle and Cheryl began to evaluate a Writers in the School initiative in Houston, they learned that Tim (author), a fellow Portfolio Group member, was—unknown to them—the facilitator of the writers’ Monday evening professional development sessions. When they casually mentioned that they had known Tim for about 20 years, their acceptance into the WITS organization increased hundredfold. Also, two WITS board members came to examine the project that we and others, as representatives from Texas A&M University, had undertaken. Again, unbeknownst to Gayle and Cheryl, the board members were two former leaders from the Central School District who knew Michaelann, Gayle, Mike, Tim, and Cheryl personally and deeply respected the work of the Portfolio Group as a whole. Once again, the new initiative rode on the reputation of the Portfolio Group’s established record. The same situation emerged around Gayle’s and Cheryl’s relationship with Mike and his collaboration with a teacher educator who worked with him when he was a cooperating teacher at a challenging urban middle school. When that teacher educator from another regional university heard that he was a member of the Portfolio Group and we were as well, respect for all of us was taken up many notches. And more recently, at the International Study Association of Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) meeting held in 2019 in Sibiu, Romania, Cheryl happened to reference the Portfolio Group’s body of scholarship in her keynote address and

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casually added that Gayle Curtis, a Portfolio Group and Faculty Academy Group member, was a fellow attendee at the conference. A hush fell over the room and undoubtedly one or two people consulted the Portfolio Group’s publication record because they later told us how impressive the teacher research group’s body of scholarship was. Also, a group of professors and students under Cheryl’s leadership wanted to undertake an arts-based research study in a local school district. When plans to conduct the study alongside Michaelann (author) were placed on hold due to a school district leadership change, another art director in another school district quickly stepped up to the plate. Why? Anyone with an established record of working closely with Michaelann in her school district would be someone he would want to grant permission to study his neighboring district’s schools as well. Once again, the relational capital of our Portfolio Group record opened doors for us that undoubtedly would be closed to others. A further story of the Portfolio Group’s impact reached us through a former doctoral student who currently works in Georgia at a researchintensive university. That student—who is now an associate professor— texted Cheryl to say that her Chair had just encouraged everyone attending their department’s faculty meeting to consider creating teacher research groups and faculty groups like the Portfolio Group and the Faculty Academy in Texas. The Chair then flashed a webpage on the screen, displaying Facebook photos of us working together to prepare this book manuscript. The associate professor quickly announced that she personally knew many of us and that Cheryl, her former advisor, had spearheaded both groups—with the Portfolio Group (1998) presaging the Faculty Academy (2002), which was created in its image and meant to provide added teacher education support and research capacity to those working face-to-face with students/schools during the Houston Annenberg Challenge years.

Final Words As these small stories suggest, questions about how and why our Portfolio Group survived and managed to impact ourselves and others—particularly given the pernicious policy environment within which education unfolds in our region of the United States—fascinate us. While we recognize that our group has been productive and become known for sharing its knowledge, skills, and dispositions, we feel it is the tenor of exchanges inside

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our group that creates an environment within which each of us can hold and express our personal visions of our best-loved self (Craig 2013) while concurrently acknowledging situations that bump against and challenge our preferred educational views. For us, Portfolio Group meetings have become places to “think with stories” and concomitantly search for ways to address less-than-ideal phenomena that we wish were otherwise. We are, as eloquently expressed by Maxine Greene (2001), “persons, caring for one another…[who] look through another’s eyes, talk about what they are discovering together about themselves, about the world, about what is and what might be” (p. 108). And, if there has been one quality that has sustained the group, it most certainly has been humor. To reiterate, we work in school, school district, and university environments overwrought with accountability (performativity in Europe and elsewhere) prescriptions meant to bound our practices and clip our curriculum making wings. Some of us have even been treated like automatons mechanistically competing for pay-forperformance bonuses determined by “big data” search engines. Yet, amid the seemingly limitless issues we face, laughter has very much been our medicine. A few decades ago, László Feleki (1973) said that humans experience a deep need to address depersonalization—and that they require “some kind of an elixir to make [work] bearable… And what is this elixir if not humor?” (p. 3). In many ways, humor has enabled the Portfolio Group members to negotiate—and frequently (though certainly not unanimously or simultaneously) overcome—the perplexing educational challenges constantly unfolding before us. A second helpful quality is that we have learned to navigate situations by expressing our views not through empty talk but via live actions. We have been careful to heed Freema Elbaz-Luwisch’s (1997, 2002) wise advice to wear the politics of our work like traveling clothes so as not to circumvent our core mission. This allows us to feel good about whom we are despite our many crossings into difficult terrains. In the end result, we as members of the Portfolio Group have mostly determined—through the hard knocks of experience—that even when our actions are sometimes predetermined by others—that we are in control of our attitudes—and our personal attitudes and those of our Portfolio Group colleagues with whom we identify—are our own and not the property of anyone or anything else, despite others’ somewhat erroneously thinking otherwise. To end, we know that the Portfolio Group’s work has made its way to six of the world’s continents while concurrently reaching most states

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in the union. Perhaps more importantly, it has traveled from teacher-toteacher, classroom-to-classroom, school-to-school, district-to-district and university-to-university within the State of Texas. Along the way, we have added to the body of research on teachers-as-curriculum-makers, teachers as reflective practitioners, teachers as school portfolio makers, and to what is known about teachers’ communities of knowing, their identities-in-themaking, and their influence over time. Best of all, the Portfolio Group’s knowledge community has a bright future that mirrors the blazing trail it leaves behind, making important contributions to understanding teachers and the nature of their work in teachers’ own terms within constantly changing urban educational milieus. John Dewey saw our freedoms as teachers and curriculum makers as being associated with “something which comes to be, in consequences, rather than antecedents” (Dewey 1916, p. 280). As members of the Portfolio Group, we have invoked our freedoms as minded teaching professionals not because of who we statistically are (or who we statistically represent in terms of age, gender, religion, education, diversity, political affiliation, place of employment and so forth), but in so far as we are becoming qualitatively different and arguably better through walking “the hard way” with one another from day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year. As members of the Portfolio Group, we are fully committed to being and becoming as Dewey and Greene have repeatedly outlined. Thus, we are able to leave the writing of this book filled with gratitude for the opportunities and challenges afforded us but also for our knowledge community, which has constantly assured us (often amid individual/shared doubt) that we have had and continue to have all that we—individually and collectively—need to carry us through. In short, the learning and leading of our knowledge community has metaphorically transformed “meal[s] into feast[s], house[s] into home[s], stranger[s] into friend[s]” (Beattie 2017).

References Beattie, M. (2017, December 31). Retrieved from https://melodybeattie.com/ gratitude-2/. Ben-Peretz, M., & Craig, C. J. (2018). Intergenerational impact of a curriculum enigma: The scholarly impact of Joseph J. Schwab. Educational Studies, 44(4), 421–448.

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Craig, C. J. (1995a). Knowledge communities: A way of making sense of how beginning teachers come to know in their professional knowledge contexts. Curriculum Inquiry, 25(2), 151–175. Craig, C. J. (1995b). Coming to know on the professional knowledge landscape: Benita’s first year of teaching. In D. J. Clandinin & F. M. Connelly (Eds.), Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes (pp. 137–141). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Craig, C. J. (2003). School portfolio development: A teacher knowledge approach. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(2), 122–134. Craig, C. J. (2007). Illuminating qualities of knowledge communities in a portfolio-making context. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 13(6), 617–636. Craig, C. J. (2010a). Reflective practice in the professions: Teaching. In N. Lyons (Ed.), Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry (pp. 189–214). New York, NY: Springer. Craig, C. J. (2010b). “Evaluation gone awry”: The teacher experience of the summative evaluation of a school reform initiative. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 1290–1299. Craig, C. J. (2013). Teacher education and the best-loved self. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 33(3), 261–272. Craig, C. J. (2019). Fish jumps over the dragon gate: An eastern image of a western scholar’s career. Research Papers in Education, 45(3), 290–305. Craig, C. J., Curtis, G. A., & Kelley, M. (2016). Sustaining self and others in the teaching profession: A group self-study. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.), Enacting self-study as methodology for professional inquiry (pp. 133–140). Herstmonceux, UK: Self-study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP). Craig, C. J., & Ross, V. (2008). Cultivating the image of teachers as curriculum makers. In F. M. Connelly (Ed.), Sage handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 282–305). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Curtis, G., Craig, C. J., Reid, D., Martindell, P. T., Kelley, M., Glamser, M., et al. (2012). Braided journeys: A self-study of sustained teacher collaboration. In J. R. Young, L. B. Erickson, & S. Pinnegar (Eds.), Extending Inquiry communities: Illuminating teacher education through self-study (pp. 82–85). Herstmonceux, UK and Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. Curtis, G., Reid, D., Kelley, M., Martindell, P. T., & Craig, C. J. (2013). Braided lives: Multiple ways of knowing, flowing in and out of knowledge communities. Studying Teacher Education, 9(2), 175–186. Curtis, G., Kelley, M., Martindell, P. T., Reid, D., Craig, C. J., & Perez, M. (2018). Jumping the Dragon Gate: Experience, contexts, career pathways, and professional identity. In D. Garbett & A. Ovens (Eds.), Pushing boundaries and crossing borders: Self-study as a means for knowing pedagogy (pp. 51–58). Herstmonceux, UK: S-Step.

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Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education. New York, NY: Macmillan Company. Elbaz-Luwisch, F. (1997). Narrative research: Political issues and implications. Teaching and Teacher Education, 13(1), 75–83. Elbaz-Luwisch, F. (2002). Writing as inquiry: Storying the teacher self in writing workshops. Curriculum Inquiry, 32(4), 403–428. Feleki, L. (1973). Keeping up with science. In E. Mendoza (Ed.), A random walk in science: An anthology compiled by the late R. L Walker. Philadelphia, PA: Institute of Physics Publishing. Greene, M. (1995). Releasing the imagination: Essays on education, the arts, and social change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Greene, M. (2001). Variations on a blue guitar: The Lincoln Center Institute lectures on aesthetic education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Hansen, D. (1995). The call to teach. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Husén, T. (1988). Research paradigms in education. Interchange, 19(1), 2–13. Jackson, P. W. (1968). Life in the classrooms. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Kelley, M., Craig, C. J., Reid, D., & Gray, P. D., Jr. (2013). The political dimension of a teacher research group. In M. L. Buffington & S. W. McKay (Eds.), Practice theory: Seeing the power of art teacher researchers (pp. 283–284). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association (NAEA). Kelley, M., Gray, P., Reid, D., & Craig, C. J. (2010). Within K-12 schools for school reform: What does it take? In N. Lyons (Ed.), Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry (pp. 273–298). New York, NY: Springer. Kelley, M., North, K., & Craig, C. J. (2009). Posing questions: Teacher research groups in search of answers. In Teacher learning in small group settings. Teacher Education Yearbook XVII (pp. 66–87). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Kelley, M., Reid, D., Curtis, G., Venable, R., Martindell, P. T., & Hamacher, A. (2007a). Overview and framework of Division 1. Philosophy, history, and design of accountability systems. In L. F. Deretchin & C. J. Craig (Eds.), International research on the impact of accountability systems (pp. 3–5, 43–44). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Kelley, M., Reid, D., Curtis, G., Venable, R., Martindell, P. T., & Hamacher, A. (2007b). Summary and implications of Division 1. Philosophy, history, and design of accountability systems. In L. F. Deretchin & C. J. Craig (Eds.), International research on the impact of accountability systems (pp. 3–5, 43–44). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Kogan, M. (1984). School governing bodies. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Educational Books. Kogan, M., & Hanney, S. (1999). Reforming higher education. London, UK: Jessica Kingley Publishers.

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Lauglo, J. (1996). Banking on education and the uses of research: A critique of World Bank priorities and strategies for education. International Journal of Educational Development, 16(3), 221–235. Lindemann Nelson, J. (2007). Philosophizing in a dissonant key. Hypatia, 22( 3), 223–233. Olson, M., & Craig, C. J. (2001). Opportunities and challenges in the development of teachers’ knowledge: The development of narrative authority through knowledge communities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17 (6), 667–684. Rich, A. (1979). On lies, secrets and silence: Selected poems from 1966–1979. New York, NY: W. W. Norton. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books. Schön, D. A. (1995). The new scholarship requires a new epistemology. Change, 27 (6), 26–35. Weiss, R. S. (1995). Learning from strangers: The art and method of qualitative interview studies. New York, NY: Simon and Schuste.

Index

A action research, 94, 96, 97, 103–105, 107, 111

curriculum-maker, 180 Curtis, G.A., 218

B Beattie M., 247 best-loved self, 163, 164, 180, 192, 195, 197, 199, 201, 210, 246

G Gabaráin, Cesáreo, 10

C collaborative inquiry, 148, 152, 158 cover story, 6 critical friend, 62, 73, 105, 144, 159, 165, 170, 179, 207, 208, 214, 217 Critical Friends Group® , 9, 14, 15, 78, 79, 97, 102, 103, 123, 148, 173, 191, 235, 237 critical friendship, 77–80, 82, 84, 86, 88, 89, 142, 178, 179, 187, 208, 217 cross-pollination, 206, 210, 211

H Houston Annenberg Challenge (HAC), 1, 3, 12, 18, 50–54, 73, 79, 93, 187, 234, 243, 245

K knowledge community(ies), 3, 11, 23, 28, 39, 41–43, 50, 55, 57–59, 69, 73, 77, 81–84, 94–96, 102, 122–124, 128, 129, 165, 173, 188, 198, 201, 202, 205, 206, 211, 219, 223, 225, 226, 231, 232, 235, 240, 244, 247

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 C. J. Craig et al., Knowledge Communities in Teacher Education, Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54670-0

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INDEX

M metaphor, 15, 83, 93, 107, 119, 123, 124, 130, 134, 145, 149, 159, 165–167, 171, 179, 185–188, 198, 199, 217, 218, 232

N narrative authority, 57, 60, 84, 190–192, 195, 199–202 narrative inquiry, 17, 57, 71, 80, 84, 105, 115, 116, 118, 120, 121, 124–127, 129, 131–137, 214, 243

P parallel stories, 123, 134 personal practical knowledge, 12, 17, 24, 26, 27, 119, 122, 124, 145, 164, 172, 180, 206, 211 policy, 25, 31, 51, 65, 96, 112, 155–157, 159, 227, 237, 242, 243, 245 professional education landscape, 206 professional knowledge landscape, 17, 24, 28, 29, 57, 65, 93, 116, 119, 145, 146, 170

R reflection, 6, 8, 41, 50, 57, 61, 66, 78–82, 84, 87, 99, 100, 102, 117, 118, 121, 122, 124, 125, 128, 131, 133, 135, 143, 145, 148, 149, 151, 152, 158, 168, 170, 198, 216, 217, 219, 225, 226, 231, 234 reflective practice, 4, 18, 56–58, 78–82, 84, 88, 95, 99, 108, 120, 123, 124, 129, 142, 144, 148, 150–152, 154, 173, 180, 191, 216, 234, 236

relationship, 5, 8, 12, 15, 27, 30, 37, 39–41, 43, 58, 81, 83, 89, 101, 102, 106–108, 110, 111, 117, 118, 122–124, 128–130, 133, 141, 144–147, 150, 152, 153, 159, 167–170, 172, 173, 175, 176, 206–208, 210, 214, 216, 219, 229, 232, 235–237, 244 restorying, 7 S school portfolios, 4–6, 18, 49, 50, 55, 56, 58–61, 64, 68–73, 80, 81, 83, 84, 93–95, 115–118, 142, 165, 169, 173, 205, 207, 211, 225, 226, 229, 234, 236, 247 school portfolio team, 83 school reform, 1–3, 5, 8, 11, 36, 38, 42, 43, 51–55, 59, 62, 63, 69–73, 78–80, 82–84, 89, 93–95, 97, 105, 115, 117, 120, 121, 123, 131, 142, 145, 155, 165, 173, 174, 178, 187, 191, 192, 202, 217, 226, 232, 234 Scott Peck, M., 185 self-study, 15, 111, 163–166, 168– 171, 176–179, 209, 214, 218, 219, 237 Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP), 6, 125, 178, 214 stories to begin by, 200 stories to leave by, 190, 200 stories to live by, 149 story constellations, 36, 57, 86, 93, 134 T teacher researcher, 15, 26, 65, 93, 94, 98, 100, 102–105, 107–109, 131, 159 travelling journals, 141, 146