460 Articles
Medium 9781475831368

Preparing Teachers for Democratic Schooling

Teacher Education and Practice Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Preparing Teachers for Democratic Schooling

The Potential (and Pitfalls) of Recent Trends in Teacher Preparation

Donna Adair Breault

ABSTRACT: This article outlines recent trends in teacher preparation, particularly as they relate to changes in accreditation as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education shifts to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The article explores the degree to which these shifts have the potential to promote a more democratic notion of teacher preparation based on the kinds of partnerships and field experiences now expected. It then argues that these changes are unlikely given the challenges that universities face regarding their own organizational limitations as well as the challenges they face when forming relationships with schools. The author bases the analysis of both the potential and the challenges for more democratic teacher education using the work of John Dewey, particularly his work regarding inquiry and democracy.

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There Is Honor Among Thieves

Teacher Education and Practice Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

There Is Honor Among Thieves

(Re)teaching Dewey’s Democratic Ideal in the Neoliberal Era

M. C. Breen

ABSTRACT: Two crosscurrents compound teacher preparation 100 years after the publication of Dewey’s Democracy and Education: (1) millennial digital literacy environments yield practically infinite sources and amounts of information and the consumers without the skills or will to question or evaluate the information they are receiving and (2) neoliberal educational environments yield heavily controlled, monitored, and assessment-driven curricula that offer little room for choice, reflection, or dynamic interaction. Dewey warned against the “honor among thieves,” or the niche values of narrow cliques. This chapter explores the critical junction between millennial knowledge bases, teacher candidates as products of neoliberal education systems, and teacher educator preparation programs as sites of both democratic education and preparation for neoliberal systems of education. This contested site and contradictory space serves as an entry point for examining Dewey’s notions of democracy and education as teacher candidates move from one knowledge clique into another. Specifically, changing environments in the past 100 years provide educational contexts that have evolved; however, Dewey’s theories of inquiry and communication are especially relevant as millennials identify with democratic education experiences that are merely “fantasy-constructions” that must be reconstructed and reexperienced. Further, how do we situate ourselves as teacher educators in the feedback loop from and into a contemporary educational system that is largely undemocratic?

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Growing in Community

Teacher Education and Practice Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Growing in Community

Collaboration Between Teachers and Academics in Education

Cara Furman

ABSTRACT: A central premise of John Dewey’s Democracy and Education is that growth is necessary for a healthy individual and society. In policy, research, and popular culture, the calcified teacher is often depicted as a source of public concern. Teachers also articulate that personal growth benefits them and their students. In this article, I address how collaborative problem solving between teachers and academics in education can support teacher growth. I describe how, drawing on a number of Deweyan principles, an urban public school supported its teachers to grow in response to the challenges they encountered daily.

In the current educational climate, there is much anxiety around how to improve teachers’ performances (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2006; Green, 2010, 2014; Ravitch, 2010). When children struggle in our public schools, teachers and academics in education1 are common targets of blame. The two groups are often pitted against each other (Green, 2014; Lemov, 2010). In this article, I first introduce the tension between teachers and academics in education. Drawing on Dewey, I then argue for the importance for different communities to come together with shared goals. Building on this, I argue that teachers and academics in education should be collaborating. Finally, I use a self-study to highlight what collaboration can look like.

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Dewey’s “The Nature of Method” and “The Nature of Subject Matter” as Applied to Teacher Development and Curricular Understanding

Teacher Education and Practice Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Dewey’s “The Nature of Method” and “The Nature of Subject Matter” as Applied to Teacher Development and Curricular Understanding

Chance D. Mays

ABSTRACT: Much is said about Dewey and his thoughts on democracy and progressive education. Considerably less has been stated about the manner in which Dewey’s philosophy about method and subject matter may be applied to the development of teachers and their understanding about curriculum. Dewey explicitly warns of the dangers of treating method and subject matter as separate entities in education, expressing the dangers of such a philosophical dualism. This article seeks to begin the process, however small, of examining Dewey’s thoughts on method and subject matter and how this harmonizing effort has been applied to teacher development by a practicing educational leader.

Dewey maintained his faith in democracy throughout many of his works, but, as Jenlink (2009) noted, this was perhaps most evident and “nowhere more comprehensively than in his Democracy and Education, first published in 1916” (p. ix). Education was inseparably connected to life as “a self-renewing process through action upon the environment” (Dewey, 1916, p. 2), and as such, Dewey (1916) claimed that “education, in its broadest sense, is the means of this social continuity of life” (p. 3). Dewey (1916) goes on to elaborate that it is through education that humanity seeks to accomplish the difficult task of continuity. For educational leaders, herein lies the message from Dewey, seeking ways to educate the members of society in order to continue their existence, and it is noted that “without such formal education it is not possible to transmit all the resources and achievements of a complex society” (Dewey, 1916, p. 9).

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Medium 9781475832518

Improving Elementary Teachers’ Self-Efficacy for Mathematics Teaching1

Teacher Education and Practice Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Improving Elementary Teachers’ Self-Efficacy for Mathematics Teaching1

James A. Telese

ABSTRACT: A professional development program for mathematics teachers was conducted to improve the teaching of mathematics concepts, which was funded by the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching. The program director was interested in how the program impacted the participants’ self-efficacy for teaching mathematics. The instrument used was the Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument. The instrument consisted of 21 items with two subscales: Personal Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Belief (PMTE) and Mathematics Teaching Outcome Expectancy (MTOE). The results indicated that a focused, sustained professional development program positively impacted the participants’ PMTE and MTOE. The MTOE was positively impacted but to a lesser degree.

The professional development of mathematics teachers has become a matter of importance; as Sowder (2007) said, “Teachers matter” (p. 157). It is assumed that increasing student achievement in mathematics and closing achievement gaps between groups of students requires having knowledgeable teachers in classrooms (Sowder, 2007). Accountability concerns have heightened the need for teachers to be knowledgeable and confident in the classroom. The state of accountability influences how and what mathematics is taught, spurred by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. While recognizing that all students have the ability to learn, accountability pressures have a tendency to encourage teachers to teach basic skills. It is necessary to move beyond the teaching of basic skills (Sykes, 1999). Many mathematics educators and researchers have found that the key to improvement and increased student achievement rests on the professional development of teachers (e.g., Ball & Cohen, 1999; Elmore & Burney, 1999; Hawley & Valli, 1999). Additionally, much has been written concerning mathematics teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, and affect (e.g., Phillip, 2007; Thompson, 1992). For teachers to use their knowledge in practice, they have to believe themselves knowledgeable and be confident that what they say and do in the classroom makes an impact on student learning (Sowder, 2007). This article reports on a professional development program designed to influence the pedagogical content knowledge of teachers of mathematics through the lens of self-efficacy (e.g., Bandura, 1986, 1997; Borton Kahle, 2008; Maehr & Pintrich, 1997, Sowder, 2007). The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a mathematics teacher professional development program on participants’ self-efficacy. The study sought to answer the following research questions: (1) How does a mathematics teacher professional development program have an impact on teachers of mathematics self-efficacy? (2) If a change in self-efficacy does occur, when does the change manifest itself? The answer to this question is of interest because if a change does occur, where would it occur during the program? The answer would provide a benchmark as to the speed of the change to manifest itself. (3) What differences, if any, exist in self-efficacy for mathematics teachers at different grade levels: elementary, middle school and high school?

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