Zygmunt, Clark to Win AACTE Award for Book on Teacher Education for Social Justice

AACTE has chosen Transforming Teacher Education for Social Justice, by Eva Zygmunt and Patricia Clark of Ball State University, to receive the 2017 AACTE Outstanding Book Award. The award will be presented at the 69th AACTE Annual Meeting Welcoming Session, Thursday, March 2, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

Published by Teachers College Press in 2015 with a foreword by the late Peter C. Murrell (and with contributions from additional authors Jon Clausen, Wilfridah Mucherah, and Susan Tancock), this volume highlights the award-winning “Schools Within the Context of Community” partnership between Ball State and the Whitely neighborhood of Muncie, Indiana. The authors explain the situated-learning philosophy that undergirds the program and how it meshes with clinical teacher preparation, community engagement, and service-learning to both develop culturally responsive educators and elevate student learning in the partner schools.

In his letter nominating the book for AACTE’s award, Professor Tyrone Howard of the University of California, Los Angeles, appreciates the authors’ asset-oriented view of the community and notes the power of the text’s “real-life” examples. “The voices from community members and teacher candidates highlight the challenges, complexities, yet the promise in doing community-engaged teacher education work,” he writes. “The authors send a message to anyone working in teacher preparation that we can all do more.”

AACTE’s Committee on Research and Dissemination, which reviewed numerous books nominated for the award, praised the inspiring, well-documented, and well-argued model presented in the book. Reviewers said the authors’ thoughtful frameworks, examples, and theoretical and practical analyses provide compelling models for other institutions.

“The book Transforming Teacher Education for Social Justice offers a new paradigm in teacher preparation that privileges the wisdom and expertise of communities in the training of culturally responsive teachers,” said Ball State Teachers College Dean John E. Jacobson. “The impact of the model can be seen in candidates who value and appreciate the cultural wealth of communities, and who are equipped to more effectively teach in ways that are relevant and engaging.”

The book’s lead authors are the cofounders of the Schools Within the Context of Community program. Zygmunt, a professor of elementary education, directs the program and also codirects the university’s new Alliance for Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation. Clark, a professor of early childhood education, is also chair of the Department of Elementary Education. Their work in the Whitely neighborhood already has won Ball State numerous recognitions, including the 2017 AACTE Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity (see announcement).

AACTE issued a press release today announcing all of its 2017 award winners. For more information on AACTE’s awards program, visit http://aacte.org/professional-development-and-events/awards. Nominations for the 2018 Outstanding Book Award will open in April.

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