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This paper discusses the concept of democratic professionalism and argues that it offers a way to frame teacher education so that it can contribute to more productively managing long standing tensions between public schools, minoritized communities, and teacher preparation programs, and to more closely realizing the democratic potential of public education and teacher education. This decolonial approach to teacher education that actively attempts to benefit from the expertise in local minoritized communities seeks to “disrupt” existing power and knowledge hierarchies and create the basis for new alliances between teachers, teacher unions, teacher educators, and community-based social movements in marginalized communities that are seeking an active role in transforming their own communities. The result is a new hybrid structure for teacher education programs that models the emancipatory vision that is often articulated by programs but not practiced.
Updated: Oct. 28, 2020
Using a broad-based assessment for understanding what teachers learn in historic site-based professional development (HSBPD), this study follows 29 teachers from a HSBPD at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello to see how their work at historic sites affected their practice upon return to their classrooms. Influenced by the Interconnected Model of Teacher Growth and Complexity theory, this study considers the complex outcomes of teachers as individuals, professionals, and learners in communities of practice. Results explore a range of outcomes related to content, pedagogical content knowledge, working with peers, interactions with the historic site, and a willingness to reconsider historical information. The discussion offers a consideration of the network of HSBPDs as a cumulative system and the ways in which teachers’ on-site work can deepen our understanding of working with complex historical sources and make larger curricular changes.
Updated: Oct. 27, 2020
Reflecting on Others Before Reflecting on Self: Using Video Evidence to Guide Teacher Candidates’ Reflective Practices
A convergent parallel mixed methods study investigated the potential of one teacher preparation approach for promoting candidate reflection. Thirteen candidates participated in clinical field experiences and four corresponding seminar classes with guided video analysis activities. Candidates were systematically guided through focusing on others before focusing on self and explicitly learned about a reflection continuum using an instructional framework to build prerequisite skills and ultimately improve reflective abilities. Results of paired-sample t tests indicated candidates demonstrated significantly higher reflective ability scores over time as measured by a reflection checklist. Qualitative analysis of structured interviews revealed candidates felt activities were (a) a systematic approach to authentic growth, (b) a challenging approach to necessary self-confrontation, and (c) allowed for connections between self and other. Methodological triangulation was used to validate the findings. Implications for teacher preparation research and practice are discussed.
Updated: Oct. 26, 2020
University-district partnerships to improve field experiences: Associations with candidate perceptions and performance
Education Preparation Programs (EPPs) are increasingly pressured to demonstrate alignment between program supports and candidates’ outcomes. Using mixed methods, we studied the Early Field Immersion School (EFIS), an effort to improve candidates’ early field experiences. Participants included 171 candidates enrolled in a graduate certificate program and 11 university-based faculty. EFIS candidates spent increased time in early field experiences, yet EFIS was not associated with candidates’ performance at program exit. Although we found that while candidates and faculty alike valued EFIS supports, participation was negatively associated with perceptions of preparedness. We discuss these discrepancies and offer suggestions for ongoing research.
Updated: Oct. 21, 2020
This paper examines the practice of two novice teacher educators working as instructional coaches in a university-based teacher education program. Previous research suggests that the knowledge and skills required to be an effective teacher are distinct from those required to be an effective teacher educator. Yet novice teacher educators often receive minimal preparation. This qualitative study identifies dilemmas that novice coaches encounter during observation debrief conversations in order to inform coach training. The findings suggest that the process used by the researchers to surface dilemmas may also be a useful intervention in shaping the identity and practice of novice teacher educators.
Updated: Sep. 29, 2020
This article offers a first look at teacher educators’ (N = 336) perceptions of their technology competencies based on the Teacher Educator Technology Competencies (TETCs; Foulger, Graziano, Schmidt-Crawford, & Slykhuis, 2017). The participants generally rated their competence levels highly in relation to the TETCs. Although many participants reported that the TETCs adequately reflected the competencies required of them, they suggested various additions and changes to the TETCs. This mixed-method study advances understanding of teacher educators’ perceptions of the importance of various competences to their work and offers feedback from the field regarding which competencies might be missing from the TETCs.
Updated: Sep. 23, 2020
In many teacher preparation programs at institutions of higher education in the United States, pre-service teachers receive mentoring and constructive feedback during their internship placement from an experienced supervising teacher and a university coordinator. Often the feedback loop is closed by asking interns, ‘was this useful?’ To better answer this question, researchers employed a phenomenological approach to collect interview and focus group data on the lived experiences, perceptions, and understandings of six pre-service special education interns during their internship experience. Emerging themes included satisfaction with level of support provided by supervisory stakeholders, a feeling of isolation from peer support, special consideration of the components within the evaluation tool, and a request to be provided with additional background information for their assigned university coordinators. These lessons were aggregated, presented, and then integrated into the experiences provided to forthcoming pre-service educators.
Updated: Sep. 21, 2020
“Learning Our Way Through”: Critical Professional Development for Social Justice in Teacher Education
While research indicates that critical professional development (CPD) can function as an alternative to dominant forms of top-down, anti-dialogical professional learning in K-12 settings, there is limited research on CPD in higher education, or among teacher education faculty specifically. In this article, the authors examine how participation in a year-long social justice-oriented faculty learning community (FLC) impacted faculty members’ identities and trajectories as social justice teacher educators and scholars. Our findings indicate that CPD can meet university-based educators’ hunger for community, professional learning, and strategic alliances, as well as increase their sense of efficacy and authenticity as social justice educators.
Updated: Sep. 21, 2020
From Approximations of Practice to Transformative Possibilities: Using Theatre of the Oppressed as Rehearsals for Facilitating Critical Teacher Education
Rehearsals and other approximations of practice are often touted as effective pedagogies for preparing teachers to reproduce/replicate practices deemed universally beneficial. However, scholars have noted that reproducing practices across contexts risks undermining equity and justice. This article reports on a three-year project that examined the potential of Boalian Theater and Freirean culture circles to facilitate learning among justice-oriented teacher educators. Using an ethnographic approach, the article shows how, guided by these critical pedagogies, rehearsals can facilitate transformational learning by re-imagining responses to dilemmas of practice in equity-oriented and contextually sensitive ways.
Updated: Sep. 21, 2020
“Empowering” Instead of “Crushing an Idea”: One Student Teacher/Mentor Teacher Pair’s Story of Learning and Growin
This study shares the story of a mentor teacher and student teacher during a yearlong student teaching experience. It looks at how working with an educative mentor (prepared and supported to enact this role) can make a difference in the instructional practices and beliefs of a novice teacher, specifically by providing the student teacher with the opportunity to experiment and by the mentor being open to learning in his/her own teaching practice.
Updated: Sep. 15, 2020