Medium 9781475819281

Tep Vol 20-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: Teaching in the Borderland Between Difference—Creating Spaces of Freedom

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PATRICK M. JENLINK

To survive in the Borderlands you must live sin fronteras [without borders] be a crossroads.

—(Anzaldúa, 1987, p. 217)

Space and place do not disappear as markers of memory, history, and lived experience; they become more porous and unstable, but still bear the weight of history and the legacies of struggles yet to be fulfilled.

—(Giroux, 2001, p. 6)

Teachers increasingly find themselves situated in the borderland of difference, in the space that emerges out of the differences in perspectives between text and culture. Teaching in the borderland is necessarily cultural, as well as being politically and pedagogically sensitive to the differences that define the nature of a borderland. It is teaching concerned with creating spaces of freedom where knowledge production is not constrained common-sense,1 the dominant or normative narratives that hold us to the past and establish one culture dominant over another. Gitlin and Peck (2005) are instructive when they explain, “Commonsense and dominant discourses and their related contextual constraints do not expand our imagination of alternative possibilities in the classroom or in society” (p. 35).2 In contrast, teachers that are concerned with creating spaces of freedom, spaces that reflect a borderland of difference, are engaged in teaching as “a consistent and continual distancing and [revisioning] of commonsense” (p. 35), away from the conservative and all-too-often dominant culture narratives that constrain, marginalize, and otherwise anchor us to the past.

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Teacher to Teacher: Transgenerational Mentoring

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RACHEL JUAREZ-TORRES

JEANNINE LANE HURST

ROY HURST

ABSTRACT: This qualitative case study examines the relationship of teachers who mentor other teachers. We studied 125 autobiographical portfolios submitted by elementary and secondary teachers who had won awards as outstanding educators from their campuses and were competing at the district level. The research site was a midsize city (population 95,000) in southwest Texas. Findings support the view that effective mentoring is a continuing collaboration leading to lifelong learning and professional interdependence. The findings suggest that retention of teachers requires active involvement, whether formal or informal, and that teachers who mentor have a strong sense of responsibility toward preservice teachers, their peers, and the future of education. Via a grounded theory methodology, categories emerged leading to the development of a theoretical framework. This framework describes the effects of mentor relationships occurring throughout the teachers’ lifetimes—that is, what is defined as transgenerational mentoring.

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Immigrant Students and Caring Practices: A Tale of Two Teachers

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ROBIN FLEMING

ABSTRACT: School efforts aimed at improving academic outcomes of immigrant students largely emphasize curricular, structural, and programmatic strategies. Such task-driven practices, when conducted in isolation from the social and cultural domains that connect immigrants to school, fail to fully engage or motivate students, thus betraying the promise of such strategies. This qualitative study explored the belief-driven caring practices of two teachers toward immigrant students and the ways that such practices influenced students’ engagement with and motivation toward school. This comparative case analysis reveals the widely divergent practices employed by individual teachers despite school attempts to provide uniform curriculum and instruction believed to support the academic achievement of immigrant students. Implications for this study include school assessment of caring practices, reflection on development of institutionalized and explicit definitions of caring, and guidelines for implementation of such practices.

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From Paraeducator to Teacher: Perceptions of the 1st Year of Teaching

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M. VICTORIA RODRÍGUEZ

ABSTRACT: This article explores the 1st-year teaching experience of five Latino paraeducators. Through interviews, they discussed their challenges and successes, how their experience as paraeducators influenced their teaching experience, and what suggestions they have for schools and colleges to help ease new teachers into the profession. The study suggests that although these teachers were placed in challenging classrooms, they considered their 1st year to be a difficult but successful experience, despite the lack of systematic and institutionalized support from their schools. They stressed the need for experienced and qualified mentors to nurture novice teachers on the basis of their needs.

The nation is facing a shortage of teachers, especially in the areas of bilingual education, special education, and the sciences. There is also a shortage of qualified teachers willing to serve in urban schools and other settings where the majority of students are minorities and/or of low income (Voke, 2002), as there is a shortage of minority teachers in general, despite the increasing number of minority students (National Center for Education Statistics, 2005; National Collaborative on Diversity in the Teaching Force, 2004). This problem is compounded by the high attrition rate of teachers. Close to one third leave the profession within the first 3 years and, in urban settings, nearly 50% during the first 5 years (National Education Association, 2003). One of the strategies used to address this problem has been to tap into the large number of paraeducators serving students nationwide. This strategy addresses the shortage and retention of qualified teachers in general and minority teachers in particular. In fact, a high percentage of paraeducators are members of racial/ethnic minority groups. Once they become teachers, they are more likely than traditional beginning teachers to teach and stay in high-need districts and schools. In addition, they are highly effective in all areas of teaching, specifically in establishing an adequate environment for student learning (Clewell & Villegas, 2001).

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Preparing Educators to Work Effectively With Student Anger

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CAROL P. MCNULTY

ABSTRACT: In an attempt to learn firsthand why school is not working for some students, I conducted an ethnographic study to examine the perceptions of students considered to be chronically disruptive or at risk for delinquency. Utilizing a critical theory lens, I engaged in participant observation and student interviews to examine the ways in which students believe that educators influence and contribute to their delinquent activities. An interesting aspect of the data suggests that educators consistently require students to suppress their anger and that they offer virtually no other ways for students to resolve or release their anger at school. For many students, this suppression, coupled with poor coping techniques, ultimately results in explosive and violent outburst, thereby perpetuating cycles of nonsuccess in school. This study suggests a need for teacher preparation programs to adequately address the social and emotional domains as they prepare teachers to work effectively with students who present challenging behaviors.

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From Student to Teacher: Circumventing the Alternative Certification Process

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CASEY GRAHAM BROWN

TIMOTHY B. JONES

ABSTRACT: Alternative certification programs were designed to recruit individuals with work experiences into the teaching profession. This article synthesizes two studies of teachers and teacher candidates who circumvented the alternative certification process. The teachers who participated in the quantitative portion of the study were neither mature in their developmental processes nor disposed to critical thinking. Although the teachers entered the career of teaching at a strange place (void of pedagogical training and field experiences), the participants in the qualitative study viewed themselves as successful teachers, and as evidenced by their rehire status, they were viewed as successful teachers by their supervisors.

No longer a new concept, alternative certification still provides a great deal of mystery to certification program administrators and employing school districts in terms of effectiveness and comparative viability to traditional teacher preparation. Although literature on the topic now dates back more than 20 years, much is still unknown or, worse, misunderstood. In an effort to shed additional light on this important issue, this article synthesizes two studies: one qualitative and the other quantitative, each conducted in a southwestern state (though not the same state). One study investigated the critical thinking skills of alternatively certified teachers at the elementary and secondary levels; the other examined the experiences that led to the resiliency of alternatively certified secondary teachers. A common theme is apparent in the combined research: Some alternatively certified teachers circumvent what alternative certification was designed to do—that is, encourage individuals with authentic work experiences to share those life experiences with students through their role as teachers.

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Kaleidoscope Feature

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DEBORAH L. BLACKWELL

JANA S. PISANI

MICHAEL J. PISANI

ABSTRACT: In the year 2000, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas A&M University System teamed up to create an initiative called the University Faculty Fellows Program. Spearheaded by Texas A&M International University in Laredo, the program paired up faculty from the university with area Advanced Placement (AP) teachers in a variety of disciplines. Their goal was to help teachers prepare successful AP classes for their high school students, thereby boosting the number of students passing the AP examinations. This article focuses on the experience of three Faculty Fellows (the authors) who worked with U.S. history and economics teachers from the United and Laredo independent school districts. Using experience as their guide, the authors found the program to be highly viable with a great deal of promise but with room for improvement.

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Book Review

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(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2005) 220 pages, $37.95

ALINA SLAPAC

Jung and Education: Elements of Archetypal Pedagogy, by Clifford Mayes, with a foreword by J. Marvin Spiegelman, represents an important contribution to the educational field in relation to Carl Gustav Jung’s psychology and his psychospiritual perspectives. As the title of this book suggests, Mayes introduces the readers to Jung’s major concepts of analytical psychology, with a unique twist: its educational implications.

The book is structured into two parts: The first reviews Jungian concepts, whereas the second continues with their applications to pedagogy. Mayes explains, with specific examples, the major Jungian concepts, such as persona, shadow, collective unconscious and its symbols (anima and animus), archetypes and archetypal images, transference and typology, personal and transpersonal countertransference, individuation, the self, and synchronicity. The author also connects the concepts to Jung’s religious and political perspectives. In the second part, Mayes explains the most important concepts of the Jungian approach to curriculum and instruction, including the analysis of archetypes within teaching practices and the focus on the teacher as an archetype spirit. The author’s personal examples enhance the understanding of Jung’s contribution in the educational field—especially, his view on the therapeutic phenomenon of transference and countertransference (however, the explanations of the Jungian terms go beyond the scope of this review).

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