Medium 9781475819144

Tep Vol 16-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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6 Articles

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Editorial: An Aesthetic Imperative in Teacher Education—Imagining Democratic Possibilities

ePub

PATRICK M. JENLINK

The function of art has always been to break through the crust of conventionalized and routine consciousness. (Dewey, 1927, p. 184)

[T]here is an obligation, I think, on the part of all who educate to address themselves, as great artists do, to the freedom of their students, to make demands on them to form the pedagogy of their own liberation—and to do so rigorously, passionately, and in good faith. (Greene, 1981, p. 303)

At this moment in history, education is confronted with many problems. One is the treatment of persons as “resources,” with changes in education being called for in the name of economic productivity, global competition, and national defense. As Greene (2000) argues, preoccupations “with testing, measurement, standards, and the like follow from a damaging approach to children as ‘human resources,’ their supposed malleability and the belief that they can and should be molded in accord with the needs of the technological society” (p. 270). While assessments are important in the larger picture, this is true only “if they do more than simply sort people out for places on a hierarchy” (p. 270). Likewise, standards are important to education “if they connect with learners’ own desires to appear as the best they can be, to achieve in response to what they hope to be” (p. 270). However, when standards are extrinsically “imposed they can deny the human effort to reach further, to imagine possibility” (p. 270).

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Systemwide Mentoring for New Teachers: A School System and University Partnership

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MARGARET W. SMITHEY AND CAROLYN M. EVERTSON

ABSTRACT: This article describes the design features of a mentoring program that evolved from a university/school system partnership. Findings from participant interviews suggest key issues to be considered in designing and implementing a school systemwide mentoring program such as recruitment of mentor teachers, incentives for mentor teachers, release time for mentors and new teachers for observing and conferring, and obtaining and retaining both building-level and systemwide support. Suggestions are given for key elements to consider in designing a research-based mentoring program that addresses the needs of new teachers. The study also describes what can be accomplished when school systems and institutions of higher education pool their resources and set common goals.

Past conceptualizations of mentoring and mentoring roles have focused on how mentors can provide emotional support and guidance in lesson planning and effective classroom management to new teachers (Abell, Dillon, Hopkins, McInerney, & O’Brien, 1995; Ackley & Gall, 1992; Anderson & Shannon, 1988; Christensen, 1991; Cohen, 1995; Conlin, 1989; Evertson & Smithey, 1999, 2000; Feiman-Nemser, Parker, & Zeichner, 1993; Gray & Gray, 1985; Head, Reiman, & Thies-Sprinthall, 1992; Odell, 1989, 1990; Roberson, 1997; Sullivan, 1992, van den Berg, 2002; Wang & Odell, 2002). However, given the more recent public and political calls for “highly qualified teachers” (U.S. Department of Education, 2002) who can improve student achievement, an additional and important task of mentoring is fast becoming the way to help new teachers support student learning and improve student achievement (Smithey & Evertson, 2003; Smithey & Whitlock, 2000).

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Factors Associated With Postbaccalaureate Students’ Entry Into a Teacher Preparation Program

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TAMMY V. ABERNATHY, LYNDA R. WIEST, AND MELISSA L. OLIVE

ABSTRACT: Recent teacher shortages have led teacher preparation programs to more actively recruit postbaccalaureate students into teaching. The purpose of this exploratory study was to gain useful recruitment information by investigating why postbaccalaureate students are interested in teaching as a new career. A survey was constructed based on interview data obtained from two focus group discussions. Survey results indicated that low salary and concerns about their ability to teach were reasons the participants did not originally pursue teaching. Prospective elementary and secondary respondents indicated a desire to make a difference in children’s lives as the reason for wanting to teach. Prospective secondary teachers indicated that working with their content specialty was an important consideration in pursuing teacher certification. This exploratory study has potential implications for recruiting undergraduate and graduate students into teacher education and how to better serve postbaccalaureate students seeking teaching licensure.

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Induction, Mentoring, and Supervision in Teacher Preparation

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GILA ALON AND DEBBIE LIFSCHITZ

ABSTRACT: In this article we examine the Israeli Ministry of Education teacher induction program as a paradigm for preservice and in-service induction programs. We stipulate the necessity of creating a bridge between the preservice program and the field, which would allow for collaboration between the pedagogical staff of the teacher preparation programs and the teachers in the field. Also suggested is the paramount importance of giving the inductee a voice in the professional development process, which would include reflections of the mentor and the inductee as part of the assessment process.

The majority of novice teachers in their first 5 years of teaching in Israel today are graduates of 4-year teacher preparation colleges (Ministry of Education, 2000a). The Council for Higher Learning charters the teacher training colleges, and graduates of these programs receive a bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degree, which includes both a teacher preparation component and an academic specialization in one or two disciplines. Licensing, however, remains in the hands of the Ministry of Education and requires an induction year of successful classroom teaching. As in other countries, it was necessary to consider the transition from teacher-in-preparation status to teacher-in-the-classroom status, which is characteristically abrupt (Feiman-Nemser, 1996) and often overwhelming (Moir, 1999). In addition, given that the attrition rate of novice teachers in the first 5 years of service was over 50% nationwide (State of Israel, 1997), the ministry sought to provide support for novice teachers and to lower this attrition rate through an induction program. In the 2001–2002 school year there were 3,200 inductees in the program (Ministry of Education, 2002) of which 84.3% successfully completed the program.

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The Same Universe or Worlds Apart? Integrating a Special Education and Literacy Methods Course in Preservice Teacher Education

ePub

DONNA J. GRACE AND QUINN AVERY

ABSTRACT: The integration of special and general education is advocated in teacher education, yet rarely experienced by the students in their university classes. This study shares the results of integrating a literacy and special education course for preservice teachers. Findings suggest that such integration holds potential to improve student perceptions of their learning and professional development in preservice teacher education programs.

There is a growing recognition that if “special” and “regular” education join forces, a stronger, more comprehensive educational system can be developed to better meet the needs of all students. . . . Faculty and programs in higher education can affect this movement and potentially lead the way. (Stainback & Stainback, 1987, p. 185)

The Regular Education Initiative, set forth in 1986, recommended eliminating the dual system of “regular” and “special” education within the K–12 public school system. A large body of research supports the integration of these two areas (Feden & Clabaugh, 1986; Jenkins, Pious, & Jewell, 1990; Pugach, 1996; Skrtic, Sailor, & Gee, 1996). However, such integration is rarely demonstrated in teacher education programs. Although it has been over a decade since Stainback and Stainback called attention to this need, little progress has yet been made (Brownell, Yeager, Rennells, & Riley, 1997).

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The Critical Thinking Disposition of Alternative Certification Students

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TIMOTHY B. JONES

ABSTRACT: This article examines the disposition toward critical thinking of postbaccalaureate initial certification students at a Texas institution of higher education using the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory. The inventory characterizes seven subscales of critical thinking disposition and an eighth combined score for overall critical thinking disposition. The study also demographically characterizes the participants of this program. Analysis of the data documents a low level of critical thinking disposition by the PBIC students. Only 5.55% of the study participants demonstrated an overall strength in critical thinking disposition, while 22.22% indicated an overall weakness in critical thinking disposition.

Beginning teachers, according to Yopp and Young (1999), are considered “at-risk” as demonstrated by the high attrition rate among new teachers. Several conditions have been suggested to account for this phenomenon, including “major flaws in teacher preparation” (Hancock, 1999, p. 166). The 1990s saw a continued and deepening teacher shortage that began in the middle of the 1980s. This growing shortage impacted schools and the related academic disciplines at both the elementary and secondary levels. In response to the shortage, school districts employed teachers participating in or having completed certification obtained through alternative means in addition to those teachers who were certified through traditional teacher preparation programs.

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