Spheres of Learing in Teacher Collaboration




Samaras, Anastasia P.
DeMulder, E.K.
Kayler, Mary A.
Newton, L.
Rigsby, L.C.
Weller, K.L.
Wilcox, D.R.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




In this chapter, we report on two studies in a Master’s program for practicing teachers that maintains collaborative culture making at its core, for students and faculty alike. We conducted two studies related to this collaborative culture making and concluded that collaboration is essential to programs of study for teachers and teacher educators. In the first study, we investigated the perspectives of our alumni on their collaborative experiences. Findings indicated links between alumni’s multi-layered collaborative experiences in the program and their subsequent pursuit of National Board certification. In the second study, we conducted a collective self-study of a faculty teaching team’s collaborative experiences and factors that they believe enhanced their continued professional development. Both studies are placed within a description of the Initiatives in Educational Transformation (IET) program, which aligns with sociocultural practices of learning with and through others. To frame our work, we draw from Vygotskian (1978) theory and Samaras’ (2004) notion of learning zones, adapted from Vygotsky’s conception of the zone of proximal development and the social construction of knowledge. The work of Lave and Wenger (1991) in situated learning also informs this work.



Collaboration, Self-study, Education, Teaching


Samaras, A. P., DeMulder, E. K., Kayler, M.A., Newton, L., Rigsby, L. C., Weller, K.L., & Wilcox, D. R. (2006). Spheres of learning in teacher collaboration. In C. Kosnik, C. Beck, A. R. Freese, & A. P., Samaras, (Eds.). Making a difference in teacher education through self-study: Studies of personal, professional, and program renewal (pp. 147 – 163). The Netherlands: Springer.