470 Slices
Medium 9781475819229

Service Learning: Packing Parachutes for the Jump Into Education

R&L Education ePub


ABSTRACT: Service learning adds instructional value to any curriculum area, and it is especially appropriate for education courses. Its benefits include development of critical thinking, deeper processing of course content, and practical related experience. Using action research, this article examines the impact of service learning on preservice teachers’ beliefs about education and working with disadvantaged youths. Preservice teachers provided after-school tutoring and activities for child residents at a homeless shelter. Preservice teachers kept journals and summarized their semester experiences by reflecting on five lessons that they learned and plan to incorporate as future educators. Identified lessons are analyzed and summarized with discussion.

Educator preparation programs rarely include service learning as a curricular option although it promotes active learning by emphasizing the relationship between abstract content and personal experiences (Bringle & Hatcher, 1999; Cleary, 1998; Nnakwe, 1999). By being provided two points of reference—theory and authentic activity—students can learn real-world application of the curriculum before entering the workforce. Service learning accentuates the role of reflection in learning by requiring thought about an experience in light of learning objectives. This leads to increases in content and process knowledge (Bringle & Hatcher, 1999). Students involved in service learning have better retention of information, and they challenge their core beliefs and stereotypes, thereby allowing them to construct, de-construct, and reconstruct course content (Murrell, 2000).

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Medium 9781475819366

Editorial: On the Public and the Civic Responsibility of Teacher Education

Teacher Education and Practice Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


The public still exists—yes, very much so, for it is all around us, and we are it. But it is a public that eschews politics and pursues private interest, it is a public in a new context, one in which society no longer supports the conditions under which what once was referred to as “the public” came into being.

—Hannay (2005, p. 25)

There is no point to educating children for a citizenship that will not be there to practice when they become adults.

—Westbrook (2005, p. 234)

Because schools are among the last recognizably public institutions that exist (at least for now) in many communities and because teachers that enter classrooms are among the last and perhaps most important agents of a public institution that can affect the lives of students, teacher education should be in the forefront of cultivating civic responsibility. Simply stated, teacher education should focus on preparing teachers with respect to the nature and importance of the public and on drawing the public into relief, to foster an understanding of the teacher’s role with respect to preparing the next generation of citizens for democratic contemporary life. With this caveat in mind, any teacher education program examining the public aspects of schooling should be articulated around a deep-seated belief in the public, and it should not only fundamentally address the public as elements of curriculum but equally represent the public through its pedagogical practices such that the public—its parameters, norms, and assumptions—are woven into the experiences of learning to teach at all levels.

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Medium 9781475819571

Fostering Knowledge and Skills to Teach for Diversity: “There Is Nothing So Practical as a Good Theory”

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


ABSTRACT: Increased use of field-based teacher preparation offers important opportunities to develop skills with diverse learners. However, limited focus on theoretical content restricts understanding and generalization of well-proven theoretical approaches, resulting in fragmented field applications unlikely to result in broad application. Inspired by Kurt Lewin’s often-repeated maxim that “there is nothing so practical as a good theory,” we show how one theory tied to learning and motivation yields coherent pedagogical insights and strategies. Using key theories, teachers can develop approaches for effective use with all learners, rather than requiring a special type of strategy for each type of learner.

Sharonda Lincoln is a student teacher. She has already completed the additional coursework for certification in teaching learners with special needs. Her internship placement is a third-grade classroom in an elementary school with recently shifting demographics. Whereas the school’s diversity had primarily reflected students with special needs, a newly constructed low-income housing project nearby has changed the makeup of Sharonda’s school and classroom. She finds that she is teaching students who come from low-income backgrounds, including many with non-English-speaking backgrounds.

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Medium 9781475819182

Kaleidoscope Feature

R&L Education ePub

Kaleidoscope Feature


ABSTRACT: This article describes a 2-year study1 that examined the influence of collaborative inquiry on the professional growth of beginning teachers. Participants include 10 novice teachers and 2 university faculty members. Using qualitative methods, the university faculty collected data during the first 2 years of the group’s progress in order to determine the influence of collaborative teacher research on the professional growth of novice teachers. Results of the data analysis suggest that such school/university collaborations can benefit novice teachers in a variety of ways.

It’s real helpful knowing that other teachers are doing the same thing you’re doing . . . that we’re all continuing [teacher research] . . . and that we meet together and share ideas.

—A. Spahr, focus group interview, June 24, 2001

Being a part of the teacher-research group has provided me with the support and guidance I needed to continue learning and growing as a teacher researcher.

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Medium 9781475819151

Meeting the “Highly Qualified Teacher” Challenge

R&L Education ePub


ABSTRACT: In this article1 we address the “highly qualified teacher” provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. We argue that the provisions’ intent is important and achievable, and we outline critical research on the issue of which teacher qualifications matter for student learning. Three questions frame the discussion: Does teacher quality matter? What qualifications make a difference? How does teacher certification matter? We address the issue of ensuring highly qualified teachers for all children, providing examples of policies that have enabled states and districts to recruit and retain qualified teachers. Finally, we propose a set of federal teacher initiatives that can support such policies nationwide.

For most of this country’s educational history, the federal government has served largely in a supporting role to states and localities, providing supplementary funds for students with special needs or for those who are a protected class under federal equity laws. While civil rights litigation and legislation have led to some federal mandates for educational services to particular populations, these typically have left to the states all major decisions about curriculum, assessment, teacher hiring, student assignment, and governance.

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