Within K-12 Schools for School Reform: What Does it Take?

  • Michaelann Kelley
  • Paul D. GrayJr.
  • Donna J. Reid
  • Cheryl J. Craig


In this chapter, teachers from the School Portfolio Group examine tools that they have used to cultivate and scaffold their own reflective practice. First, they explore three images of teachers: as curriculum makers, researchers, and reflective practitioners. Building on Lyons’ definition of reflective practice, the authors examine the individual tools of personal journals, personal portfolios, and reflective writing the and how the individual teachers in the School Portfolio Group used those tools to become more reflective practitioners. The authors then turn their attention to the shared tools of traveling journals, school portfolios, and collaborative presentations, examine and how those tools empowered teachers to build their capacity as reflective practitioners. Next, the authors examine how teacher groups, including teacher inquiry groups and Critical Friends Groups, helped individual members cultivate their reflective practice while fostering the collective power of the group to engage in reflective practice. Finally, the authors explore some constraints and opportunities they encountered in their collective inquiries. Embedded within a context of school reform, the teachers encountered tensions including those of school accountability that emphasize teachers as subject matter experts rather than teachers as minded professionals. They conclude with the thought that the nexus of leadership power and position has the power to cultivate the ability – or disability – of teachers to engage in reflective practice.


Narrative exemplars Curriculum maker Teacher inquiry Reflection Portfolios Collaboration 



The School Portfolio Group gratefully acknowledges the contributions of its current and past members, including Tim Martindell, Gayle Curtis, Ron Venable, Jennifer Day, Allison Hamacher, Michael Sirois, Janet Gray, Mari Clayton Glamser, Sandi Capps, Shannon Weigel, Elaine Wilkins, Lewis Rogers, and Annette Easley, as well as the many others with whom we have had the privilege to collaboratively engage in reflective practice. Thanks is additionally extended to Xiao Han who provided us with research support and to our two chapter reviewers, Dr. Helen Freidus, Bank Street College, New York City, NY and Dr. Margaret Olson of St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada for their insightful comments and suggestions. Special gratitude is expressed to the Houston A+ Challenge reform movement, which has allowed teachers and principals to form their own “theories of action” and funded many of the teacher inquiries and school-based reforms described in this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaelann Kelley
    • 1
  • Paul D. GrayJr.
  • Donna J. Reid
  • Cheryl J. Craig
  1. 1.Eisenhower High SchoolHoustonUSA

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