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Tep Vol 18-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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8 Articles

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Editorial: Public Pedagogy and the Intellectual Work of Teachers

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PATRICK M. JENLINK

I appeal to teachers in the face of every hysterical wave of emotion, and of every subtle appeal of sinister class interest, to remember that they above all others are consecrated servants of the democratic ideas in which alone this country is truly a distinctive nation—ideas of friendly and helpful intercourse between all and the equipment of every individual to serve the community by his own best powers in his own best way.

—Dewey, 1916a, p. 210

What do we represent? Whom do we represent? Are we responsible? For what and to whom? If there is a . . . responsibility, it at least begins with the moment when a need to hear these questions, to take them upon oneself and respond, is imposed. This imperative for responding is the initial form and minimal requirement of responsibility.

—Derrida, 1992, p. 3

Being a teacher in democratic society is not easy. Being a teacher in a democratic society is about socially engaged citizenship—citizenship that is defined by and through a public pedagogy and practice.1 Concomitantly, teaching and teacher preparation in today’s society necessarily require a focus on the challenges of living in a democracy and simultaneously emphasize the difficult responsibility that teachers have, particularly in face of partisan politics, threat of global war, and the lull of better times in bygone eras. Being a teacher means learning citizenship, but more important, it means practicing citizenship if the public is to bridge the promise and the reality of democracy. As Greene (1967) states, to teach in schools “today is to understand a profoundly human as well as a professional responsibility” (p. 3). To do so will necessarily require that teachers be clear, without being doctrinaire, about the pedagogical and political projects through which they give meaning to their roles as teachers and the purpose of schooling itself in a democratic society (Giroux, 2003).

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Cohort Use in Teacher Education: Benefits, Barriers, and Proposed Solutions

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DORENE ROSS, DAVID HOPPEY, SHAREN HALSALL, CYNTHIA MC CALLUM, SHARON HAYES, AND ROXANNE HUDSON

ABSTRACT: To date, most of the literature on the use of cohort groups in teacher education has focused on the benefits and limitations of the use of cohorts within teacher education programs. This study extends this knowledge base by exploring the sources of these underlying tensions by soliciting qualitative reflections of faculty. The purposes of this article are threefold: one, to describe student and instructor perspectives about the benefits and challenges of the cohort system; two, to gain insight into the challenges of cohort implementation; and, three, to identify possible solutions and discuss the implications of using cohort groups for teacher education programs.

The use of cohorts has emerged as a tool for creating reform-oriented teacher education programs (Tom, 1997). A cohort is defined as a group of students who engage in a program of studies together and share a common set of experiences (Yerkes, Basom, Norris, & Barnett, 1995). Studies report a range of benefits for students, instructors, and teacher education programs. Cohorts provide students with a common purpose (Teitel, 1997; Yerkes et al., 1995) and improve peer and professional relationships (Barnett & Caffarelia, 1992; Teitel, 1997). Additionally, programs using cohort structures exhibited impressive results in terms of students’ academic achievement, intellectual development, retention, transfer, and motivation (Basom, Yerkes, Norris, & Barnett, 1995; Radencich, Thompson, Anderson, & Oropallo, 1998; Smith, 1991). Specifically, students credit cohort membership with fostering a sense of belonging and providing opportunities for collaboration and networking (Yerkes et al., 1995). This sense of mutual support encourages students to stay in the program, improves professional confidence and reflective thinking, and provides resources for those having difficulties (Teitel, 1997). In addition, research indicates that many cohort teams keep in touch after graduation, relying on each other for support as the graduates begin their careers (Barnett & Caffarelia, 1992; Radencich et al., 1998).

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Service Learning: Packing Parachutes for the Jump Into Education

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AMY STEVENS GRIFFITH

ABSTRACT: Service learning adds instructional value to any curriculum area, and it is especially appropriate for education courses. Its benefits include development of critical thinking, deeper processing of course content, and practical related experience. Using action research, this article examines the impact of service learning on preservice teachers’ beliefs about education and working with disadvantaged youths. Preservice teachers provided after-school tutoring and activities for child residents at a homeless shelter. Preservice teachers kept journals and summarized their semester experiences by reflecting on five lessons that they learned and plan to incorporate as future educators. Identified lessons are analyzed and summarized with discussion.

Educator preparation programs rarely include service learning as a curricular option although it promotes active learning by emphasizing the relationship between abstract content and personal experiences (Bringle & Hatcher, 1999; Cleary, 1998; Nnakwe, 1999). By being provided two points of reference—theory and authentic activity—students can learn real-world application of the curriculum before entering the workforce. Service learning accentuates the role of reflection in learning by requiring thought about an experience in light of learning objectives. This leads to increases in content and process knowledge (Bringle & Hatcher, 1999). Students involved in service learning have better retention of information, and they challenge their core beliefs and stereotypes, thereby allowing them to construct, de-construct, and reconstruct course content (Murrell, 2000).

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Preservice Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Language Diversity in South Texas

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CARLOS MARTIN VÉLEZ SALAS, BELINDA BUSTOS FLORES, AND HOWARD L. SMITH

ABSTRACT: This article presents a study of preservice teachers’ attitudes to language diversity. Using a modified version of the Language Attitude for Teachers Scale (Byrnes & Kiger, 1994), we surveyed preservice teachers (N = 518) before their multicultural education course. The pilot study sample included White college students and Mexican American college students with different degrees of bilinguality and varying age groups. Analysis showed that ethnicity, bilingualism, and the interaction of birthplace and ethnicity, as well as the interaction of birthplace, age, and bilingualism, may mediate attitudes toward linguistically and culturally diverse populations. Findings, however, revealed only moderate positive attitudes across all ethnic groups. For this reason, teacher educators should not assume that benefits from language and cultural diversity training are limited to White students only.

Catarina is a preservice teacher who plans to work in an inner-city elementary school in South Texas. She was born to Mexican-heritage parents and is English dominant but speaks Spanish with her grandparents. Catarina self-identifies as Mexican American. Her classmate Lisa was born to European middle-class parents and believes that she has no particular culture or ethnic heritage. Unlike Catarina, Lisa prefers to work in a suburban school similar to those she attended. Both must enroll in a multicultural class that explores critical issues of culture, ethnicity, and language. Which student, Catarina or Lisa, has a greater need for this course? Is either student better prepared to meet the needs of the diverse classroom?

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Creating a Just Society: Multicultural Teacher Education and the Changing Classroom

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ELLEN RIOJAS CLARK AND BELINDA BUSTOS FLORES

ABSTRACT: Schubert (1986) juxtaposes curriculum’s role in creating a just society. Yet despite educational reform, a monolithic curriculum has continued to dominate school systems in an attempt to create a national identity. Perhaps Schubert’s question can be answered by changing the type of curriculum offered to students. The type of curriculum that can create a just society is one that accepts the notion of maintaining diversity within unity. A multicultural teacher education curriculum is offered as a mechanism to prepare teacher candidates for diverse communities. In this article, we recommend that teacher candidates be well prepared for diverse communities by building the following core competencies: academic/content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, cultural knowledge, and heuristic knowledge.

We often become dismayed when we learn of atrocities such as ethnic cleansing, bombing of innocent people, and police brutality occurring because of racial, ethnic, or religious indifference. But within our own country, a major atrocity is that of indifferences in our schools when it comes to the education of minority students. Unfortunately, when comparing the achievement of majority students with minority students, we find clear evidence that there exists an ever-widening gap (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). If our goal is to ensure that everyone has equal educational opportunity to participate within our society, then it is imperative that we as teacher educators acknowledge our role in creating a just society.

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Hablando Spanish, English, and Tejano: Bilingualism and Its Practices

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LILLIANA P. SALDAÑA AND JOSEPHINE MÉNDEZ-NEGRETE

ABSTRACT: Although advocates of critical education such as Darder (1991), hooks (1994), and Macedo (1994) have critically assessed ethnic and language minority education, few studies have empirically examined bilingual education practices from a critical perspective. In this project, we investigated the pedagogical practices of educators, with classroom observations and in-depth interviews with three bilingual teachers in San Antonio, Texas.

Linguistic and cultural experiences and consciousness were implicated as teachers learned about themselves and their students. We found that participants supported bilingualism depending on their ideologies about language and culture as they facilitated inclusion of non-dominant-language learning and student empowerment. Additional research on teaching ideologies and consciousness within bilingual education pedagogies is necessary.

The primary aim of this project was to investigate and analyze the pedagogical frameworks that inform bilingual teachers’ practices and to examine the extent to which teachers embrace a critical perspective. Although scholars such as Flores (2000) have shed light on the relationship between bilingual educators’ beliefs and practices and although critical pedagogues (Darder, 1991; hooks, 1994; Macedo, 1994) have exposed the way that students of color are systematically marginalized and oppressed through a curriculum that reproduces the values, beliefs, and language of dominant culture,1 no empirical studies have examined pedagogical practices in transitional or dual-language classrooms using a critical framework.

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Kaleidoscope Feature

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LUCY MULE

ABSTRACT: University–school partnerships are increasingly being viewed as optimal contexts for preparing future teachers. Professional Development School partnerships have especially been extolled for creating learning communities in which preservice teachers learn to teach. The reform literature, however, does not adequately address how interns understand, experience, and learn in these communities. In this article, I discuss three themes that highlight six interns’ understandings of the learning community in one Professional Development School internship. The themes—the “web of support” metaphor, the role as “another teacher,” and the we–inquirer perception—suggest that interns understand the notion of learning community to be inextricably linked to enhanced collegiality in the practicum emanating from multiple mentorship; the recognition of their role as coteachers; and their identity as collaborators in the production of knowledge of practice through inquiry. Characteristics of a successful learning community in the Professional Development School context are discussed.

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Book Review

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(Lanham, MD: R&L Education, 2005) 152 pages, $21.95

DAVID R. HOLLIER

Since the passing of the No Child Left Behind legislation, many works have been published related to improving education, instruction, and assessment. With an emphasis on research-based techniques and approaches to teaching, learning, and how to authentically assess students, other publications advocate scientifically “brain-based” or “brain-compatible” research practices. It is within this context that Jennings and Caulfield present their collection of ideas about teaching and learning techniques and specific strategies. This brief work (152 pages, including references), Bridging the Learning/Assessment Gap, contains an introduction and five chapters: “Foundation for Learning,” “Framework for Learning,” “Teaching Strategies,” “Learning Strategies,” and “Showcase of Powerful Practices From Teachers in Their Own Words.”

The authors create a foundation for introducing the teaching and learning strategies—the heart and soul of the text—within a brief explanation of neuroscience, learning theories, learning-styles theories, and human-intelligence theories. Ideas supporting optimum brain growth and activity are drawn from a conglomerate of brief summarizations of these theories and theorists, contextualized in approaches that are developmentalist or constructivist. The authors draw some of the key ideas, theories, and strategies from important researchers and educators, such as Reuven Feuerstein, Howard Gardner, Daniel Goleman, David Perkins, Robert Sternberg, Rita Dunn and Kenneth Dunn, Anthony Gregorc, Bernice McCarthy, and others.

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