AACTE to Honor JTE Article on Urban Indigenous Community Roles in Field-Based Teacher Preparation

AACTE has chosen Anna Lees of Western Washington University to receive the 2017 AACTE Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) Article Award for her article “The Roles of Urban Indigenous Community Members in Collaborative Field-Based Teacher Preparation,” published in the November/December 2016 issue of the journal. The award will be presented at the 69th AACTE Annual Meeting Speaker Spotlight Session, Saturday, March 4, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

The qualitative case study presented in this article used Indigenous Postcolonial Theory as a lens to explore the process and outcomes of a partnership between Indigenous community members and a teacher preparation program. The article offers scholarly insights and a model for the design and implementation of community-university partnerships in the support of preparing novice teachers to effectively work with Indigenous children and their families in urban environments.

“The article presents a vision of possibilities for schools of education that are interested in meaningfully and authentically integrating ethnic minority communities in the preparation of teacher candidates,” said Francisco Rios, dean of the Woodring College of Education at Western Washington University. “It centers the wisdom, knowledge, hopes, and dreams that local Indigenous community members bring to teacher candidates, teacher educators, and teacher preparation programs. It also demonstrates the role that the researcher can play in decolonizing approaches to teacher preparation via culturally sensible approaches to educational research.”

“The historical dispossession of Indigenous knowledges and priorities in education drove my decision to center Indigenous experiences in this study,” Lees explained in a recent interview on the “JTE Insider” blog. “Research with Indigenous communities is both essential and challenging for me as an Indigenous and multicultural scholar. […] I believe that tensions between research and Indigenous communities are important in consistently critiquing the purpose of the research and the level of reciprocity achieved, so the difficulties faced in designing and conducting Indigenous research are essential to the integrity of the work.”

Dean Rios said he values Lees’ commitment and looks forward to her future accomplishments. ““It should be noted that Dr. Lees is only in her second year as a faculty member,” he said. “As such, [this award] is an early indication of the strength of her professional experience and academic expertise, her ability to capitalize on her own cultural assets, her commitment to culturally appropriate education for teacher candidates, and her approaches to decolonizing educational research.”

At the end of each journal volume year, the JTE editors nominate what they consider to be the year’s top articles for this award. The nominees are then reviewed by the Committee on Research and Dissemination, which chooses a winner. The committee chose to honor Lees’ article over the other strong contenders because of the critical importance of place-based teacher preparation today and because of the article’s unique focus on centering voices from a community that is underrepresented in this field’s research and practice.

AACTE issued a press release today announcing all of its 2017 award winners. For information about the journal, visit http://journals.sagepub.com/home/jte. For more information on AACTE’s awards program, visit http://aacte.org/professional-development-and-events/awards.

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