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This study utilized cultural historical activity theory to explore the evolution of nine preservice teachers’ (PSTs’) conceptions of social justice teaching while enrolled in a social justice-oriented teacher education program. From three interviews conducted over one year, findings show that tensions PSTs encountered while student teaching in high-poverty schools predominantly shaped their thinking. PSTs’ conceptions of social justice teaching evolved to include navigating inequitable systems, loving students critically, and viewing social justice teaching as uniquely personal. Implications include the importance of teacher educators leveraging inevitable student-teaching tensions as learning opportunities to further PSTs’ commitment to social justice teaching.
Updated: Apr. 19, 2021
Research highlights the challenges of teacher preparation programs in adequately preparing teachers to meet the needs of diverse students often served in high-needs urban schools. Teacher preparation programs that include culturally relevant pedagogy, coursework specifically related to school-community interaction, and most importantly, internships with mentorship in urban schools, have demonstrated that teachers specifically trained to teach in urban schools are better prepared and stay in teaching longer. This study examined the perceptions of 11 clinical supervising teachers and nine pre-service teachers that received flexible University mentoring supports during student teaching in two high-need, urban schools. The findings illustrate that urban student teaching experiences, when supported by additional collaborative mentorship, have the potential to improve experiences for both pre-service teachers and supervising teachers. Further, collaboration with schools to link teacher preparation program course content to urban teaching experiences can improve the theory-to-practice gap.
Updated: Apr. 19, 2021
An Examination of Pre-Service Teachers’ Interpersonal Dispositions in the Readiness Assurance Stage of Team-Based Learning
Team-based learning (TBL) is a type of small-group collaborative learning that promotes students’ accountability and intellectual growth. The readiness assurance stage of TBL, though having a great potential of addressing the widespread course preparation problem, has not been given enough attention. This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of the readiness assurance stage in online and on-campus TBL and to enhance our understanding of how pre-service teachers’ interpersonal dispositions affected their learning in both environments. Results of the mixed-method study showed that both online and on-campus modes were effective in improving pre-service teachers’ understanding and applying pedagogies in teaching. Students’ conceptual understanding of pedagogies was positively associated with their learning behavior and negatively affected by the conformity in online TBL. However, none of the interpersonal dispositions were found to significantly affect pre-service teachers’ application of pedagogies in online TBL. Likewise, those interpersonal dispositions did not significantly affect pre-service teachers’ understanding and applying pedagogies in on-campus TBL. Based on these results, the authors offer suggestions for educators and researchers who are interested in implementing or examining TBL
Updated: Apr. 18, 2021
A comparison of population and employment projections shows the gap between teacher supply and demand growing through 2025. Alternative certification programs (ACPs) were created to increase teacher production, but research on who selects ACPs versus traditional preparation programs (TPPs) shows mixed results as does research on new teacher attrition. Analyzing employment and preparation data for over 225,000 new teachers (56% ACP), the authors found male and teachers of color were more likely to be ACP prepared. Using survival analysis, they found TPP teachers were significantly more likely to remain in the classroom than ACP teachers. They also found that teachers of color were more likely to stay teaching after accounting for preparation differences, and Latinx teachers from traditional preparation programs were most likely to stay teaching.
Updated: Apr. 17, 2021
With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, even greater efforts are needed to address students’ academic and social emotional needs, all the while making up for learning loss and preparing for the unpredictable combinations of distance learning, blended learning, and in-classroom learning. These expectations, along with the need for greater emphasis on equity-focused teaching and learning have raised the bar for educators and for educator preparation. This paper explores what policymakers and educators can do to support educators in meeting the social emotional and academic needs of students. These strategies include investing in high-quality educator preparation, transforming educator professional learning opportunities to match current needs, supporting mentoring and the development of new teacher roles, and creating time for educators to collaborate with each other and key partners. These actions are vital for navigating teaching and learning during the pandemic and beyond.
Updated: Apr. 11, 2021
Developing Teachers as Critical Curators: Investigating Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Inspirations for Lesson Planning
Internet resources abound for preservice teacher (PST) use today, but we do not know how they choose and describe their implementation of them. This study investigates 158 elementary PSTs’ lesson plans across eight courses to describe plan inspiration and justification. PSTs reported being inspired by cooperating teachers (CTs), friends and family members, university courses, and Internet resources. In some cases, these PSTs simply followed lesson plans given to them. In other cases, they collected, curated, synthesized, and applied ideas based on inspirations, showing dispositions of New Literacies Theory. This study provides evidence that teacher educators need to engage PSTs in intentionally developing the skills of curation by acknowledging and modeling the depth and breadth of resources, including those that are not necessarily sanctioned. Implications include ways that teacher educators can frame PSTs’ understandings as they critically consume online resources through Critical Curation Theory.
Updated: Mar. 15, 2021
Does Teacher Learning Last? Understanding How Much Teachers Retain Their Knowledge After Professional Development
Teacher professional development (PD) is seen as a promising intervention to improve teacher knowledge, instructional practice, and ultimately student learning. While research finds instances of significant program effects on teacher knowledge, little is known about how long these effects last. If teachers forget what is learned, the contribution of the intervention will be diminished. Using a large-scale data set, this study examines the sustainability of gains in teachers’ content knowledge for teaching mathematics (CKT-M). Results show that there is a negative rate of change in CKT after teachers complete the training, suggesting that the average score gain from the program is lost in just 37 days. There is, however, variation in how quickly knowledge is lost, with teachers participating in summer programs losing more rapidly than those who attend programs that occur during school years. The implications of these findings on designing and evaluating PD programs are discussed.
Updated: Mar. 15, 2021
You've Met Your Match: Using Culturally Relevant Pairing to Cultivate Mentoring Relationships during the Early Practicum Experience of Community College Preservice Teachers
This work explores mentoring triad relationships between pre-service teachers, school-based cooperating teachers, and professors at a community college. Using cultural historical activity theory, the authors provide a retrospective analysis of the factors influencing the success of the mentoring relationships. They assessed 60 mentoring triads with a rubric focused on how triads established intersubjectivity and the activity systems of practicum and college course were able to intersect and establish common goals. Results showed that highly successful triads were most likely to have culturally matched student/cooperating teacher pairs and culturally diverse practicum placements. Qualitative analysis showed that an equal exchange of power among the triad was foundational for enabling intersubjectivity. Therefore, equal power exchange between the triad during early practicum experiences are supported by and support cultural responsiveness. They argue for further research on this population of pre-service teachers as well as greater attention to issues of power and cultural responsivity during mentorship.
Updated: Mar. 15, 2021
Factors Influencing Preservice Teachers’ Self-Efficacy in Addressing Cultural and Linguistic Needs of Diverse Learners
How preservice teachers perceive their readiness to work with diverse learners can indicate their future success in the classroom. Using self-efficacy theory as a conceptual base, this study examined what factors contribute to preservice teachers’ self-efficacy level in addressing English Learners’ (ELs) cultural and linguistic needs, while adopting a multi-method design. Data sources included a self-efficacy survey of a group of preservice teachers, written rationales for their self-efficacy ratings, and suggestions for improving their self-efficacy. Data analyses revealed that the preservice teachers lacked self-efficacy in communicating with ELs while showing high self-efficacy in employing different learning modalities. In addition, direct exposure through field and/or life experiences and curriculum emphasis were identified as key factors. Findings further illuminate the preservice teachers’ incongruent understandings of mainstream school culture versus ELs’ cultures, the role of culture in academic versus social and emotional domains, and lack of interconnectedness between academic excellence and cultural competency.
Updated: Mar. 11, 2021
In the field of teacher education, the disconnect between university-based coursework and practical field experiences has long been a concern. To make teacher preparation coursework more meaningful, some programs partner with P-12 schools to offer site-based courses. Although situated learning for novices in practice-based professions makes sense, more research is needed to determine if, how, and why site-based courses in particular may be beneficial for teacher candidates’ (TCs) learning. In this study, the authors used surveys and interviews with TCs, who had taken the same site-based literacy methods course, to identify which aspects of the course they found most facilitative of connections between the course content and the field. Our findings suggest working with children in classrooms, course instructors’ involvement at the school, and opportunities to discuss and reflect upon their experiences immediately after they had been in the field were the primary features of a site-based course TCs found valuable.
Updated: Mar. 09, 2021