Edited By Matthew Lynch
This book attempts to move the field to the next phase of its evolution and provides the U.S. K-12 system with the tools that it will need to return to its former preeminence. Reimagining Education Reform and Innovation generates a corpus of new and original scholarship that significantly examines the field of education reform and innovation broadly conceived. Each chapter examines one or more of the critical topics that are missing from or underrepresented in the extant literature. The various chapters of this book integrate into their analyses the conceptual, political, pedagogical, and practical histories, tensions, and resources that have established education reform and innovation as one of the most vital and growing movements within the field of education. A central tenet of this project is that we need to make visible the multiple perspectives and theoretical frames that currently drive
work in the field.
Chapter 6: Working in the “Wiggle Room”: A University
Working IN THE “Wiggle Room”
A University Supervisor Supports Student Teachers’ Policy Navigation
ANNE MARIE GARTH
I was teaching my first literacy class in the fall term at a small university in the southeastern United States. My students, who were in their early field placements, were frustrated in their attempts to enact literacy practices they thought would benefit the children in their classes. They spoke often and passionately about the barriers to enacting thoughtful practice decisions, including testing, tight schedules, and innumerable worksheets. They were well aware of the pressures of the local arrangements, state requirements, and national mandates. They were struggling against these pressures but felt they were losing the battle—and their careers had not yet begun.
Preparing teachers to practice in ways responsive to their students has always been challenging. Today, student teachers (STs) are learning to teach amid a complex web of policies in schools under performance pressure; pressure that, by most accounts, has been more destructive than productive. Each day, STs witness their cooperating teachers, other faculty, and administrators acting within the policy environment. They see and hear about expectations, recommendations, rules, and procedures—both official and unwritten. They are rarely supported by frameworks to help them make sense of these sometimes conflicting requirements and normative statements. Generally, STs enter the profession wanting to serve children. However, once they are in the field, they quickly realize the many contextual constraints in doing so...
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