Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Trena M. Paulus

Committee Members

John M. Peters, Michael L. Morris, Mary F. Ziegler

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify indicators of three different types of teaching and learning used within an informal community of practice. Peters and Armstrong’s (1998) article, Collaborative learning: People laboring together to construct knowledge, served as the basis for this case study, which expanded upon the types of teaching and learning as a framework for understanding practitioners’ interactions within communities of practice (CoP). No other research has comparatively examined these three types of teaching and learning, or examined the types of teaching and learning as a framework for understanding interactions within CoPs.

Eight members of a CoP group participated in this study over a 10-week period. Data sources consisted of audio taped meetings, discussion board posts, and field notes. Through typological and discourse analysis of the transcripts, five indicators of teaching and learning were identified: engagement, assumptions, influence, questions, and mode of discourse. Each indicator displayed different characteristics across each of the three types of teaching and learning.

The results suggest how the types of teaching and learning can be used as a framework for understanding group interactions within CoPs. The indicators provide a practical method for practitioners to identify language behaviors that contribute to these interactions. By identifying these indicators, the researcher contends that practitioners can facilitate themselves and their CoPs with better intention and purpose.

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