Medium 9781475819120

Tep Vol 16-N1

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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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6 Articles

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Editorial: Freedom to Act—Teachers as Scholarly Practitioners

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PATRICK M. JENLINK

Even if social sciences as a specialized apparatus of inquiry were more advanced than they are, they would be comparatively impotent in the office of directing opinion on matters of concern to the public as long as they are remote from application. (Dewey, 1927, pp. 180–181)

[A] scholarly practitioner is someone who mediates between her professional practice and the universe of scholarly, scientific, and academic knowledge and discourse. She sees her practice as part of a larger enterprise of knowledge generation and critical reflection. (Bentz & Shapiro, 1998, p. 66)

Until teachers are provided the freedom to act on their critically analyzed and collectively nurtured understandings of practice, to take an active role as inquirers and producers of knowledge, schools can never become as academically and socially productive as possible. John Dewey (1904) understood the importance of this point when explaining that teachers “moved by their own independent intelligence” would be less likely to accept “educational gospel” without inquiry and criticism, thus working to improve scholasticism: to improve teaching and learning, to improve schools.

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Infusing Technology Through Teacher Inquiry in a School–University Partnership

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BELINDA GIMBERT, CARLA ZEMBAL-SAUL, AND SHEILA ABRUZZO

ABSTRACT: This article explores the question of how engaging in teacher inquiry within the context of a school–university partnership influences teachers’ use of technology to enhance student learning. While striving to meet the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) and performance indicators for teachers (Information Society for Technology in Education, 2000b) and students (Information Society for Technology in Education, 2000a), classroom teachers need to be supported in their efforts to infuse technology into curricula and classroom practice. Such a mammoth undertaking demands a process of job-embedded staff development.

Calls crescendo for educators to weave technological knowledge and curricula into the daily tapestry of classroom life. Finding efficient and effective ways to help classroom teachers shift technology “apart” from to “a part” (Silva, 1999) of their teaching practices is a mammoth challenge. Most in-service teachers do not possess computer skills and understandings that are necessary to enhance students’ technological learning or know how to effectively integrate technological tools and instruction (Pan, Koskela, & Lyon, 1996). With the push to infuse technology with curricula it is important to remember that using the various forms of educational technology as instructional tools must mean that curriculum objectives unequivocally meet standards of learning and enhance children’s achievement.

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Feeling Prepared: Preservice and Inservice Teachers’ Perceptions of Competency to Teach Language Arts

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KATHLEEN A. J. MOHR, GEORGE HESS, BINYAO ZHENG, AND ROBIN MORROW

ABSTRACT: The study reported in this article delineates preservice teachers’ perceptions of readiness to effectively teach elementary language arts before and after a site-based methods course. Their perceptions are also compared to those of inservice teachers in public elementary schools. Results indicate that perceptions of comfort and confidence for language arts instruction are high in both groups; however, practicing teachers significantly exceed preservice teachers’ perceptions in security and enjoyment.

There is extensive, ongoing discussion across the nation about the quality of teachers and, in particular, their abilities to effectively teach reading and writing. These discussions have involved educators, politicians, and individuals in the private sector. Education students can be overwhelmed by the various governmental mandates, research recommendations, and popular opinions that they encounter as they prepare to teach literacy in contemporary schools. As preservice teachers in the process of gaining skills and instructional strategies, they may express many concerns and tentative notions about how youngsters learn to read and write. In order to encourage and equip preservice teachers in their preparations and to reduce self-doubts, it is appropriate that teacher education programs acknowledge any current strife in literacy education and attend to the beliefs and concerns of preservice teachers.

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Attending to Inquiry in the Education of Teachers: Enlisting Frozen and Human Elements of Distance Education

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STEFINEE PINNEGAR AND ANNELA TEEMANT

ABSTRACT: This article describes how an inquiry stance can be embedded into a distance education program for inservice and preservice teachers through its delivery system and curriculum content. Confronted with the dilemma of limited faculty resources and a need to educate both preservice and inservice teachers in practices that would better meet the needs of linguistically diverse students, teacher educators identify and defend three design principles that will support teachers’ development of an inquiry stance in their practice.

Approximately three years ago, we were asked to create a program that would teach mainstream teachers how to teach second language learners during regular instruction in their classrooms. Our school–university partnership had already tried several iterations of this effort (see Graham, Teemant, Harris, & Cutri, 2001). The first of these efforts brought local schoolteachers to the university in intense monthlong events where the university faculty (most of whom had never worked in elementary and secondary classrooms) taught about culture, second language acquisition, language and literacy development, assessment of second language students, parent and family involvement, and content-based instruction. The needs of the schools were greater than this program could accommodate. We quickly realized the need to make the content more applicable to public schoolteachers. We also recognized that our university faculty needed to be able to reach more than 20–30 teachers at one time. As a result, we embraced a distance education model.

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Students’ Advice to Prospective Middle School Teachers: Learning From the Experience of Future Students

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MARK STORZ

ABSTRACT: The voices of students, as they share their lived experiences in school, provide an often missing perspective in the preparation of new teachers. As part of a research study that examined students’ views on their educational experiences, particularly on the types of teachers and pedagogical practices that they perceived to be most beneficial to their achievement in school, 100 seventh- and eighth-grade students were interviewed at two urban middle schools. Shared in this article are students’ responses to one of the questions posed: “What advice would you give to college students that might help them become excellent middle school teachers?” The students provide important insights into the qualities and practices of teachers that help them achieve success in school.

Don’t get real angry over little, itty bitty, petty stuff. And try to make your lessons fun as you possibly can, because you have to think about when you were in middle school. You didn’t want to do all that boring stuff and watch boring movies. So try to make it fun and interesting. I think the students will pay more attention and it will be easier to teach.

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Kaleidoscope Feature: Developing Learning Teachers: A Curriculum for Teacher Education

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Kaleidoscope Feature

PATRICIA NORMAN AND ANGELA BREIDENSTEIN

ABSTRACT: A major premise of Trinity University’s teacher education program is that good teachers are students—of children and childhood, learners and learning, curriculum and pedagogy. To help teacher candidates learn how to think, know, and act like teachers, inquiry is folded into every stage of the teacher preparation program. In this article we examine several important aspects of novices’ learning to teach and describe specific inquiry-oriented assignments that students complete. Finally, we address the challenges we face in helping our students become lifelong learning teachers.

A major premise of Trinity University’s teacher preparation program is that good teachers are students—of children and childhood, learners and learning, curriculum and pedagogy. In other words, teaching is “the learning profession” (Darling-Hammond & Sykes, 1999) where continual inquiry is central to a teacher’s personal and professional growth over a lifetime of practice (Barth, 1990). Equating teaching with inquiry challenges traditional notions of instruction where teachers tell what they know and students learn by regurgitating presented information (Goodlad, 1984). Rather, teachers do more listening as they elicit students’ thinking in order to interpret their ideas and assess student learning. Students do more asking and explaining as they investigate authentic problems and generate solutions. The purpose of this article is to illustrate how a reform-oriented teacher education program supports teacher candidates in becoming learning teachers.

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