Using
Reading & Wr iting to Build Community
Kathy
 Schultz
Developing Pedagogies
through Knowing Students

Bringing K12 Practice to
Teacher Education Classrooms

Translating Practices
   
 Bringing K12 Practice to Teacher Education Classrooms
 
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In my teacher education class I often use practices common in K12 classrooms, such as literature groups, to introduce pre-service teachers to new ways of teaching. The multimedia websites opened up new possibilities for introducing, analyzing, and transposing these practices in a teacher education classroom. We learned about the activities while using them to build community among ourselves.
      
  Respectful Listening: When there was
  a discussion about the class dynamics,
  students turned to Yvonne's practice
  for guidance.
       click here
  Non-Fiction and Social Action:   Vanessa Brown's visit to the   classroom deepened our   discussion of  reading and   writing non-fiction texts    
            Literature Circle: At the  same time         that we tried out  the elementary         practice of lit  circles, we drew on         ideas from Yvonne's website.   
 

It is a common practice in teacher education classrooms to engage student teachers in the kinds of practices we hope they adapt in their classroom teaching. In an elementary literacy classroom, for instance, we can’t pretend that they are learning to read but we can teach them about the processes of teaching reading by asking them to read difficult texts and reflect on and analyze their strategies for doing so. Another way we do this is by asking student teachers to read a young adult novel and then to participate in a literature circle first as a student/reader and then as a teacher, reflecting on the practice and how they might use it in their own teaching.

The multimedia websites gave us new opportunities for students to investigate teachers’ practices and then reflect on and discuss ways they might use these practices in their own teaching. For both the literature circle and nonfiction writing classes, rather than asking students to copy or try out specific practices, we asked them instead to focus on how the teachers established a classroom community and the range of pedagogical practices that allowed them to know students while building a cohesive group. The student teachers found the websites to be important resources for imagining new kinds of interactions, relationships and pedagogies. Teaching is always filled with surprises. One surprising connection that student teachers made was when they turned to Yvonne Hutchinson’s website as a resource for thinking about the dynamics in our teacher education program. Our use of the website for rethinking the norms of our own classroom allowed us to have a different kind of discussion about what was necessary and possible in their current and future K12 classrooms. This double layered teaching--always thinking about the current and future K12 classrooms through the practices of the teacher education classroom--was deepened through the layered images of practices in the websites.