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Authors Discuss Research on ‘Opportunity to Learn’ in Teacher Preparation?

This Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) interview features insights on the article entitled, “What Constitutes an ‘Opportunity to Learn’ in Teacher Preparation?” by Julie Cohen and Rebekah Berlin. The article was published in the September/October 2020 issue of the JTE. AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—just log in with your AACTE profile.

What motivated you to pursue this particular research topic?

The goal of the paper was to surface issues around measuring what happens in teacher preparation, in particular, the construct of “opportunity to learn” or OTL. Much of the prior research on OTL has relied on survey data, and scholars have often treated the idea of OTL as an objective reality, contingent on features of coursework or fieldwork made available in a given program. However, self-reports of “opportunities” are often divergent from other measures—like observations—of the same events. Rather than assume that self-reports tell us something conclusive about a particular program, we wanted to use the rich, multifaceted data we had from a longitudinal study of teacher preparation to analyze whether program features and candidate characteristics explain variation in reported OTL.

JTE Author Interview: Rethinking High-Leverage Practices in Justice-Oriented Ways

Cover page of Journal of Teacher EducationCheck out a recent JTE Insider blog interview by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—just log in with your AACTE profile.

This interview features insights on the article entitled, “Rethinking High-Leverage Practices in Justice-Oriented Ways” by Angela Calabrese Barton, Edna Tan, and Daniel J. Birmingham. The article was published in the September/October 2020 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education.

Article Abstract: Justice-oriented teaching must address how classroom-based disciplinary learning is shaped by interactions among local practice and systems of privilege and oppression. Our work advances current scholarship on high-leverage practices [HLPs] by emphasizing the need for teaching practices that restructure power relations in classrooms and their intersections with historicized injustice in local practice as a part of disciplinary learning. Drawing upon a critical justice stance, and long-term collaborative work with middle school teachers and youth, we report on empirically driven insights into patterns-in-practice in teaching which yield insight into both what justice-oriented high-leverage practices may be, and the cross-cutting ideals which undergird them. We discuss the patterns-in-practice and their implications for teaching and learning across subject areas: HLPs that work toward equitable and consequential ends need to be understood in terms of the practice itself and its individual and collective impact on classroom life.

Home/School: Research Imperatives, Learning Settings and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has made home settings an essential and, in many cases, the only place of formal learning for students. This shift has pulled parents, caretakers, and other family members even closer to the education of young people as they assume the work of schooling that has been substantially reconfigured by both the pandemic and online platforms. However, in faculties of education, homeschooling is often marginalized with limited funded research (Howell, 2013). Additionally, as Kennedy and Archambault (2012) argue, teacher education programs should have been taking a more proactive role in terms of K-12 online learning with a focus not simply on the technology (Ko & Rossen, 2017), but on the unique aspects of the pedagogy associated with this mode of instruction. Teachers may be ill-prepared to deliver online content, and many families are overwhelmed by the shift in the learning environment. The long-term impacts of this shift are unknown. Yet this uncertainty reasserts opportunities to both (1) leverage home and community settings as reservoirs of knowledge deserving greater attention for teachers and teacher educators and (2) consider how educational technology can be used to support pedagogies that are more centered on students’ interests, assets, and needs (Means et al, 2013).

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