Medium 9781475819205

Tep Vol 18-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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7 Articles

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Editorial: The Teacher’s Obligation: A Poetics of Freedom

ePub

PATRICK M. JENLINK

To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or harsh prison cell:
to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a great fragment of thunder sets in motion
the rumble of the planet and the foam,
the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,
the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,
and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.

—Neruda, 2001, p. 3 1

The question of identifying a teacher’s obligation is inseparable from what it means to invest in public life, to locate oneself in a public discourse. Implicit in this argument is the assumption that the social, ethical, intellectual, moral, political, and cultural responsibilities of teachers cannot be separated from the consequences of the knowledge they produce, the social relations they legitimate, and the ideologies they disseminate to society (Giroux, 1999). A teacher’s work at its best represents a response to questions and issues posed by the tensions and contradictions of public life and attempts to understand and intervene in specific problems that emanate from the material contexts of everyday existence—the verities of reality experienced by the individual and shared with others.

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“More Than I Bargained For”: Confronting Biases in Teacher Preparation

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KARINA OTOYA-KNAPP

ABSTRACT: The author of this article presents a case study of four undergraduate students who participated in a semester-long study at an East Coast Catholic university. The students were involved in critical reflection about their identities within a critical multicultural education class. They were asked to connect their personal experiences to the class requirements, which included a reflection journal about the readings, an interview of a community activist, writing poems, and critiquing children’s books. These four students were selected for the in-depth case study analysis because they were representative of the response patterns of the other students in the class, not because they were representative of the class population in terms of gender, race, or ethnicity. Student-generated work and participant observation notes were used as data. The findings show that this critical multicultural class had an impact in four different ways: (1) it spurred a desire to become a change agent in light of a newfound awareness of structural inequalities; (2) it created an awareness of inequality at a superficial level; (3) it validated the voices of students of color; and (4) it allowed for honest reflection about personal biases. Consistent with the research on multicultural education, this paper argues that if teachers are to increase learning opportunities for all students, they must uncover and identify their personal attitudes toward racial, ethnic, language, and cultural groups and they must learn about diverse perspectives.

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Cultural Diversity: A Teacher’s Narrative About Teaching and Understanding

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ANNAPURNA GANESH

ABSTRACT: Most of the nation’s public schools are becoming increasingly diverse. Children from every corner of the globe—representing a multitude of languages, cultures, economic, and social backgrounds—can be found in our classrooms. It therefore becomes incumbent on care-giving adults to set in place effective and qualitative measures to ensure that young children are not emotionally destroyed due to “being different” (Chipman, 1997). How do schools address this diversity? The issue of multiculturalism is complex and contentious. It strikes at the heart of the American democratic experience. How do the various stakeholders in education define multicultural education? How do parents of linguistically and culturally diverse students participate in school activities and programs? In this article, the author, an immigrant and a teacher, explores the complexities of developing multicultural understanding in the school and community where she teaches in an economically, socially, and culturally diverse school environment. Using a narrative method to examine the perspectives of superintendents, principals, teachers, and parents, the author attempts to gain a better understanding of multicultural education in current society.

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Voices of Multicultural Experiences: Personal Narratives of Three Teacher Educators

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HANNA EZER, SHOSHY MILLET, AND DORIT PATKIN

ABSTRACT: This study presents the narratives of three teacher educators in Israeli colleges of education: an Israeli-born Jew, a Jewish immigrant, and an Israeli-born Arab. The personal and professional stories expose their voices, life experiences, and worldviews, and display the relations between these and their multicultural awareness. Through narrative interviews, each becomes a representative of his or her reference group. Content analysis revealed intercultural transitions and encounters, the dilemma of duality, and significant episodes and their impact on instruction. A critical essence, a main theme or leitmotif, was unique to each story. The complexity of Israeli society is manifested in the duality they all express and in their diverse perceptions regarding multiculturalism. They are all aware of multiculturalism and believe that they embody this understanding in their work as teacher educators, each doing it his or her way.

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A Study of a High School English Teacher’s Responsive Curriculum

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H. RICHARD MILNER

ABSTRACT: In this case study, I attempted to understand the nature of a teacher’s curriculum planning as she learned about the essence of her teaching context and developed learning opportunities for students based on her perceptions of the students’ needs. The teacher demonstrated what I am calling responsive planning—the development of lessons based on her learning from day to day and week to week about the contextual nature of the course, her students, their school, and the world. This research sheds light on the importance of teacher learning and responsiveness to students’ needs. Moreover, the case study points to the power of teacher autonomy and effectiveness when the focus is on meeting the needs of students, not necessarily on standardized testing.

Teachers are challenged with the pressing and arduous task of meeting the needs of their students in addition to attending to district, state, and federal mandates. Indeed, teachers may find that what content they believe is integral to the curriculum (what students have the opportunity to learn) is inconsistent with predetermined beliefs (e.g., policy and state mandates) about what learning is essential. Teachers often find themselves learning about the needs of their students and negotiating curriculum expectations as they respond to students in a particular context. Clearly, the curriculum standards set forth in one school could be ineffective in a different school. This research points to the power and importance of responsive planning; when teachers are given the opportunity and the autonomy to listen to, learn from, and attend to their students’ needs (rather than worrying about improving test scores), optimal learning can occur in a context.

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Anticipating Student Teaching: What Causes the Most Anxiety?

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LESLIE ANNE PERRY AND EMMA SAVAGE-DAVIS

ABSTRACT: As preservice teachers anticipate student teaching, they often experience excitement, for they realize they will soon be finished with their course work and out in a school all day, every day, for a semester. This excitement may be mixed with anxiety, however, especially if they have just completed an intensive field experience where they have acquired a great deal of knowledge, and also a great many things to worry about. In order to determine what causes the most anxiety for preservice teachers as they anticipate student teaching, we surveyed 386 students from two Southeastern universities. The students had all recently completed the field experience component of their methods courses. After analyzing the data from the 12-item survey, it was determined that elementary education majors and secondary education majors have similar sources of anxiety.

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Kaleidoscope Feature

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Kaleidoscope Feature

SUSAN M. BENNER AND GINA BARCLAY-MC LAUGHLIN

ABSTRACT: The authors of this article present a synopsis of one simultaneous reform effort of a teacher preparation program and a partner urban elementary school. We have attempted to blend the realities of urban teaching and teacher preparation without compromising our beliefs in constructivist theories of learning, cooperative learning, and inclusion. We accept the responsibility to create parallel opportunities for growth and development for ourselves, school-based personnel, and teacher education candidates. Through our partnership we have collaborated with school-based personnel to identify and implement methods that improve student outcomes in the bureaucratic context of mandated programs and curricula. Using the research in effective urban education as a guide, we present specialized curricular content and activities used in our teacher education program designed specifically for urban teaching. Our combined efforts continue to be aimed at improving the academic success of children in urban elementary school classrooms through the exploration and implementation of effective teaching practices and the implementation of innovative approaches to teacher preparation.

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