Medium 9781475819427

Tep Vol 23-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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4 Articles

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Editorial: Teacher Preparation and the Promise of Partnerships—Toward Democratic Engagement

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PATRICK M. JENLINK

Unless education has some frame of reference it is bound to be aimless, lacking a unified objective. The necessity for a frame of reference must be admitted. There exists in this country such a unified frame. It is called democracy.

—Dewey (1937/1981, p. 415)

Colleges and universities across the nation have found in community engagement a unique opportunity to renew the civic mission of higher education and to strengthen and expand the learning and discovery that has been at the foundation of the academy. . . . Through community collaborations, students are discovering the value of experiential and service-learning, and academic and civic leaders are finding new, mutually beneficial partnerships that unite town and gown in enriching the common good.

—Brukardt, Holland, Percy, and Zimpher (2006, p. 243)

As a nation defined by both our diversity and our democratic ideals, we are faced with significant societal challenges, and higher education as an agency of society, it is argued, has a primary role in responding to these challenges. There is widespread agreement that institutions of higher education—colleges and universities—have distinct civic and public responsibilities, “including the preparation of an enlightened and productive, democratic citizenry and engaging in scholarship that illuminates and addresses pressing problems” (Saltmarsh, Hartley, & Clayton, 2009, p. 3). In this sense, scholarship provides access to solutions and serves as a mirror within which society can self-reflect on past practices and self-correct accordingly.

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From Isolation to Collaboration: Rethinking the Preservice Field Experience From a Community Perspective

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LAURA A. BOWER, CARI L. KLECKA, AND SUSAN SILVA

ABSTRACT: In this article, we report the action research that shaped the development of the Growing Career Educators project, a teacher-designed field experience for preservice teachers within a high school in the fifth-largest school district in the country. The research consisted of two cycles of action research, both of which focused on whether a community of practice was established in the 1st year of the project, in addition to how the vision for the project was implemented in practice. Analysis of the project handbook, data based on focus group and individual interviews, and field notes demonstrated that a community of practice was created in one cycle but not the other. While the teacher mentors and the university supervisor shared a vision for the project, the interns did not fully realize that vision in practice. Findings suggest that facilitating a community during field experiences needs to be intentional and focused on collaboration between school- and university-based teacher educators.

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Reframing School–University Partnerships in an Era of Accountability

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FRED L. HAMEL AND AMY E. RYKEN

ABSTRACT: In this article, we describe a school–university relationship that aims to sustain dialogue between educators who are positioned differently in relation to preservice teacher growth. We distinguish an intentional partnership model from other approaches to school–university collaboration, providing a rationale for our focus on dialogue and identity development. Using our experience, we examine discourse patterns at meetings and participant feedback to explore ways in which teacher identities are rehearsed and how identity positions are taken in relation to such issues as district-mandated curricula and state testing systems.

In this article, we document a school–university partnership effort derived within the current American context for teacher education, in which federal and state education policies have given school districts strong incentives for focusing teachers on prepackaged curricula designed to raise scores on standardized tests. In addition, these policies position university teacher education programs under increasing pressure to prepare teaching candidates who can successfully implement such mandated curricula. The purpose of our work is to define an emerging model of partnership that responds to the current policy context, to describe particular partnership practices, and to provide evidence of partnership outcomes.

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Dialogues of Teacher Education

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PATRICK M. JENLINK

Editor’s Note: With the “Dialogues of Teacher Education” section in Teacher Education and Practice, we invite our readers to join us in a venture to create a venue for giving voice to difficult problems of the day. Specifically, our purpose is to bring individuals together and engage in a meaningful, critical examination of selected topics that concern teacher educators and practitioners. We hope the readership enjoys the dialogue on “The Promise, Potential, and Problematics of University Partnerships and Collaborations” in this issue and that our contributing authors stimulate important and needed conversations among teacher educators, practitioners, policymakers, and other cultural workers concerned with improving teacher education and practice.

Toward a deeper understanding of the viability of partnerships and collaboratives, a central framing question is of importance: What are the promises, potentials, and problematics of university partnerships necessary to informing teacher educators in preparing teachers for the challenges they face teaching in today’s schools? The issue addressed by this question is one of examining current perspectives of teacher education and the importance that university partnerships hold for preparing teachers to teach. Specifically, it is concerned with how university partnerships contribute to necessary levels of engagement between institutions of higher education and schools, forming partnerships for teaching teachers to teach. Along this line, the focus of the question is concerned with substantive treatment of identifying and exploring what are the critical factors in fostering and sustaining partnerships. As well, the focus is concerned with what is critical in creating sustained engagements between institutions and schools and what promise, potential, and problematic this engagement presents with respect to teacher education.

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