At the American Education Research Association annual meeting in April, Clive Beck, Clare Kosnik and members of their research team received an award from the AERA Constructivist SIG for a submission based on their longitudinal study of 40 teachers. This study, which began in 2004, has been funded by four successive SSHRC grants and will continue for at least two more years; it is one of the most extensive longitudinal studies of teachers ever conducted. Also in April, a chapter on longitudinal research written by Clive, Clare and Elizabeth Rosales was published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Education.
Clare and I (Clive) and our wonderful research team are now in year 13 of our longitudinal study of 40 teachers, 20 of whom began teaching in 2004 and 20 in 2007. Every year we interview them and, wherever possible, observe them in their classrooms. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) continues to provide funding for the project and will do so for at least another 2 years. We are now gearing up for the 2017 interviews beginning in late April.
Of the original 45 teachers, 3 have left the study and 2 have dropped out of teaching, a remarkable retention rate. As the years mount, interest in the study grows. Four of five proposals based on the study for the 2017 AERA Conference in San Antonio were accepted for presentation. We were also asked to write a chapter on Longitudinal Study of Teachers for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education, to appear this year. For their part, the teachers continue to show resilience despite the increasing challenges of teaching (which they tell us about), including: larger class sizes, reduced special education support, increased standardized testing of students, and top-down control of teachers’ practices.
Based on the study, perhaps the biggest problem we see in education today is this ill-conceived, top-down monitoring of students and teachers, which does very little good and a great deal of harm, and ignores the steadily developing expertise of teachers – which again our study reveals. We can only hope that governments and school systems soon begin to realize the harm they are doing. Meanwhile, we work to encourage teachers to look for the many opportunities for decision-making and professionalism that still remain in school classrooms.
I (Clare) love sharing good news. Our book Building Bridges: Rethinking Literacy Teacher Education in a Digital Era has just been published. Being modest (tee hee) I think it is blockbuster!!!! Attached is a flier for the book and when you look at the Table of Contents you will see what I mean — incredible contributors. Here a flier for the book Building Bridges_Flyer
If you are comfortable share this info on your FB page/Twitter/Website. The tiny url is http://tinyurl.com/hwtvoua
I am so proud of this book and learned so much editing it!
On this site we have shared many of our stories. I (Clare) am happy to share some exciting news. I have been appointed to be the Director of Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Studies at the University of Toronto.
ICS has a tripartite mission to bring together graduate teacher education in a 2-year Master of Arts Program, exemplary educational practices in the Laboratory School, and leading multidisciplinary research in child development at the Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw Centre.
Faculty, lab school teacher-researchers, and staff are dedicated to setting the highest standards for children’s education and development. By connecting research, training, and practice, Jackman ICS leads the way as Canada’s foremost teaching and learning environment, with an international reputation for leadership.
Housed in an old mansion on the university grounds ICS is an outstanding educational institution. There are so many outstanding educators/researchers at ICS including Yiola who is a regular contributor to this blog. By coincidence the principal of the lab school, Richard Messina, is a former student teacher of mine. My appointment begins November 1, 2015.
Clive and I (Clare) along with our amazing research team (many of whom have posted blogs) having been following 40 teachers, some for 10 years and others for 8 years. This has been incredibly rewarding research because we have seen how teachers change over time. In Growing as a teacher: Goals and pathways
of ongoing teacher learning we reported on their first 8 years of teaching. We are VERY happy to report that we have received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to continue our research for another five years. The title of our proposal was: Multiliteracies Teaching in a Digital Age: Balancing the Old and the New. Click here to see the Description of Research that we submitted to SSHRC. Final Detailed Description 2014We could not have conducted this research without the work of our research team and the cooperation of the teachers. We look forward to seeing how our teachers change and develop as mid-career to later-career teachers.
I (Clare) got a summary from WordPress about our activities this year. Wow! For a little educational blog we are proud of our efforts. Thank you readers for taking the time to read our posts, post comments, and share our work with your network.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Our Symposium was amazing. For those who have read the blog posts about it, I (Clare) am sure you got the sense that it was very interesting and productive. One of the words I would use to describe it is dynamic. There was such enthusiasm to discuss and grapple with the issues that we moved so beyond where we started (how to integrate digital technology into teacher education). Given that most people did not know each other, came from different countries, and had different areas of specialization (digital technology, teacher educators, teachers, policy) these differences did not divide us but they somehow brought us together to form a community. Not wanting to sound sentimental or superficial, I feel that something “magical” happened at the Symposium. The barriers melted away instantly and learning happened. Jean Murray’s “speed dating” opening activity immediately got us talking to each other. The laughter as we discovered interesting facts each other (e.g., John was fired as a gravedigger) raised the noise level to a crescendo. From there the Symposium developed into a committed group of educators focused on learning.
The two-day event was not like anything I have never experienced in my life – there was no posturing, there was careful listening, comments were relevant, questions were thoughtfully phrased, and there was commitment to something larger than individual research agendas. The interactions were respectful and genuine. I had assumed we would learn much about each other’s research and national contexts, I did not think that we would become a little community of teacher educators looking at the larger questions of education within a changing world. The level of enthusiasm was still sky high at the end of two intense days. There was no rush to leave or end the discussion.
So often in academia, department meetings are monopolized by issues such as timetabling. Conferences presentations are often more monologues that discussion. We need time to talk about the issues. The structure of the Symposium worked well – mini presentations by each person and time for large and small group discussion. This Connection Grant was not extravagant – we did it on a shoe-string budget. A number of universities contributed small amounts and we stretched our dollars. Given the money spent on university and government-based initiatives there is money for these kinds of events. Governments and universities need to spend their money thoughtfully and carefully – I would say, let’s use our Symposium as a model of professional development for teacher educators and for policy development – bring the researchers together, devise a format for sharing and discussion, and let them proceed. I suspect the guidelines for education that they develop will be sensible and feasible.
Securing the grant and organizing the logistics were demanding. Our challenge now is to build on what we built and experienced. It is not just that I have much to learn from the amazing colleagues at the Symposium, but I also know that we are much stronger as a group. Teacher education is under siege. Individuals cannot resolve the challenges we face in teacher education but as a group perhaps we can do “something.” There has never been greater need to work together. I feel gratified — all of the work was so worth it. Thank you to the 16 participants who made this unique experience one I will never forget. I am eager to continue our collaborations. This website and blog will provide updates on our continued work together.
As many of our blog followers know we are hosting the Symposium : Rethinking Literacy Teacher Education for the Digital Era: Teacher Educators, Literacy Educators, and Digital Technology Experts Working Together. One of the main activities of the project is bringing together 17 experts from three fields and 4 countries (Canada, US, UK, and Australia) to address the following questions.
• How can literacy/English teacher educators (LTEs) prepare student teachers to develop and implement literacy programs that capitalize on digital technology (DT)?
• What teacher education curriculum changes are required to better prepare future teachers to integrate technology in their own teaching?
• What professional learning support do LTEs need to develop courses that will integrate and make greater use of DT?
The Symposium will be held over two days: June 5 and 6 in London England. We will send updates daily.
As academics we tend to work in our “silo” which although allows us to specialize it has limitations. The symposium will provide an opportunity to work in an inter-disciplinary manner which may help us move forward the field of literacy teacher education. The participants are:
Clare Kosnik (P.I.)
Clive Beck – Co-applicant – OISE/University of Toronto
Pooja Dharamshi – OISE/University of Toronto
Cathy Miyata – OISE/University of Toronto
Lydia Menna – OISE/University of Toronto
Shawn Bullock – Simon Fraser University
Jean Murray – Co-applicant – University of East London
Bethan Marshall – Co-applicant – King’s College
John Yandell – Institute of Education, University of London
Sue Dymoke – University of Leicester
Sam Twiselton – Sheffield Hallam University
Alison Baker – University of East London
Lin Goodwin – Co-applicant – Teachers College
Peter Williamson – University of San Francisco
Simone White – Co-applicant – Monash University
Graham Parr – Monash University
Neil Selwyn – Monash University
Scott Bulfin – Monash University
The Symposium is being held at Tug Agency: Tug is a search marketing led agency, specialising in pay per click advertising, biddable display, search engine optimisation, affiliates and social media marketing. We’re called Tug because we believe that pull marketing is the most cost effective way to drive traffic to our clients’ websites, and the best way to drive ROI positive online conversions.http://www.tugagency.com
Yesterday, we (Clare’s grad students) had the honour of seeing Clare awarded the 2014 JJ Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Award. Professor Brian Corman, Dean of Graduate Studies (Uof T), acted as MC for the proceedings. Dean Corman reported there were many distinguished applications and the selection committee was under great pressure. However, the decision to award Clare was unanimous. 19 letters from present and former grad students were included in the application. Dean Corman shared some of the comments written in the letters: “epitome of a pedagogy of caring”, “challenged me to think deeply”, “met with me weekly, which after talking to other grad students, I realized other supervisors did not do”. Clearly, her students felt privileged to have worked and be working with her.
While accepting the award, Clare suggested doctoral supervision was a terrific topic for a research study. She shared that as she read the letters she was astounded by the differences in what the doctoral students said mattered to them. We hope someone takes Clare up on this suggestion. They should begin the study with Clare. Using her work ethic as a model, many other grad students might have the opportunity to work with a supervisor as dedicated, caring and wise as Clare.
Congratulations, Clare! Well deserved.