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Learning to Teach (Squared): A Self-Study of a New Teacher Educator's Introductory Education Course
Unformatted Document Text:  In a discussion of “the new scholarship in teacher education,” Zeichner (1999) notes that during the last two decades of the twentieth century research shifted to encompass a broader perspective that includes teacher learning processes and the contexts in which this learning occurs. Studies of learning to teach, as well as case studies and self-studies of teacher education programs, exemplify this shift. More recently, constructivist and socially situated views of learning to teach have been emphasized in the research literature. These approaches focus on engaging beginning teachers in a process of constructing understandings with others rather than imparting the knowledge beginners require. With the introduction of the No Child Left Behind Act, we are experiencing a shift back to process-product research and prescriptive, technically-oriented policy. There is an irony here that just as literature is moving decidedly toward views and understandings of learning to teach that broaden our and acknowledge the complexity of teaching, reform policy, state and federal initiatives, and even public opinion are moving toward narrow, “teacher proof” views of teaching that stress teacher accountability over teacher learning. C. Contribution: One of the dilemmas facing the teacher education community is demonstrating the quality of our programs. Despite pressure to limit the role of the teacher, the complexity of teaching is being increasingly recognized and highlighted as a critical perspective in research (Cochran-Smith, 2003; Florio-Ruane, 2002). This view acknowledges that teaching is not linear, nor is it merely a matter of technical expertise. Teaching is fraught with uncertainty (Floden & Clark, 1988) and tension between competing and often conflicting interests (Lampert, 1985). Without a willingness to address complexity, both teacher educators and beginning teachers run the risk of perpetuating superficial, short-term solutions to important educational problems. Research and practice, such as the self-study presented here, which incorporate complex and multiple factors may be a difficult and messy endeavor. In the current accountability context, the pull toward "authority, efficiency, and simplicity" (Florio-Ruane, 2002) is strong, particularly in a political climate that stresses accountability and when the very lives of children are at stake. This study adds to this dialogue by critically examining and by unearthing teacher educators and beginning teachers pull toward technical-rational approaches to learning about teaching. D. Relevance and Implication for Action: Self-study in teacher education is a growing field (Loughran & Russell, 2002). Self-study has particular promise for supporting individual teacher educators in making and considering evidence for significant improvements in their roles, responsibilities, and courses. This may be particularly useful and important given that much of the research on learning to teach has been extrapolated based on individual studies of single courses or programmatic elements. Qualitative research that honestly situates itself as self-study, rather than assuming a broader context, enables teacher educators to evaluate and refine their courses and programs. Exemplary practice must be considered on both the macro and micro scale. Self-study helps us explore micro side of teacher education. Section II: Outcomes and Methods

Authors: Donnell, Kelly.
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In a discussion of “the new scholarship in teacher education,” Zeichner (1999) notes that
during the last two decades of the twentieth century research shifted to encompass a
broader perspective that includes teacher learning processes and the contexts in which
this learning occurs. Studies of learning to teach, as well as case studies and self-studies
of teacher education programs, exemplify this shift. More recently, constructivist and
socially situated views of learning to teach have been emphasized in the research
literature. These approaches focus on engaging beginning teachers in a process of
constructing understandings with others rather than imparting the knowledge beginners
require. With the introduction of the No Child Left Behind Act, we are experiencing a
shift back to process-product research and prescriptive, technically-oriented policy.
There is an irony here that just as literature is moving decidedly toward views and
understandings of learning to teach that broaden our and acknowledge the complexity of
teaching, reform policy, state and federal initiatives, and even public opinion are moving
toward narrow, “teacher proof” views of teaching that stress teacher accountability over
teacher learning.
C. Contribution:
One of the dilemmas facing the teacher education community is demonstrating the
quality of our programs. Despite pressure to limit the role of the teacher, the complexity
of teaching is being increasingly recognized and highlighted as a critical perspective in
research (Cochran-Smith, 2003; Florio-Ruane, 2002). This view acknowledges that
teaching is not linear, nor is it merely a matter of technical expertise. Teaching is fraught
with uncertainty (Floden & Clark, 1988) and tension between competing and often
conflicting interests (Lampert, 1985). Without a willingness to address complexity, both
teacher educators and beginning teachers run the risk of perpetuating superficial, short-
term solutions to important educational problems. Research and practice, such as the self-
study presented here, which incorporate complex and multiple factors may be a difficult
and messy endeavor. In the current accountability context, the pull toward "authority,
efficiency, and simplicity" (Florio-Ruane, 2002) is strong, particularly in a political
climate that stresses accountability and when the very lives of children are at stake. This
study adds to this dialogue by critically examining and by unearthing teacher educators
and beginning teachers pull toward technical-rational approaches to learning about
teaching.
D. Relevance and Implication for Action:
Self-study in teacher education is a growing field (Loughran & Russell, 2002). Self-study
has particular promise for supporting individual teacher educators in making and
considering evidence for significant improvements in their roles, responsibilities, and
courses. This may be particularly useful and important given that much of the research
on learning to teach has been extrapolated based on individual studies of single courses or
programmatic elements. Qualitative research that honestly situates itself as self-study,
rather than assuming a broader context, enables teacher educators to evaluate and refine
their courses and programs. Exemplary practice must be considered on both the macro
and micro scale. Self-study helps us explore micro side of teacher education.
Section II: Outcomes and Methods


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