Subscribe Today
Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13

Innovation and Impact in Teacher Education: Community-Based Organizations as Field Placements for Preservice Teachers

by Morva A. McDonald, Kersti Tyson, Kate Brayko, Michael Bowman, John Delport & Fuyu Shimomura - 2011

Background: Research shows that students who are overrepresented when it comes to failure are underrepresented when it comes to being taught by highly qualified teachers who are well prepared to teach students from diverse backgrounds. Teacher education, as one aspect of the educational system, plays a critical role in preparing teachers with the necessary principles and practices for improving the academic, social, and intellectual opportunities available to students of color, low-income students, and English language learners. Acknowledging this responsibility, teacher education programs continue to search for structural, curricular, and pedagogical approaches to prepare teachers to teach in increasingly diverse contexts. One response has been to connect preservice teachers with community experiences, an uncommon strategy that has been asserted at various times over the past century. This study examines one teacher education program’s innovation of placing preservice teachers in community-based organizations (CBOs) to better prepare candidates to teach children whose backgrounds are different from their own—and particularly children who attend high-needs schools.

Purpose of Study: This study addresses questions of both implementation and impact, specifically examining the participation of preservice teachers in CBOs and the outcomes of this innovation on their opportunities to learn. Through this research, the authors aim to advance the field of teacher education’s understanding of community experiences, and in particular to highlight the ways in which partnerships with community organizations advance the preparation of teachers.

Setting: The University of Washington’s Elementary Teacher Education Program (ELTEP), a five-quarter postbaccalaureate master’s in teaching program.

Participants: Participants in this study include case study preservice teachers from two cohorts: faculty who teach in the teacher education program, and staff who work in the community-based organizations in which the preservice teachers are placed.

Intervention: During the first quarter in the program, preservice teachers spend 60 hours each in CBOs that serve diverse youth. The intention behind the community-based placements is to (1) build connections between prospective teachers, community organizations, and local schools, (2) give prospective teachers opportunities to develop a holistic and assets-based view of children and youth, (3) acknowledge education and learning as a process that occurs in multiple contexts, and (4) place students, families, neighborhoods, and communities at the center of teaching and education.

Research Design: We designed a 3-year longitudinal study in which we follow two cohorts of preservice teachers from their teacher preparation through their first year of teaching. We employ qualitative methods of interviews, focus groups, observations, document review, and survey methods. Data analysis occurred as an iterative process. For this article, we systematically coded individual and focus group interviews for concepts that reflected participants’ participation and outcomes in regard to the program innovation.

Findings: Findings highlight specific dimensions of teachers’ participation in CBOs and indicate ways in which the community experiences added to the resources for learning provided by the teacher education program. The authors also classify outcomes of this innovation and explicate the kinds of opportunities such experiences provide preservice teachers. Specifically, the authors identify instances of how placements in CBOs afforded preservice teachers new ways of seeing and understanding children beyond school and across difference. These findings are preliminary and are based on data and analysis from the first year of our 3-year study.

Conclusions: Through the in-depth case study of the University of Washington Elementary Teacher Education Program’s community-based partnership innovation, we contribute to an overall understanding of such efforts in teacher education. By building on a strong conceptual foundation based in sociocultural and activity theories, this study provides preliminary evidence that field placements in community-based organizations are a promising approach to supporting preservice teachers’ opportunities to learn to work with children from diverse backgrounds. In particular, partnerships with community organizations may move teacher education efforts closer to the overall goal of preparing teachers with knowledge of children that allows them to incorporate the complexity of children’s lives into the classroom in ways that ultimately improve children’s opportunities to learn.

To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
Purchase this Article
Purchase Innovation and Impact in Teacher Education: Community-Based Organizations as Field Placements for Preservice Teachers
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 113 Number 8, 2011, p. 1668-1700
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16162, Date Accessed: 9/18/2021 11:00:31 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Morva McDonald
    University of Washington
    E-mail Author
    MORVA MCDONALD is an assistant professor of education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Washington. Her research interests include teacher education and the preparation of teachers for diversity, as well as students’ opportunities to learn in and out of school. She uses sociocultural theories of learning to frame and understand teacher preparation and students’ opportunities to learn. Publications include: “The Integration of Social Justice in Teacher Education: Dimensions of Prospective Teachers’ Opportunities to Learn,” Journal of Teacher Education, 56.
  • Kersti Tyson
    University of Washington
    KERSTI TYSON is a doctoral candidate in the Learning Sciences program in the College of Education at the University of Washington. Her PhD dissertation examines the role of listening and learning in formal and informal educational contexts. In addition, she is engaged in scholarship that focuses on teacher education and preparing teachers to educate children from diverse backgrounds. She is a former middle school algebra teacher and has experience working at the state level in New Mexico on teacher quality policies.
  • Kate Brayko
    University of Washington
    KATE BRAYKO is a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Instruction (Language, Literacy, & Culture) at the University of Washington. She is a literacy teacher educator, and her research interests include literacy instruction, teacher quality, and partnerships in teacher education. She has worked as a teacher of reading and writing in schools, jails, and community centers in both rural and urban contexts.
  • Michael Bowman
    University of Washington
    MICHAEL BOWMAN is a doctoral student in social and cultural foundations of education at the University of Washington. His work focuses on the relationship between urban spatial development, community organization, and schooling.
  • John Delport
    University of Washington
    JOHN DELPORT is a special education doctoral student at the University of Washington. He has taught in self-contained EBD special education classrooms in the United States, as well as in South Africa. He is interested in issues of over- and underrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education and the juvenile justice system.
  • Fuyu Shimomura
    University of Washington
    FUYU SHIMOMURA is a PhD student in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Washington. His research interests lie within multicultural teacher education, especially the inclusion of community-based cultural immersion in teacher education and its influence on preservice teachers’ development of intercultural competence.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue