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Connecting Multicultural Educational Theory With Field and Service Experiences in a School of Education: Emergent Competencies and New Literacies
Unformatted Document Text:  cultural project that places aspiring teachers in the Yucatan in a “culture focused language exchange program.” In this program students from the United States act as both teacher and anthropologist, engaging in constructive dialogues with the local students and constructing ethnographic profiles of the community. While Guadarrama is quick to admit that this type of cross-cultural service learning project is not feasible for many (or most) programs, the general concept of this program should not be lost: pre-service teachers working in projects that deal with social difference. By developing teacher education programs that activate these types of projects, Guadarrama claims that the aspiring teacher will be able to draw connections from this experience to their future classroom and community. To this end, Guadarrama posits: I argue that teacher education can and should promote service learning by systematically incorporating service learning into all of the community or field-based components. Without this community component and its emphasis on service learning in particular, teacher education lacks the capability of effectively educating teacher candidates in the richness and complexity of the community and its integral relationship to the inconsistencies in quality in the schooling practices of students (229). In a similar way, Barton (2000) discusses how service learning enhanced the teaching of multicultural science. Barton’s particular service learning project places pre-service teachers in an after-school enrichment program, called “Science Time”: The service learning project provided these pre-service teachers with opportunities to explore education in out-of-school settings, develop relationships with children and families in non-school contexts, learn to see children as children rather than as students, develop ties with the community, develop social and interaction skills, and gain greater awareness of other cultural and social norms and values as well as their own strengths and weakness (817). Because of this experience, teachers reconsider their ideas about multiculturalism in science education. Barton states, “We speculate that a community context could be vital in creating a multicultural science education because it forces the teaching and learning—and the knowing and the doing—of science to occur in ways that are integrally connected to the students” (803). Ultimately, these types of experiences cited above should be targeted at developing a “caring solidarity,” in which short term individual help and caring is connected to more long term work on structural change and social justice. Adam Renner (2004) identifies the six characteristics of a caring solidarity as (1) overcoming boundaries, (2) promoting transparent and transformative dialog, (3) building trusting, reciprocal relations, (4) seeking long term effects, (5) bridging the gap between the structural/theoretical and the individual/practical toward a more critical consciousness, and (6) democratizing ‘server’/ ‘served’ roles. Using a praxis approach in the classroom, covering thick critical theory and readings on social justice, and working with people oppressed by systems of injustice, this caring solidarity is set as a goal toward which to continue beyond the parameters of the course and in the candidate’s future classroom. This approach, though, and desire for a caring solidarity, is not without its problems. In an earlier article, Matthew Masucci and Renner (2001) illustrated four potential problematics to a more critical approach to multicultural education and service learning: the role of teacher education, what is possible right now, current participation in projects vs. future participation in society, and ‘server’ / ‘served’ relations. These final two continue to be of particular concern, related to the establishment of a caring solidarity and the evolution of our School of Education’s partnership with local schools and community agencies. Questions such as “What are the long term possibilities of this partnership?” “What is the potential for each student to continue in this partnership once the semester concludes?” And, “How can we make this a more reciprocal relationship—making sure the ‘served’ receive as much as the ‘server’?” continue to inform and evolve our process toward more critical competencies and new literacies on social difference and social justice. C. Contribution This work contributes to conference Strand I, Imagining Future Students, Future Teachers. Because the courses discussed come during the junior year for secondary candidates seeking initial certification, they have the opportunity to connect theory to their own emerging practice. Using urban schools and shelters requires these candidates to imagine their future students and themselves as future teachers by exploring the ethos of poverty and homelessness within a supportive network of peers and professors. For example, candidates in one course engage in individual writing portfolio conferences, which allow them an initial view into the 1 st person narratives of students often confronted with poverty, racism, and the resistance bred and enacted in schools. In another course, candidates reflect on personal pre-conceptions about homelessness and interact with a diverse student population that is often outside their own experience. In the third course, candidates are placed in an urban school for their field experience and are required to engage in a service-learning experience. Requiring candidates to engage in field and service experiences across multiple courses and multiple assignments allows our candidates-turned-teachers to align their emergent practice with the view that students are individuals with particular learning needs regardless of social difference; they are also individuals who are affected by a larger structure of injustice which is based upon social difference. By helping candidates craft these new lenses, the professors hope to instill courage so that they may be able to bring about ameliorative change in our schools and society. D. Relevance This work has implications for policy in teacher preparation. As future teachers, our candidates will interact with future students who are socio-economically, cognitively, and culturally diverse. Though elementary and middle school programs more typically discuss teacher responses to diverse learning styles and diverse family and community experiences, high school programs have been slower to recognize that teachers must be more than subject experts. On-going research and development on this school of education’s concentrated effort to develop candidates who are instructionally innovative, culturally responsive, and subject experts will provide additional insight and implications for schools of education. 2

Authors: Price, Christine G.. and Lingo, Amy.
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cultural project that places aspiring teachers in the Yucatan in a “culture focused language exchange program.” In this
program students from the United States act as both teacher and anthropologist, engaging in constructive dialogues with
the local students and constructing ethnographic profiles of the community. While Guadarrama is quick to admit that this
type of cross-cultural service learning project is not feasible for many (or most) programs, the general concept of this
program should not be lost: pre-service teachers working in projects that deal with social difference. By developing
teacher education programs that activate these types of projects, Guadarrama claims that the aspiring teacher will be able
to draw connections from this experience to their future classroom and community. To this end, Guadarrama posits:
I argue that teacher education can and should promote service learning by systematically incorporating service learning into all of
the community or field-based components. Without this community component and its emphasis on service learning in particular,
teacher education lacks the capability of effectively educating teacher candidates in the richness and complexity of the community
and its integral relationship to the inconsistencies in quality in the schooling practices of students (229).
In a similar way, Barton (2000) discusses how service learning enhanced the teaching of multicultural science.
Barton’s particular
service learning project places pre-service teachers in an after-school enrichment program, called “Science Time”:
The service learning project provided these pre-service teachers with opportunities to explore education in out-of-school settings,
develop relationships with children and families in non-school contexts, learn to see children as children rather than as students,
develop ties with the community, develop social and interaction skills, and gain greater awareness of other cultural and social norms
and values as well as their own strengths and weakness (817).
Because of this experience, teachers reconsider their ideas about multiculturalism in science education. Barton states,
“We speculate that a community context could be vital in creating a multicultural science education because it forces the
teaching and learning—and the knowing and the doing—of science to occur in ways that are integrally connected to the
students” (803).
Ultimately, these types of experiences cited above should be targeted at developing a “caring solidarity,” in which
short term individual help and caring is connected to more long term work on structural change and social justice. Adam
Renner (2004) identifies the six characteristics of a caring solidarity as (1) overcoming boundaries, (2) promoting
transparent and transformative dialog, (3) building trusting, reciprocal relations, (4) seeking long term effects, (5)
bridging the gap between the structural/theoretical and the individual/practical toward a more critical consciousness, and
(6) democratizing ‘server’/ ‘served’ roles. Using a praxis approach in the classroom, covering thick critical theory and
readings on social justice, and working with people oppressed by systems of injustice, this caring solidarity is set as a goal
toward which to continue beyond the parameters of the course and in the candidate’s future classroom.
This approach, though, and desire for a caring solidarity, is not without its problems. In an earlier article,
Matthew Masucci and Renner (2001) illustrated four potential problematics to a more critical approach to multicultural
education and service learning: the role of teacher education, what is possible right now, current participation in projects
vs. future participation in society, and ‘server’ / ‘served’ relations. These final two continue to be of particular concern,
related to the establishment of a caring solidarity and the evolution of our School of Education’s partnership with local
schools and community agencies. Questions such as “What are the long term possibilities of this partnership?” “What is
the potential for each student to continue in this partnership once the semester concludes?” And, “How can we make this a
more reciprocal relationship—making sure the ‘served’ receive as much as the ‘server’?” continue to inform and evolve our
process toward more critical competencies and new literacies on social difference and social justice.
C. Contribution
This work contributes to conference Strand I, Imagining Future Students, Future Teachers. Because the courses
discussed come during the junior year for secondary candidates seeking initial certification, they have the opportunity to
connect theory to their own emerging practice. Using urban schools and shelters requires these candidates to imagine
their future students and themselves as future teachers by exploring the ethos of poverty and homelessness within a
supportive network of peers and professors. For example, candidates in one course engage in individual writing portfolio
conferences, which allow them an initial view into the 1
st
person narratives of students often confronted with poverty,
racism, and the resistance bred and enacted in schools. In another course, candidates reflect on personal pre-conceptions
about homelessness and interact with a diverse student population that is often outside their own experience. In the third
course, candidates are placed in an urban school for their field experience and are required to engage in a service-learning
experience. Requiring candidates to engage in field and service experiences across multiple courses and multiple
assignments allows our candidates-turned-teachers to align their emergent practice with the view that students are
individuals with particular learning needs regardless of social difference; they are also individuals who are affected by a
larger structure of injustice which is based upon social difference. By helping candidates craft these new lenses, the
professors hope to instill courage so that they may be able to bring about ameliorative change in our schools and society.
D. Relevance
This work has implications for policy in teacher preparation. As future teachers, our candidates will interact with
future students who are socio-economically, cognitively, and culturally diverse. Though elementary and middle school
programs more typically discuss teacher responses to diverse learning styles and diverse family and community
experiences, high school programs have been slower to recognize that teachers must be more than subject experts. On-
going research and development on this school of education’s concentrated effort to develop candidates who are
instructionally innovative, culturally responsive, and subject experts will provide additional insight and implications for
schools of education.
2


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