This article reports on a case study of an English language arts (ELA) teacher education course that prioritized amplification as a method to decenter whiteness in English teacher preparation. The researchers demonstrate how they engaged in designing a course that aimed to use interactive digital technologies and multimodal texts to amplify racially and ethnically marginalized voices in ELA preservice education. Design principles that facilitated amplification included saturation of the learning environment with mediational resources and tools (Gutiérrez & Vossoughi, 2010) and the notion of “low floor and wide walls” (Resnick & Silverman, 2005). The analysis revealed ways in which the course design supported engagement with culturally sustaining pedagogies and the amplification of authors, literary characters, and preservice teachers from historically marginalized groups. Concrete examples are provided of intentional design decisions and course features that opened up opportunities for preservice teachers to engage in discourse that foregrounded identities related to race, ethnicity, language, and gender/sexual orientation.
The closing of universities and pK-12 schools in March 2020 pushed teacher preparation programs to explore virtual models of providing teacher candidates with clinical experiences. This case study chronicles a multiple-semester collaboration between a bilingual graduate-level teacher candidate (TC) and university faculty members (authors) exploring what it might mean to enact writing instruction in a fully virtual community of in-service teachers, undergraduate- and graduate-level TCs, and children in grades K-5. Drawing on Garcia et al.’s (2016) current/corriente metaphor, the TC’s translanguaging performances in the community across time were examined to track the multidirectional flows of mentorship that shifted the community’s engagement as digital writers and writing teachers. Findings identified three critical flows of mentorship made possible by the virtual infrastructure: (a) mentorship between TCs and in-service teachers; (b) mentorship between TCs and faculty members; and (c) and mentorship between families/caregivers and TCs. These multidirectional flows disrupted traditional hierarchical notions of university-pK-12 school demarcations, offering insights into possibilities for reimagining more effective virtual clinical models for preparing TCs who can enact culturally sustaining writing pedagogy as a means of sustaining all children’s cultural and linguistic practices.
Zeichner and Bier (2015) noted the “opportunities and pitfalls” of the shift toward a greater focus on field experiences in teacher education programs in the United States. In particular, equitable opportunities for all teacher candidates to experience and apply culturally sustaining ELA praxis are even fewer given the marginalization of these pedagogies in schools under pressure to meet curricular standards and improve test scores. The COVID-19 global pandemic rapidly transformed the landscape of ELA teacher candidates’ field experiences in 2020. Using Grossman’s (2009) theoretical framework of representation, decomposition, and approximation of practice to analyze teacher learning, the authors explored and analyzed the opportunities and constraints of virtual fieldwork during a global pandemic. Implications are addressed for technology-supported opportunities to learn in the field that will endure beyond the current moment.
At the start of the pandemic, a lot of talk occurred about reimagining education, especially since the inception of schooling in America is not built for Black children. Research has examined the violence against Black children in schools, not to mention the double pandemic that they are experiencing with COVID-19 and the country’s history of racism. As a Black scholar-practitioner, this author was hopeful for the future of education and teacher education. As the school year approached, however, and universities made a decision about virtual, hybrid, or in-person teaching and learning, the author noticed that the content or pedagogical practices had not changed or been reimagined, especially in English Education teacher preparation programs. As an effort to shift from talking about reimagining to action, the author utilized the framework of being, learning and teaching, and technology as a pedagogical tool to center Blackness in redesigning the course, English Language: Grammar and Usage, that did not enact linguistic violence or center white Mainstream English (Baker-Bell, 2020).