Medium 9781475819212

Tep Vol 18-N2

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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: Affirming Diversity in a Changing World—Teacher Education’s Unfinished Work

ePub

PATRICK M. JENLINK

Multicultural education is both a symbol and an evocation of the right of the social contract of democracy.

—Gay, 1997a, p. 2

Education does not make us educable. It is our awareness of being unfinished that makes us educable.

—Freire, 1998, p. 58

As teacher educators and practitioners, we live in a world articulated and predicated on difference, a world in which affirming diversity and developing multicultural educational environments present complex political and pedagogical challenges. Giroux (1991) helps us to understand that, in this sense, difference “is not about merely registering or asserting spatial, racial, ethnic or cultural difference, but about historical differences that manifest themselves in public and pedagogical struggles” (p. 516). At issue for America, as for much of the world, is the concern for how we will live with our deepest differences. More important, central to this concern is to address the kind of difference that is acknowledged and engaged rather than simply to acknowledge that difference exists. Jay (1991) is instructive when he explains that who we are as a society, our commonality, “is not a substance of essence (Americanness),” but rather it is “a process of social existence predicated on the espoused if not always realized principles of cultural democracy, political rights, community responsibility, social justice, equality of opportunity, and individual freedom” (p. 265). When we fail to affirm our diversity, that is, when the principles of cultural democracy “are subordinated to totalizing ideologies seeking to invent or impose a common culture, the actual multicultural life of Americans suffers under oppression that is in no one’s best interests” (p. 266).

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Meeting in the Middle: Preparing Teachers on Predominantly White Campuses for Diverse Classrooms

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CYNTHIA REYES AND PENNY A. BISHOP

ABSTRACT: The current discourse in teacher preparation emphasizes the critical need for teachers to work in multicultural settings. The unique challenges inherent in preparing teachers at a predominantly White institution to teach in diverse classrooms include the critical examination of teacher candidates’ White privilege, instructor readiness, and access to diverse student populations. This article documents two instructors’ development of a partnership between a teacher preparation program on a predominantly White campus and an urban after-school program in a neighboring state as a means of preparing teachers to work in increasingly diverse schools.

Cynthia

After teaching back-to-back literacy methods courses for graduate preservice teachers, I was not eager to contemplate a response that one male student made at the end of the long day. He was responding to my comment that I perceived students’ lukewarm response to an article they had read on diversity.

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Affirming Diversity: From Assimilationist to Pluralistic Pedagogy

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LISA BASS

ABSTRACT: Changing demographics in the United States have won the attention of educators and policymakers because of the impact that these changes will have on America’s classrooms. The day of heterogeneous populations in schools is becoming a phenomenon of the past as immigrants and their offspring occupy an increasing number of seats in American schools. Banks (2000) notes that demographers predict that by 2020 46% of the nation’s student population will comprise students of color. Education policymakers face the dual obligation of effectively serving the needs of their increasingly diverse student body in addition to preparing mainstream American students for the future. All students need to be aware of and capable of functioning in a global society, as well as how to appreciate the cultural uniqueness of all individuals. Colleges of education as well as local school districts are charged with the monumental duty of developing effective strategies that will prepare teachers for the diversity in the populations that have begun to fill their classrooms.

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Affirming Diversity: A Conversation With Sonia Nieto, Professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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SONIA NIETO AND PATRICK M. JENLINK

ABSTRACT: In this article, Sonia Nieto, professor of language, literacy, and culture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Patrick M. Jenlink, editor of Teacher Education & Practice, engage in conversation focused on the meaning and importance of affirming diversity in schools. Dr. Nieto has taught students at all levels, from elementary grades through graduate school. Her research focuses on multicultural education, the education of Latinos, immigrants, and other culturally and linguistically diverse students. She is author of Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education (2003, 4th ed.); The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities (1999); What Keeps Teachers Going? (2003); and two edited volumes, Puerto Rican Students in U.S. Schools (2000) and Why We Teach (2005).

PATRICK: Thank you for joining me in this conversation about affirming diversity. Before we begin, tell me about your professional life, perhaps beginning with how long you have been in education, your work as a teacher, and your current work as a teacher educator.

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Politics and the Teaching of Writing: The Silencing of Diverse Populations

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LINDA FERNSTEN

ABSTRACT: This article explores the concept of writer identity and its influences as constructed by a group of college writers. Using a poststructural and sociocultural perspective, it takes a stand regarding the politics of language and the teaching of writing, especially as they relate to students whose racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds vary from the dominant culture of school. Because the target audience is primarily teachers of writing, the article suggests a variety of strategies for working with young writers that are designed to encourage rather than silence the multicultural voices in our communities. It suggests varying the types of assignments that instructors give, using a process approach, and discussing the sociopolitical implications of language use with students, practices that can encourage rather than silence student writers. When teacher candidates enter certification programs, they often do so filled with idealism and a sincere desire to make a positive difference. After all, the government and the media have rung the alarm and, in many states, put out a call to would-be teachers to join the cause and help “save education.” This trend is popular in large urban areas as well as small rural communities with diverse populations where teacher turnover is high and standardized test scores are low. Although inspired and idealistic about the nature of teaching (a job among the most important in the country), many are naïve about the politics of education and language, especially as they relate to student writing and the language of those learners whose racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds vary from their own as well as the dominant culture of school.

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Preparing Educators to Meet the Needs of Sexual Minority Students

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DARLINE HUNTER

HILLARY WOEST

ABSTRACT: Educational systems are falling short of addressing the needs of sexual minority students. Not only are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students left off the list of diversities needing services, but they are also at times targeted by students and educators as deserving of attack. The damages done by the educational system, either through omission or commission, are taking a toll both on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students and on classmates, teachers, and society as a whole. This article addresses the needs of sexual minority students, the legal issues involved in not meeting the needs of these students, and suggested changes in the school climate and teacher preparation programs.

A consensus among educators today is that our increasingly diverse society necessitates a multicultural approach to education and the preparation of our educators. Unfortunately, the educational systems are falling short of addressing the needs of all students of diverse cultures. Not only are sexual minority students left off of the list of diversities needing services, but they are also at times targeted by students and educators as deserving of attack. The damages done by the educational system, either through omission or commission, are taking a toll both on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) students and on classmates, teachers, and society as a whole. This article addresses the needs of the increasingly visible sexual minority students, the legal issues involved in not meeting the needs of these students, and suggested changes in the school climate and teacher preparation programs.

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Storying and De-Storying Black Teacher Identities

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LORRAINE GILPIN

ABSTRACT: Black Caribbean immigrant women teachers perceive and interact with African American students on multiple levels. This article highlights how the Black Caribbean immigrant teachers’ perceptions of schooling in the United States echo the perspectives of African Americans; how the participants’ actions and goals as teachers mirror the recommendations of teachers of successful African American students; and, despite these commonalities, how contradictions and tensions within the participants’ narratives reflect their ambiguous positioning and identities within and outside the African American community of identity. This article does much to highlight the socially constructed nature of identity and teaching.

This article explores the ways in which Black Caribbean immigrant women teachers perceive and interact with African American students. Neither participants nor the writer use the term Black or any other term to refer to themselves or others from the Caribbean. Terms such as Black or White Jamaican were first encountered in the United States. Racism, classism, androcentrisicm, the African diaspora, colonization, and misogyny have historically silenced and marginalized both Black Caribbean immigrant women teachers and their African American students (Narayan & Harding, 2000). These teachers and students are simultaneously understood as the same (e.g., Black) and different (e.g., African American and Black Caribbean immigrant). This article uses narrative analysis to explore the contradictions inherent in belonging to multiple, overlapping, and distinct categories and the role that sameness and difference plays in the relationships between these teachers and students.

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