The Role of Context, Identity, and Pedagogical Tools in Learning to Teach for Social Justice and Equity

The Role of Context, Identity, and Pedagogical Tools in Learning to Teach for Social Justice and Equity

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Citing the pernicious achievement gap, many researchers call for deeper understanding of preparing teachers for success in diverse schools. Few studies have followed graduates of equity-oriented teacher preparation programs such as the qUrban Teacher Programq (UTP) into their first years of teaching to investigate how they apply what they learned in their field experiences and coursework and what conditions support and/or constrain teaching for equity and social justice (Cochran-Smith, 2004). In a qualitative case study approach, using a conceptual framework that blends sociocultural theory with literature on equity-oriented teaching, this dissertation examines the problem solving processes of three novice educators, all UTP graduates. Two teach in small high schools; one teaches in a traditional middle school. Specifically, I explore the ways in which they appropriate and implement pedagogical tools for equity-based teaching; the professional identities they develop as they engage in the activities of learning to teach for social justice and equity; and how context (schools; ongoing graduate coursework; district induction/mentoring program) shapes their experiences. Findings reveal that the teachers appropriated conceptual underpinnings as well as practical strategies for the five pedagogical tools defined in this study. Appropriation and implementation of the tools were mediated most significantly by the UTP's equity orientation, the teachers' identities, and the contexts of their schools; the districts' induction/mentoring program had a more neutral influence. The teachers negotiated tensions between the philosophy and orientation of the UTP and that of the schools and districts, including the induction/mentoring program. They also negotiated tensions between aspects of their identities and the contexts of their schools/districts. Reconciling these tensions contributed to identity development and influenced the settings. The findings suggest several extensions of Grossman et al.'s (1999, 2000) work on pedagogical tools for teaching English/Language Arts, with respect to the nature of pedagogical tools and levels of appropriation. The findings also suggest that although equity-oriented teaching is supported in some ways by the philosophy and structures of small schools, it is compromised in other ways. Teacher educators, induction coordinators, and school and district leaders can apply this study's conclusions to support the development of culturally responsive, equity-oriented teaching.... sanctions and having the school reconstituted yet again, a scenario that puts job security in jeopardy for Mia and all of ... The social studies department consists of six teachers, including Mia and one other sixth grade colleague with whomanbsp;...

Title:The Role of Context, Identity, and Pedagogical Tools in Learning to Teach for Social Justice and Equity
Publisher:ProQuest - 2007

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