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Volume 29 n1- Mapping Teacher Informal Advice Networks as a Tool for District Administrators: A Case Study

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Abstract With few resources and little time for professional development, science education leaders need ways to efficiently disseminate effective pedagogical practices, improve instruction, and support science teachers (Shaked and Schecter, 2016). Efficient leader strategies are especially important as teachers and districts face reforms to existing standards. One potential avenue for dissemination is leveraging the informal social networks of teachers. Therefore, it is necessary to map and interpret informal teacher networks. We describe a case study involving a partnership of university researchers and a district science curriculum specialist who collected survey data to map district teacher informal advice-seeking networks. We also describe the kinds of network analysis information that science education leaders can use to make strategic decisions about the costs and benefits of efforts directed at all teachers (e.g. workshops, annual professional development time) and those directed at highly connected teachers who can become or already are informal leaders in their communities.

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