Reform efforts of the past decade have often focused on increasing collaboration among teachers, without paying attention to the conditions, character and consequences of the collegiality they espouse. In "Teacher's Work: Individuals, Colleagues and Contexts", volume editors Judith Warren Little and Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin, along with contributors including Andy Hargreaves, Michael Huberman, Mary Haywood Metz and Joan E. Talbert, examine the realities that confront classroom teachers and propose theoretical models to account for their findings. Part 1 emphasises the fundamental independence of classroom teaching and explores the inevitable tensions between individuality and professional community. Part 2 locates teachers' indentity and community in context, showing how the experience of teaching is shaped by the student population, the subject disciplines, the social structure and the school, and the workplace culture of school and district. Throughout there is a concern with the purposes and consequences of schooling, and with the need to keep benefit to students as a central consideration in any analysis.
The concluding chapter also discusses the policy implications of the conclusions drawn by the contributors, stressing the importance of local responses in which policymakers "serve less to regulate than to inform and connect local actors". Researchers and practitioners concerned with teachers' professional lives and careers, and with the school as a workplace, should welcome this book as an important addition to their libraries. It should also be valuable as a text in graduate-level seminars on school organisation, teacher policy and teacher professional development.