Self-Study of Cross-Cultural Supervision of Teacher Candidates for Social Justice

Apr. 02, 2011

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 7, No. 1, April 2011, 3–18
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This self-study describes the author's experiences as a Korean doctoral student supervising six teacher candidates over one year.
The primary goal of the author's supervision for social justice was to prepare teacher candidates to address the diversity of experiences that children bring to school.

The author communicated three shared goals of teaching for social justice in order to develop a community of practice reflecting these goals:
1) Examining the self,
2) Building genuine relationships with others, and
3) Searching for multiple ways to become a social justice educator.

The author used self-study approach to examine and improve her own understandings of supervision.

The participants were six teacher candidates in pre-kindergarten and elementary school settings, whom the author supervised.
They were enrolled to a five-quarter MEd early childhood teacher licensure program in a Midwest university.

All the participants were women, one was black and five were white.
They were placed in a mixture of urban and suburban schools over the three quarters of field placements and student teaching.

Data Collection
The author used multiple data sources collected from September 2003 to June 2004:
observational field notes of the students in their field placements and university methods courses,
weekly conversations of focus group meetings,
semi-structured interviews as well as discussions of pre- and post-lesson conferences.

The author also used various documents, such as her participants’ lesson plans, course assignments, and their reflective journal writings which they shared with their cooperating teachers and the author.


Discussion and Conclusion

The data show that the author was somewhat successful in sharing her goals.
For the first and second goals, three of the participants demonstrated full participation in the community of practice.
The data from the discussions about teaching, their autobiographical stories, and the journal writing, contain evidence that they were able to explicitly examine their assumptions.

The author also learned that the self-study of her supervisory experience suggests, that if teacher education program members have shared goals related to social justice, they can successfully prepare teacher candidates to teach for social justice.
The data suggest that the program and the author together were able to influence the attitudes and teaching practices of at least four out of the six participants in this study.

In addition, the study helped the author to develop a critical eye and to see some things that the participants did not.
The result seemed to help most of the participants raise their awareness of teaching for social justice, even when the constraints of their school placements made it difficult to put their goals into practice.

Furthermore, the author came to better understand how her recovered identity as a Korean helped her build strong relationships with the participants.
While building relationships with them, the author started to feel more comfortable with her own cultural identity.
Through her experiences, she came to understand the value of vulnerability within trusting relationships if the goal is teaching for social justice.

However, even though the author established good relationships, she has only begun to understand how to facilitate critical analysis as sustained learning for social justice.
A wide range of languages, cultures, exceptionalities, learning styles, talents, and intelligences require in turn an equally rich and varied repertoire of supervision and teaching strategies.

Finally, through this study the author learned how power relationships can influence knowledge construction.
She became more sensitive to our different power positions and the ways they were socially, culturally, historically, and politically constructed.

The author concludes that this self-study enabled her to examine her search for responsive supervisory approaches to prepare teacher candidates to learn to teach for social justice.

Updated: Dec. 02, 2013