31 SES 12 A, Professional Development for Teachers in Multilingual Classrooms: International Perspectives
In the U.S., many multilingual students spend the majority of their educational lives in the classrooms of general education content teachers who are often ill prepared to teach them. Because of demographic shifts, content teachers become de facto teachers of multilingual learners, rendered novices despite their prior teaching experience. This can be disorienting and uncomfortable for teachers as their habits of mind (i.e., broad assumptions) and points of view (i.e., resulting unconscious actions or behaviours) are challenged (Mezirow, 2012). This paper explores the impact of pedagogical coaching as a process of supporting general education teachers in becoming effective teachers of multilingual students. We use critical and sociocultural perspectives on learning (e.g., Freire, 1994; Vygotsky, 1997) to frame both teacher professional learning and classroom teaching. There is often an unnecessary and incoherent disconnect between the pedagogy underlying teacher professional learning and the pedagogy promoted for student learning. We hold that teachers as learners have similar (though not necessarily identical) learning needs as their students. In this case, we consider how critical and sociocultural principles of learning can be mirrored across the learning contexts of coaching and classroom teaching. From critical theory, the power dynamics, agency, and identity of the learner are privileged in the pursuit of equity. From sociocultural theory, the learning space between the teacher and learner is envisioned as dialogic, collaborative, and rich with assistance. Using a qualitative longitudinal single case-study design, we investigate an early career, elementary, content teacher learning to integrate content and language in mathematics teaching. Participants include three White females (teacher, coach, and expert shadow coach) and the teacher’s 25 students, 11 of whom were multilingual students. Data include six cycles of coaching and teaching across a single school year, including videotaped pre-conferences, classroom observations, post-conferences, and an end of coaching interview. Findings describe the teacher and her students developing new understandings of self, the interactional space between them, and what learning itself means. A pedagogy mirrored in coaching and teaching that reframes the interactional learning space is not merely additive: It is transformative. In this case, the teacher comes to embody learning as social, teaching as assisting, and disciplinary knowledge as being mediated dialogically in collaboration with students. Pedagogical coaching and teaching demonstrate that adults and children are capable of expanding their identities, mitigating power dynamics, and becoming agentive in owning, interpreting, and acting in the real world, in similar and parallel ways.
Freire, P. (1994). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum. Mezirow, J. (2012). Learning to think like an adult: Core concepts of transformative theory. In E. W. Taylor & P. Cranton and Associates (Eds), The handbook of transformative learning: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 73-95). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Teemant, A. (2018). Sociocultural theory as everyday practice: The challenge of K-12 teacher preparation for multilingual and multicultural learners. In J. P. Lantolf, & M. E. Poehner (Eds.) with M. Swain (pp. 529-550), The Routledge handbook of sociocultural theory and second language development. New York, NY: Routledge. Teemant, A. (2020). Reframing the space between: Teachers and learners in context. Language Teaching Research, 24(1) 82-93. Teemant, A., Leland, C., & Berghoff, B. (2014, April). Development and validation of a measure of Critical Stance for instructional coaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 39, 136-147. Retrieved from Viesca, K. M., Strom, K., Hammer, S., Masterson, J., Linzell, C. H., Mitchell-McCollough, J. & Flynn, N. (2019). Developing a complex portrait of content teaching for multilingual learners via nonlinear theoretical understandings. Review of Research in Education, 43, 304-335. Vygotsky, L. S. (1997). Educational psychology. Boca Raton, Florida: St. Lucie Press.
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