Teacher Residency 2.0: Case Studies of an Innovative and Evolving Preparation Program Implementing Culturally Efficacious Instruction

Teacher Residency 2.0: Case Studies of an Innovative and Evolving Preparation Program Implementing Culturally Efficacious Instruction

Lucinda M. Juárez (The University of Texas at San Antonio, USA), Lisa Santillán (The University of Texas at San Antonio, USA) and Jennifer Gilardi Swoyer (The University of Texas at San Antonio, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9232-7.ch012

Abstract

A Hispanic serving university in South Texas is implementing a teacher preparation program called the Teacher Residency 2.0 Model. This residency model strives to develop culturally efficacious instructors by providing new teachers with a more intensely supported experience through a network that includes a cohort of teacher candidates, assistant professors in practice, mentor/master teachers, and an online platform. Through this combined network, teacher candidates are more adequately prepared and supported to teach on day one, through developed expertise in culturally efficacious instruction, established professional relationships, and have access to resources for enduring success in the field. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the implementation of the Teacher Residency 2.0 Model to develop culturally efficacious, high quality teachers by carefully crafting coursework and experiences. The program described here are year-long experiences that include a collaborative workspace at the university and the school districts.
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Introduction

The principal goal of education is to create [students] who are capable of doing things, not simply repeating what other generations have done - Jean Piaget

It is often said that teachers teach as they were taught, not necessary what they were taught. Therefore, if there is to be growth in how teachers implement the best instructional practices that they read about in their university coursework, then there must be changes in how teachers are prepared for the profession of teaching through their university coursework. The objectives of this chapter are to outline one university's innovative approach to revising their teacher preparation program via a residency model. The flexible residency model was created through partnerships with the university and local school districts to respond to their individual needs. The background discussion begins with theoretical perspectives guiding the formation of the program and an explanation of the residency model. The main focus of the chapter continues with descriptions of three cases where the model is being implemented and includes the development of each case-specific program, recruitment of teacher candidates (TCs), instruction of TCs, selection of mentor teachers (MTs), and the issues, controversies and problems that occurred during model implementation at each site. The chapter then concludes with exploration of future research directions.

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Background

In 1996, Haberman discussed the ongoing presence of ‘generic’ teacher preparation programs (TPPs) that produce teachers who are generally, but not specifically, prepared for the complete contexts they enter, contexts such as public schools in majority-minority settings with a rich and varied student population. In order to avoid perpetuating a ‘generic’ TPP, recent reforms have been attempted by several institutions of higher education across the U.S. to embed practice connected to theory in real world contexts (NCATE, 2010). These types of TPPs are inclined to offer a clinically rich experience for their teacher candidates and are grounded in a social constructivist (Vygotsky, 1986) framework, which allows participants to co-construct knowledge, engage in continuous dialogue, and build collaborative relationships. The very act of collaboration in student-to-student, teacher-to-teacher, and institution-to- institution partnerships, is filled with complexities and needs to be shaped and supported at all levels of preparation if new teachers are to enter the educational field well-versed and well-prepared. Collaborative partnerships in these case studies between the stakeholders of the Teacher Residency 2.0 Program - teacher candidate residents, mentor teachers, university faculty, industry partners, and campus administrators - are designed using Engeström’s (2000) Activity Theory, which focuses on the activity perspective of all members. This theory highlights the importance of fluidity within the partnerships and stakeholders and is explained as:

Activity systems are in constant movement and internally contradictory. Their systemic contradictions, manifested in disturbances and mundane innovations, offer possibilities for expansive developmental transformations. Such transformations proceed through stepwise cycles of expansive learning which begin with actions of questioning the existing standard practice, then proceed to actions of analyzing its contradictions and modelling a vision for its zone of proximal development, then to actions of examining and implementing the new model in practice…albeit expansive learning increasingly involves horizontal widening of collective expertise by means of debating, negotiating and hybridizing different perspectives and conceptualizations (Engeström, 2000, p.960).

Key Terms in this Chapter

APiP: Assistant professor in practice part of the residency program and university faculty.

Case Study: A study of a group of people or unit (schools) through a systematic investigation done by researchers who examine rich qualitative and quantitative data relating to several variables in order to increase understanding.

Culturally Efficacious Teachers: Teachers who display their sociocultural competence(s) and engage in transformative practices through reflexivity by actively participating in critical dialogues, self-reflections, making connections, and self-corrections.

Teacher Preparation Program (TPP): Prepares students to become licensed teachers by offering them specialized coursework in the grade level and subjects they are interested in teaching and getting certified in.

Teacher Residency 2.0 Program: Designed to help address critical demand/shortage teaching in EC-12 areas in bilingual education, English as a second language, social studies, special education, and mathematics and science with the intent of preparing TCs embedded in a clinically rich experience resembling the authentic experience of being a teacher.

Mentor Teachers (MTs): Selected teachers with three or more years of teaching experience who are selected by the school principal and volunteer to have TCs in their classrooms.

Teacher Candidates (TCs): Undergraduate students (e.g., sophomores-seniors) part of the residency teacher preparation program in the university.

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