Core Teaching Practices: Addressing Both Social Justice and Academic Subject Matter

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Date: November-December 2017
From: Journal of Teacher Education(Vol. 68, Issue 5)
Publisher: Corwin Press, Inc.
Document Type: Editorial
Length: 2,250 words
Lexile Measure: 1670L

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The recognition that knowledge alone is insufficient as a foundation for effective teaching has led in recent years to a call for significant and programmatic investment in the support of teaching practices which will support the learning of students (Ball & Forzani, 2011; Grossman et al., 2009; McDonald, Kazemi, & Kavanagh, 2013). While a focus on "core," "high leverage," or "ambitious" teaching practices is instructive (see, for example, the works of Lampert et al., 2013; Windschitl, Thompson, & Braaten, 2011), much less attention has been paid toward how educators might be more inclusive with respect to such practices. Indeed, it could be claimed that the focus on core practices has been at the cost of attention to practices that are powerful in their capacity to support learning by helping students feel connected to the spaces where learning is taking place, to ideas or principles that lie at the heart of a discipline, and to their own developing identities as learners. These practices arise from a commitment to value the cultural backgrounds of learners and to not only leverage but to highlight culturally bound lived experiences. They also collectively reflect what Gloria Ladson-Billings proposed as culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995), a concept which Django Paris has more recently expanded to culturally sustaining pedagogy, a pedagogy that "... seeks to perpetuate and foster--to sustain--linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of schooling" (Paris, 2012, p. 95). The work highlighted in the articles in this issue of Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) all speak to the importance of these inclusive practices as they are supported and shaped in different contexts, from our university teacher preparation classrooms to classrooms in K-12 schools.

The Native American community has worked with states like Washington and Oregon to create curriculum materials relevant to American Indian/Alaskan Native students (AI/ AN). Such materials are primarily aimed at giving students an understanding of history and society that more accurately reflects events as seen from the perspective of Native populations. Less has been done to produce materials that combine core teaching practices in reading, mathematics, and science with pedagogical practices that take account of cultural differences between AI/AN students and those from other cultural groups. Similarly, professional development for teachers working with Native students often focuses on making connections to families and communities, rather than exploring how core teaching practices can link to teaching students from a variety of cultures.

The article by Vincent, Tobin, and Van Ryzin in this issue draws on the National Indian Education Study (NIES) to describe the extent to which AI/AN students experienced reading and mathematics instruction that integrates Native Language and Culture (NLC) into instruction. The NIES also permitted the authors to describe how many AI/AN students were taught by teachers who had taken advantage of opportunities to learn ways to integrate NLC into their teaching. Because the NIES is done as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), it supports inferences that are nationally representative. The authors found...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A514513006