Education: Conference Contributions

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  • ItemOpen Access
  • ItemOpen Access
    Invoking community cultural capital to survive teacher education: Yolanda’s story
    (2013) Tolbert S
    The purpose of this paper is to communicate the experiences of a bilingual/biracial Peruvian-Anglo European student teacher, Yolanda, enrolled in a “teacher education for diversity” program. Although the majority of the thirteen (mostly Anglo European) students in Yolanda’s cohort expressed satisfaction with the social justice focus of the program, Yolanda was frustrated by the mixed messages she received about social justice as teaching for change and teacher professionalism as deference to power. Yolanda was often vocal in her critique and, as a result, endured and negotiated cumulative microaggressions throughout her teacher education program. Despite these challenges, she drew on her community cultural capital to become a credentialed science teacher in an underserved urban middle school. Yolanda’s experiences compel us to think about how teacher educators might better support preservice teachers of color—particularly as we strive to more actively recruit teachers of color to our teacher education programs.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Pedagogy, culture, content, and relationships: Investigating the culturally responsive practices of science teachers with Indigenous students
    (2014) Tolbert, Sara
    In this paper, I share findings from a qualitative study of culturally responsive science instruction in Aotearoa New Zealand. Findings from teacher interviews, student focus group interviews, and classroom observations across 4 school sites reveal that culturally responsive science teachers of indigenous students attend to each of the following 4 domains: (1) honoring students’ cultural identities; (2) facilitating student engagement with rigorous content; (3) promoting responsive and student-centered pedagogy; and (4) building strong, affirming student-teacher relationships. While the first 3 domains are more often discussed in research on culturally responsive science instruction, the science teachers and Māori students in this study viewed the fourth domain, relationship-building, as the most important element of “good science teaching.”
  • ItemOpen Access
    Researching the use of virtual field trips as a flexible multipurpose teaching resource
    (2023) Kennedy B; Watson A; Engel K; Jolley A; Stahl T; Nichols A; Davidson, Jonathan; Brogt, Erik
    Virtual field trips (VFTs) are a means to give learners a genuine experience and feeling of what it would be like to participate in in-person fieldtrips but can also act as a teaching resource to meet other learning outcomes that are not necessarily related to fieldwork. These virtual experiences can provide greater accessibility for people that cannot participate in in-person field trips for reasons such as logistics, cost, or physical ability. Using internet browsers, we have been able to create online content that is interactive with mapping activities, communication exercises, animations, 360° videos, virtual rocks, detailed thin sections of rocks, and questions with automated feedback. These VFTs have been used as more than just a replica of an in-person field trip, they can be used in a variety of contexts. As an example, our research group has used them as: 1) flexible knowledge resources to replace lectures and supplement hands-on laboratory classes and tutorials; 2) fieldwork preparation resources that teach content and allow students to explore outcrops they will visit in person; and 3) a self-guided field trip when group field trips are impractical or impossible (e.g., student illness). We have found that VFTs allow educators to take students to places they would otherwise not be able to go, to familiarize students with field skills and content before going into the field to maximize learning on in-person field trips. Our research results from student interviews, focus groups and prepost measures of learning show that students enjoy and engage well with the digital content, although we are still far from an immersive in-person field experience. Looking to the future, we are continuing to develop new ways for students to genuinely explore and discover on a VFT, making use of mixed reality, which has the potential to provide students with an even more immersive experience. Such interactive VFTs can be suitable replacements for lecture content in a flipped classroom or as preparatory exercises for in-person fieldtrips, but they should only replace in-person fieldtrips after careful consideration.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Locked out: Impact of Covid-19 on school relationships and staff wellbeing in Irish primary schools
    (Social Personal Health and Education (SPHE) Network Ireland, 2021) Collins B; Nohilly M; O'Toole, Veronica; Keating S; Morrisey B; Nohilly M; Maunsell C
    The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was quickly felt in Ireland once cases began to be identified and rise in early 2020. While the impact on health services continues to be widely documented and researched, the effects on the education system received less attention initially. The priority in the early stages of the pandemic was to try to ensure that hospitals were not overwhelmed. School closures were one strategy used by the Irish Government to contain the spread of the virus. While the primary function of this move was to protect the health of both the school and general population, its impact on all aspects of school lives has become a focus for researchers. This chapter will outline the rationale, methodology and findings of a small-scale research project on staff wellbeing with school principals and teachers at primary level. Related literature will be outlined and key concepts defined. While the pandemic has abated, with restrictions lifted at the time of the writing of this chapter, its legacy will live on in schools for better or worse. This will be tentatively explored in the final section.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Locked Out: Impact of Covid-19 on School Relationships and Staff Wellbeing in Irish Primary Schools
    (2021) Nohilly M; Collins B; O'Toole, Veronica
    The overall aim of the study was to provide an opportunity for both principals and teachers to reflect on how Covid-19 impacted on their wellbeing and, by inference, the impact of the increased emotional labour of teaching during a pandemic (O’Toole and Friesen 2016).
  • ItemOpen Access
    ‘Staying with the trouble’: Praxis crisis in science teacher education for emergent bilingual learners
    (2021) Spurgin C; Ash D; Tolbert, Sara
    While there is a small but growing body of literature on how novice teachers can be better prepared to improve instructional experiences for Emergent Bilingual Learners (EBLs) in science classrooms, very little is known about how secondary science teachers make sense of their ability to enact agency (as responsive practice for EBLs) within rigid schooling contexts (Authors, 2018). We analyze the discursive positionings of five novice teachers across 3 different university teacher education programs to explore how they perceive their agency, defined as their ability to effect change in EBLs’ opportunities to learn, and how they understand the systemic contexts of oppression which complicate their agency. We then discuss how preservice teachers experience or manage tensions of working within this complex structure/agency dialectic. We reflect on their experiences as a form of praxis crisis, i.e., the disjuncture between theory and practice that occurs as they negotiate the real constraints of their work. Finally, we articulate implications for ‘staying with the trouble’ (Haraway, 2016) in teacher education research and practice on science for EBLs.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Becoming language policymakers in science and education.
    (AERA, 2021) Spurgin C; Combs MC; Tolbert, Sara
    The present study considers how novice teachers become language policymakers in linguistically hegemonic schooling contexts. We used critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2010) for transcribed interviews and classroom observation data from preservice teachers, purposively sampled from three different university-based science teacher education programs in Arizona and California. At the time of our study, these states shared common hegemonic English-only instructional policies (California’s Proposition 227, Arizona’s Proposition 203), with Arizona most robustly enforcing its restrictive language policies. However, the Englishonly policies of both states racially marginalized Latinx students and created often insurmountable barriers to English learners’ abilities to enroll in the advanced science coursework required for high school graduation and/or university admissions (Gamoran, 2017; Tolbert, 2018). Our analysis reveals paradoxes in how both teacher ideologies and institutional policies converge to systematically marginalize emergent bilingual students in science and schools. We focus our analysis on what this means for preservice teachers as they become language policymakers in linguistically diverse settings.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “This whole process has turned me into ‘that’ teacher!”: Teacher leaders in a post-truth era
    (2019) Williams J; Tolbert, Sara
    It is in this context of defunding and marketization that we began a collaborative research project with public school science teachers in early 2018. This project aims to better understand (and mitigate) the challenges they face as they work to enact a pedagogical praxis that links science to larger societal issues of inequality, oppression, and discrimination (i.e., a sociopolitical approach to science education (Tolbert and Bazzul 2017)).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Primary School Closures during the Coronovirus pandemic: Impacts, Opportunities and Connections
    (2021) Nohilly, Margaret; Collins, Bernie; O'Toole, Veronica
    Rationale for the Study › March 12th 2020- Government decision to shut all schools due to Coronavirus pandemic › Principals and teachers reimagined how education took place- transitioning from face to face classrooms to online learning › Insights into dealing with the sudden closure of school buildings, evolving emotions and the impact on teacher and principal wellbeing › The overall aim of the study was to provide an opportunity for both principals and teachers to reflect on how the pandemic impacted on their wellbeing and by inference, the impact of the increased emotional labour of teaching during COVID 19.