Tag Archives: teacher educators

Course Design and Development — Hoping the changes work out!


A poem I wrote today to try to relieve some first day jitters:

T’was the night before a new school year and all the through the house

Papers were flying and textbooks arouse

The course syllabi posted online with such care

In hopes that the students soon would be there

The readings updated and carefully writ

Ensuring inquiry, equity and technology fit

And I in excitement yet dutifully prudent

Wait for the joy of engaging with each student….


Revising university courses is not a simple task. I (Yiola) have spent several weeks reworking my courses and developing new ones for the coming year.  While my courses have been consistently well received by students I felt they needed updating: readings, perspective, pedagogy as though the domino effect could not be more evident.  Piecing together what to share and how to share it so that student learning is not only deeply enjoyable but also optimal is no easy feat. As teacher educators we need to model good practice — after all, how can you spend an entire 3 hour class talking about the importance of inquiry pedagogy with power point presentations and lecture notes and expect students to understand and transfer their learning to the classroom?  And then, on the other hand, how does a Masters level instructor justify spending hours having Masters level students “inquire” as children would in their elementary classrooms?

Finding the balance between theory and practice, between scholarship and the “daily grind” of classroom life, between academic rigour and child centred practice is, for me, an exceptional challenge.  I want student teachers to know what to do when they enter their elementary classrooms and I want to model it for them in our class (i.e. small group activities, equitable practices, varied experiences, and direct instruction) and I also want students to understand WHY we do it (i.e. research based literature and engaging discourse). I want students to be self-directed learners (to share their ideas, to bring news to the classroom, to extend their own learning outside our class time) and I also want to provide students with connections between best practice and what they see out there (use of technology, positive learning environments, etc…)

Some changes I have made to my courses this year:

  • more use of technology (in my teaching, in my teaching of, and in students experience with)
  • lessened the number of assignments but deepened the expectations of the ones included
  • varied the nature of the assignments (included presentations, group and individual assignments, concept maps, papers)
  • updated my methods of assessment: to reflect/model practices used in our school system, to include students in the process itself
  •  continue to invite guests to the class (classroom teachers, doctoral students, school administrators) as co-presenters as a means for sharing knowledge and modelling collaborative practice
  • Updated the readings to better reflect the issues of 21st century teaching

Researching teaching education, speaking with colleagues who are deeply invested in teacher education and knowing what other great educators are doing not only keeps me motivated but is one of the best professional development tools out there.

I wish all teachers and teacher educators and wonderful school year!

Teacher Educators’ Perspectives

At AERA this past year, Division K dramatically changed their Business Meeting. Rather than do “administrivia” they used the time to get feedback from teacher educators. In the Division K Summer Newsletter they reported on the feedback. I have copied and pasted some of the report below and included one chart on the most warranted criticisms of teacher educators. Here is the link to the newsletter so that you can read the entire report which provides good feedback for teacher educators. DivKSummer2015-1 Thanks Lin Goodwin our Division K Vice President for moving the discussion forward.

Teacher Educators Talk By: Roxanne Greitz Miller

Division K Program Co-Chair

Chapman University

At our Division K business meeting, we took things to the next level on last year’s theme – Not Business As Usual – and embarked on some original research with the members in

attendance as well additional ones who responded after the meeting electronically. Prior to the meeting, the following questions were posed by our Vice President, Lin Goodwin, as points to consider:

 Of the many criticisms leveled against university-based teacher education/teacher

educators, which do you feel is most warranted?

 Of the many criticisms leveled against university-based teacher education/teacher

educators, which do you feel is least warranted?

 What is one thing you think we should do to address the negative perceptions of university-based teacher education/teacher educators?

During our meeting, attended by 269 people (thank you!), members considered these questions and were able to enter their open ended responses via electronic polling, using either URL or QR code. After the meeting, the URL was distributed to the entire Division K membership for additional participation, and it was posted to our social media links as well. Polls were left open for a week after AERA, and, once closed, the open-ended responses were categorized into common themes and tabulated.

Most warranted criticisms of TE, poll results


New Faculty Preconference: An Amazing Community

IMG_0304I (Clare) have just returned from AERA. One of the highlights of the conference for me was my work with new faculty. Division K (Teaching and Teacher Education) offers a preconference for new faculty and I was one of the organizers for it. Along with my fellow facilitators, Renee Clift, Rich Milner, Tom Dana, and Valerie Kinloch, we worked with 30 IMG_0289new faculty. On the first day of the preconference we began with the Facilitators sharing their stories – successes and challenges – which helped create an open environment. The participants then shared their stories. It was clear that all were committed to being the best faculty they could be, all had some successes the past year, and the transition to their new role has had some bumps. On the second day we broke into small groups where we addressed: mentoring (finding a mentor and/or academic community); tenure and promotion process; research and publishing; and balancing work and family life. We concluded with each person sharing a “take away” that is something they plan to work on over the next few months.

divknewfacI have been involved in the Division K Preconference for a number of years and this year was particularly special. The IMG_0297Facilitators had so much to share but they created space for the participants. We came together as a community and connections were made among all of us. This kind of support for new faculty is so important because as the literature reveals (e.g., Murray and Male’s work) that the transition from classroom teacher/graduate student to an academic position is not straightforward. There are issues of identity, workplace norms, pedagogy for higher education, academic community, pressure to publish, and …. I know that as a new faculty I would have appreciated having a mentor, a place to ask questions, and to know that what I was experiencing is “typical”.

It was great meeting these wonderfully talented new faculty who are the future of teacher education. I wish them all the best with their various endeavours. I feel that I have made 30 new friends!divknewfac2

Lin Goodwin Video Now Available: Experts Speaking about Teacher Education

Last year I (Clare) received a grant for the project: Rethinking Literacy Teacher Education Lin Goodwinfor the Digital Era: Teacher Educators, Literacy Educators, and Digital Technology Experts Working Together. One of the main activities of the project was to bring 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?

We held a Symposium in London England in June. Click on the link https://literacyteaching.net/connection-grant/ for more info on the Symposium and for some photos.

At the Symposium we interviewed the participants which we video taped. These videos are now available. They are incredibly interesting, informative, and short. Teacher educators can use these in their courses/presentations. Click on https://literacyteaching.net/connection-grant/powerpoint-presentations-and-videos/

(or the box to the right of this post).

I want to bring your attention to the second video which is of Lin Goodwin from Teachers College, Columbia University. She addresses:

First video: A key insight she has had about education

Second video: Recommendation to improve teacher education

Lin’s powerpoint presentations are also included. Lin is the Vice President of Division K Teaching and Teacher Education for AERA. She is an outstanding researcher who has recently conducted systematic research on teacher educators. Attached is a recent article she co-authored: What Should Teacher Educators Know and Be Able to Do? Perspectives From Practicing Teacher Educators Goodwin_-_WhatShouldTeacherEducatorsKnowandBeAbletoDoPerspec[retrieved_2015-03-28]


Our Symposium: A Model for Teacher Educator and Policy Development

Clare Kosnik and Peter WilliamsonOur Symposium was amazing. For those who have read the blog postsIMG_2609 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.Participants

Lin GoodwinThe 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.

Alyson BakerSo 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 Graham Parr and Scott Bulfinmodel 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.
Pooja Dharamshi 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.

Review of literature on teacher educators

I (Clare) am reading the recently published book, The Professional Teacher Educator: Roles, BehaLunenberg text coverviour, and Professional Development of Teacher Educators by Mieke Lunenberg, Jurrien Dengerink, and Fred Korthagen. https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/authors/auth-mieke-lunenberg/ The book is review of 137 key publications on teacher educators. I found their identification of the six roles of teacher educators interesting and informative: teacher of teachers, researcher, coach, curriculum developer, gatekeeper, and broker. They discuss forms of professional development for each role. There is also an extended case study of a group of Dutch educators. For those interested in the study of teacher educators you might find their exhaustive research useful.

Narratives of Teacher Educators

Book cover

I (Pooja) recently finished reading Negotiating critical literacies with teachers: Theoretical foundations and pedagogical resources for pre-service and in-service contexts (Vasquez, V.M., Tate, S.L, & Harste, J.C., 2013). This book provides a theoretical framework, insightful examples, and pedagogical resources for ways to incorporate critical literacy practices into pre-service and in-service teacher education. The final chapter of this text entitled “Teaching and living critical literacies” especially interested me. This concluding chapter focused on the narratives of the authors who are all teacher educators. They shared early childhood memories, classroom teaching experiences, and turning points (e.g. being the first in the family to attend college; protesting the Viet Nam War). Much of what the book’s authors shared in their written narratives reflected closely what many of our critical literacy participants in our SSHRC study have expressed. Many can identify turning points and life events in their early childhood, which contributed significantly to their philosophy and stance towards teaching and learning. Maya from our study identified being placed in a low-track after immigrating to the U.S. as a defining moment. This has influenced her practice because she now focuses on having her student teachers understand multiple perspectives and interrogate their assumptions of students, curriculum, and schooling. Providing a specific example of this pedagogical stance, Maya told us about how she conducts an entire lecture in Spanish, locating student teachers as second language learners.

This final chapter reinforced how meaningful it is to create space for the voices of literacy teacher educators.  The narratives of our participants are rich with experiences that influence their practices in the classroom. Stacie L. Tate, book author and teacher educator, articulates this well: “When people ask how I decided to become a teacher and researcher, I always reply, “I was groomed for this.” (p. 99).

Writing a Review Takes TIME

I (Cathy) discovered, having just submitted my first academic book review, that the process takes TIME.   The T in my acronym represents allowing for lots of time to move through the process. The I represents investigating the journal for which I am submitting.  The M is for mining the book under review. The E is for editing- of course- what would writing be without editing?  I developed my TIME acronym through both the experience of writing the review and doing some homework on review writing.  One of the suggestions I came across, which was a valuable piece of advice, was to allow one month to write the review:  two weeks to read the book; one week to write the review; and one week to edit the work.  This turned out to be true.  There was no hurrying the process.  I also spent time reading many other reviews from the same journal for which I was submitting.  This was the investigation part.  I compared five reviews for style, content and length.  One was much more academic in style than the others.  All were not hesitant to praise the work.  This was reassuring, as I liked the book a lot.  The mining part was the surprise.  As I read the book, I listed the things I liked about it and possible flaws, only to discover that when I got to the end, it was not enough information.  I had to read it again and work harder at comparing the chapters for content consistency, look for related themes and any patterns the editors may have requested.  I also spent a lot more time scrutinizing the forward and conclusion and discovered some great quotes I had missed the first time.  This was similar to reading a book in order to teach it.  Impressions are not enough.  I needed more meat.   And finally came the editing.  After several iterations, I thought it was ready for someone else to see.  I gave it to five people to read. Every one of them found corrections and made suggestions. Some I used, while others were stylistic suggestions that I let pass.  All were insightful.  The best part though, was the response.  When one of my friendly editors replied, “You really made me want to read this book!”  then I knew the review hit its mark.  Like I said, I liked the book.  Oh, and by the way, the book is called Literacy teacher educators: Preparing teachers for a changing world.  I recommend it!     BTW  The journal I submitted to is called Research in Teacher Education.  Excellent resource!  Check it out…  http://www.uel.ac.uk/rite

Tim Fletcher Comment

Hi Everyone,
Tim Fletcher posted the following comment. Thought that I would put it in a blog post in case you missed it.

Thanks very much for all the kind words. I was lucky enough to learn about researching teachers/teacher education from two of the best (Clare & Clive)! BTE was also such a powerful experience for me — here is a link to an article I wrote with my UK colleague Ash Casey (founder of another teaching blog: http://www.peprn.com ) about how strongly BTE influenced my thoughts about learning to teach teachers: http://journals.humankinetics.com/jtpe-back-issues/jtpe-volume-31-issue-4-october/trading-places-from-physical-education-teachers-to-teacher-educators.
Loving the blog by the way!

AERA Division K New Faculty Preconference

Attention Division K New Faculty! Only a few spots remaining for the New Faculty Preconference.The deadline for applications is January 31, 2014!

The pre conference starts on Wednesday, April 2 at 4:00. We meet again on Thursday, April 3 from 9:00 – 12:00.  This Division K New Faculty Seminar is an exciting opportunity to dialogue, socialize, and share with other new faculty and the facilitators and is designed to:

•             Provide support for new teaching and teacher education faculty,

•             Engage Division members with each other and with the Division’s activities,

•             Examine various methodological approaches to research,

•             Create professional networks that will last a lifetime, and

•             Make important scholarly connections that create a community of new scholars.


The preconference organizers are established scholars who will discuss ways to thrive in your career. Our division is committed to supporting new faculty! There is a maximum of 25 participants.

To apply for the pre-conference submit a two-page letter of application that includes a description of: (a) applicant’s background; (b) the applicant’s current position and years of service; (c) research interested and methodological approaches to research; and (d) one or two problems of issues in transitioning from being a graduate student to the role of faculty member.

Send your application and questions to Clare Kosnik at ckosnik@oise.utoronto.ca

The Pre-conference Facilitators are:

Renée T. Clift, University of Arizona
Tom Dana, University of Florida
Valerie Kinloch, The Ohio State University
Clare Kosnik, University of Toronto/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Rich Milner, University of Pittsburgh,