Deepening Understanding of the Teaching and Learning Context Through Ethnographic Analysis

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Ume University Library]On: 17 November 2014, At: 21:47Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>The Teacher EducatorPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:</p><p>Deepening Understanding of the Teaching and LearningContext Through Ethnographic AnalysisMark Girod aa Division of Teacher Education , Western Oregon University ,Published online: 12 Jun 2008.</p><p>To cite this article: Mark Girod (2008) Deepening Understanding of the Teaching and Learning Context Through EthnographicAnalysis, The Teacher Educator, 43:3, 216-237, DOI: 10.1080/08878730802055149</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable forany losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>The Teacher Educator, 43:216--237, 2008Copyright Taylor &amp; Francis Group, LLC</p><p>ISSN: 0887-8730 print/1938-8101 onlineDOI: 10.1080/08878730802055149</p><p>PROMISING PRACTICE</p><p>DEEPENING UNDERSTANDING OF THE TEACHING</p><p>AND LEARNING CONTEXT THROUGH</p><p>ETHNOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS</p><p>MARK GIROD</p><p>Division of Teacher Education, Western Oregon University</p><p>Teacher work samples are one tool for helping teacher candidates learn to</p><p>systematically connect their actions to the learning of each student. To connectteaching and learning effectively, candidates must understand well the teaching</p><p>and learning context. To deepen candidates abilities to analyze the teaching</p><p>and learning context and plan for working most effectively within it, candidatesengaged in ethnographic analysis of their mentor teachers classroom cultures.</p><p>Using digital video technology, video ethnographies were produced to illustrate</p><p>salient qualities of classroom culture including routines of action, shared beliefsand values, and patterns of interaction and engagement. Through stimulated</p><p>recall sessions, preservice teachers described learning a great deal about research</p><p>methods, classroom culture, and how to more effectively participate in these cul-tures to facilitate student learning. Vignettes and classroom anecdotes illustrate</p><p>research results.</p><p>The Evidence Struggle in Teacher Education</p><p>Teacher education is in need of credibility. Critiques of teachereducation come from state legislators (Education Commission ofthe States, 2000), parents (Educational Testing Service, 2002),</p><p>Address correspondence to Mark Girod, Division of Teacher Education, WesternOregon University, 345 N. Monmouth Ave., Monmouth, OR 97361, USA. E-mail: girodm@</p><p></p><p>216</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Um</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 21:</p><p>48 1</p><p>7 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>Understanding Context 217</p><p>alternative providers (Hess, 2001), as well as representatives ofthe federal government (Paige, 2002). The educational researchcommunity agrees that little research can be brought to bear on asystematic understanding of the value of university-based teacherpreparation (Cochran-Smith &amp; Zeichner, 2005; Wilson, Floden,&amp; Ferrini-Mundy, 2001). Addressing these issues is arguably ared alert for the education research community.</p><p>Schalock, Schalock, and Ayres (2006) described the chal-lenges inherent in generating the kinds of evidence that mightbe useful in addressing the concerns of our critics. What remains,however, is the sheer complexity of our efforts (Berliner, 2002).Cochran-Smith (2005) captured the range of this complexity inteacher preparation in her description of research necessary fordemonstration of its efficacy,</p><p>To get from teacher education to impact on pupils learning requires achain of evidence with several critical links: empirical evidence demon-strating the link between teacher preparation programs and teacher can-didates learning, empirical evidence demonstrating the link betweenteacher candidates learning and their practices in actual classrooms, andempirical evidence demonstrating the link between graduates practicesand what and how much their pupils learn. Individually, each of theselinks is complex and challenging to estimate. When they are combined,the challenges are multiplied. (p. 303)</p><p>The complexity of this inference chain stands as a barrier toour efforts to articulate sound theory, develop programs of re-search, and move forward toward empirically defensible prac-tices in teacher preparation (Floden, 2001). Currently, very fewteacher preparation practices systematically attend to the link-ages outlined by Cochran-Smith. Although value-added model-ing (Sanders &amp; Horn, 1998; Wright, Horn, &amp; Sanders, 1997) ishelping us to understand how some of these connections mayhave an impact on pupil learning three or five years after thefact, teacher work sampling seems to be one of the few tools orframeworks that attends to each of the linkages in what might becalled the preparation-teaching-learning inference chain (Girod,2002; Henning, &amp; Robinson, 2004; Henning et al., 2005; Schalocket al., 2006).</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Um</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 21:</p><p>48 1</p><p>7 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>218 M. Girod</p><p>Teacher Work Sampling and Ethnography</p><p>Linking Preparation, Teaching, and Student Learning</p><p>Teacher work sampling, endorsed by both the American Associ-ation of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the Na-tional Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE),is a multilayered approach to assist teacher candidates in ef-forts to connect their teaching with student learning. A teacherwork sample is the product of a demonstration activity in whichcandidates illustrate their proficiency in several areas of criticalskillfulness, that when combined, tend to contribute to studentlearning (Schalock, &amp; Myton, 2002). A work sample includesparts or components (description of the setting, assessments,lesson plans : : : ) that are undergirded by conceptual skills (anal-ysis of context, selection of content and pedagogy : : : ) to bedemonstrated by the candidate through preparation of the worksample. Together, when completed with fidelity, the work samplestands as defensible evidence of candidates abilities to connecttheir actions as teachers to the learning of their students infield experiences that provide contextually relevant settings fordemonstrating proficiencies (see Table 1). As such, a teacherwork sample can be a vehicle to help teacher candidates artic-ulate, document, investigate, and reflect on teacher actions andtheir impact on student learning and, in this way, is a method-ology useful in tracing preparation through to effect on studentlearning.</p><p>Several institutions across the country have embedded worksampling within their teacher preparation programs (Denner,Salzman, &amp; Bangert, 2001; Henning &amp; Robinson, 2004; Henninget al., 2005). To date, most conversations appearing in the litera-ture regarding the value of work sampling have focused on policy,measurement, and evaluative efforts (Fredman, 2004; McConney&amp; Schalock, 1996; McConney &amp; Ayres, 1998; Schalock, H. D.,1998; Schalock, M., 1998). However, there currently are limitedresources available to help faculty teach work sample conceptsand skills (Girod &amp; Girod, 2006).</p><p>The goal of this article is not to educate readers about thedetails of teacher work sample methodology (see Girod, 2002 fordiscussion) but to describe an innovative approach for helping</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Um</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 21:</p><p>48 1</p><p>7 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>TABLE 1 Conceptual Skills Underlying the Components of a Teacher Work Sample</p><p>Conceptualskill Description</p><p>Work samplecomponent Description</p><p>Analysis of context Candidates must be facile in analysis of the</p><p>context in which teaching and learningwill occur with a particular attention</p><p>toward qualities, experiences, dispositions,circumstances or other factors that may</p><p>have an impact on teaching and learning.</p><p>Setting description Candidates write a thorough description of</p><p>the setting at the community, school, andclassroom levels. Opportunities abound</p><p>for the kinds of data to include but theconsequences on teaching and learning</p><p>must always be considered.Selection of content Candidates must be facile in selection of</p><p>content that is important, powerful, anduseful in the lives and estimation of</p><p>students, community, and state andnational standards.</p><p>Rationale and</p><p>goals/objectives</p><p>Candidates offer a discussion of content</p><p>selection choices and demonstration ofalignment between content selected and</p><p>standards governing that content andcontext. This is commonly done in a table</p><p>or listing of standards andgoals/objectives.</p><p>Selection ofpedagogy</p><p>Candidates must be facile in the selection ofpedagogy that is best aligned with the</p><p>context, content, and student priorknowledge making learning most likely to</p><p>occur efficiently and deeply.</p><p>Lesson plans Candidates design lessons as illustrations ofthese selection judgments.</p><p>Assessment Candidates must be facile in the design of</p><p>measures and experiences to collectinformation about student prior</p><p>knowledge related to learning outcomesselected, in-flight learning, and learning</p><p>at the conclusion of a unit of instruction.</p><p>Assessment plan</p><p>including pre-,post-, and</p><p>formative tests</p><p>Candidates must offer clear and compelling</p><p>logic for structuring assessmentprocedures in the manner chosen,</p><p>illustrate how assessment items are alignedwith goals and objectives (commonly</p><p>through a table of specifications), anddefend the assessments themselves as valid</p><p>and reliable measures of student learning.</p><p>(continued)</p><p>219</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Um</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 21:</p><p>48 1</p><p>7 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>TABLE 1 (Continued)</p><p>Data analysis Candidates must be facile in the analysis of</p><p>many kinds of data including prior to,during, and after instruction. This analysis</p><p>must examine data in aggregate as well asdisaggregated across groups such as</p><p>students with special needs, ELLs, studentsliving in poverty, and minority students.</p><p>Data analysis Candidates must represent various cuts on</p><p>learning gain data, at the individualobjective level, for both individuals and</p><p>groups. These data should be clearlyrepresented and discussed appropriately.</p><p>Reflective analysis Candidates must be facile in reflecting ontheir work as teacher, the progress and</p><p>engagement of their students, and theinteraction and alignment between</p><p>setting, content, pedagogy, andassessment. Reflection is a central element</p><p>of the work sample and can be viewed asan illustration of reflective capacity.</p><p>Reflective essay Although reflection is critical to thecompletion of an exemplary work sample,</p><p>the clearest evidence of this reflection isfound at the end of the work sample in</p><p>the reflective essay. In this, candidateswrite in analysis of their effectiveness in</p><p>helping all students reach the goals andobjectives as defined. Additionally,</p><p>candidates should reflect on their futureprofessional needs.</p><p>Alignment Likely the most critical concept of all,candidates must be facile in aligning</p><p>assessment procedures, learningexperiences, goals and objectives, and</p><p>contextual factors in a way that is mostconducive to learning. There ought to be</p><p>clear and compelling logic for thedecisions made by the candidate; this is</p><p>the essence of evidence-based decisionmaking.</p><p>No singlerepresentation</p><p>Alignment is something that must beinferred in a teacher work sample. There</p><p>is no section in a work sample thatdescribes alignment decisions although a</p><p>thoughtfully constructed one might alludeto alignment decisions made throughout</p><p>all the components. For example, awell-constructed work sample would offer</p><p>a description of the instructional strategieschosen and how they make best sense in</p><p>light of the context, the content, and the</p><p>goals and objectives pursued.</p><p>220</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Um</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 21:</p><p>48 1</p><p>7 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>Understanding Context 221</p><p>teacher candidates master the goal of a teacher work sampletomore systematically connect teaching with student learning. Thepath of emphasis here is through deepening understanding ofthe teaching and learning contextarticulating an empiricallyvalidated pedagogy of work sampling. Through providing a cleardescription of practice and research demonstrating efficacy ofthis pedagogy, the intent is to provide a methodology that allowsteacher education institutions to more systematically fill thegaps that currently exist in Cochran-Smiths chain of inferencebetween preparation, practices, and student learning.</p><p>Understanding Contextual Demands for Teaching and Learning</p><p>In most cases, work samples begin with analysis of the context inwhich teaching and learning will occur (Girod, 2002). The intentof analysis of context is to evaluate the potential constraints andaffordances that may impact teaching and learning (e.g., schoolpopulation SES, available school resources, student strengths andneeds). Each of these will play a role in affecting teaching andsubsequent student learning, necessitating teacher candidatesmastery of this aspect of the work sample process.</p><p>A challenge facing teacher candidates in the process of defin-ing the contextual demands in their work sample is providinginformation that has a meaningful connection to teaching andlearning. As many faculty members have expressed, too oftencontext analyses provide information relevant to the local Cham-ber of Commerce but miss discussion of the potential constraintsand affordances of these on teaching and learning. Similarly, inanalysis of classroom level context, candidates often offered along list of variables including the various curricula packages,classroom rules, number and genre of books...</p></li></ul>


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