Medium 9781475819410

Tep Vol 23-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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8 Articles

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Editorial: Teacher Education Beyond Teacher Education—What Is Not but Yet Might Be

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PATRICK M. JENLINK

Thought waits to be woken one day by the memory of what has been missed, and to be transformed into teaching.

—Adorno (1991, p. 81)

The point is to live our lives because they are ours. Or to shape our narratives in ways that do not duplicate other narratives. At least we can work to render them the kinds of stories that open out to possibility. This does not depend upon representation; it depends upon creation and invention, preferably among others who are also in quest, who recognize us for what we are striving to be and win our recognition for what they are not yet.

—Greene (1994, p. 218)

Whoever we are, wherever we are as teacher educators, across our professional geographies, we have become increasingly conscious of multiplicity and plurality. We are more sensitive than we once were to the differences that define our students and hallmark their histories, and we are less likely to find in these students reflections of ourselves. At the same time, the very notion of a hierarchical, objectively present reality defined by ideological and political agendas has become problematic. Importantly, the ebb and flow of educational thought has been shaped by and in turn also shaped the evolutionary spiral of teacher education against the backdrop of a changing society. Each movement in the spiral has reflected a general societal climate, research, and political agenda, as well as the hopes of teacher educators.

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The Challenge to Prepare Teachers to Care in the Current Context: Perspectives of Teachers of Color

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COLETTE RABIN

ABSTRACT: Teacher educators have a civic responsibility to prepare novice teachers to foster relationships across cultural, racial, and socioeconomic divides. Care ethics acknowledges this imperative and context’s role in determining varied meanings of care. The voices of teachers of color can help us to understand the demands of care across differences. This study presents findings from interviews with teachers of color whose preparation included an introduction to care ethics. Five themes emerged: the importance of assuming students’ caring intentions, the importance of teachers’ persistence in relationship with students, connection to students’ cultures, connection of students’ cultures to an academic culture, and acknowledgment and confrontation of racism.

Teacher educators have begun to consider the necessity and challenge of introducing care ethics in teacher education (Arnstine, 1990; Bulach, Brown, & Potter, 1998; Goldstein, 2002; Knight, 2004; Lake, Jones, & Dagli, 2004; Schwartz, 1998; Yost, 1997). Goldstein (1999) and Wilder (1999) found that while preservice teachers describe entering the profession because they “care,” their preconceptions of care tend to reflect a warm/fuzzy or static personality trait that a teacher either possesses or lacks, as opposed to an ethical stance that requires action. Since new teachers entering schools in urban communities meet increasingly diverse populations, teachers need to learn to create relationships across communities of difference to meet the needs of their students. This study examines what teachers need to know to care in this current diverse context.

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The Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and Student Teacher Performance

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TODD L. DREW

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine whether student teacher performance is associated with emotional intelligence. The results indicate that emotional intelligence (as assessed by the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory) and college supervisors’ assessments of student teacher performance are related. While total emotional quotient scores and scores for the Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and General Mood scales had a statistically significant association with two or more individual aspects of student teacher performance, the Stress Management and Adaptability scale scores did not have any statistically significant relationships with total or any aspect of student teacher performance. Implications for teacher education are described.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether student teacher performance (STP), as measured by a behavior-based performance evaluation process, is associated with emotional intelligence (EI), as measured by a personality assessment instrument. Identification of a potential approach to identify and perhaps more appropriately train the best possible teacher candidates would be an important contribution to collective efforts to improve the public education system. This study is an important contribution to the literature in that it appears to be the first to explore the possibility that an EI assessment instrument can predict STP.

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Perceptions, Attitudes, and the Identification of Dispositions for Teachers of English-Language Learners

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EVA MIDOBUCHE, ALFREDO H. BENAVIDES, AND WILLIAM DE RASEZ DE GUYENNE

ABSTRACT: Most of the literature on dispositions is focused on mainstream teachers and on diversity and not specifically on the dispositions of teachers of English-language learners. Researchers have stated that while dispositions are extremely important, they continue to be elusive and a neglected part of teacher education, especially for teachers of English-language learners. A review of existing definitions and disposition models are presented along with the results of a pilot study with ESL (English as a second language) and bilingual education preservice teachers. The study ranks the dispositions identified by the participants as well as the mode of instruction where the dispositions were observed. In beginning to create a model for identifying the dispositions needed by teachers of English-language learners, we introduce and recommend a set of catalysts for use as indicators for identifying these dispositions.

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Teachers’ Developing Understandings About Race and Achievement in a Graduate Course on Literacy Learning

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ELLEN MCINTYRE AND NANCY HULAN

ABSTRACT: In this article, we describe a study of teachers’ constructions of understandings about race and achievement in the context of a course on literacy learning and instruction. We documented the course activities, the readings, the assignments, and the teachers’ responses related to race during the semester course. The lead researcher also interviewed a few teachers after the course. We analyzed all statements that teachers made concerning race and education and found that while some new understandings emerged during the course, some students’ viewpoints moved toward more explicit racism. The views presented in these findings will likely resonate with other teacher educators, which may inspire them to intervene when views of teachers are not in the best interest of the students they teach.

For decades, teacher educators have recommended that teacher preparation and in-services infuse the teaching of issues and concepts of diversity throughout content courses. Yet many programs continue to have stand-alone diversity courses while the methods and content courses disregard issues and practices concerning diverse populations (Cochran-Smith, 2003). In response, the purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ constructions of new understandings about race and achievement and about teaching K–12 students about race through literacy instruction. The study took place within the context of a graduate course on literacy learning and cultural differences in a large urban research university in the Midwest. Many of the teachers taking the course had naïve or underdeveloped understandings of the issues and concepts addressed in the course—especially, those about race. This course was an attempt to help teachers develop understandings about race and how it intersects with student achievement, all while improving their literacy instruction.

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Finding Balance: The Professional Life of a Charter School Teacher

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MARJORIE CLARK

ABSTRACT: This phenomenological study of one charter school teacher sought to answer the question, what is it like to be a teacher in a charter school? Exploring issues of preparation, working conditions, and job satisfaction, this teacher expressed a range of emotions about her chosen work environment. I found that the pervasive stress surrounding her work life was balanced by the relationships that she was able to sustain with her colleagues and students. I conclude with recommendations for those working in the world of charter schools, whether as practitioners, administrators, or teacher educators.

“My experience? Okay, it is very stressful. And I do feel like I am very overworked. I go to school at 6:30 in the morning and I usually don’t leave until 7 o’clock at night. I come home and I’m still doing work until I go to bed.” These were the first words of Ms. Betts (a pseudonym), a charter school teacher in an urban setting in a Mid-Atlantic state, when asked about what it was like to teach in her school. From this brief notation, it may seem that she was unhappy about her work environment and certainly stressed beyond normal capabilities. However, throughout various interviews, a much more complicated picture emerged—one of a young woman filled with idealism and hope while sometimes crushed by disappointment and frustration. Her life as a teacher in a charter school remained a balancing act of emotions, and her experience in this setting was one that was unique but may be important to understanding the lives of other charter school teachers.

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Examining Rural High School Teacher Characteristics and Motivating Strategies

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PATRICIA L. HARDRÉ

ABSTRACT: This study examined rural high school teachers’ characteristics and their apparent influences on teachers’ motivating strategies. Participants were 46 teachers, across subjects and grade levels, in nine rural public high schools. A multimethod approach was used, with questionnaires, narrative reports, and interviews assessing teachers’ individual differences, perceptions, and strategies. Quantitative measures were analyzed with correlations and regressions; qualitative measures were coded for themes linked to the research questions. Findings indicate that teachers believe that their interpersonal interactions are more influential on student motivation than how they frame content. However, teachers see their contributions to classroom environments and students’ individual motivations as being uniquely and reciprocally influential on student learning and achievement. Rural teachers see motivational advantages and disadvantages in rural communities. Teachers’ beliefs and perceptions shed light on why teachers motivate students as they do.

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Book Review

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(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2006), 120 pages, $21.95

HEATHER K. OLSON BEAL

In this brief book entitled Teachers for Life: Advice and Methods Gathered Along the Way, Max Malikow draws on 33 years of personal experience as a teacher, as well as the collective experience of numerous teachers, to provide a primer for life as a public school teacher. The foreword begins with this word of caution: “This is not your ordinary book about teaching” (p. xi). It then proceeds to lay out the overarching goal of the text—to bridge the gap between books that portray teaching as mastery of effective instructional strategies and those that portray teaching as an art form, a “high calling” (p. xi). Malikow largely achieves this objective by peppering the chapters with personal examples and vignettes, as intertwined with occasional references to educational psychology and academic research. This review addresses the organization of the text, its strengths and weaknesses, and practical applications.

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