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Tep Vol 21-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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8 Articles

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Editorial: False Consciousness and the Writing of American Education—Rethinking Teaching as Reading the World

ePub

PATRICK M. JENLINK

Reality happens to be, like a landscape, possessed of an infinite number of perspectives, all equally veracious and authentic. The sole false perspective is that which claims to be the only one there is.

—Ortega y Gasset (1961, p. 92)

What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?

—Lorde (1984, p. 41)

Reading the world always precedes reading the word, and reading the word implies continually reading the world. . . . This movement from the world to the word and from the word to the world is always present; even the spoken word flows from our reading of the world. In a way, however, we can go further, and say that reading the word is not preceded merely by reading the world, but a certain form of writing it or re-writing it, that is, of transforming it by means of conscious practical work.

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Crossing Educational Boundaries: Text, Technology, and Dialogue as a Critical Pathway

ePub

LANAE ABNET

JOE D. NICHOLS

GLENDA MOSS

ABSTRACT: Can the perceived boundary between professor and student be crossed? Can technology be used as a pathway to cross that boundary? These questions were answered as a result of a project initiated to meet the requirements in creating an honors option for an undergraduate educational psychology course. In constructing the course requirements, the professors set a goal of reflecting with a student on critical issues as they reviewed a book of such articles written by Alfie Kohn. The sequence of analysis took place throughout the semester, using electronic media dialogue following the reading of each chapter. Through the reflections of the professors, the student connected theory and practice while crossing the perceived boundary between professor and student. In addition to crossing the perceived boundary and using technology to facilitate dialogue, the student and the professors experienced intellectual and professional growth. This project explores the reflective comments of both professors and a student that occurred during this reflective exercise.

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Looking “Beneath the Surface”: Authenticating Research and Inquiry for Undergraduate Teacher Candidates

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CYNTHIA A. LASSONDE

ABSTRACT: This article examines a method for working with undergraduate teacher candidates as co-researchers to foster their development as teachers who nurture an inquiry stance toward their practice and who reflect on their pedagogy in systematic and intentional ways. These undergraduates put on “teacher research goggles,” as one referred to the experience, for the first time, to see what it might be like to practice teacher research and inquiry through deliberate and methodical data collection and analysis. The project resulted in layers of configured inquiry that helped the co-researchers gain perspective and insight regarding teacher research and inquiry.

An effective teacher is a tenacious and continuous researcher and inquirer. Exemplary teachers take an inquiry stance, questioning everything about their practices and content knowledge to move their teaching forward and benefit students’ learning (Block & Mangieri, 2003; Weinbaum et al., 2004). Teacher research is defined by Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1993) as “systematic, intentional inquiry by teachers” (p. 5). Components of teacher research occur daily within many capacities in academic classrooms. Kindergarten teachers collect and create data as they observe interactions in classroom centers, reflect in their teaching journals, and write anecdotal notes. High school instructors analyze data as they review students’ responses, reflect on patterns, and collaborate with colleagues. College professors interpret results and form implications for teaching as they draw conclusions, revise lessons, plan for reteaching, and seek professional development. Any time that an instructor reflects on the methods, responses, and results of a lesson and the progress of a student for the purpose of determining effectiveness, research is underway.

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Considering Teacher Empowerment: Why It Is Moral

ePub

THOMAS A. LUCEY

KANTAYLIENIERE HILL-CLARKE

ABSTRACT: Hierarchical educational structures employ a standards-driven decision-making atmosphere that challenges teachers’ autonomy. This situation represents a critical issue for teacher educators who must consider how they will teach candidates to respond to these settings. We argue that teacher empowerment represents a moral issue that teacher educators must embrace, and we conclude with ideas for teaching candidates the needed skills for bringing about the required conversations.

Consider these situations: A third-grade teacher receives a memo from the district curriculum supervisor, who requires that all teachers be on page 36 of the textbook on Tuesday. In another instance, a school district e-mails all sixth-grade social studies teachers that the Reformation must be their target concept for Friday, giving a choice of three lessons plans to follow. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these situations involve more reality than fiction. It is important to examine the messages that these scenarios reveal about district administrators’ professional attitudes toward teachers and how teachers can respond.

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Readability and Item Difficulty of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Fifth-Grade Science Tests

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CONN THOMAS

CLINT CARPENTER

ABSTRACT: The development of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test involves input from educators across the state. The development process attempts to create an assessment that reflects the skills and content understanding of students at the tested grade level. This study attempts to determine other factors that can affect student performance on this test. Specifically, it set out to determine the readability of the test. Readability of the “most easy” and “most difficult” items, as identified by Rasch difficult-item analysis, was performed. Readability of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills fifth-grade science test reveals grade levels higher than fifth grade in readability and no difference between readability of the “most difficult” and “most easy” questions.

In 2002, the statewide assessment of educational progress for students in Texas changed from the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. The TAKS test was heralded as a dramatic improvement over the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test, as an instrument that tested higher-order thinking skills rather than memorization and simple operational skills.

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Taking on the Motivating Challenge: Rural High School Teachers’ Perceptions and Practice

ePub

PATRICIA L. HARDRÉ

ABSTRACT: Motivating high school students is a complex and challenging task. Add the resource shortfall and issues that result from the small size and remoteness of rural districts, and it may seem a nearly impossible undertaking. Motivation theory and research offer potential tools for teachers to use, but what are the needs of rural students, and what tools do teachers already have and use with students? A research study of rural high schools in the Midwest addressed these questions. Thirty-nine rural high school teachers were interviewed about their motivation-related perceptions, diagnostic indicators, and intervention strategies regarding their students’ academic motivation. Findings inform an understanding of the motivational needs of students and teachers in rural settings.

Motivation may well be the greatest educational challenge of the 21st century (Hidi & Harackiewicz, 2000). School resource limitations influence students’ achievement and persistence in high school, yet a student’s intrinsic motivation can mediate the effects of external resource factors (Vallerand, Fortier, & Guay, 1997; see also, Bandura, 1997; Reeve, 1996). Rural adolescents report that their most positive educational experiences are those in which they feel heard, understood, and challenged and are offered choices (Hedlund, 1993). Those perceptions in turn influence their learning and achievement (Goodenow, 1993). Students’ interests, dreams, and aspirations are keys to their learning and achievement in school (Battistich, Solomon, Watson, & Schaps, 1997; Rigby, Deci, Patrick, & Ryan, 1992; Sizer, 1996), especially in schools with large numbers of socioeconomically disadvantaged students (Battistich et al., 1997).

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Elementary Teacher Candidates’ Understanding of the No Child Left Behind Legislation

ePub

STACY REEDER

JULIANA UTLEY

ABSTRACT: Within the next decade teacher preparation programs will be replete with teacher candidates who have experienced the implementation of the No Child Left Behind legislation in their K–12 schooling experience. However, most current teacher candidates graduated from their K–12 schooling experience before the legislation was implemented in schools. These same teacher candidates will enter their career facing the full impact of the legislation, with an increased focus on standards, high expectations for all teachers and all students, and the burden of evidence to prove quality teaching. The purpose of this study was to examine elementary teacher candidates’ understandings of No Child Left Behind legislation. The results indicate that teacher candidates have little knowledge about the act but rather have many questions and fears about its impact on schooling and their future teaching.

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Book Review

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(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2005) 238 pages, $35.95

KATHRYN S. LEE

Tim Carman’s stated objective of Strength-Based Teaching: The Affective Teacher, No Child Left Behind is to help U.S. teachers create educational environments that promote high achievement for all students, thereby resulting in a narrowed achievement gap. Carman successfully addresses his three general themes: dispelling educational myths that hinder progress in academic achievement, helping school communities develop school improvement plans through the use of standards-based education models, and discussing the consequences of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The book’s arrangement proves useful, consisting of a preface, five chapters, an epilogue, two appendixes, a bibliography, and a brief biography.

According to Carman, the two main criteria for standards-based schools are that academic content standards be clearly defined and made known to students before instruction begins and that student achievement be determined through the use of a variety of assessments, including performance-based assessments, at specific points in time. Although some early childhood through university educators may bristle at Carman’s moral imposition that standards and accountability best meet the goals of increasing academic achievement for non-U.S.-born students, teaching veterans will appreciate his detailed account of how legislators abounded teachers in an ever-narrowing partnership with America’s corporate interests. Carman advocates a schooling model as a network of responsive communities that are working together through a common-assessment time frame but with an evaluation menu that can be used to determine local options for coordinated progress checks. Carman argues that although the accountability standards required under NCLB are meritorious, standards-based education remains the best vehicle to meet the demands of the increasing number of newcomers to U.S. schools to ensure that U.S. educational institutions are responsive to the communities whom they serve. He also describes the controversial “Pygmalion in the classroom” theory—namely, that teachers’ expectations strongly influence student achievement.

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