The Shift to “We” with Teacher Education Programs and Teaching Artists – Browning Neddeau, Faculty, USF and SJSU credentialing programsPosted: June 28, 2012
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