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ERIC Number: EJ795201
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
Your Place or Mine? Reading Art, Place, and Culture in Multicultural Picture Books
Reisberg, Mira; Brander, Birgitte; Gruenewald, David A.
Teacher Education Quarterly, v33 n1 p117-133 Win 2006
Many teacher education programs, no matter how well planned and coordinated for program coherence, continue to produce fragmented experiences for students. For the student, this fragmentation is often experienced as the juggling of separate courses in subject matter content, teaching methods, and the foundations of education, as well as loosely coupled, or even counter-productively disconnected, internship experiences and related seminars. From a programmatic perspective, this structure of fragmentation commonly derives from teacher education standards that are mandated by individual states, and, to a certain extent, force colleges of education into the position of creating programs that demonstrate compliance with governing codes. Additionally, teacher education faculty are often hired to specialize in one particular area (e.g., science methods or multicultural education); programs are built and maintained by these specialists who demonstrate their expertise and focused commitment by designing, revising, and teaching courses that concentrate, quite understandably, on one area rather than many. These two trends of state standardization and academic professionalism reinforce one another to maintain programs that boast depth and rigor in specialty areas and that demonstrate accountability through conformity to fragmented rules. The unfortunate result for the student, despite significant efforts among faculty to the contrary, is that their teacher education is experienced as a poorly blended mix of specialty courses that gain their legitimacy not by virtue of being especially coherent as a whole, but by virtue of measuring up to scripted standards. This article does not pretend to provide a solution to this problem, nor does it claim that any or all teacher education programs are incoherent and productive of only fragmented experiences. However, the authors have found through their relationships with other faculty across the U.S. that the sense of fragmentation they wish to confront is all too common; moreover, they wish to confront their own personal sense of fragmentation that, when they are honest with themselves, they feel complicit in perpetuating through their teaching. The story presented in this article narrates one attempt to build connections bridging these divides through the use of multicultural children's picture books, place-based education, and social reconstructionist arts education. While the process they describe may not immediately resonate with all educators in their various disciplines, the authors have found it to be extremely helpful to their practice as teacher educators. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A