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Baker-Doyle publishes book on social networks and teachers

photo of Dr. Baker-Doyle
Dr. Kira Baker-Doyle

Recent research shows that urban teachers have less than a 50 percent chance of surviving the first three years on the job. Those who make it often do so by reaching out to others for resources and support through their social networks, both face-to-face and online.

In today’s network society how do these new “millennial” teachers build social networks for professional support, and what networks work best? Dr. Kira Baker-Doyle, Assistant Professor of Education at Penn State Berks, answers these questions in her new book, The Networked Teacher: How New Teachers Build Social Networks for Professional Supports, published by Teachers College Press.  

The Networked Teacher explains the research behind social networks and offers practical advice to new teachers, mentors, and school administrators. Baker-Doyle tells the stories of four beginning urban teachers as they traverse the ups and downs of their first year in search of support. There is Michael, the struggling teacher, whose avoidance of collaboration leads to his needs being largely ignored by the school faculty and administration. Also, Susan, the creative teacher, who was initially stifled by the school atmosphere, but found inspiration through her work with students and a community organization. Each teacher’s unique story shows the importance of the teachers’ social support network in their work; social networks are the underlying force shaping their everyday teaching.

The Networked Teacher also provides realistic strategies that new teachers can use to consciously build social networks for professional support. In a unique twist on popular conversations about teacher professional development, Baker-Doyle advocates networking with students, families, and community organizations, in addition to other teachers and school administrators.  

Susan Fuhrman, President of Teachers College at Columbia University and the National Academy of Education praised the book, “Dr. Baker-Doyle's book adds an interesting and timely facet–the role of social networks–to the always important discussions about how new teachers can excel in their work. Her research will be of value to those who do professional development with educators and to practitioners alike."

The Networked Teacher comes with a companion website, http://thenetworkedteacher.com, where readers and book club members can use software to visualize their social networks, learn about workshops and upcoming talks, and read discussions by a range of authors on teaching and urban schools. For more information, contact Baker-Doyle at KJB33@psu.edu.

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