The Shift to “We” with Teacher Education Programs and Teaching Artists – Browning Neddeau, Faculty, USF and SJSU credentialing programsPosted: June 28, 2012 Filed under: Mapping 4 Comments
The shift from “you” and “me” to “we” is highly relevant to my work in teacher education and equally as relevant to the credential students served in teacher education programs. Teacher education is a field that is constantly evolving. In 1983, A Nation At Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform pushed teachers to focus on accountability in student achievement. Some states have since tied student achievement to a teacher’s salary or employment status. This type of relationship is sometimes coined “performance-based pay”.
The latest evolution in teacher education is the understanding and appreciation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). A Nation At Risk, performance-based pay, and CCSS may all be well-intentioned, but all three polarize our work as professionals in education. They push teachers to focus on student achievement in their individual classrooms and to isolate student achievement in certain content areas such as English language arts and mathematics instead of celebrating the individuality within each of us. They encourage a departmentalized learning mentality rather than an integrated approach to learning, exploring, and growing.
Emphasizing the need for collaboration in teacher education courses may be a powerful tool as preservice teachers become inservice teachers. This is especially true as attention grows with conversations concerning STEM to STEAM and how both of these contribute to student achievement while embracing individuality and, hence, creativity in all of us. I predict that such conversations in teacher education courses will demand greater collaboration with teaching artists and professors in teacher education as standards-based instruction is neither new nor disappearing from the teaching profession.
Through collaboration with teaching artists, teachers can blend their skills in content pedagogy with effective and meaningful experiences in the arts. Early experiences with teaching artists in teacher education programs will allow preservice teachers to engage in the power of art-making early in their teaching careers.
I think that engaging in a shift from “you” and “me” to “we” truly needs to be embraced early in one’s teaching career before novice teachers become “too busy” to explore alternative ways of knowing that may benefit their students tenfold. This leaves us with the question: How shall we start this important dialogue about the shift to “we” with teacher education programs and teaching artists that is both evidence-based and rewarding for all involved in the collaborative efforts?
– Browning Neddeau
Faculty member at the University of San Francisco and San Jose State University in their multiple subjects teacher credentialing programs
Absolutely integration is key! As Common Core Standards become “the standard” in our schools, how can we think about working within this framework to promote integrated learning? Surely, there must be a way to help educators draw from integrated learning pracites to improve student growth and learning within each of the specific subjects of Common Core.
Any thoughts from educators in specific subjects about how integrated learning has advanced your practice in the classroom? I know you’re out there!!
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Teachers like artists must be creative, open to new experiences, explorers, curious, and invested in collaborations. How many ways could we approach the Common Core through the creative process? Could the arts be one of the pillars within the structure of the Common Core of each subject? If so, what ideas are there for infusion? What first steps could teachers take to shift to “we”? When the librarian, the artist, and the social studies or science or language arts teacher work on a unit on poetry, who benefits? When the science teacher, the mathematician and the music teacher find common areas to address within the Common Core what are the results? What has been tried? What would you like to try?
Teaching preservice teachers how to collaborate is important and the inclusion of Common Core will help but we also need to enlist CTC and NCATE, those agencies which accredit teacher education programs. If colloaborative skills are part of their standards, they will be part of teacher education. An additional challenge is reaching those faculty in schools of education who perpetuate the paradigm of the teacher as the sole leader in the classroom.