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Tep Vol 24-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: Preparing Preservice Teachers—Considerations for a Reinvigorated Public Philosophy of Teaching

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PATRICK M. JENLINK

The idea that teacher education programs should center their academic and moral objectives on the education of teachers as critical intellectuals, while simultaneously advancing democratic interests, has invariably influenced the debates revolving around the various “crises” in education over the last fifty years.

—Giroux and McLaren (1986, p. 214)

At the close of the first decade in the 21st century, Cochran-Smith’s (2003) concern for the major debates about teaching, presented upon entering the new millennium, serve as a historical and political memory of the often contentious, highly visible, and enormously consequential nature of these debates for America’s schoolchildren. It is within these debates about teaching that teacher educators increasingly find themselves confronted with a search for “truth in teaching,” which must work to illuminate what constitutes a qualified teacher and what exactly teaching is or should be, among the many and varied debates influencing and at times co-opting the public’s view of teaching.

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From Know How to Do Now: Instructional Applications of Simulated Interactions Within Teacher Education

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BENJAMIN H. DOTGER

ABSTRACT: The induction years of teaching challenge novice educators to quickly transition from what they learned as teacher candidates into what they can do as emerging professionals. This article outlines a simulated interaction methodology to help bridge teacher preparation and practice. Building from examples of simulated interactions between teacher candidates and standardized individuals, it focuses on four distinct research and instructional applications of the simulated interaction methodology within broader teacher education contexts.

Transitioning from preparation to practice challenges novice teachers to transfer what they know about teaching and learning into what they can do. Citing the traditional reliance on field practica as the primary mechanism for transitioning knowledge into action, scholars suggest embedding pedagogies of enactment within teacher preparation (Grossman et al., 2009; Grossman, Hammerness, & McDonald, 2009; Grossman & McDonald, 2008; Lampert, 2009; Lampert & Graziani, 2009). The objective of this article is to illustrate four distinct instructional applications of a simulated interaction pedagogy, where preservice teachers practice enacting knowledge and skills learned within teacher preparation before they enter the field as licensed professionals.

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Making Teacher Education Better: The Impact of Polling Data on a Methods of Teaching English Course

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DAVID LEE CARLSON

ABSTRACT: Weekly poll results were used as an intervention in this action research project to determine whether a Methods of Teaching English course could meet the needs of local preservice teachers. Results indicate that students believed that they were better prepared to teach English in secondary schools because of course materials and activities.

Arne Duncan (2009), the new secretary of education of the United States, made the following comment at Teachers College, Columbia University, about teacher education programs:

In the end, I don’t think the ingredients of a good teacher preparation are much of a mystery anymore. Our best programs are coherent, up-to-date, research-based, and provide students with subject mastery. They have a strong and substantial field-based program in local public schools that drives much of the course work in classroom management and student learning and prepares students to teach diverse pupils in high-needs settings. And these programs have a shared vision of what constitutes good teaching and best practices—including a single-minded focus on improving student learning and using data to inform instruction. (para. 35)

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Telling Unarticulated Stories: Intentional Inquiry Into Teaching, Learning, and Literacy

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KYLE D. SHANTON

JAN PATRICIA LEWIS

ABSTRACT: In this article, we examine our understandings and use of personal literacy narrative as a medium for engaging teacher candidates in considering the differing perspectives and approaches found around literacy education. Drawing from narrative inquiry, we describe how we work with preservice teachers to articulate tacit stories and inquire into their conceptualizations of literacy, teaching, and learning. We explain how they write their personal literacy narratives and how we situate our university classroom teaching and learning in the midst of their stories. Our pedagogy focuses on tensions around these differing perceptions that emerge through the process as our students come face-to-face with discrepancies between their beliefs and remembrances in this dialogic process. Our purpose is similar to what Clandinin and Connelly (2000) suggested: We illustrate what we do and what we have learned from this experience for literacy teacher education. Our findings suggest that, through this process, students come to a clearer understanding of these tensions, both pedagogically and politically. They gain a clearer lens into perspectives that surround teaching, learning, and classrooms, and they are better able to navigate an inquiry stance.

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Addressing the Need for Special Education Teachers: The Impact of Online Instruction on Preservice Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Inclusion

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CLARENCE EUGENE REEVES JR.

JANNA SIEGEL ROBERTSON

SHANON S. TAYLOR

ABSTRACT: This study involved undergraduate preservice education teachers enrolled in online-instructed and lecture-instructed introductory courses in special education. Pre- and postsurveys were administered to obtain information on the students’ attitudes toward making accommodations in regular classrooms for students with special needs—physical, academic, behavioral, and social. Quantitative and qualitative data were both analyzed to determine similarities and differences between the two groups’ attitudes toward inclusion. Significant differences were not found between the groups’ attitudes toward accommodating students with special needs in a general classroom setting.

Many colleges and universities across the country are utilizing online instruction as a vehicle to deliver instruction to a vast population. Teacher education programs are now providing online courses to preservice teachers to offer an alternative to courses traditionally taught by classroom lecture methods. Online courses provide an excellent means for students who need flexible schedules and can effectively take responsibility for their own learning.

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Beginning Teachers Reflect on Their Experiences Being Prepared to Teach Literacy

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SARA R. HELFRICH

RITA M. BEAN

ABSTRACT: A descriptive study was employed to investigate beginning teachers’ experiences with reading instruction in their teacher preparation programs and to determine what areas of need have emerged now that they are practicing teachers. Data collection instruments included a reflective survey and telephone interviews. Beginning teachers perceived themselves as being generally well prepared to teach reading to their K–8 students, but several areas of further instructional need were indicated—namely, differentiating reading instruction for diverse learners, using assessment to drive instruction, and managing the classroom. Full findings from the survey and interviews are discussed, as well as implications for teacher educators and researchers.

At the university level, teacher educators may easily observe teacher candidates in their classes, noting through assessment, conversation, and observation their knowledge and perceptions of literacy and instruction. However, upon graduation, when teacher candidates—now in-service teachers—move into the field and begin their work in the K–12 classroom, it becomes significantly more difficult to observe their evolution as teachers. What do these new teachers think about the preparation they received in their teacher education program? How do their perceptions of themselves as teachers change once they are full-time teachers, in charge of their own classroom, and no longer under the supervision of mentor teachers and university instructors? These are difficult yet necessary questions to answer.

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Novels as Text in a Preservice Teacher Education Course of Adolescent Development

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MARGARET ZIDON

ABSTRACT: For 16 years, a university teacher educator has been teaching a course on adolescent development using novels, memoirs, and case studies instead of the customary college textbook. Novels have included such award-winning works as Angelou’s (1969) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Wolff’s (1989) This Boy’s Life: A Memoir, Salinger’s (1979) Catcher in the Rye, and Satrapi’s (2003) Persepolis. Using Rosenblatt’s (1978, 2005) transactional or reader response theory, I supplement readings with articles, discussions, field experiences, and writing assignments. Students report an appreciation for the use of literature and how the text provides the opportunity to see and study an adolescent in a real-life context.

In 1993, the faculty of our secondary education program decided to discontinue a required course in educational psychology and replace it with an adolescent development course. Education faculty decided that such a course was better suited to the child-centered philosophy of our teacher education program. Designed for preservice teacher education candidates and taught by education faculty, the class had enrollments limited to 25 students. I was the faculty member assigned to develop and teach the new course: Development and Education of the Adolescent.

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Book Review

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(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2010), $25.00

REBECCA FREDRICKSON

Teachers are leaving the classroom. Approximately 30% of novice teachers leave their schools or the profession at the end of their 1st year of teaching (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). Lisa Scherff and Mike Daria, in Stories From Novice Teachers: Is This Induction? explain why most novice teachers leave the profession: “low salaries, student discipline problems, lack of support, poor working conditions, inadequate preparation, and insufficient opportunities to participate in decision making” (p. xii). In an effort to provide a support for a cohort of 1st-year high school teachers who completed a university teacher education program, cohort members and their university professor (Scherff) created an e-mail list so that they could provide that support for one another through their transition from university students to 1st-year teachers.

This cohort started with 12 student members and their teacher education professor. The 12 teachers all believed that they were fully prepared to enter the classroom with the pedagogical knowledge to be successful teachers. The reality of their classroom experience is what shapes and colors their stories. The book chronicles the experiences of these 12 teachers as they navigate through their 1st year of teaching. As the teachers’ stories unfold, they serve more as real-life case studies. Additionally, the authors develop questions at the end of each chapter that can be used in the collegiate classroom for teacher preparation as well as administrative/instructional leadership education.

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