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Sociocultural Strategies for Recruiting Teachers Into Urban Classrooms: Building Informed Private Theories
Unformatted Document Text:  education program theme: "Understands the Complex Lives of Children and Adults in Schools and Society." In this, we attempt to make public a privately held theory of faculty, that issues of equity and social justice are essential elements of teaching. Such questioning requires that we maintain our autonomy to use the standards in ways that promote teacher development not only in terms of teaching performance, but also in our students’ ability to think, inquire, and work collaboratively. In other words, we adapt our programs to address the formal and public state and national standards within our local context. “Understand the Complex Lives of Children…” was written in the form of a teacher standard with research rationale, standard statement, and 12 indicators. All three components emphasize consideration of the contrast and complex interplay and interaction among personal, social, political, and educational factors in exploring the success or failure of students in schools and the benefits of inclusive and affirming educational experiences (Nieto, 2000). In general, the standard requires that students exhibit the ability to: recognize and respect special needs, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious, gender, and socioeconomic diversity; promote societal cohesiveness based on the shared participation of diverse peoples; maximize equality of opportunity for all individuals and groups; and facilitate constructive societal and educational change that enhances human dignity and democratic ideals. Using these principles, we expanded on the State Teacher Standards to be more intentionally directed to the education of all learners. The standard was added to the portfolio assessment of students and the program assessment of the department. Adding the UofL diversity standard to the [state] Teacher Standards helps teacher candidates understand that the work of meeting the needs of all learners takes conscientious application of all of the teaching strategies one knows as well as searching for strategies that one needs. Likewise, the standards leads faculty members to develop course projects that challenge teacher candidates to view themselves and develop their capacity as change agents, using methods that reach and influence a diverse set of prospective teachers. Section II: Outcomes and Methods A. Learner/Participant Outcomes: Our teacher preparation programs are structured to provide students’ individual and collective experiences and promote their own inquiry so that they can negotiate their own way into and through the teaching profession. We believe that teaching and professional standards, like other pieces of curricula, must be explored by those implementing them and must be adapted to local contexts (Bullough and Gitlin, 1995). The department’s commitment to equity and social justice has evolved in response to our sociocultural history as a department. We practice our craft within the context of a metropolitan university that sought to serve a complex urban school district. Because an appreciation of diversity is present as a standard for our department, is communicated to our students, and is assessed for each student enrolled in the program, it serves as a mission for our work as faculty in each of our courses. The diversity standard fuels the ongoing development of courses and the renovation of our teacher education programs. The Teaching Profession was drenched in the diversity standard because it sought to communicate to each student that teaching was a complex decision-making career in which challenges presented themselves at all levels in every moment of the day. This framework has served to emphasize that one of our essential tasks as teacher educators is to assist our students – from initial field experiences and early education courses through student teaching and full immersion responsibilities in a classroom – to develop their own private theories about teaching. Eighteen sections of the course have enrolled 510 students since Fall, 2001. Of those, 250 or fewer would have earned a sufficient number of credit hours to apply to the college for admission to teacher education programs. Of these, 65 have been admitted. We know that the 510 students who have taken the course are the first undergraduates in 10 years to take pre-professional courses in the College of Education. Whether or not they become teachers, they have experienced the classroom from a teacher’s point of view and, we hope, have grown in awareness and appreciation of teachers’ work amidst realities of the diverse, urban classroom. In addition, these students – the future citizenry in some school district somewhere in the future – may have a clearer understanding of how schools set and try to achieve their goals. Each of these students also learned how social scientists conduct their work and have developed an appreciation for the steps in a research study. They learned to collect data in several forms – artifacts, field notes, interviews, reflection, and readings – and to look for themes across the data. They learned to support their analysis with vivid and pertinent examples. They learned also how to do the mechanical tasks of data organization into charts and appendices and how to write a coherent, well-documented paper. Second, we suspect that the 200 (or more) students who were eligible but did not apply to teacher education, were sufficiently sated by their brief encounter with the urban classroom. We do not have enough information about our students to know how keenly they sought to become teachers before taking the course; we only know that the thought had at least crossed their minds. If we played a part in assisting students to choose a different career path before they committed to an education degree only to become more catalyst for the “revolving door”, we are satisfied. Follow-up interviews with random samples of students who finished the course but who did not choose teacher education is an intended step we will take. Finally, we know that the 65 admitted students are beginning their teacher education program with eyes wide open. We believe that we have an ethical responsibility to our students to acknowledge the challenges they will likely face in their first classroom, and we have done so. In terms of recruitment, about 1 in 4 students has chosen to continue in the program. Nationally, the number of students who want to teach in urban settings is 1 in 12 (ATE, AACTE 2006 Proposal -- Sociocultural Strategies … 3

Authors: Larson, Ann Elisabeth. and Thomas, Mary.
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education program theme: "Understands the Complex Lives of Children and Adults in Schools and
Society." In this, we attempt to make public a privately held theory of faculty, that issues of equity and
social justice are essential elements of teaching. Such questioning requires that we maintain our autonomy
to use the standards in ways that promote teacher development not only in terms of teaching performance,
but also in our students’ ability to think, inquire, and work collaboratively. In other words, we adapt our
programs to address the formal and public state and national standards within our local context.
“Understand the Complex Lives of Children…” was written in the form of a teacher standard with research
rationale, standard statement, and 12 indicators. All three components emphasize consideration of the
contrast and complex interplay and interaction among personal, social, political, and educational factors in
exploring the success or failure of students in schools and the benefits of inclusive and affirming
educational experiences (Nieto, 2000). In general, the standard requires that students exhibit the ability to:
recognize and respect special needs, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious, gender, and socioeconomic
diversity; promote societal cohesiveness based on the shared participation of diverse peoples; maximize
equality of opportunity for all individuals and groups; and facilitate constructive societal and educational
change that enhances human dignity and democratic ideals
. Using these principles, we expanded on the
State Teacher Standards to be more intentionally directed to the education of all learners. The standard was
added to the portfolio assessment of students and the program assessment of the department. Adding the
UofL diversity standard to the [state] Teacher Standards helps teacher candidates understand that the work
of meeting the needs of all learners takes conscientious application of all of the teaching strategies one
knows as well as searching for strategies that one needs. Likewise, the standards leads faculty members to
develop course projects that challenge teacher candidates to view themselves and develop their capacity as
change agents, using methods that reach and influence a diverse set of prospective teachers.
Section II: Outcomes and Methods A. Learner/Participant Outcomes:
Our teacher preparation programs are structured to provide students’ individual and collective experiences
and promote their own inquiry so that they can negotiate their own way into and through the teaching
profession. We believe that teaching and professional standards, like other pieces of curricula, must be
explored by those implementing them and must be adapted to local contexts (Bullough and Gitlin, 1995).
The department’s commitment to equity and social justice has evolved in response to our sociocultural
history as a department. We practice our craft within the context of a metropolitan university that sought to
serve a complex urban school district. Because an appreciation of diversity is present as a standard for our
department, is communicated to our students, and is assessed for each student enrolled in the program, it
serves as a mission for our work as faculty in each of our courses. The diversity standard fuels the ongoing
development of courses and the renovation of our teacher education programs. The Teaching Profession
was drenched in the diversity standard because it sought to communicate to each student that teaching was
a complex decision-making career in which challenges presented themselves at all levels in every moment
of the day. This framework has served to emphasize that one of our essential tasks as teacher educators is
to assist our students – from initial field experiences and early education courses through student teaching
and full immersion responsibilities in a classroom – to develop their own private theories about teaching.
Eighteen sections of the course have enrolled 510 students since Fall, 2001. Of those, 250 or fewer would
have earned a sufficient number of credit hours to apply to the college for admission to teacher education
programs. Of these, 65 have been admitted. We know that the 510 students who have taken the course are
the first undergraduates in 10 years to take pre-professional courses in the College of Education. Whether
or not they become teachers, they have experienced the classroom from a teacher’s point of view and, we
hope, have grown in awareness and appreciation of teachers’ work amidst realities of the diverse, urban
classroom. In addition, these students – the future citizenry in some school district somewhere in the future
– may have a clearer understanding of how schools set and try to achieve their goals. Each of these
students also learned how social scientists conduct their work and have developed an appreciation for the
steps in a research study. They learned to collect data in several forms – artifacts, field notes, interviews,
reflection, and readings – and to look for themes across the data. They learned to support their analysis
with vivid and pertinent examples. They learned also how to do the mechanical tasks of data organization
into charts and appendices and how to write a coherent, well-documented paper. Second, we suspect that
the 200 (or more) students who were eligible but did not apply to teacher education, were sufficiently sated
by their brief encounter with the urban classroom. We do not have enough information about our students
to know how keenly they sought to become teachers before taking the course; we only know that the
thought had at least crossed their minds. If we played a part in assisting students to choose a different
career path before they committed to an education degree only to become more catalyst for the “revolving
door”, we are satisfied. Follow-up interviews with random samples of students who finished the course but
who did not choose teacher education is an intended step we will take. Finally, we know that the 65
admitted students are beginning their teacher education program with eyes wide open. We believe that we
have an ethical responsibility to our students to acknowledge the challenges they will likely face in their
first classroom, and we have done so. In terms of recruitment, about 1 in 4 students has chosen to continue
in the program. Nationally, the number of students who want to teach in urban settings is 1 in 12 (ATE,
AACTE 2006 Proposal -- Sociocultural Strategies
3


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