portunities for preservice education—for college students who are in programs designed to help them learn how to teach.
Practicing teachers continue to learn about teaching in many ways. First, they learn from their own practice. Whether this learning is described as the monitoring and adjustment of good practice or analyzed more completely according to a model of pedagogical reasoning (Wilson et al., 1987), teachers gain new knowledge and understanding of their students, schools, curriculum, and instructional methods by living the practical experiments that occur as a part of professional practice (Dewey, 1963; Schön, 1983). Teachers also learn from their own practice through different types of teacher research or “action research,” such as creating journals, essays, classroom studies, and oral inquiry processes (Cochran-Smith and Lytle, 1993).
Second, teachers learn through their interactions with other teachers. Some of this occurs during formal and informal mentoring that is similar to apprenticeship learning (Lave and Wenger, 1991; see also Little, 1990; Feiman-Nemser and Parker, 1993). Formal mentoring occurs when an experienced teacher takes a new teacher under his or her wing to provide insight and advice, sometimes for state programs (Feiman-Nemser and Parker, 1993); informal mentoring occurs through conversations in hallways, teachers’ rooms, and other school settings. Novices also learn through supervision by department chairs, principals, and other supervisors.
To a small but increasing degree, teachers are teaching other teachers through formal inservice education. Administrators are beginning to recognize expertise in their schools and districts and are encouraging teachers to share that expertise as inservice presenters to their colleagues. Some states, such as Massachusetts, even recognize the preparation for these inservice programs as a form of professional learning for the presenters and award them with “professional development points” for time spent in preparing to teach, as well as time spent teaching their colleagues.
Teachers also teach teachers outside of schools. Meetings of professional associations and teachers’ unions include numerous workshops and presentations in which teachers share their knowledge with other teachers. Other examples include the Physics Teacher Resource Agent Project of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Woodrow Wilson Fellows, in which teachers are trained to provide workshops in instructional methods and materials, as well as content, for other teachers (Van Hise, 1986).
Third, teachers learn from teacher educators in their schools, in degree programs, and in specific teacher enhancement projects that are often provided by consultants. In the 1960s, teachers were trained in this way to use