As part of the theme for my presidency, I am bringing focus to the unique identity and role of the teacher educator – both school- and university-based. I ask for articulation and inquiry into how teacher educators develop their knowledge and skills to span boundaries associated with school and university contexts; and how teacher educators change in their dispositions toward clinical practices as a result. Without engagement in the field and community teacher educators cannot truly prepare and develop teachers for teaching children and youth in today’s diverse educational contexts. As such they must operate in essential roles that bridge campus and field or what is termed the “clinical aspects” of teacher preparation and teacher development.
The teacher educators who engage in the clinical aspects of teacher preparation and development assume a unique role that affords them the opportunity to acquire understandings about the realities of teaching in today’s schools. It is my hope that the presenters at our upcoming conferences in Albuquerque and in Atlanta will spur and spawn engagement in:
- Synthesizing new and existing knowledge about teacher educator professional development and clinical practices;
- Unpacking of the various sets of theoretical lenses from which to understand the dimensions of teacher educator practices in the clinical realm of teacher preparation;
- Articulating new constructs and language (i.e. lexicon) for describing the clinical work they do and the new hybrid roles they are enacting and/or developing in clinical partnerships between schools and universities; and
- Positioning their scholarship as an evidentiary base for claiming the professional identity and role of the teacher educator as comprising a distinct set of knowledge, skills, and dispositions separate from university lecturer or classroom teacher.
Those who choose to participate and present at the upcoming conferences are encouraged to make a strong case for their practices and teaching as derived from a robust knowledge base and set of theoretical constructs that guide the roles they assume. For example, my personal theoretical lens for my own practices as a supervisor is derived from: adult learning theory; learning-to-teach/learning teaching research; reflective practice theory; transformational learning theory; proximal development and legitimate peripheral participation theory; experiential learning theory; and practitioner research theory).
Furthermore, ATE offers more resources that can be built upon in our joint endeavors. First, ATE has a robust set of standards that articulate well the roles that teacher educators should assume in their practice. Second, ATE’s newly revised field experience standards provide greater specificity regarding standards for the clinical experience. It is the intent of the conferences to come to further operationalize these standards.
In this vein, my conference theme claims clinical practice as the key dimension associated with effective educator development. The strands advocate for: a) synthesizing our knowledge base and developing guidelines for a repertoire of supervision and mentoring practices; b) examining essential practitioner roles occurring in today’s new partnerships and models; unpacking the teacher educator’s boundary-spanning roles and practices; and teacher educators learning from others about current research and practices in professional development schools.
Our next conferences aim to unpack the “clinical aspects” of “learning teaching” to identify a repertoire of supervisory and mentoring practices that are foundational to our roles and that represent fair-minded practices that are sensitive to the diversity of our teacher candidates.
I value and believe strongly in articulating an identity of a teacher educator as an education professional operating in a “third space” as a boundary spanner working in a territory given little attention in the scholarly literature. WE should be claiming this “in-between school and university space” for ourselves as a distinct entity and context in which we engage others in the professional development and preparation of teachers. Our place is really not situated in either context but within its own space having its own set of theoretical frameworks that guide the work we do in bridging and spanning the two. This is the intersection that will be the focus of the conferences.
The summer 2018 and February 2019 conferences intend to emphasize what teacher educators do that is essential in connecting school-university contexts – from relationship building – to the one-on-one teaching we do with educator candidates and developing educators. As the theme of this conference implies the new dimensions for clinical preparation and development of educators that we bring into focus will give voice to those who do the work to connect our educator candidates. Thus, thoughtful inquiry should continue to be central to what we provide in our conferences and should provide openings for constructive dialog among educator preparation program providers that help us find where we have common ground and further our efforts to validate our essential roles and responsibilities in preparation and development of educators.
I will end my remarks with a snapshot of my future visions for ATE that will continue the work I have outlined in the conference theme:
#1 – ATE members will be active practitioner-scholars in bridging and bringing together a new synthesis of key theoretical constructs and ethical practices essential for effective clinical practice in the development of teachers.
#2 – ATE will be the “outreach” organization for school- and university- based teacher educators through specialized programs that support their development.
#3 – ATE leaders will build on and carry forward essential coalitions with our sister organizations to be united in one voice to advocate for the teaching profession and those who prepare teachers – THE TEACHER EDUCATOR.
#4. –ATE will create and develop new venues to provide spaces and places for both virtual and face-to-face professional development opportunities for our members aimed to support them in their teacher educator roles.
Stay tuned…..more to come!
Patricia Sari Tate
Patricia Sari Tate
ATE President (2018-2019)
Note*: As you may know the theme for my presidency is: Educators at the Forefront: New Dimensions for Clinical Preparation and Development of Educators. Please visit the Call for Proposals and share your work and scholarship with us!