Volume 44, Number 4, July 2012
Level(s): College, Secondary
Volume 44, Number 4, July 2012
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Opening the Conversation: Looking Back at 2011 to Inform 2012
Leslie S. Rush and Lisa Scherff
Abstract: Editors Scherff and Rush introduce the issue and its themes.
Developing Understandings of Race: Preservice Teachers’ Counter-Narrative (Re)Constructions of People of Color in Young Adult Literature
Wendy J. Glenn
Abstract: This qualitative study reveals the ways in which reading and reflecting on two counter-narrative young adult novels fostered opportunities for preservice English teachers to think more acutely about their understandings of race within and beyond the text. Participants expressed feelings of empathy with and connection to characters whose cultural realities are different from their own. This emphasis on the universal human condition and transcendent power of literature suggests the potential of counter-narrative literature to allow participants to connect with characters across lines of difference. In addition, participants provided evidence of how the counter-narratives encouraged them to reconsider assumptions that society and they hold and perpetuate relative to people of color. The texts offered readers a new way in which to reconceptualize societal norms to reconsider how they see the seeming “other” and, in some cases, recognize their own culpability in promoting existing stereotypes. Finally, the counter-narrative texts heightened participants’ awareness of Whiteness, the ways in which race can privilege or limit by fostering insider or outsider status, and the discomfort that can result when such dichotomies define our identities. Findings illuminate the complexities inherent in the development of understandings of race among preservice teachers and reveal a richer understanding of preservice teachers’ development of knowledge related to the educational needs of students of color and their attitudes toward these students in and out of the classroom.
Negotiating the Rub between Cultures: Teacher Talk and Sustained Shifts in Practice
Jessica Matthews Meth and Amy Azano
Abstract: This article examines the outcomes of an eight-month professional development initiative, designed to support six Writing Project teachers’ classroom inquiry projects, each focused on improving an aspect of student writing. We begin by introducing the genesis of these classroom research projects as well as the structure and content of the support program, consisting of seven two-hour sessions between October 2009 and April 2010. Data consisted of observations of these sessions and teacher interviews. We report the successes and challenges of this learning community in supporting teachers’ professional growth. Findings uncover the barriers participants faced while working toward classroom inquiry goals and suggest the importance of community, critical, structured discussion, and active problem solving in developing teachers' confidence. We close by discussing the implications of this study for professional development in schools.
Extending the Conversation: English Teachers, Administrators, and Dialogue: Transcending the Asymmetry of Power in the Discourse of Educational Policy
Trevor Thomas Stewart
Abstract: In this article, I present six English teachers’ perceptions of the dialogue used by principals and superintendents to communicate policy mandates in their schools. I wanted to learn about the ways in which the discourse employed by these two kinds of policymakers influenced English teachers’ experiences as professionals and how these policies and the language used to convey them influenced the teachers’ autonomy and their instructional decisions. I found that these teachers’ perceived that policymakers employed an authoritative discourse (Bakhtin 1981, 1986) that made it difficult for them to engage in dialogue with the policy mandates they received. The stories told by these teachers offer some insight into the culture of U.S. education, a culture that has historically marginalized and ignored the expertise of the teachers charged with educating future generations.
English Education Reviewers for 2011
Author Index to Volume 44