Tep Vol 29-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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Editorial: Teacher Education, Democracy, and the Social Imaginary of Accountability

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Teacher Education, Democracy, and the Social Imaginary of Accountability

PATRICK M. JENLINK

Preparing teachers for schools is a function of furthering the democratic ideals that guide a society in its continual progress toward realizing democracy. Realization of the democratic society the United States aspires to be, through its public education system, requires that teacher education take responsibility for the “development of more democratic forms of professionalism in teaching and teacher education” (Zeichner, 2010, p. 1550). However, in contrast, historically, teacher education has often not been concerned, albeit not by choice, with furthering democratic ideals. The audit culture1 that has evolved over the past several decades in U.S. public education (P–16) has construed teachers as compliant technicians,2 enacting predefined “best practices” with a predefined curriculum measured against external tests, a situation for which skill, not intelligence, is required (Giroux, 2012).

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The Importance and Clarity of the New Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation Principles and Standards

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FRANK B. MURRAY

ABSTRACT: A convenience sample of leaders from 49 Teacher Education Accreditation Council–accredited programs rated the five new Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation standards as important (but not essential) for the purposes of documenting program quality, but they also rated the standards as only mostly clear rather than sufficiently or very clear. There were statistically significant differences between the mean ratings of the five standards, between the ratings of those who accepted and rejected some public reporting measures favored by policymakers, and between those who were willing or unwilling to have a “gold star” accreditation for allegedly superior programs. The survey results are discussed in the context of other surveys of teacher education accreditation standards and the national narrative about teacher education.

There is a long-standing narrative in the United States that teacher education is “broken” because teachers, now and in the past, have been so poorly prepared that the nation’s schools are perpetually at risk (Aldeman, Carey, Dillon, Miller, & Silva, 2011; Conant, 1963; Crowe, 2010; Greenberg, Pomerance, & Walsh, 2011; Judge, Lemosse, Paine, & Sedlak, 1994; Kanstoroom & Finn, 1999; Koerner, 1963; Mitchell & Barth, 1999; Teacher’s College, 2009; University of Virginia, 2009). Several recent reform-minded groups, such as the Project 30 Alliance, the Holmes Group (subsequently the Holmes Partnership), the Renaissance Group, Teachers for a New Era, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, all sought to change this depressing narrative, but apparently none have succeeded, as the narrative continues (see Teacher’s College, 2009; University of Virginia, 2009).

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Powerful and Personal Professional Development

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ANGELA FALTER THOMAS

ABSTRACT: This article examines professional development experiences from the National Board for the Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in the United States. Ten National Board–certified teachers were interviewed on three separate occasions about their professional development from the NBPTS. The data analysis suggests that teachers who earn their National Board certification are empowered and actively involved in their profession. They self-report that the professional development from NBPTS has been engrained in them as a result of their participation, denoting that this professional development is ideal for teachers. With the recent focus on teacher performance and increased accountability, such examination provides an even deeper understanding of professional development for teacher educators through National Board certification.

The United States is in the midst of a vast and sweeping education reform. This reform has produced an environment in which the standards of accountability have been increased in the wake of policy initiatives such as the Common Core State Standards (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of State School Officers, 2010) and Race to the Top (U.S. Department of Education, 2009). This potent recipe for reform encompasses principal and teacher evaluations that will include student test scores, widespread adoption of rigorous academic content standards, and the development of high-stakes standardized tests that align with these new standards (Gulamhussein, 2013).

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Preservice Teacher Supervision Within Field Experiences in a Decade of Reform: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature from 2001 to 2013

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A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature from 2001 to 2013 1

REBECCA WEST BURNS, JENNIFER JACOBS, AND DIANE YENDOL-HOPPEY

ABSTRACT: In the past decade, as the clinical component of teacher education has gained increasing attention, it makes sense that the supervision of those field experiences should also garner attention. This comprehensive, qualitative meta-analysis used the findings from 69 studies published between 2001 and 2013 in the field of preservice teacher (PST) supervision as data to address the question, What can we learn about PST field supervision since the publication of the NCATE PDS Standards? Findings suggest that despite a lack of a common definition and a common conceptual framework, PST supervision within field experiences is expanding and becoming more sophisticated, indicating that perhaps the increased call for collaboration and school–university partnerships is contributing to this complexity. This warrants greater attention to, increased resources for, and common nomenclature in PST supervision.

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One Mission, Two Systems, and a Big Gap: The Interaction of K-12 and Postsecondary Educators to Support the Common Core State Standards

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The Interaction of K–12 and Postsecondary Educators to Support the Common Core State Standards

LOUIS S. NADELSON AND SUZANNE H. JONES

ABSTRACT: Major K–12 education reform initiatives, such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), require extensive shifts in curricular and instructional approaches. Preparing for and engaging in the successful implementation of education reform endeavors must include extensive K–12 educator professional development. We posited that college of education faculty members in institutions of higher education (HE) were likely to play a major role in providing information and professional development for K–12 educators as they prepare for implementing the CCSS. We surveyed a sample of K–12 educators and HE faculty members to determine how they were interacting to support the CCSS and their emotions in relation to the standards. We found multiple gaps in support, leadership, and barriers and challenges between the perspectives and actions of the two groups of educators. We follow our presentation of results with possible explanations for the gaps, implications, and possible directions for future research.

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Professional Literacy Publications and Their Role at Informing Policymakers About the Common Core Writing Reforms

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PETER MCDERMOTT AND KELLEY LASSMAN

ABSTRACT: We examined the extent to which professional literacy journals might have informed policymakers about the writing reforms appearing in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Using content analysis of journals published by the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Council for Learning Disabilities between 2007 and 2013, we discovered five articles about teaching information and argument writing in the 3 years preceding the publication of the CCSS and 16 articles afterward. These findings suggest that the professional literature and the organizations publishing the journals exerted a weak voice at informing policymakers about the new writing standards. We argue that policymakers did not follow what they preached about the importance of using scientific evidence to inform school reform and that professional organizations must become more proactive in advocating for quality literacy education than they have as seen in the development of the CCSS.

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Preparedness of Exemplary Early Career Teachers

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CHRISTIE L. BLEDSOE, JUDY TROTTI, KARI J. HODGE, AND TONY TALBERT

ABSTRACT: Using an explanatory sequential mixed-methods design, researchers explored the perceptions of early career teachers regarding their educator preparation programs. The participants (n = 57) were teachers with 3 years or less of teaching experience who graduated from one of the institutions affiliated with the Texas Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (TACTE). Teacher perceptions of preparedness were measured according to seven competencies established by TACTE. Teachers reported strong preparation across all seven competencies (especially instruction for diverse learners, content knowledge, and lifelong learning) but revealed interactions with parents and colleagues as an area in which they felt less prepared. In focus groups, participants (n = 13) provided recommendations for improving teacher education based on their first years of teaching experience.

Teacher preparation programs are under statewide and national scrutiny to determine if certain preparation programs impact new teachers more or less favorably when they become teachers. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ, 2014) reported that only 107 preparation programs out of 1,668 in the United States received high-quality rankings. Furthermore, the Huffington Post (Resmovits, 2014) shares the NCTQ study with the alarming headline, “How Teacher Prep Programs Are Failing New Teachers—And Your Kids.”

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The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, Techne, and Curriculum: The Contraction of Teacher Education

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The Contraction of Teacher Education

GRETCHEN SCHWARZ

ABSTRACT: Techne, what Ellul defines as technique and Postman as Technopoly, dominates the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the current teacher education accreditation organization. Unfortunately, this worldview removes from teacher education moral/ethical and civic purposes and eliminates intellectual diversity, reducing teacher education to a test-addicted, by-the-numbers training agenda. The author asks the question whether it is too late to reclaim teacher education curriculum as a legitimate and fully human, intellectual and emotional, moral and civic mission of the university.

But lo! men have become the tools of their tools. (Thoreau, 1967, p. 1266)

The policies we have examined reveal a struggle for power over who will rule our nation’s schools and colleges. If the forces of hyperrationalization are not checked, who will be the winners and losers in the struggle for power? (Wise, 1979, p. 212)

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How EdTPA May Help Preservice Teachers Understand Children

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THOMAS HUSTON

ABSTRACT: In conducting this study, I sought to contribute to the scholarly discourse of understanding how preservice student teachers experienced evaluation via teacher performance assessments. More specifically, to gain insight into Midwest University’s teacher performance assessment process, I explored preservice student teachers’ experiences completing the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment (EdTPA). Additionally, I examined informants’ interpretations and impressions from their involvement in the EdTPA program. Through extensive interviews and thematic data analysis, this study generally supported the contention that the process of completing EdTPA deepened student teachers’ understanding of their educational experience in a number of domains, in turn suggesting a broader awareness and appreciation of the complexities of learning to teach. Data indicated that identified “realms of understanding” fell into four areas of insight related to education: understanding children, understanding instructional strategies, understanding via collective learning, and understanding self as teacher. These findings lead to several practical ways in which teacher education might be improved, particularly in the area of better understanding children.

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Preservice Teacher Field Experience Learning Through Early Literacy Assessment: Documenting the Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions

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Documenting the Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions

CAROL A. ZEHMS-ANGELL AND YUKO IWAI

ABSTRACT: This study explored 21 elementary school preservice teachers’ learning experience on early literacy assessment. In particular, it focused on what knowledge and skills they perceived they gained after administrating Clay’s Observation Survey with children in school. The participants received training on Clay’s Observation Survey and administered it during their field experience. Data were collected from a questionnaire. Results showed that their confidence levels in administrating Clay’s Observation Survey increased; they identified three early literacy skills (pictures, letter–sound relationship, and basic concepts of print) as the areas they learned the most; their comments on young children’s literacy learning were general and did not provide any details.

Lawmakers, through federal legislation, require schools to hire highly qualified teachers (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act [IDEIA], 2004; No Child Left Behind [NCLB] Act, 2002). Highly qualified or well-prepared teachers must be able to monitor student progress and provide best-practice intervention in order to close the achievement gap that currently exists for young literacy learners. As a result, school of education faculty must ensure that their teacher candidates are well prepared. The International Reading Association (IRA, 2003) supports this when it states, “Only if teachers are well prepared to implement research-based practices and have the professional knowledge and skill to alter those practices when they are not appropriate for particular children will every child learn to read” (p. 3). Researchers and school professionals, then, cannot dispute the importance of preparing qualified literacy instructors.

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Utility of the Multi-Tiered Instruction Self-Efficacy Scale in Assessing Needs and Short-Term Gains of Preservice Teachers for Multitiered Instruction

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SUSAN BARNES AND MELINDA S. BURCHARD

ABSTRACT: Researchers demonstrated that the Multi-Tiered Instruction Self-Efficacy Scale works with a population of preservice teachers in assessment of self-efficacy for multitiered instruction. The scale demonstrated strong internal consistency (.94). With 148 participants, all juniors in a teacher preparation program, areas of greatest need for professional development included data-driven decision making and meeting the needs of English language learners. Significant short-term gains were made in overall self-efficacy for multitiered instruction as well as in the six subcomponents of finding and evaluating evidence-based solutions, collaboration, monitoring interventions, data-driven decision making, engaging learners, and meeting the needs of English language learners.

In an environment of accountability for high-quality instruction, how can we know if newly certified teachers are ready to teach all the students in their classrooms? Teacher preparation programs must prepare preservice teachers with knowledge and skills across numerous domains of practice to meet the needs of a very diverse population of students.

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Preparation Programs for Alternate-Route Teachers: Teacher Satisfaction With Instruction Aligned to Clinical Practice

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Teacher Satisfaction With Instruction Aligned to Clinical Practice

A. CHRIS TORRES AND ELIZABETH CHU

ABSTRACT: Alternate-route teachers who work to obtain certification while teaching full-time are far less satisfied with graduate-level instruction compared to teachers choosing traditional routes. Previous work shows that this discrepancy exists because some alternate-route candidates, particularly Teach for America (TFA) teachers, desire knowledge and skills that address immediate needs for their classrooms. This study analyzes perceptions of instruction in a clinically based teacher education program that serves a variety of full-time alternate-route teachers. Satisfaction with instruction is high across teachers, though TFA teachers view instruction more favorably than non-TFA teachers after controlling for confounding factors. Most teachers prefer instruction that allows them to practice and receive feedback on pedagogical techniques that are applicable to their own teaching context. A larger proportion of non-TFA teachers desired observation and feedback on their teaching compared to TFA teachers. These results underscore the important role of clinical practice for supporting alternate-route teachers.

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