Source: Action in Teacher Education, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2012, p. 41-54.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article examined the question "What are the effective teaching characteristics of non-traditional, culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) student teachers placed in rural, elementary schools with high populations of Latino/a students?"
By using a case study approach, the authors were able to explore a unique case bounded by a specific teacher preparation program, time, and rural setting.
The participants were 10 nontraditional, bilingual, Latina participants who completed their student teaching internship during the school year of 2010.
Data were collected through multiple sources, such as feedback/evaluation forms, videotape analyses, and portfolios.
The discussion considered aspects within the distance-delivery model that facilitated the CLD participants' development of effective teaching and noted
(1) consistent leadership,
(2) explicit teacher instruction within CLD school settings, and
(3) the strong cohesive nature of the CLD participants' cohort as positively affecting the CLD participants' teaching effectiveness.
Consistent Leadership of the Distance-Delivered Teacher Preparation Model
After the CLD teacher candidates' first semester of coursework within the program, the grant leaders developed community college courses for the participants to successfully prepare for specific test content, along with several other practice test-taking workshops and seminars.
Through this process and through individual advising, the grant leaders were able to determine the specific academic needs of each CLD teacher candidate.
Those needs were met through the grant leaders and project staff members' consistent searches for effective and responsive tutors, and then monitors were established to check on the CLD candidates' progress.
Throughout the delivery of the teacher preparation program, the leaders held very high expectations for the CLD teacher candidates— exhibited by their constant monitoring, pressure, and responsive feedback.
Explicit Teacher Instruction Designed to Facilitate Deliberate Practice within CLD Contextual Settings
In this study, the grant leaders and project staff reflected upon lessons learned in earlier research and implemented timely on-site, explicit instructor support via small groupings.
Using university and school district faculty, the CLD teacher candidates participated in courses with a mentor/coach explaining, clarifying, and modeling content explicitly and purposefully as it related to the contexts of specific diverse classrooms.
By implementing the element of coaching during the onset of the CLD teacher candidates' immersion into the professional coursework, the teacher candidates consistently received intentional instruction, whereby the mentor teacher connected the content to the contexts of the teacher candidates' diverse student settings.
Strong Cohort Cohesiveness of the CLD Teacher Candidates
These CLD teacher candidates' talked to each other about course assignments, studied and planned lessons together, and asked one another for assistance.
These activities helped the teacher candidates establish strong emotional, cultural, and professional bonds with each other.
Such bonds facilitated their resiliency.
Furthermore, their connectiveness fostered individual self-improvement, and it also fostered self-efficacy, as the candidates began to believe in themselves because of one another's continual academic, social, and emotional support.
Findings from this study reflected highly consistent and effective teaching characteristics of the CLD teacher candidates completing a distance-delivered teacher preparation program in remote, rural areas.
Discussion as to what teacher education program attributes contributed to their development of effective teaching attributes was offered, with culturally responsive supports, like instructional mediators, personal instructor/leadership caring, and a sense of community among students and teachers, noted.
Clearly, institutions of higher education must continue to search for more effective strategies for recruiting and retaining teachers of color, for their value in educating American children is vital.