AACTE to Honor JTE Article on Inquiry-Oriented Teaching Standards


AACTE has chosen an article by Claire Sinnema, Frauke Meyer, and Graeme Aitken of the University of Auckland (New Zealand) to receive the 2018 AACTE Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) Article Award. The winning article, “Capturing the Complex, Situated, and Active Nature of Teaching Through Inquiry-Oriented Standards for Teaching,” was published in the January/February 2017 issue of the journal. The award will be presented at the 70th AACTE Annual Meeting Opening Keynote session, March 1 in Baltimore, Maryland.

In this article, the authors identify problems in the design and implementation of teaching standards that widen the divide between theory and practice. They propose an alternative model, dubbed Teaching for Better Learning, which attempts to account for the complex contextual features that teachers face and that significantly shape the identification of student needs and instructional practices. This model also positions both teachers and students as learners and is driven by inquiry and evidence. In this way, the authors raise critical issues that diverse stakeholders in teacher preparation – from practitioners to policy makers – must take into account to ensure more effective teaching.

“The Teaching for Better Learning (TBL) model and standards set out in this article contribute an innovative approach to our thinking about teaching standards that not only challenges persistent and oft-criticized norms in the design and approach to standards set out for the teaching profession, but proposes an alternative approach,” said Associate Professor Mark Barrow, dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. “The inquiry-oriented approach the paper suggests is timely given widespread recognition of the role of rigorous inquiry in effective teaching and calls for professionalization of the teaching profession,” a phenomenon that is hardly restricted to a single country.

“The authors cleverly foreground the practice of inquiry into the priorities for, approach to, and impact of teaching, with careful integration of knowledge, competencies, dispositions, commitments, and concern for social justice,” Barrow said. “Most importantly, this article disrupts a commonly accepted approach to standards in which lists of indicators are presented in domains that, despite being described as interrelated, remain discrete – an approach that is not consistent with the very nature of teaching.”

Sinnema, an associate professor in the school of Learning, Development, and Professional Practice, studies the improvement of teaching and learning – and related policies – across four main strands: educational leadership, curriculum, practitioner inquiry, and standards.

Meyer, a lecturer and research associate in the Centre for Educational Leadership, studies educational leadership and leadership practices, teacher education, literacy practices, and special needs education.

Aitken, currently director of educational initiatives in the University of Auckland’s Office of the Vice Chancellor, was previously dean of education and social work. His research has focused on teaching effectiveness and on curriculum development and design.

The AACTE Committee on Research and Dissemination selected the winning article for the award from a set of nominees from Volume 68 submitted by the journal’s editors. The award includes recognition at the AACTE Annual Meeting as well as a cash prize sponsored by SAGE Publications.

The article is available online here. In addition, the JTE Insider blog created by the editors at Michigan State University published an interview with the authors about this article, which can be read here. For information about the journal and access to other articles, visit http://journals.sagepub.com/home/jte.

AACTE issued a press release today announcing all of its 2018 award winners. For more information on AACTE’s awards program, visit http://aacte.org/professional-development-and-events/awards.

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