English/Language Arts Education
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).
Structures such as rehearsals have been designed within mathematics education to engage teacher candidates in deliberate practice of specific teaching episodes before enacting within classroom settings. Current research has analyzed traditional rehearsals that involve peers acting as K-12 students as the teacher candidate facilitates an activity; however innovative technologies such as virtual simulation software — Mursion® (developed as TeachLivE™) — offer new opportunities to use student avatars in this context. This work explores the use of rehearsals within virtual simulations as compared to traditional rehearsals by using (nonpooled) two-sample, t-tests to compare changes in the control and comparison groups regarding their use of eliciting strategies. Similarity of the groups in how they develop eliciting strategies presents evidence that virtual simulations have the potential to provide comparable contexts for rehearsals. At the same time, the specific differences between groups prompts further examination of the contexts and patterns in discussion to better understand what is influencing differential change.
Frameworks can influence the work of mathematics teacher educators (MTEs) in many different ways. Frameworks can suggest a structure around which MTEs design instruction, provide a common language for communicating with prospective teachers, and support prospective teachers as they design their own instruction. This paper reports findings related to the frameworks that MTEs are currently using in their work of preparing secondary mathematics teachers to teach with technology. Findings include a list of 17 frameworks, which fall into four categories with respect to their framing: (a) how students use and learn with technology, (b) the design and evaluation of technology tools and tasks, (c) how teachers use technology, and (d) how teachers learn to use technology. The individual frameworks within each category are discussed and implications for mathematics teacher educators are presented. Implications include a critical discussion of what is missing among the frameworks and challenges for the field.
This paper describes disciplinary computational thinking (CT) interventions within mathematics and science methods courses, an instructional technology course, and a practicum placement for elementary preservice teachers (PSTs). The population included two cohorts of elementary PSTs from fall 2018 (n = 9) and fall 2019 (n = 12). Curricular interventions included opportunities for PSTs to practice using, teaching, and reflecting upon disciplinary CT activities with educational robotics, 3D printing, and maker-centered tasks. Results indicate statistically significant increases in self-perceptions of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK), Personal Science Teaching Efficacy as measured by the STEBI instrument, and CT-efficacy for teaching as a result of participation in coursework. The PSTs were also able to describe specific ways they could use CT tools and practices for teaching elementary content and logically apply aspects of TPACK, Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition, and the CT in Mathematics and Science Taxonomy practices to their instruction (Weintrop et al., 2016). Recommendations include a progression of activities within courses that can serve as a model for other teacher educators in preparing PSTs to use disciplinary CT.
This paper describes a 54-hour summer institute for grades 6-12 mathematics and science teachers (N = 19) with a comprehensive approach to preparing teachers to use computational thinking (CT) in their classrooms, including training in Python computer programming with Lego® Mindstorms® robotics, mathematics content sessions, and opportunities to solve real-world robotics challenges. Results of an assessment used to measure content knowledge and CT skills and the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge survey both yielded statistically significant increases. Participant reflections revealed they developed an enhanced understanding of programming and the ability to integrate programming into the curriculum. The authors propose an innovative approach to teaching disciplinary CT within the context of programming robots capable of interacting with the outside world to address real-world challenges.
The STEM Literacy in the Classroom to Enable Societal Change project provided professional development for 24 mathematics, science, and science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics (STEM) teachers of grades 6-12. The project included a 2-week summer institute and one follow-up Saturday during the fall semester, for a total of 54 contact hours. Training focused on the use of engineering challenges that address current societal issues as a means to develop middle and high school teachers’ knowledge and use of coding, robotics, 3D printing and modeling, technical reading and writing (LaTeX), statistical analysis skills, and content and pedagogical skills. Results indicated statistically significant increases in content knowledge and technological pedagogical content knowledge and transfer of the use of 3D printing and methods for flipping instruction such as creating screencasts in the classroom. Although participants did not describe specific instances of using technical reading and writing in their classrooms, they felt better prepared to use and teach these skills. The authors propose an innovative approach to teaching disciplinary computational thinking (CT) with the use of real-world challenges. Recommendations for integrated STEM professional development include developing teachers’ disciplinary CT skills within the context of problem-based activities in mathematics and science classrooms rather than within standalone computer science courses and providing opportunities for teachers to coach others within their school system to encourage sustainability of training.
Social Studies Education
Traditional civic education in the U.S. often does not meet the needs of students. Whether through outdated or uninspiring methods or by functionally disenfranchising students who are not part of the predominant power structure, mainstream civic education maintains hegemonic structures and, in turn, systems of oppression. Scholars have argued that reconceptualizing citizenship is an important component to addressing these shortcomings. Further, an increased use of social media as a tool for new forms of civic participation has been observed, but little research has been done to examine how teachers are using these platforms in their teaching of civics. This study explored high school social studies teachers’ conceptualizations of citizenship and their use of the social media platform, Twitter, with their students for civic education. Findings showed that teachers’ conceptions of citizenship were influenced by their local context: teachers observed geographic or racial barriers for their students’ civic participation, which informed how they understood and taught about civic participation. Teachers’ use of Twitter was intended to provide ways for students to disrupt the systems that established these barriers; however, teachers’ practice of using Twitter did not always align with their intentions.
Effective teachers require a variety of skills, including the ability to provide and incorporate feedback from others. Self-review and peer review are two methods that help preservice teachers develop feedback skills. Teacher educators face a number of challenges utilizing peer and self-review within their courses, especially in large university classes where preservice teachers of different majors are enrolled in the same course. Online peer review tools offer a promising approach to support peer review in preservice teacher education. Guided by adult learning theory, an experimental study was conducted to determine the effect of online peer review, using the peer review tool Peermark™. Preservice teachers in the experimental group used online peer review to provide feedback to peers about the creation of a content specific graphic organizer. Results show that online peer review resulted in higher quality graphic organizers when compared to self-review. Limitations, implications for practice, and future research suggestions are discussed.