Teachers’ Constructions of Knowledge: Contextualizing Teacher Education

By Xaé Alicia Reyes.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research in today’s classroom points to disconnectedness between the understandings of students’ realities and prior experiences, and those of pre-service teachers. The increasing diversity among our student populations and the demands for global awareness, are driving forces in the curriculum in teacher education programs. On the other hand, the accountability theme and standards permeate the environments of our teaching and learning centers and appear to be in conflict with the priorities of developing competent global citizens among our diverse learners. Most institutions engaged in teacher education are focused on developing qualified teachers who are able to deliver curriculum within frameworks of national standards and high stakes testing who are simultaneously capable of addressing the needs of diverse learners. Many, if not all of these institutions are heavily invested in school placements that vary from tutoring experiences to inquiry projects, along with traditional internships and practicum placements. What has been missing from most of these designs is the focus on the social context in a way that moves deeper into its layers and farther from the model of “reading” the other in the research or through the lenses of other researchers’ words. The hegemonic views of otherness are often reinforced through the lenses of the academics that teach pre-service teachers and by the cooperating teachers that model and communicate their understandings of the populations they are teaching. Although the discourses of teacher educators and of cooperating teachers have legitimacy, they need to be contextualized and complemented by the voices of community members themselves and more importantly, these voices need to be heard in their authentic contexts outside of the classroom. Ethnographic research and participant observation in community settings are authentic sites for experiencing the lives and realities of the populations we are encountering in our schools and classrooms.

Keywords: Teacher Education, Social Context, Fieldwork, Diversity

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp.121-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 513.970KB).

Dr. Xaé Alicia Reyes

Associate Professor, Neag School of Education and Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Institute, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA

Xaé Alicia Reyes, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction who holds a joint appointment in Puerto Rican and Latino Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and has been on the faculty of the University of Connecticut since 1999.Her publications in journals such as the Journal of Latina/os and Education, Journal of Latino Studies and Journal of Hispanic Higher Education focus on social justice, equity, and access. Dr.Reyes’ areas of expertise include critical ethnography, teacher preparation for linguistically and culturally diverse communities, media representations, and migration issues as they affect schooling,civic engagement and political participation.

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