Tag Archives: Clive Beck

AERA Award

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.

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Year 13 of Our Longitudinal Study of Teachers

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 classroomClive Becks. 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.

Building Bridges: Rethinking Literacy Teacher Education in a Digital Era

I (Clare) love sharing good news. Our book Building Bridges: Rethinking Literacy Teacher BookCoverCroppedEducation 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!

Educational Research: Small Scale or Large?

On Monday, Clare and I (Clive) had the privilege of attending an outstanding symposium at Brock University on self-Image Brock Symposiumstudy research on teacher education. It was organized by Tim Fletcher and Deirdre NiChroinin and funded by their respective institutions, Brock University and the University of Limerick. Highlighted speakers were Clare, Julian Kitchen, and Tom Russell. Apart from the local audience, the symposium was streamed live and will be archived for online access at : http://brockvideocentre.brocku.ca/videos/ (Under Self Study Symposium — 01:46:06).

One issue that came up was the validity of self-study inquiry versus research with a larger sample size. It was noted that there is pressure (from tenure and promotion committees as well as policy developers) to conduct research larger in scope than the typical self-study project. Some suggest that to increase the “significance” of self-study research it may be necessary to combine a number of smaller projects.

From the audience, I made a comment that was lost electronically and Tim and Deirdre have asked me to repeat it here. My comment was as follows:

Small scale research by individuals or small groups often provides a depth of understanding not available through large scale research. We must not assume that bigger is better. While large sample research is suitable for certain purposes, often something is lost when we move to a larger sample and have to ask simpler, one-shot questions, where the meaning of the questions and answers is often unclear. The typical self-study project enables us to probe in considerable depth the nature, purpose, and effectiveness of various teaching practices.

Dewey, Schon and, more recently, Zeichner, Cochran-Smith, and Lytle have emphasized how much practitioners learn on the job; and Bryk et al. in their recent book Learning to Improve (Harvard Education Press, 2015) maintain that quantitative researchers must join forces with on-site practitioner-inquirers to build a complex, publically available framework of educational concepts, principles, and practices (somewhat akin to Wikipedia). Both types of research are needed. We must not privilege one over the other.

Longitudinal Study of Teacher Continues: Multiliteracies Teaching in a Digital Age: Balancing the Old and the New

Clive and ClareClive 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

Growing as a Teacher book cover
Growing as a Teacher

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.

2014 in review

Hello Readers of Our Blog,

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.

Click here to see the complete report.

How do teachers learn? Guest blog by Elizabeth Rosales

What are the ways teachers learn? What kinds of professional development activities do Elizabeth Rosalesteachers participate in during their careers? What are the main supports for teacher learning in Ontario? What are the professional learning activities teachers find more helpful? What are teachers’ critiques to the current professional development activities?

These questions were in my mind when I (Elizabeth) started my Master´s thesis research at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Working with Clare Kosnik and Clive Beck in the longitudinal study of teachers (https://literacyteaching.net/projects/) has been a great opportunity to learn about teachers and teaching. My Master’s thesis research was a sub-study of this longitudinal study.

The experiences of Tanya and Anita – the two teachers who participated in my study – offered me a great opportunity to gain insight into their learning experiences. Drew on interviews that were held over their first eight years in the teaching profession, my aim was to:

  • identify the kinds of professional development opportunities that were available to the teachers, and
  • describe the teachers’ perceptions of the possibilities and limits of these opportunities.

The most relevant conclusions of my study are:

–        Mentoring can be very helpful provided the mentor is well-selected, the timing is precise, and the relationship is encouraging

The findings suggest that there are three key elements for a beneficial induction process: (i) the pairing process should consider a match in the teaching assignments of the mentor and mentee, (ii) the induction should start in the first year of teaching and early in the academic year, and (iii) the relationship should respond to the emotional needs of the new teacher.

–        Collaboration can significantly enhance teacher professional learning. However, the benefits can be constrained by educational policy pressures and different visions of teaching within the collaborating group.

The teachers participated in several formal and informal opportunities to collaborate with other teachers. They valued “bouncing ideas off each other” and “talking through” their pedagogical practices in these experiences.

Nevertheless, teachers critiqued the formal opportunities sponsored by the government since they focused on specific content that was not related to their needs. The research points to the necessity of teacher input and decision-making for the design and implementation of relevant professional development programs.

Also, teachers found it challenging when different vision of teaching emerge within the collaborating group. The findings suggest the importance of conducting a discussion of visions of teaching in order to establish common ground on which to build collaboration in a community of teachers.

–        University graduate degree work can be a valuable means of teacher professional learning through fostering connections between pedagogical theory and teaching practice.

The parallel work of teaching and part-time graduate studies presented one of the teachers with several opportunities to link theory and practice. There were reciprocal gains from participation in both spaces. For instance, the readings about new theories of literacy shaped her classroom practice, and also her teaching informed her research.

Further research is needed to understand the potential benefits of graduate studies as an alternative route for teacher professional development.

If you are interested in learning more about Tanya and Anita learning experiences, you can access the following link to download my full work (for FREE!)

https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/65532

Your opinions and feedback are welcome!

International Symposium: Digital Technology and Literacy/English Teacher Education

Making ConnectionsAs 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:

Canada
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

England
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

U.S.
Lin Goodwin – Co-applicant – Teachers College
Peter Williamson – University of San Francisco

Australia
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:
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Our New Book! Growing as a Teacher: Goals and Pathways of Ongoing Teacher Learning

Growing as a Teacher book cover

Clare and I (Clive) are glad to announce the release of our new book Growing as a Teacher, published by Sense. https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/professional-learning-1/growing-as-a-teacher/

It’s based on the first 8 years of our longitudinal study of 42 teachers, teaching mainly in Ontario but also New York and New Jersey.
Our central finding was that teachers learn a great deal informally, especially through classroom experience. This is in line with Donald Schon’s (1983) notion of “reflection in practice”: teachers learn through “experimental research, then and there, in the classroom” (p. 66). Similarly, Chris Day (1999) speaks of “the largely private, unaided learning from experience through which most teachers learn to survive, become competent, and develop” (p. 2).
Over their first 8 years, our teachers learned about: program planning, assessment, individualization, teaching for relevance, classroom organization, community building, work-life balance, and many other topics. In varying degrees, they developed a comprehensive, integrated vision of effective teaching, going well beyond their initial understanding.
In the book we discuss key implications of these findings:

  • Teachers should see themselves as major “experts” on teaching, with abundant opportunities to inquire into teaching over the years. They should be willing to make decisions in the classroom and take a firm stance in adapting system initiatives.
  • ITE instructors should promote this strong conception of teacher learning and expertise, and see themselves largely as “laying a foundation…preparing novices to learn in and from their practice” (Feiman-Nemser, 2001, p. 1016).
  • PD facilitators should dialogue with teachers and build on their emerging vision and approach, rather than imposing system mandates in top-down fashion.
  • Principals should support teachers in their learning, providing frequent opportunities for them to watch each other teach and share their developing insights.

Teachers can benefit greatly from external input, but not if it’s imposed “top-down” without reference to their views and experiences.
We have greatly enjoyed listening to the teachers in our study and will continue to do so into the future. We hope their voices and experiences will be helpful to teachers, teacher candidates, ITE instructors, and all those responsible for school policies and ongoing teacher learning.

 

 

Teacher Educators, Literacy Educators, and Digital Technology Experts Working Together

Making ConnectionsI (Clare) am pleased to share some good news. We submitted a proposal to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to fund the project 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 will be bringing together 16 experts from three fields and 4 countries (Canada, US, UK, and Australia) to address the following questions.

  • How is our understanding of literacy evolving in light of the new ways we communicate?
  • 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?

As a team we are going to work together to:

  • develop a statement on literacy teacher education that offers direction on how to integrate digital technology into teacher education literacy courses;
  • extend our website http://www.literacyteaching.net to include video interviews of all the participants discussing their views and current research and their course outlines and supplementary course materials;
  • produce an edited book Crossing Boundaries: Literacy/English Teacher Educators Incorporating Digital Technology in Their Courses

 Click here to read the summary of the proposal. Final Summary of Proposal

As academics we tend to work in our “silo” which although allows us to specialize it has Connecting Peoplelimitations. 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. My co-applicants for the proposal are Lin Goodwin (Teachers College), Simone White (Monash University), Bethan Marshall (King’s College UK), Jean Murray (University of East London), and Clive Beck (University of Toronto). I will continue to provide updates on our work.