Despite the benefits associated with teacher development through participation in communities of practice, many questions about these groups remain unanswered. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine a group of elementary physical education teachers as a community of practice whose objective was to develop and disseminate district-wide elementary curriculum. Participants included four teachers, the district curriculum coordinator, and project facilitators. Results identify the importance of a catalyst, a vision for students and the project, the importance of support, the significance of personal and professional relationships, and the realization of empowerment as critical. Ultimately, the development of curriculum was a meaningful, purposeful, and authentic task that allowed the transformation of this group. Adhering to the assumption that learning takes place within social practice, these data provide valuable insight as to the contexts that underlie the ability to mediate change, the relationships between individuals, and their ability to transform individual and group identity.
Parker and Sinclair are with the University of Northern Colorado, School of Sport & Exercise Science, Greeley, CO. Patton is with California State University, Department of Kinesiology, Chico, CA. Madden is with Pacific Lutheran University, Department of Movement Studies & Wellness Education, Tacoma, WA.