Medium 9781475831368

Tep Vol 29-N3

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Teacher Education and Practice, a peer-refereed journal, is dedicated to the encouragement and the dissemination of research and scholarship related to professional education. The journal is concerned, in the broadest sense, with teacher preparation, practice and policy issues related to the teaching profession, as well as being concerned with learning in the school setting. The journal also serves as a forum for the exchange of diverse ideas and points of view within these purposes. As a forum, the journal offers a public space in which to critically examine current discourse and practice as well as engage in generative dialogue. Alternative forms of inquiry and representation are invited, and authors from a variety of backgrounds and diverse perspectives are encouraged to contribute. Teacher Education & Practice is published by Rowman & Littlefield.

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Dewey, Democracy, and Teacher Education

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Dewey, Democracy, and Teacher Education

What Do People in a Democracy Need to Learn, and How Do Teachers Need to Be Educated?

Elizabeth Meadows

ABSTRACT: According to John Dewey, what do people need to learn, and how should teachers be educated in order to teach what people in a democracy need to learn? People first need to learn the subject matter, knowledge, and skills that are necessary to succeed socially and economically in our less-than-perfect democratic society as it now exists. Second, all people need to learn subject matter that will support them in developing their talents and potentials to contribute to both their individual happiness and the well-being of others in a democratic society. Third, people need to learn to think critically about all issues and, most of all, to think deeply about what is necessary in order to achieve and sustain a real democracy. Teacher education needs to focus on helping teachers learn how to work toward accomplishing these three aspects of this curriculum geared toward achieving and sustaining a truly democratic society. Lisa Delpit criticizes progressive education, based on Dewey’s ideas, for inadequately preparing poor and minority youth to participate in, benefit from, and contribute to U.S. society. She offers necessary, Deweyan corrections to Dewey’s vision of education in a democracy. Together, their ideas offer us a powerful way forward.

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There Is Honor Among Thieves

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There Is Honor Among Thieves

(Re)teaching Dewey’s Democratic Ideal in the Neoliberal Era

M. C. Breen

ABSTRACT: Two crosscurrents compound teacher preparation 100 years after the publication of Dewey’s Democracy and Education: (1) millennial digital literacy environments yield practically infinite sources and amounts of information and the consumers without the skills or will to question or evaluate the information they are receiving and (2) neoliberal educational environments yield heavily controlled, monitored, and assessment-driven curricula that offer little room for choice, reflection, or dynamic interaction. Dewey warned against the “honor among thieves,” or the niche values of narrow cliques. This chapter explores the critical junction between millennial knowledge bases, teacher candidates as products of neoliberal education systems, and teacher educator preparation programs as sites of both democratic education and preparation for neoliberal systems of education. This contested site and contradictory space serves as an entry point for examining Dewey’s notions of democracy and education as teacher candidates move from one knowledge clique into another. Specifically, changing environments in the past 100 years provide educational contexts that have evolved; however, Dewey’s theories of inquiry and communication are especially relevant as millennials identify with democratic education experiences that are merely “fantasy-constructions” that must be reconstructed and reexperienced. Further, how do we situate ourselves as teacher educators in the feedback loop from and into a contemporary educational system that is largely undemocratic?

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Democracy for All?

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Democracy for All?

John Dewey, Teacher Education, and Young Children With Disabilities

Leigh M. O’Brien

ABSTRACT: A just education system foregrounds policies and practices that value the rights of all young children to participate in a wide range of activities as full members of families, communities, and democratic societies. Therefore, I believe that teacher educators should model democratic character with our teacher candidates and use democratic approaches to teacher preparation. These practices will ultimately promote a sense of well-being for every child within a supportive and nourishing classroom community in which the teacher attends closely to what every child brings to each setting. Although Dewey never specifically addressed the education of children with disabilities in his writings, his philosophy of education and democracy offers some intriguing possibilities for thought and action in this arena. His focus on growth of the individual linked to rich social integration offer avenues to pursue in relation to social justice and the education of children who challenge the putative norms of U.S. schools. Dewey contends that a progressive society sees individual variations as precious since it finds in them the means of its own growth and hence concludes that a democratic society must allow for intellectual freedom and the play of diverse gifts and interests in its educational measures (Dewey, 1916/1966).

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Dewey, Growth, and Embracing the Tension Between Teacher Education and Clinical Fieldwork

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Dewey, Growth, and Embracing the Tension Between Teacher Education and Clinical Fieldwork

Peter J. Nelsen

ABSTRACT: Despite repeated calls to make teacher education more “relevant” and to align what happens in teacher education programs closely with the daily demands facing teachers, this article argues that in many cases, the gap is healthy and can lead to educator growth. The argument is grounded in John Dewey’s discussion of growth, habits, and consummatory experiences and suggests that the tension itself is a fundamental aspect of inspiring growth. Thus, rather than being a hindrance to the growth of new teachers, cultivating a gap between college/university classrooms and P–12 schools may lead to teachers who develop the critical capacities to contextualize their educational practices in rich ways. It might seem paradoxical, but Dewey’s discussion of growth offers a conceptual resource for understanding why fully embracing the tension itself may result in the gap’s closing.

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Growing in Community

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Growing in Community

Collaboration Between Teachers and Academics in Education

Cara Furman

ABSTRACT: A central premise of John Dewey’s Democracy and Education is that growth is necessary for a healthy individual and society. In policy, research, and popular culture, the calcified teacher is often depicted as a source of public concern. Teachers also articulate that personal growth benefits them and their students. In this article, I address how collaborative problem solving between teachers and academics in education can support teacher growth. I describe how, drawing on a number of Deweyan principles, an urban public school supported its teachers to grow in response to the challenges they encountered daily.

In the current educational climate, there is much anxiety around how to improve teachers’ performances (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2006; Green, 2010, 2014; Ravitch, 2010). When children struggle in our public schools, teachers and academics in education1 are common targets of blame. The two groups are often pitted against each other (Green, 2014; Lemov, 2010). In this article, I first introduce the tension between teachers and academics in education. Drawing on Dewey, I then argue for the importance for different communities to come together with shared goals. Building on this, I argue that teachers and academics in education should be collaborating. Finally, I use a self-study to highlight what collaboration can look like.

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Dewey’s Educational Values for Teacher Practice in the 21st Century

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Dewey’s Educational Values for Teacher Practice in the 21st Century

Charles L. Lowery

ABSTRACT: While Dewey acknowledged the traditional values of utility, information, and mental discipline in education, he suggested an expanded understanding of educational values. This expanded view included the nature of realization/appreciation, the valuation of studies, and the organization of values. This article revisits Dewey’s notions of educational values put forth in Democracy and Education and contemplates the relevance and application of these values in 21st-century schooling. Specifically, I take a reflective approach to exploring Dewey’s standards of valuation, issues of authentic learning as opposed to mediated or representative experiences, and the role of imagination against the backdrop of contemporary expectations in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

In the multitude of educations education is forgotten. (Dewey, 1916/2002, p. 289)

During my time as a P–12 educator and educational leader, I observed a collective concern with a need to engage students among teachers. Teachers described students as being easily distracted, extremely unmotivated, and poorly behaved. Spending some years in observing this increasingly common concern, I begin to think of this not as an issue of distraction, motivation, or behavior; instead, I realized that this was a matter of engagement. The well-discussed and often-researched notion of “time on task” has been in reality an attempt at measuring engagement—at least in terms of duration of time if not the depth of the task (Aronson, Zimmerman, & Carlos, 1998; Bioulac et al., 2012; Brewster & Fager, 2000; Hossler, Stage, & Gallagher, 1988). However, as I began my inquiry into this problem, I discovered that this was not a new preoccupation of teachers. A century ago, Dewey (1916/2002) penned these words:

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Dewey’s “The Nature of Method” and “The Nature of Subject Matter” as Applied to Teacher Development and Curricular Understanding

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Dewey’s “The Nature of Method” and “The Nature of Subject Matter” as Applied to Teacher Development and Curricular Understanding

Chance D. Mays

ABSTRACT: Much is said about Dewey and his thoughts on democracy and progressive education. Considerably less has been stated about the manner in which Dewey’s philosophy about method and subject matter may be applied to the development of teachers and their understanding about curriculum. Dewey explicitly warns of the dangers of treating method and subject matter as separate entities in education, expressing the dangers of such a philosophical dualism. This article seeks to begin the process, however small, of examining Dewey’s thoughts on method and subject matter and how this harmonizing effort has been applied to teacher development by a practicing educational leader.

Dewey maintained his faith in democracy throughout many of his works, but, as Jenlink (2009) noted, this was perhaps most evident and “nowhere more comprehensively than in his Democracy and Education, first published in 1916” (p. ix). Education was inseparably connected to life as “a self-renewing process through action upon the environment” (Dewey, 1916, p. 2), and as such, Dewey (1916) claimed that “education, in its broadest sense, is the means of this social continuity of life” (p. 3). Dewey (1916) goes on to elaborate that it is through education that humanity seeks to accomplish the difficult task of continuity. For educational leaders, herein lies the message from Dewey, seeking ways to educate the members of society in order to continue their existence, and it is noted that “without such formal education it is not possible to transmit all the resources and achievements of a complex society” (Dewey, 1916, p. 9).

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Preparing Teachers for Democratic Schooling

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Preparing Teachers for Democratic Schooling

The Potential (and Pitfalls) of Recent Trends in Teacher Preparation

Donna Adair Breault

ABSTRACT: This article outlines recent trends in teacher preparation, particularly as they relate to changes in accreditation as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education shifts to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The article explores the degree to which these shifts have the potential to promote a more democratic notion of teacher preparation based on the kinds of partnerships and field experiences now expected. It then argues that these changes are unlikely given the challenges that universities face regarding their own organizational limitations as well as the challenges they face when forming relationships with schools. The author bases the analysis of both the potential and the challenges for more democratic teacher education using the work of John Dewey, particularly his work regarding inquiry and democracy.

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