The William and Mary Educational Review Volume Two, Issue Two Spring 2014 ISSN 2330-7498 ÂŠ 2014 http://wmedreview.blogs.wm.edu
Information for Contributors The William and Mary Educational Review is an independent, refereed journal published by graduate students of the School of Education at The College of William and Mary. Our mission is to make a substantive contribution to educational and counseling literature through the publication of high-quality literature reviews, scholarly papers and studies, reports from the field, interviews, and other short pieces, in order to build interest and understanding through multiple perspectives on education and counseling. In so doing, we provide graduate students first-hand experience with the publishing process. The William and Mary Educational Review welcomes manuscripts that employ qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods; literature reviews that disclose relevant gaps in existing research on a relevant topic; theoretical analyses of important issues in education and counseling; policy analysis papers and briefs; and historical papers. Submitted papers should have a clearly specified research question and a theoretical or conceptual framework, employ appropriate methods, and contribute new knowledge to the body of educational and counseling literature. Submissions are accepted year-round, with one publication in the Fall and one in the Spring. Please visit our website, http://wmedreview.blogs.wm.edu, for complete submission guidelines.
Table of Contents Letter from the Editor Kerrigan Mahoney
History of the Wren's Nest
The Wren's Nest Looking Back: Reflections on Life as a Doctoral Student Alexis Harvey
An Interview with Christy Flinchum Christina Thames
From JiangXi to Infinity and Beyond: An Interview with Luyao Yan Leslie Bohon
LGBTQ in Higher Education Justine Okerson
A Need to Rethink about National Consensus on Preparing Teachers of the Gifted: A Policy Brief Sakhavat Mammadov
Beyond Applications: Exploring the Impact of First Impressions during the Interview Process Anna Thomas
Rethinking African American K-12 Education Policy Mike Postma
Minority Serving Institutions: Building Innovation from Historical Lessons Learned Diana Hernรกndez
Effective, Lasting Technology Implementation in K-12 Public School Environments Diana Theisinger
The Rationale, Success, and Critics of Virtual Schooling: An Annotated Bibliography Jay Samant
Journal Articles Shifts in Conversation: How Culturally Reponsive School Climates are Changing the Way Educators Think About Meeting the Challenges of Diversity Krista Root
The Formation of a Department: Theatre at William and Mary 1926-1963 Joseph Thomas
Creativity and The Reggio Emilia Approach DunaAlkhudhair
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From the Editor... Dear readers, As a student and educator, I see the impact of fear and doubt all around me. The fear of failure, the fear of not being as good as oneâ€™s peers, the fear of change, the fear of conflict, the fear of neglecting family or friends or work or research. The fear of being wrong. I have shared these fears. As much as I know that fear can be paralyzing, sometimes I give into it. Sometimes this is the right decision. Sometimes it leads to missed opportunities and missed connections. I have recently found that as much as I look inside and feel fear and look around and see doubt, I also see strength. I see risk taking. I see determination. From sharing an opinion in class to submitting an original piece of writing for publication, fear dissipates as we find strength in each other, as we collaborate instead of needing to do everything on our own, and as we look for the positive in ourselves and in each other. Our 3rd Edition of The William and Mary Educational Review opens with three interviews by and about students at The William and Mary School of Education. The generosity of these students in sharing their stories serves as an inspiration: Jeff, Christy, and Luyao took a risk to share their personal stories of determination, perseverance, and success with all of us. Their stories serve as a reminder of the strength we have as individuals and a community: all of our stories are important as collectively they help to define The College of William and Mary School of Education. They are also a testament to the power of writing and publication. By utilizing forums such as this one to celebrate our diverse stories, opinions, and research, we can come together as a community, grow our connections with each other, and look for future opportunities for sharing and collaboration. In the last two years The William and Mary Educational Review has grown significantly. In our first edition, we published six pieces. The current edition has more than doubled that number to 13. Our growth is thanks to the willingness of the students of our Executive Board, Editorial Board, and Peer Reviewers who volunteer their time, energy, and expertise to the process. It is also thanks to the
students who were willing to take a risk, overcome fear, and have their voices, opinions, and research put out on a public stage to advance education, understanding, and a sense of community. The 13 pieces in this edition represent a wide array of student voices and perspectives on education. I hope you will read them and celebrate with me in the success of my peers. Sincerely,
Kerrigan Mahoney Editor-in-Chief
The Wren's Nest
Executive Board Editor-in-Chief: Kerrigan Mahoney Managing Editor: Kristen Tarantino Production Editor: Julie K. Marsh Director of Marketing: Keisha Mayfield Programming Director: Carla Costello Managing Copy Editor: Alexis Harvey Copy Editors: Linda Innemee, Krista Root, Amy Schmidt, Diana Theisinger Editorial Board Paige Hendricks Leslie Bohon Jeffrey Christensen Nataliya Dudnystska Alyssa Hoffman Tehmina Khwaja Angelo Letizia Jessica Lloyd-Hazlett Sakhavat Mammadov Ceilidh Mapes Victoria McLaughlin Christina Thames
Review Board Duna Alkhudhair Debi Butler Darlene Wiggins Dockery Laura Feltman Jess Hench Amanda Hughes April Lawrence Rachel McDonald Zack Quaratella Robert G. Wood Faculty Advisors Jamel K. Donnor, PhD James P. Barber, PhD
The History of the Wren's Nest The story behind the name… A Scottish fable tells the story of the Eagle and the Wren: THE Eagle and the Wren once tried to see who could fly highest, and the victor was to be king of the birds. So the Wren flew straight up, and the Eagle flew in great circles, and when the Wren was tired he settled on the Eagle's back. When the Eagle was tired he stopped, and-"Where art thou, Wren?" said the Eagle. "I am here above thee," said the Wren. And so the Wren won the match. The history behind the name . . . The Wren Building on the campus of William and Mary is the oldest college building in the United States. Gutted by fire three times – in 1705, 1859, and 1862 – the interior of the structure was rebuilt, but the building itself remains the heart and soul of William and Mary. It is for both of these qualities - resiliency and perspective - that the name The Wren's Nest was chosen for the front section of The William & Mary Educational Review.
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Looking Back: Reflections on Life as a Doctoral Student Alexis Harvey Jeff Christensen is a third year doctoral student in the School Psychology and Counselor Education program and proudly hails from Portland, Oregon. Coming across the country to complete his education was an intentional choice as Jeff wanted to experience life on the other side of the country and to expose himself to different ways of thinking. Coming from the “left coast” allows Jeff to see things in a different context and to think outside of the box. Jeff has taken his positive West Coast attitude toward life and applied it to his William & Mary experience as a member of the Graduate Education Association and as a peer editor for The William & Mary Educational Review. Jeff has been a presence at the School of Education as he enjoys a good reputation among both students and faculty for his work ethic and sense of humor. Presently, Jeff is preparing for his doctoral dissertation in Counselor Education. His study concerns the ability of counselors to self- assess in order to be more effective counselors and also to be more knowledgeable about their own needs. In order to facilitate self- assessment. Jeff hopes to ultimately craft an instrument that will allow counselors to establish their technical competency, as well as their dispositional traits as a counselor particularly their ability to demonstrate empathy for clients. Jeff immediately ran into a road block upon setting out to complete his research since there is little extant research on the dispositional characteristics of counselors. However, Jeff was not put off by this development and decided to approach the challenge with determination and a positive attitude. In an effort to remain true to his aspirations and to “go big” he switched the emphasis from creating the instrument to focusing on current literature and national policies of accredited agencies to develop the groundwork and justification for creating the instrument in the future. Jeff believes that the information presented in his dissertation can be used in the future to create a Delphi analysis that could then be used as a basis to form the instrument.
Jeff ’s plans after graduation are no less ambitious than his dissertation study. He hopes to become a member of the academic community in Counselor Education for which he has a passion. He believes in concentrating on counselors as not only the conduit of helping others, but as individuals who themselves want assistance in becoming better practitioners or as he puts it: “…helping the helpers get help”. Jeff hopes that he, as a member of the academic community will be able to instill in prospective counselors a can- do attitude, knowledge that there is more than just technical skills involved in counseling clients, and openness to showing their own personality to clients so that “ counselors are see themselves as people first and therapists second”. Jeff hopes that these qualities will allow counselors to “… be a person that also does therapy”. He believes that a counselor who is a person first and a therapist second, can build trusting relationships with clients which will then allow for positive therapy to occur. Upon graduation, Jeff hopes to take what he has learned both academically and personally back with him to Portland. No small part of what he will take with him will be his WM experience as he had not previously lived away from his family and familiar surroundings. Jeff has found the WM community supportive and welcoming which has eased the transition. He has watched himself grow
The Wren's Nest as both a person and a professional during his time at William & Mary. Jeff is driven by his passion for helping others and for helping the helpers. Jeff â€™s positive attitude, openness, and willingness to step away from the familiar have made him a respected figure in the School of Education. In his remaining time at William & Mary, he hopes to continue to work with school organizations to encourage more collaboration and cross-over between programs of study within the School of Education as a community of helping professions. Jeff sees both challenges and opportunities for students to grow and flourish at WM. Jeff has watched himself grow as both a person and as a professional during his time at WM. With his passion and desire to go big intact, Jeff looks forward to becoming the first person with a doctorate in his family. It is the vision of being surrounded by family and friends at graduation and a passion that inspires Jeff and for his chosen profession that will allow him to continue to think big.
About the author Alexis Harvey is a PhD candidate in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on K-12 Administration
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An Interview with Christy Flinchum Christina Thames
Aspiring high school biology teacher Christy Flinchum is a native of southern California, but she has been a resident of the East Coast for a decade. After attending Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg, VA, she transferred into the College of William & Mary’s undergraduate program and graduated in May 2013. Christy was sure when she started college that she wanted to be a history teacher, but a required biology class – which she admits, “I was angry about having to take” – led her to a love of the scientific examination of living things. Christy capped her undergraduate studies with an internship in yeast genetics, and she ultimately decided to change her education lens from high school history to high school science. “I’ve always known that I was going to be a teacher, I just didn’t know how,” Christy says. As a high school student herself, Christy received As and Cs; her ADHD made it difficult for her to pay attention and relate to things that she found uninteresting. Now as a teacher, Christy wants to help provide more opportunities for students to gain knowledge in the practical applications of biology and chemistry to better understand and appreciate how these sciences impact their lives. She hopes to inspire in others a love for the potential of science. While she seeks to motivate her students, Christy never forgets her own source of motivation: her eight-year-old son Kieran. Together, the pair enjoys going to museums, watching movies, and playing cards. Kieran also loves to fish, so they have spent time out at College Creek with biology professor Stan Hoegerman. This is one of the reasons why Christy says she loves William & Mary. “You meet professors and make great connections,” she says. “That would not happen at a big school.” Christy and Kieran traveled to Disney World in December during the winter semester break. It was the fulfillment of a promise. “When I graduated [undergrad], we would go to Disney. That was the deal,” she says. “It took us a while to make it work, but we made it happen.” Although the pair avoided
the roller coasters since they are both “scaredycats,” Kieran especially loved Big Thunder Mountain. When she is not in class, in her high school practicum placement, or spending time with Kieran, Christy also enjoys cooking, cross stitching, and writing short stories. In the future, she would love to travel “everywhere.” She would like to start with London – a particular wish of Kieran’s – and Japan. Christy also professes a love of literature and admits to engaging in literary criticism as a hobby. Her classmates in the School of Education know of her unabashed affection for Sherlock Holmes and the most recent actor to play him, Benedict Cumberbatch. Christy says her love of everything having to do with Holmes has grown in the past two years because “there is something about a very clever person that eschews society and has a devotion to a higher purpose.” She describes the friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Watson as “the most perfect friendship in all of literature.” This spring, Christy will have her student teaching internship at Hampton High School in Hampton, VA. She will teach 9th grade Honors Biology and International Baccalaureate Biology for 11th and 12th Grades. Christy is a Noyce Scholar, so after graduation, she will be teaching for several years in a high needs high school in Virginia. Later,
The Wren's Nest Christy would love to pursue her PhD in Biology and perhaps move back to the West Coast. Wherever she goes, as an educator she will remember that “it’s important to allow kids to see they have a lot to give. They come with experiences already.” She also will seek to live by the words of biology professor Kurt Williamson: “I can’t teach you anything. You have to teach yourself. I’m just an advertisement for the world.” “That’s what I want to be,” Christy says. “I’m an advertisement for the world.”
About the author Christina Thames is an MAEd student in the Curriculum and Instruction program, focusing on Secondary English Education.
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From JiangXi to Infinity and Beyond: An Interview with Luyao Yan Leslie Bohon
The first time I met Luyao Yan was quite memorable for me. We were classmates in the History of Higher Education class taught by Dr. Dot Finnegan. Chatting before class, I learned that it was Luyao’s very first semester at William & Mary. During Dr. Finnegan’s instruction in that first class, I considered how much U.S. cultural knowledge is required in a U.S. history of higher education class: the GI Bill, Reformation and Colonial and Antebellum Colleges (oh, my!)…the course is full of topics that are so culture-laden! I thought, “This course is hard enough for Americans, but how will it be for this new student from China? How can she learn the context along with the content?” Yet, the motivation to learn a different perspective, experience the foreign, and face new challenges was precisely why Luyao Yan chose to attend William & Mary for a graduate degree. Luyao’s background, preparation, and outlook provided everything she required to tackle this tough course. About Luyao Luyao Yan is a 2nd year Higher Education Administration Master’s student from Yiyang, (Province) JiangXi, in Southeast China. After completing an undergraduate degree in English and Japanese languages at Renmin University (People’s University), a prestigious university in Beijing, she
decided to pursue higher education administration, but in a comparative education context. Luyao sought a comparative perspective of higher education because “higher education contains political factors and there are differences in the two higher education systems. I seek to learn from the U.S. to solve some problems in the current Chinese higher education system.” Despite the discouragement she received from her friends that study abroad would be too difficult, she concluded that the benefits of a comparative perspective outweighed the hurdles. “I just want different things… and challenges. The knowledge here is very good, especially in higher education administration.” When asked why she chose the College of William & Mary, Luyao commented that although she received many offers from other universities, the School of Education faculty and campus drew her to William & Mary. “Jim [Barber] sent me an email and he wrote some Chinese in that. I was really impressed! The faculty members are truly very special.” The exceptional faculty coupled with her love of historical architecture made the College of William & Mary seem like a perfect fit.
The Wren's Nest What has surprised you about college life in the U.S.? Living at a U.S. college for Luyao has proved a comparative exercise in itself. What has surprised her the most here are students’ relationships with their families. First, she was struck that many undergraduate students chose William & Mary because of what she sees as “family values.” “Being together with family is very important for American students. The students often like to work or study close to their families.” Luyao acknowledged that many U.S. students choose to stay close to home partly because of in-state tuition, but she senses a real desire on the students’ part to stay connected with their families. On the other hand, this connection to family conflicts with what Luyao views as a strong financial independence of U.S. youth vis-à-vis their families. In China, generally families pay for their children’s education, even through graduate school. In fact, many Chinese parents go to great lengths to personally pay for the best education possible. “Because of the one-child policy, families save their money and spend it on their children. Parents sacrifice their own belongings…such as the selling of a house.” Luyao, in fact, does have a friend whose parents sold their house to pay for their child’s college education, but she says this is an extreme example. In contrast, Luyao observes that U.S. families are more likely to secure student loans and “would not sacrifice most of their stuff for their children. Student loans are not common in China as they are here.” Instead, Chinese families may secure a home loan and use it for education. Another aspect of U.S. higher education that Luyao finds both “surprising and interesting” is the process of choosing a college major. As a high school student, Luyao chose her major before entering college. At the end of a Chinese high school student’s career, he or she sits for the highstakes national exam, the gao kao. The score on the gao kao determines college choices. Chinese students “choose top schools instead of top programs. They want the name of that college.” For example, Luyao was honored to go to Renmin University and cared little about the ranking of the English Department. The college choice then refines the choice of the major and once a major is chosen during the summer before freshman year, it is locked. “It’s hard to change once you’re in college; here [in the U.S.]
9 you have one year experience [before choosing your major] and you know more about what you want.” Value of attending graduate school at William & Mary Luyao notes that because William & Mary is a smaller school, she has enjoyed many opportunities “for real contact with U.S. students and people, which opens the door to culture. Also, the working experience here is very valuable.” Luyao appreciates her various work experiences at the College. She has worked at the Reves Center in Study Abroad, the Center for Student Diversity, and Recreational Life. Each position has offered a unique look at college student life with various challenges and opportunities. For example, in her current post as a graduate intern in the Center for Student Diversity, Luyao believes her perspective as a Chinese student was appreciated because the staff sees value in incorporating viewpoints from diverse cultures. “It’s not only about the knowledge or the ways of thinking. If you experience two different kinds of environments, you have more perspectives. You will have the openness to diverse viewpoints. You can adapt to different environments very quickly and with more problem-solving abilities.” Likewise, Luyao sees her work and study experiences at William & Mary will be a great asset to her career. She said many institutes of higher education in China are interested in applying Western style administration. She explains that in the U.S., individual institutions have unique ways of handling their own administration, whereas in China, university governance has employed a national approach. She notes that many Chinese universities are interested in Western approaches to higher education administration. To incorporate lessons learned from the U.S. system for universities in China, Luyao plans to work for a few years in higher education in the U.S. Indeed, her overall work and student experiences at William & Mary have already enriched her global expertise: “No matter where, whether in China or the U.S., something can be applied, like student development theories. Comparative education gives you different perspectives.” Luyao’s background, preparation, and outlook brought her to a beautiful campus nestled in Williamsburg, Virginia. Starting her first semester at the College of William and Mary in the
10 challenging History of Higher Education class did not deter her; instead, it was one more collected perspective to add to an already rich and global repertoire.
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About the author Leslie Bohon is a PhD candidate in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on Higher Education Administration.
The Wren's Nest
LGBTQ in Higher Education Justine Okerson “Understanding what matters the most to students can lead to improved services and higher levels of student retention and success in college” (Burleson, 2010) Executive Summary Higher Education is meant to be a transformative experience. For decades, student affairs professionals have worked to meet the personal, academic, and social needs for students to ensure professional development and growth. It was not long before administrators realized that several student populations needs were not being met and action was taken to spearhead both affirmative action and diversity on college campuses today. According to the College Equality Index, 100 colleges and universities have a LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) center on campus, and 38 colleges and universities provide gender-neutral housing. While steps have been taken to provide support and a voice for LGBTQ students on campus, a further refinement of policies is needed to ensure equality across campus. This brief will examine ways to advocate, support, and provide programming that is inclusive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students in higher education. Access & Equity LGBTQ students face many challenges on a traditional college campuses. Compared to their heterosexual classmates, LGBTQ students face higher risks for mental health concerns, sexual health concerns, substance abuse, and family issues (Angeli, 2009). Student success for LGBTQ students is most affected by their ability to feel safe and secure on campus, feel welcomed by faculty, staff, and students, and be provided additional support and safe spaces on campus (Angeli, 2009; Engberg, Hurtado, & Smith, 2007). Introduction “Policies that explicitly welcome LGBTQ employees and students powerfully express the commitment of a college or university in building a community of difference. Individuals will be more likely to be open
about their sexual identity or gender identity knowing their institution is supportive. When individuals do not have to expend energy hiding aspects of their identity, they, in turn, tend to be more satisfied and productive” ~ Rankin, Weber, Bumenfeld, & Frazer (2010) Many college campuses today struggle with finding what the best practices are for creating a safe and open campus climate for LGBTQ students. While some campuses have already adopted various policies and procedures to affect campus life (Beemyn, 2005; Burleson, 2010; Rankin, Weber, Bumenfeld, & Frazer, 2010), this brief argues for an adoption of policies standardized across various colleges and universities to bring equality and various measures across the board. For LGBTQ students seeking a college or university that will be welcoming to all students they look to a variety of factors to be sure they can feel safe and secure on campus: campus climate, safety, housing policies, academics, student support, presence of an LGBTQ center and staff person, and student involvement/interest groups. Each affects an individual’s college choice decision. Additional formalized research should be completed to help campuses communicate and share data regarding best practices in order to better inform future policies and practices in higher education. Transgender Students: Which Box Do You Check? Beemyn (2005) illustrates several deficiencies that exist on college campuses for transgender students. Beemyn also emphasized best practices currently used at model campuses. Examples included the use of family locker rooms as safe and private spaces in recreation facilities; open response fields instead of checkboxes to indicate sex or gender; LGBTQ living-learning communities within residences halls with the option of gender-neutral housing; and streamlining and simplifying the process of changing a student’s name and photo identification while a student transitions.
12 Supporting LGBTQ Students on Campus • Health Care – provide counseling services, support groups, and adequate health care for LGBTQ students • Residence Halls – provide gender-neutral housing, have inclusive policies for residence life, create living-learning communities, and provide single residence halls for students • Bathrooms – provide gender-neutral bathrooms and private showers across campus, and publicize information on accessible websites • Locker Rooms – provide private changing rooms and single-person showers at recreation facilities on campus • Records and Documents – assist transgender student with the process of changing gender on college documents and records • Public Inclusion – provide trainings for students and gender-specific groups on campus (Greek Life, Sports, Etc.) regarding common LGBTQ issues and how to provide support • Programming/Training/Support – offer events dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ members on campus, offer speakers, training, and support for LGBTQ students and friends • Orientation – open the dialogue for gender and sexuality discussions before classes start • Curriculum – include LGBT current issues and set the stage for open discussions • Find a Point Person – ideally this should be a fulltime staff person, but if not locate and post a faculty/staff resource for students to direct questions and concerns • Career Center – post information and discuss LGBTQ-friendly employers (Beemyn, Dominigue, Pettit, & Smith, 2005; How to Support LGBTQ Students on Campus, 2013) Campus Climate “Campuses give signals to potential students about the level of support GLBTQ students can expect” ~Burleson (2010) The institutional climate at a college or university has been shown to create a powerful impact on students’ perceptions and attitudes regarding diversity on campus (Engberg, Hurtado, & Smith, 2007). Research also demonstrates that students in a non-discriminatory environment are more open to diversity and challenges to their belief system throughout college (Angeli, 2009; Burleson, 2010; Engberg, Hurtado, & Smith, 2007). College
The William & Mary Educational Review campuses send signals, intentionally or not, about their openness to LGBTQ students through the form of student organizations, resource centers, and special-interest housing (Burleson, 2010). Most students consider the campus climate an important factor when deciding where to attend college. One method of addressing these issues is to examine ways in which to focus on marketing and communication to prospective students and making it evident that regardless of a student’s individual sexual orientation, the campus, itself, supports the LGBTQ community (Burleson, 2010). LGBTQ & Race Research also demonstrates the importance of examining challenges for LGBTQ students who are also multicultural students, as often-times neither support system is adequate for multicultural LGBTQ students (Misawa, 2007). Additional programming efforts and support are needed for students, and evaluation of those programs is required for success in reaching all students. Policy Recommendations • LGBTQ Student Data & Research – More student data is needed to make recommendations and to assess the quality and progression of an LGBTQ student’s educational performance • Enforcing Student Policies – Important to ensure existing student policies are being applied and that there are policies in place that forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity • Inclusion in Diversity Efforts and NonDiscrimination Clause – Include sex/gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity in diversity efforts in addition to non-discrimination clauses • Provide a Safe and Open Campus Climate – Demonstrate an institutional commitment to programming and support of all students and initiatives on campus • Provide Student Support – Offer safe spaces on campuses, and identify faculty/staff as allies on campus, allow for funding for at least one full-time staff devoted to LGBTQ programming and advocacy • Increase Outreach and Communication – Add support groups, speakers, classes, and open-ended discussions on gender and sexuality for all students • Commit to Professional Development Efforts – Train faculty, staff, and students on inclusive practices/curriculum, safe zone trainings, and how to respond to harassment and hate crimes on
The Wren's Nest campus Equality in Action “Several studies in higher education show a clear link between students’ interactions with diverse peers and increases across a number of student outcomes; intellectual and social self-confidence; openness to diversity and challenge; critical thinking; and leadership and cultural knowledge”~ Engberg, Hurtado, & Smith (2007) Conclusion As higher education continually seeks to provide and promote access and inclusion for all students, it is important to consider our policies and programs dedicated to LGBTQ students on college campuses today. By examining previous research regarding the LGBTQ higher education experience in addition to the main issues affecting LGBTQ students today, it is clear that there are a variety of ways that faculty, staff, and student affairs administrators can address not only the campus climate, but also many possible suggestions for better support of LGBTQ students. Higher Education should be a transformative experience for ALL students. Higher Education should also be a safe place for students to grow by being exposed to diversity, and learn from one another. The research demonstrates that support and climate are crucial for LGBTQ students academic and social success. Higher Education policy should adopt a requirement for hiring a full-time staff person committed to addressing LGBTQ needs on campus. Implications and Limitations Limitations of this policy brief are due to the lack of formalized research regarding LGBTQ issues in Higher Education. There is a clear need for additional research regarding best practices and how to effectively meet the needs academically, socially, and physically for all students. The implications of this project indicate that change is needed on most college campuses. Additional training for faculty, staff, and students regarding diversity is needed to help address promoting an open and diverse campus climate. Colleges and universities want to provide a safe community that is diverse and innovative; by committing to supporting LGBTQ issues, institutions are one step closer to achieving their goals.
References Angeli, M. (2009). Access and Equity for All Students: Meeting the Needs of LGBT Students. Report 09-14. California Postsecondary Education Commission. Beemyn, B., Dominigue, A., Pettit, J., & Smith, T. (2005). Suggested steps to makes campuses more trans-inclusive. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education, 3(1), 8994. Beemyn, B.G. (2005). Making campuses more inclusive of transgender students. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Issues in Education, 3(1), 77- 87. doi: 10.1300/J367v03n01_08. Birnbaum, R. (1988). How colleges work: The cybernetics of academic organization and leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Burleson, D.A. (2010). Sexual orientation and college choice: Considering campus climate. About Campus, 14(6), 9-14. College Equality Index. (2013). Retrieved December 5, 2013 from http://www.collegeequalityindex.org/. Engberg, M. E., Hurtado, S., & Smith, G. C. (2007). Developing attitudes of acceptance toward lesbian, gay, and bisexual peers: Enlightenment, contact, and the college experience. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Issues in Education, 4(3), 49-77. Fowler, F. (2012). Policy studies for educational leaders: An introduction (4th Ed.). Boston: Prentice Hall. How to Support LGBTQ Students on Campus (2013). Retrieved December 5, 2013 from http://lgbtq.unc.edu/programsservices/safe-zone/how-to-support-lgbtstudents. Misawa, M. (2007). Political aspects of the intersection of sexual orientation and race in higher education in the United States: A queer scholar of color's perspective. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 4(2), 7883. Rankin, S., Weber, G., Bumenfeld, W., & Frazer, S. (2010). The state of higher education for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender people. Charlotte, NC: Campus Pride. Weick, K.E. (2000). Educational organizations as loosely coupled systems. In M.C. Brown, II (Ed.), Organization & Governance in
The William & Mary Educational Review Higher Education (5th Ed.) (pp. 36-49). Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing.
About the author Justine Okerson is a PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on Higher Education.
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A Need to Rethink about National Consensus on Preparing Teachers of the Gifted: A Policy Brief Sakhavat Mammadov Executive Summary One of the most important issues facing gifted education today is teacher preparation. This issue is important for several reasons. The majority of gifted students spend most of their time in regular classrooms and many school districts are not able to provide any supplemental services for them. In the last few decades, there has been a greater emphasis on identifying characteristics that help to define the so-called “teacher of the gifted.” Research strongly suggests that teachers of the gifted must have pedagogical skills and knowledge to provide at least some of the services. Only a very small number of states have policies that mandate teachers to have a certificate for teaching gifted students. In many states, it is up to local educational agencies to determine if there is a need for such requirement. The issue is becoming increasingly prominent due to the lack of mandated initiatives. Introduction “A schism is discussed between those who believe that teaching is a profession like law or medicine, requiring a substantial amount of education before one becomes a practitioner, and those who think teaching is a craft which is learned principally on the job” writes Arthur Levine in his executive summary of Educating School Teachers (2006, p.1). Although contextual complexity in teacher preparation exists, I argue that both college education and experience in school settings are essential elements for becoming an effective teacher. Critical to this preparation is improving teacher education programs at the college level to ensure students receive the quality education they deserve. Teacher preparation has been at the forefront of educational reform over the past few decades, and the issue remains one of the key issues in school reform policy. Recently, as a part of the Obama Administration’s plan for improving teacher recruitment and preparation, the U.S. Department of Education (2011) announced its strategy to
improve the quality of teacher education programs and remove burdensome regulations. This plan is a valuable roadmap for effective program improvement in teacher education. The subfield of gifted education is struggling with similar issues that general school reform policy faces. Teacher preparation is one of them. However, the issues facing gifted education become more challenging due to a lack of mandated initiatives in the field. Each state has its own legislation and accountability system for gifted education. A broad range of policies and legislation make national reform in gifted education more difficult and less inclusive (Brown, Avery, VanTassel-Baska, Worley, & Stambaugh, 2006). Reaching consensus on gifted education policy mandates is unlikely in the near feature. Unless current efforts on development of gifted education policy are shifted from a few isolated initiatives that focus solely on identifying gifted students and presenting limited program features, change and reform is unlikely (Shaunessy, 2003). Approaches and Results The literature emphasizes the importance of preparing teachers to educate gifted students. Some studies directly address pre-service preparation in gifted education (Rogers, 1989; Shore, Cornell, Robinson, & Ward, 1991), while other studies seem to focus on understanding teachers of gifted learners (Bishop, 1968; Howley, Howley, & Pendarvis, 1986; Mills, 2003; Roberts, 2006; Sanders & Rivers, 1996). Sanders and Rivers (1996) reported that ineffective teachers had a diminishing effect on gifted students’ achievement. Effective teachers of the gifted have characteristics (e.g., tolerance for ambiguity, creativity, and interest in literature and cultural matters) similar to those also ascribed to gifted students (Howley, Howley, & Pendarvis, 1986). Bishop’s (1968) study of 200 teachers of gifted students, found that a group of exemplary teachers have higher achievement needs, greater
16 literary and cultural interests, and systematic, orderly, enthusiasm about their subject matters. Classroom teachers are the primary agent for identifying and serving gifted students in schools. Therefore, regular classroom teachers, too, should have the requisite skill and preparation to address the needs of gifted students. If the gifted studentsâ€™ needs are not met in these settings, they may lose their interest and become bored with school. A survey of 871 gifted students in North Carolina revealed that students were bored by the pace and nature of the instruction they received in public school programs (Gallagher, Harradine, & Coleman, 1997). Thus, teachers needs to understand both academic and affective needs of gifted students in order for these students to reach their potential (Colangelo, 1991; Greenlaw & McIntosh, 1988). There is no certification or degree requirement for teachers of gifted students at the national level. Only a small number of states have requirements regarding pre-service endorsement coursework and in-service training after initial certification. The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC, 2013) reported that only one state, Kentucky, has a regulation for all pre-service teachers to receive gifted coursework. In many states, there are no state policies regarding in-service training. In 15 states, state policy leaves up to local educational agencies determine if general educational teachers must receive gifted in-service training. As a result, requirements or recommendations for completion of coursework and ongoing professional development vary widely from state to state and in many cases from district to district within a given state. The broad disparity in teacher training and professional development across states is a significant problem in the field. In order to address this issue, the NAGC and Council for Exceptional Children (CEC, 2006) collaborated over three years to develop a set of research-based standards for educators: The Teacher Knowledge and Skills Standards for Gifted and Talented. The standards enumerate the pedagogical skills and knowledge about gifted learner development with which teachers of gifted learners should align. The standards were approved as national official standards to guide state departments of public instructions in developing standards for teachers of K-12 gifted children and to assist college and
The William & Mary Educational Review universities in the development of programs to prepare gifted educators. In the fall of the same year, the NAGC/CEC standards were adopted by National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE-accredited colleges and universities have started to use these standards as a basis for institutional and gifted program reviews. Conclusion The NAGC/CEC standards are highly important to ensure effectiveness of gifted education programs across school districts and to bring consistency and coherence to nationwide teacher education programs in gifted education. However, this framework can serve only as a model for universities that offer such programs and for district-based professional development programming. Thus, the lack of professional development for pre-service teachers and teachers in schools in how best to serve the needs of gifted students is not superficial, but rather profound in its influence on these studentsâ€™ learning and achievement. Only a small number of universities have programs specifically designed for teachers working with gifted students. The number of states that require formal coursework and special certification is not large (citation). Furthermore, most gifted children spend at least 80% of their time in regular classrooms and receive services from general education teachers (citation). It is now essential to find consensus on effective ways to solve problems with teacher-preparation in working with gifted students. Implications and Recommendations Endorsement courses and professional development offer growth opportunity for deeper understanding ofresearch-based practice, and awareness of teachersâ€™ knowledge gaps in the area of gifted education. As endorsement requirements lead to an increase in teacher awareness regarding the nature of gifted learners, it is more likely that school districts will pay much more attention to ongoing professional development. The NAGC/CEC collaboration was an important attempt to solve a key teacher preparation problem in the field of gifted education. However, without supplemental policies, the problem remains and can create a lack of coherence and comprehensiveness in teacher training and ongoing professional development. It is evident that there is
The Wren's Nest a need to contemplate a sweeping solution to this problem. One possible solution might be act upon the general consensus calling for efforts to come up with coherence among states’ policies on gifted education (citation-which efforts?). Specifically, if research studies support certification as a valuable requirement to teach the gifted, states should start creating such requirements for pre-service coursework and in-service training. State policy makers also should use the NAGC/CEC standards as a model in their state-based programs. One of the key features of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative is that it provides high standards that are consistent across many states. The CCSS and the NAGC/CEC standards have some areas of agreement, for example, incorporating critical and creative thinking in content-area instruction (citation). Further efforts to align these standards in areas of common need might help not only students in teacher preparation programs, but also teachers in both gifted education and general education. Note that gifted education can be a pilot study for new educational techniques and part of a potential support system for general education (Gallagher, 2004). References Bishop, W. E. (1968). Successful teachers of the gifted. Exceptional Children, 34, 317–325. Brown, E., Avery, L, VanTassel-Baska, J., Worley, B., Stambaugh, T. (2006). A five-state analysis of gifted education policies. Roeper Review, 29(1), 11-23. Colangelo, N. (1991). Counseling gifted students. In N. Colangelo & G.A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (pp. 271-284). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Gallagher, J. (2004). Introduction to public policy in gifted education. In Reis, S. & Gallagher, J. (Eds.), Public policy in gifted education (pp. xxiii - xxix). Corwin Press and National Association for Gifted Children. Gallagher, J., Harradine, C. C., & Coleman, M. R. (1997). Challenge or boredom? Gifted students' views on their schooling. Roeper Review, 19 (3), 132-136. Greenlaw, M. J., & McIntosh, M. E. (1988). Educating the gifted. Chicago, CA: American Library Association.
17 Howley, A., Howley, C. B., & Pendarvis, E. D. (1986). Teaching gifted children. Boston, MA: Little, Brown. Levine, A. (2006). Educating school teachers. The Education Schools Project. Retrieved from http://www.edschools.org/pdf/Educatin g_Teachers_Report.pdf Mills, C. (2003). Characteristics of effective teachers of gifted students: Teacher background and personality styles of students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 47, 272–281. National Association for Gifted Children/Council for Exceptional Children. (2006). Initial knowledge and skill standards for gifted education. Retrieved from http://www.cectag.org National Association for Gifted Children. (2013). Training for teachers and other school professionals. Retrieved from http://www.nagc.org/uploadedFiles/Gif ted_by_State/state_of_states_201213/Table%20E%20(training).pdf Roberts, J. L. (2006). Teachers of gifted secondary students: What makes them effective. In F. A. Dixon & S. M. Moon (Eds.), The handbook of secondary gifted education (pp. 567–580). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Rogers, K. B. (1989). Training teachers of the gifted: What do they need to know? Roeper Review, 11 (3), 145-150. Sanders, W.L., & Rivers, J.C. (1996). Cumulative and residual effects of teachers on future student academic achievement. Research Progress Report. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Value-Added Research and Assessment Center. Shaunessy, E. (2003). State policies regarding gifted education. Gifted Child Today, 26(3), 16-21. Shore, B. M., Cornell, D. G., Robinson, A., & Ward, V. S. (1991). Recommended practices in gifted education. New York, NY: Teachers College. Swanson, J. D. (2007). Policy and practice: A case study of gifted policy implementation. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 31, 131164. U.S. Department of Education. (2011). Our future, our teachers: The Obama Administration’s plan for teacher education reform and improvement.
The William & Mary Educational Review Retrieved from:http://www.ed.gov/teaching /our-future-our-teachers
About the author Sakhavat Mammadov is a PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on Gifted Education Administration.
The Wren's Nest
Beyond Applications: Exploring the Impact of First Impressions during the Interview Process Anna Thomas Defining the Focus First, what are first impressions? According to Albarracin, Wang, Li, & Noguchi (2008), first impressions are judgements based on concrete and abstract constructs that are formed during human interactions. These impressions are held in our memories and shape our beliefs and attitudes for individuals and events. In relation to the hiring process, first impressions are the encoded elements related to personality and appearance which can influence potential employers. Framing first impressions through a semiotic lens, elements from our clothing and applications become symbols. In turn, these symbols reflect basic truths embedded within our personalities. HR Reality Check for Educators As instructional and administrative positions become more competitive, first impressions can supplement applications and portfolios. Researchers have identified multiple areas of consideration for educational professionals initially entering the field or those veterans seeking out promotions. Are you Ready for a Faculty Parking Pass? Teacher preparation programs need more direction in promoting appropriate dress during fieldbased experiences (Colbert, 2008). Some instructional positions (ex. PE) focus more on appearance than others despite their listed bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQs) (Dillion, McCaughtry, & Hummel, 2010). Digital footprints extend farther than you think. Personality information can be gleaned from your email address (Back, Schmukle, & Egloff, 2008). Potential employers are taking note of our selected domains, use of characters, and selected. Additional Considerations 1. Footwear Counts: Low-heeled shoes were found to give the impression of emotional stability, while colorful, pointy shoes indicated extraverted tendencies. 2. Give Me a Hand: Quality of handshakes are more important for women than men during the interview process. Shake with confidence.
3. Visibility Promotes Inclusion: Workforces that already employ individuals with disabilities are more apt to provide workplace accommodations and have better perceptions on the abilities of employees with exceptional needs. Welcoming environments are typically evident. 4. Unintended Considerations: When being interviewed, keep in mind the interviewer might be unconsciously factoring in attractiveness, especially if the position requires interacting with the public. 5. Grizzly Gets the Job: Facial hair was found to represent competency, attractiveness, and agreeableness. Unless you are applying for a position the explicitly requires physical attractiveness as a BFOQ (ex. a certain chicken wing franchise), then your looks should not factor into the decisionmaking process. However, your degree of attractiveness is not protected under Title VII, as appearance or the lack of is not recognized as a protective class (unless you live in Michigan). Employers often subconsciously associate attractiveness with competency and good physical health (Gumin, 2012). As noted above, educators may encounter this form of bias if applying for positions in the health field or community and public relations. References Albarracin, D., Wang, W., Li, H., Noguchi, K. (2008). Structureof attitudes: Judgments, memory, and implications for change. In W. D. Crano & R. Prislin (Eds.), Attitudes and attitudes for change: Frontiers of social psychology (pp. 19-39). New York, NY: Psychology Press. Back, M. D., Schmukle, S. C., & Egloff, B. (2008). How extraverted is honey.bunny77@hotm ail.de? Inferring personality from e-mail addresses. Journal of Research in Personality, 14(20), 1116-1122.
20 doi:10.1016/j.jrp2008.02.001 Colbert, R. (2008). Teacher candidate fashion, tattoos, and piercings: Finding balance and common sense. Childhood Education, 84(3), 158-160. Dillion, S., McCaughtry, N., & Hummel, S. (2010). School districtsâ€™ hiring practices for physical educators. Physical Educator, 67(4), 209-221. Gillath, O., Bahns, A. J., Ge, F., & Crandall, C. S. (2012). Shoes as a source of first impressions. Journal of Personality Research, 46(2012), 423-430. doi: 1016/j.jrp.2012.04.003 Gumin, M. (2012). Ugly on the inside: An argument for a narrow interpretation of employer defenses to appearance discrimination. Minnesota Law Review, 96(5), 1769-1794. Haussman, D. (2012). How Congress could reduce job discrimination by promoting anonymous hiring. Stanford Law Review, 64(5), 1343-1369. Mast, M. S., Bangerter, A., Bulliard, C., & Gaelle, A. (2011). How accurate are recruitersâ€™ first impressions of applicants in employment interviews? International Journal of Selection & Assessment, 19(2), 198-208. doi: 10.1111/j/1468-2389.2001.00547.x McFarlin, D. B., Song, J., & Sonntag, M. (1991). Integrating the disabled into the workforce: A survey of Fortune 500 company attitudes and practices. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 4(2), 107-123. doi: 10.1007/BFO1390353. Reed, J. A., & Blunk, E. M. (1990). The influence of facial hair on impression formation. Social Behavior and Personality, 18(1), 169-176. Stewart, G. L., Dustin, S. L., Barrick, M. R., & Darnold, T. C. (2008). Exploring the handshake in employment interviews. Journal ofApplied Psychology, 93(5), 1139-1146. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.5.1139 Tsao, W., Huang, T., & Yu. H. (2012). Investigating the unique predictability and boundary conditions of applicant physical attractiveness and non-verbal behaviors on interviewer evaluations in job interviews. Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 85(1), 60-79. doi:
The William & Mary Educational Review 10.1348/2044-8325.002003.
About the author Anna Thomas is a PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on K-12 General Administration.
The Wren's Nest
Rethinking African American K-12 Education Policy Mike Postma Executive Summary The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 failed to adequately account for African American student K-12 academic performance. In fact, the NCLB policy has harmed the minority students it was designed to help. When compared to White K-12 students, African American students are more likely to drop out of high school. Of those that do graduate, a small percentage are considered career and college ready. The NLCB-driven overemphasis on testing has contributed to a persistent pattern of ethnic bias against African American students. As policy makers consider the potential reauthorization of the NCLB Act of 2001, they must redress the role of standardized testing and the negative impacts of those tests on African American K-12 students. Specifically, the reauthorization should include the appropriate role for testing; the appropriateness of testing instruments, and the results of testing on African American K-12 academic achievement. Introduction The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, last restructured in 2002 as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 was intended to increase accountability and close achievement gaps between disadvantaged students and their peers (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). Despite federal per student expenditures that doubled and a $2 trillion taxpayer investment since the 1960s, American student academic accomplishment has remained flat and achievement gaps between White and African American students persist (Marshall & Burke, 2012). The NCLB policy required all public schools to administer state wide standardized tests annually to all students (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). While the NCLB policy outlined a variety of methods to reform American education, standardized test scores have been used as the main criteria by which student knowledge, teacher effectiveness, and K-12 school quality are assessed (Hightower, 2012). As Oakes (1989) asserted, highstakes testing can lead most teachers to spend a great
deal of their time and energy focused on improving student test scores. This overemphasis on testing has harmed African American K-12 students. Thompson and Allen (2012) assert that the overemphasis on high-stakes testing damaged African American K-12 student academic performance in four major areas: instructional practices that resulted in lower test scores and higher dropout rates; student apathy instigated by educational material that was not presented as culturally relevant or applicable to the real-world; discipline policies in which the ratio of African American students that received punitive measures went up; and a narcissistic education system that is overly obsessed about the image associated with test score results. As the federal government looks to reauthorize the NCLB Act, the role of testing and the impact of those tests on African American students must be considered. Instructional Practices The NCLB policy has instilled a belief among many teachers that they have lost much of their autonomy and ability to tailor lesson plans to meet individual student needs. Teachers are often required to use specified curriculum and teaching guides that prescribe what to teach, how to teach it and how much time to spend teaching it (Kozol, 2005). The Independent Task Force of the Council on Foreign Relations concluded that African American students are harmed by the NCLB related instructional practices that have become prevalent in American K-12 schools (Klein & Rice, 2012). The continued focus on test preparation and NCLB-driven teaching methods have resulted in students that memorize the curriculum rather than experience, understand, and learn (Thompson & Allen, 2012). Testing Instruments Evidence of the academic disparity between African American and White American students continues to be displayed in the achievement scores on state assessment testing instruments. When compared to their White
22 counterparts, the achievement level of African American students lags far behind, especially in math and science (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). Thompson (2007) found that African American students are more likely to identify issues regarding their ability to read and understand state-mandated testing instruments. Freedle (2006) identified a persistent pattern of ethnic bias on many standardized tests to include the SAT. African American students have consistently scored as much as 33% lower on the SAT when compared to White American students (Freedle, 2006). Student Apathy & Culture King (2006) found that African American culture is not well reflected in K-12 curriculum. The lack of culturally relevant education has resulted in many African American students who are apathetic. Student historical understanding can improve a student’s motivation to learn and their perspective for a more positive future. Additionally, teachers need to understand the cultural backgrounds of students so that they can effectively engage and interact with those students (King, 2006). A Thompson (2007) study connected African American student apathy to a lack of culturally relevant K-12 curriculum. Seventy-five percent of African American students articulated a desire to learn more about their culture (Thompson, 2007). Variation theory supports the need for culturally relevant curriculum by explaining that students create meaning through their own experiences and connections rather than predefined meanings (Tan, 2009). As such, students who are not able to culturally connect with educational content are less able to create meaning from it. High School Dropouts Young adults who do not finish high school are more likely to be unemployed than those that do graduate from high school. In 2007, approximately 20% of African Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 years old had dropped out of high school. This compares to approximately five percent of White Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 who had dropped out of high school (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010). Additionally, high school dropouts have unemployment rates that are nearly two times higher than those students that attain some post secondary education (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013).
The William & Mary Educational Review High School Graduates Evidence is mounting that K-12 schools are not adequately preparing African American students who do graduate from high school for college or for a vocation. One recent report by ACT (2012), a not-for-profit testing organization, found that while 22% of White American high school students were properly prepared for college in English, mathematics, reading and science, that same study found that only five percent of African American students met those same standards. This lack of preparation for college equates to students using their first year of college on K-12 remediation rather than college level learning. Additionally, students who require K-12 remedial classes in their first year of college tend to struggle and dropout (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2011). Conclusion As the federal government looks to reauthorize the NCLB policy, the role of testing and the impact of the resulting test results on African American student education must be considered. Fowler’s Six Stage Model (2013) states that the sixth step of the policy process is evaluation. Thompson and Allen’s (2012) thesis that high-stakes testing harms African American students can be viewed as an evaluation of the NCLB Act. That evaluation provided substantial evidence of the NCLB Act’s failure to account for African American student academic performance. When compared to their White counterparts, African American student achievement scores on NCLB policy driven tests trail substantially behind their White counterparts (Thompson & Allen, 2007). Implications and Recommendations Fowler (2013) notes the need for policy makers to consider demographics when developing educational policy because those demographics can constrain policy implementation. Rather than a constraint, policy makers should consider the reauthorization of the NCLB Act as an opportunity to redress NCLB 2001 policy issues as they relate to African American K-12 students. Specifically, the reauthorization should include the appropriate role for testing; the appropriateness of testing instruments, and testing results on African American K-12 academic achievement.
The Wren's Nest References ACT, (2012). The condition of college and career readiness 2012. Retrieved from http://www.act.org/research/policymakers /cccr12/readiness1.html Alliance for Excellent Education, (2011). Saving now and saving later: How high school reform can reduce the nation’s wasted remediation dollars. Retrievedfrom http://all4ed.org/wpcontent/uploads/2013/06/SavingNow SavingLaterRemediation.pdf Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2013). Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_ 001.htm Burke, L. & Marshall J. (2011). Issues 2012: The Candidate’s Briefing Book. Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation. Fowler, F. (2013). Policy studies for educational leaders: An introduction. (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson. Freedle, R. (2006). How and why standardized tests systematically underestimate AfricanAmericans’ true verbal ability and what to do about it: Towards the promotion of two new theories and practical applications. St. John’s Law Review, 80(183), 183-226. Hightower, A. (2012). On policy, student achievement, states pressing to measure up. Quality Counts, 31, 43-45. Kozol, J. (2005). The shame of the nation: The restoration of apartheid schooling in America. New York: Crown. King, J. (2006). “If justice is our objective”: Diaspora, literacy, heritage knowledge, and the praxis of critical studying for human freedom. Yearbook of the National Society of Education, 105(2), 337-360. Klein, J. and Rice, C. (2012). U.S. education reform and national security. (Independent Task Force Report No. 68). New York: Council on Foreign Relations. National Center for Education Statistics. (2010). Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/ 2010015.pdf Oakes, J. (1989). What educational indicators? The case for assessing the school context.
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 11(2), 181-200. Tan, K. (2009). Variation theory and the different ways of experiencing educational policy. Springer Science Business Media. doi: 10.1007/s10671-008-9060-3 Thompson, G. (2007). Up where we belong: Helping African American and Latino students rise in school and in life. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Thompson, G. L., & Allen, T. G. (2012). Four effects of the high-stakes testing movement on African American K-12 students. The Journal of Negro Education, 81(3), 218–227. U.S. Department of Education. (2002). Elementary and secondary education legislation. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/e sea02/107-110.pdf
About the author Mike Postma is a PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on Higher Education.
The William & Mary Educational Review
Minority Serving Institutions: Building Innovation from Historical Lessons Learned Diana Hernández Executive Summary Three particular institution types have traditionally comprised Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs): Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). However, in order to meet the growing needs of minority populations, institutional types are expanding and new terminology is being created to appropriately reflect the changing demographics in the United States. Language in federal funding policies has historically created both challenges and opportunities to meet the needs of different MSIs. The creation of future policies and organizational systems to better support MSIs requires continued policy revisions and forward thinking to encourage stronger collaboration to minimize potential funding conflict and optimize cohesion amongst MSIs. Introduction The purpose of this brief is to provide a definition of institutions that comprise what today are known as Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and to provide a review of the historical backdrop of federal funding associated with these institutions. An examination of the relationships amongst these institutions reveals the tensions experienced due to the language complexities of federal MSI funding. The organizational structures of the non-profits that represent specific MSIs support individual advocacy efforts of each institutional type. The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education formed in 1999 is a single non-profit that represents a coalition comprised of the three different institutional types for combined advocacy purposes (Merisotis and Goulian, 2004). This brief, however, suggests that building innovation from the historical lessons learned consists of a new organizational design to further strengthen future policy formulation to more equitably benefit all MSIs and the students they serve. Martinez (2008) details the historical funding tensions experienced between MSIs. The value in this proposal is to learn from historical accounts to minimize future funding tensions and to work in a
more collaborate space for current and emerging MSIs. Historical and Emerging Overview of Minority Serving Institutions The term Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) emerged in 1998 to collectively refer to HBCUs, TCUs, and HSIs (Merisotis and Goulian, 2004). While these three institutional types are most commonly known; today, MSIs include emerging institution types, including Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AAPIs) and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions (ANNHIs) (Jackson Mercer & Stedman, 2008). Another recently introduced term is Majority-Minority institutions (MMIs). MMIs are “institutions whose undergraduate and graduate enrollment of a single minority or a combination of minorities exceeds 50 percent of the total student enrollment” (Jackson Mercer & Stedman, 2008, p. 29). These institutions are not a federally recognized group, but a new categorization of student data at MSIs. For purposes of this policy brief, MSIs will only consider HBCUs, TCUs, and HSIs given that they have the most, although limited, available literature associated with federal funding. Federal Funding for MSIs HBCUs are defined as such if they are eligible for federal funding under Title III of the Higher Education Act (HEA). To qualify under Title III, the principle mission of an HBCU must be to educate African Americans and the institution must have been established before 1964. It is important to distinguish that this is an historical designation, similar to TCUs, but different from HSIs because HSIs do not have an historical designation (Jackson Mercer & Stedman, 2008). Federal funding under Title III for HBCUs began in 1867 (Wolanin, 1998). TCUs are defined as such if they are eligible for federal funding under Title III of the HEA, Section 316. “Section 316 defines TCUs as institutions identified by Section 2 of the Tribally
The Wren's Nest Controlled College or University Assistance Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. 1801) or those that are included in the Equity in Education Land Grant Status Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 301)” (Jackson Mercer & Stedman, 2008, p. 30). Federal funding under Title III for TCUs began when Navajo Community College began operation in 1969 (Wolanin, 1998). HSIs are defined as such if they are eligible for federal funding under Title V of the HEA as public or private, accredited, degree granting, nonprofit colleges and universities with a minimum of 25% full-time equivalent (FTE) total undergraduate Hispanic student enrollment (Laden, 2004). These institutions must “also have 50% or more lowincome students” (Laden, 2001, p. 76). HSIs began receiving federal funding under Title V in 1992 (Wolanin, 1998). “Collectively, HSIs grant 58 percent of subbacculareate certificates, 59 percent of associate degrees and 40 percent of bachelor’s degrees conferred to Latino students” (MalcomPiqueux and Lee, Jr., 2011, p. 1). Relationships Amongst MSIs Prior to the 1998 HEA Reauthorization Act, the relationship between HBCUs and HSIs was tenuous at best, “locked in a battle for funding” (Martinez, 2008, p. 269). This battle paralyzed Congress. Unlocking it came by way of The American Council of Education (ACE). ACE served in an intermediary role to help create Title V of the HEA, which is where HSIs obtain their funding today. It is important to remember that HBCUs like TCUs were founded to serve their specific populations, and federal funding is allocated from Title III. HSIs, on the other hand, are designated solely on meeting the 25% Hispanic enrollment and the 50% poverty rate, and are funded under Title V. While in 1998, this distinction unlocked the battle for funding, the question of funding equity still remains today. In 1999, after the funding battle, The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education formed among HBCUs, TCUs, and HSIs, “marked an important turning point for minority education” (Merisotis and Goulian, 2004, p. 89). The aim of the Alliance is to advocate for all three MSIs on Capitol Hill and shape policy for these institutions. In addition, each MSI has a non-profit organization that advocates for each institutional type. The National Association for Equal Opportunity
25 (NAFEO) represents HBCUs, the American Indian Higher Education Council (AIHEC) represents TCUs, and the Hispanic Association for Colleges and Universities (HACU) represents HSIs. This current organizational structure is best be depicted as:
The Importance of Language The language in Title III – “Institutional Aid” versus the language of Title V – “Developing Institutions” of the HEA exemplifies its importance on policy (Fowler, 2013; Smircrich & Morgan, 1982; Tan, 2009). It is the language stipulated which carries the intent of these policies. This intent differentiates the pockets of funding available for these institutions. It was language spearheaded by ACE that created a funding opportunity for HSIs under Title V, whereas Title III funds TCUs and HBCUs. While language helped soften the funding gridlock, two fundamental questions remained. Is the current language and structure the best to meet student needs considering the demographic shifts at this moment in history and how well can they serve future population changes? Policy language can also make these institutions vulnerable to administration changes. Let us consider the following examples: 1980 - Executive Order (E.O.) 12232 under President Carter intended to remedy past federal and state discrimination offering support to HBCUs, 1981 - E.O. 12320 under President Reagan revoked President Carter’s, but reinstated it to include private sector involvement to strengthen HBCUs, 1989 - E.O. 12677 under President Bush revoked President Reagan’s, but also reinstated it with modifications,
26 1993 - E.O. 12876 under President Clinton revoked President Bush’s, and again reinstated it with the intent “to put some teeth into policy compliance” (Wolanin, 1998, p. 23). Conclusion Even though HBCUs, TCUs, and HSIs receive more federal funding attention, emerging MSIs include AAPIs and ANNHIs. Developing terminology such as MMIs is innovated to accommodate the “percentage scheme” (Baez, Gasman, & Sotello Viernes Turner, 2005, p. 7) at institutions enrolling certain percentages of single or a combination of minority groups. The historical backdrop and the definitions of the three MSIs discussed provide insight into the funding and relational complexities experienced by these institutions as well as the importance of language. The Alliance and each of the non-profits representing the three MSI institutional types as they currently exist have perhaps been more reactive to the policy funding pressures than proactive. Let us recall that the Alliance was formed out of the funding battle. While the structure of the Alliance may visually represent an example of tight coupling, it is loosely coupled. The three groups are responsive, but they each have their own identity and separateness (Weick, 1976). In addition, how will the Alliance accommodate emerging MSIs? The following recommendation values historical events, considers past tensions, and hopes to optimize collaboration in order to achieve equitable policy funding outcomes for current and future MSIs that will serve an increasing multicultural student population for years to come. Future Recommendations This new design focuses on creating a stronger and larger joint policy effort in an attempt to minimize institutional vulnerability to administrative language changes impacting funding. This new organizational design would require an investment of human capital, good faith, and a shift of resources from the current non-profits. As the collaborative efforts ensue, these three separate nonprofits would merge under the Alliance, but would continue to specialize and support each institutional type to include emerging MSIs. The outcome would be to provide intentional focus for each MSI, but each would have access and transparency to other MSI policy issues permitting more frequent and intense lobbying efforts while keeping an active
The William & Mary Educational Review pulse on policy actors (Fowler, 2013). Figure A represents the new design.
This new design would have a “floating” capability as illustrated in Figures A-C permitting a shift in attention as times and needs required for each MSI. When institutional types experience stability they shift outward giving way for other institutional types having increased needs to move inward (Figure B).
If institutional types share particular aspects such as “percentage scheme” these would move closer to one another and inward and outward as needed (Figure C).
The Wren's Nest
The center of this activity would be the Alliance (highlighted in gray) rather than each non-profit. In order to balance power relations, the key is in embracing cohesion over division, and adopting a framework to support this type of organization change. McDonnell and Elmore’s Policy Instruments (Fowler, 2013) include: 1) mandates, 2) inducements, 3) capacity building, 4) system changing, and 5) persuasion. Detailed consideration for each of these areas is beyond the scope of this brief, but it is offered as a viable consideration. Coupling each of these institution types, their representative non-profit organization, and organizing under one umbrella is no doubt not without challenges. However, the motivation to innovate at a critical moment in educational history to better serve our society’s ever change student demographic is perhaps inspirational for the next generation of educational leaders. History has already demonstrated the outcome of division. While the future is unpredictable, this new model provides the flexibility to adapt to unforeseen changes while supporting the needs of student populations and the institutions that represent them as these changes arise. The exigent financial times of today call for cohesive collaboration to achieve stronger, more effective outcomes to better serve the increased diverse student populations on college campuses. This new organizational structure, achieved by MSIs coming together to design and
27 execute, shifts the focus from institutional type to student composition within these institutional types. The policy discussion is powered “inhouse” and is inclusive of all MSIs. Issues can be considered from a broader perspective rather than individual non-profit organizational silos currently vying for funding. Together, these MSIs create the outcomes they seek to better serve their student populations. This proposal calls for high collaboration, high trust, good faith, and the belief that together MSIs can create a stronger policy impact, which will translate to higher educational outcomes for all students attending these institutions. While the system as a whole remains loosely coupled, the Alliance becomes more interdependent with each institutional type, aligns efforts and resources, which in turn creates a more tightly coupled system, and benefits all MSIs more cohesively. References Baez, B., Gasman, M., & Sotello Viernes Turner, C. (2008). On minority-serving institutions. In M. Gasman, B. Baez, & C. Sotello Viernes Turner (Eds.), Understanding minority-serving institutions (pp. 3-7). Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, Albany. Fowler, F. C. (2013). Policy studies for educational leaders: An introduction (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. Jackson Mercer, C., & Stedman, J. B. (2005). Minority-serving institutions. In M. Gasman, B. Baez, & C. Sotello Viernes Turner(Eds.), Understanding minorityserving institutions (pp. 28-42). Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, Albany. Laden, B. V. (2001). Hispanic-serving institutions: Myths and realities. Peabody Journal of Education, 76(1), 73-92. doi: 10.1207/S15327930PJE7601_05 Laden, B. V. (2004). Hispanic-serving institutions: What are they? Where are they? Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 28, 181–198. doi:10.1080/10668920490256381 Malcom-Piqueux, L. E., & Lee, J. M., Jr. (2011, October). Hispanic-serving institutions: Contributions and challenges. College Board
28 Advocacy & Policy Center, Policy Brief. Retrieved from http://advocacy.collegeboard. org/sites/default/files/11b_4853_HSBC _PolicyBrief_WEB_120110.pdf Martinez, D. (2008). Coalition formation among minority-serving institutions. In M. Gasman, B. Baez, & C. Sotello Viernes Turner (Eds.), Understanding minorityserving institutions (pp. 269-291). Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, Albany. Merisotis, J. P. & Goulian, K. A. (2004). The alliance for equity in higher education. New Directions for Community Colleges, 127, 8996. doi 10.1002/cc.166 Smircrich, L., & Morgan, G. (1982). Leadership: The management of meaning. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 18, 257-273. doi: 10.1177/002188638201800303 Tan, K. (2009). Variation theory and the different ways of experiencing educational policy. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 8(2), 95-109. doi: 10.1007/s10671008-9060-3 Weick, K. E. (1976). Educational Organizations as Loosely Coupled Systems. Administrative Science Quarterly, 21(1), 1-19. doi: 10.2307/2391875 Wolanin, T. R. (1998). The federal investment in minority-serving institutions. New Directions for Higher Education, 102, 1732. doi: 10.1002/he.10202
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About the Author Diana Hernรกndez is a PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on Higher Education Administration.
The Wren's Nest
Effective, Lasting Technology Implementation in K-12 Public School Environments Diana Theisinger From elementary to secondary, public schools across the country are racing to adopt and utilize the latest technologies in the classroom. In some cases, these initiatives are successful. In many others, however, the attempts flounder or outright fail. When failure happens, educators and policymakers alike end up feeling discouraged and cynical about the next wave of proposed changes. Yet, few can deny that technology integration is an unavoidable issue in today’s education environment. So how can savvy policy makers ensure that scant education dollars are being used efficiently and not wasted on integration attempts that are doomed to failure? The answer lies with community support. Successful implementation of technology in K-12 environments requires community involvement – educators and policy makers must work together to include all of the stakeholders who are involved in public education: teachers, students, parents, administrators, and business partners (Barbour et al., 2011; Rye, 2008). This wide-reaching investment is the missing piece that will set successful programs apart from failed ones, making expenditures more efficient and resulting in long-term benefits to school and community. The Digital Divide Our public education system has the unique opportunity to help remediate the national knowledge crisis known as the digital divide. Worldwide, wealthier citizens have better access to digital tools and high-speed Internet than those who are less wealthy (Rye, 2008). The digital divide is a major barrier to learning (Barbour et al., 2011). Some argue that market forces will remediate the discrepancy in access as companies attempt to cater to a wider swath of customers (Hassani, 2006), but so far this has not happened. It is important to note that, although the media often portray the digital divide as strictly an issue of access, it also includes the disparity in technological skills that results from unequal access to technology. One group calls this facet of the issue the “digital competency divide”
(Barbour et al., 2011, p. 16). Any successful approach to bridging the digital divide will have to grapple with both aspects of the problem – access and skills. Worldwide, urban and developed areas have the most access to technology and the infrastructures that support high-speed Internet access (Barbour et al., 2011). Many rural and remote areas, as well as poorer urban areas in America have limited access to both technology and high-speed Internet (Bernard, 2011; Hertz, 2011). There is a need for additional government funding and vision to help bridge these gaps in technological access and skills (Barbour et al., 2011). This is where policy makers have a rare opportunity to use the existing public school infrastructure to effect real change in communities across the country. With the right vision and smart use of existing funds, governments, schools, and communities can work together to close the digital divide. It is vital that efforts to close the digital divide remain bipartisan. Historically, Republicans have framed the digital divide in terms of the market, claiming that market forces were responsible for both the existing disparity and the solution that would close the gap (Epstein, Nisbet, & Gillespie, 2011). Democrats have argued that the federal government should manage the closing of the digital divide (Epstein et al., 2011). Likely, the truth lies somewhere in between. The most effective approach to solving this problem will leverage the power of cooperation between community business partners, schools, and local governments. Businesses will benefit from the increase in technically skilled workers who become available when more Americans achieve proficiency in using digital technologies. Effective Implementation: A Proven Example O’Neil and Baker (2003) studied a program that has experienced long-term growth and success in remediating the digital divide: DeKalb County Georgia’s Family Technology Resource Center
30 (FTRC) Program. The researchers identified elements of the program that made it successful where other technology implementation initiatives have failed. The primary finding of this study? Community involvement was key to the FTRCs’ success: “the program has been highly successful in sustaining program activities through active participation from an array of significant community stakeholders” (O’Neil & Baker, 2003, p. 305). This visionary program used existing school facilities and grant funding along with cooperation from local business partners to offer computer training and high-speed Internet access to community members. Communication between the schools and the community increased, parents became more involved with their children’s education, and businesses had a new pool of technically-skilled workers available for hire (O’Neil & Baker, 2003). Partnership between the schools and local government was a fundamental component of the FTRC Program’s success and longevity (O’Neil & Baker, 2003). This outcome is not an isolated phenomenon; it is supported by research that shows shared ownership between schools and government creates growth in technology initiatives (Barbour et al., 2011; Rye, 2008). Next Steps The FTRC Program should be a model for future technology integration in schools. When a variety of stakeholders are included in the process of technology implementation, it becomes more likely that the program will find lasting success. For this reason, the role of schools’ teachers and staff cannot be underestimated (O’Neil & Baker, 2003). School staff must be involved in all implementation decisions and implementation decisions must be accompanied by well-designed plans for training staff in using the new technology. Implementation is most effective when accompanied by targeted professional development (Barbour et al., 2011). Policy makers who are in a position to approve the use of public funds for technology implementation in public schools have the responsibility to make sure those funds are used effectively. Future funding approvals must come with strings attached. Schools must be held accountable for the long-term success of technology initiatives. Community outreach should be mandated as a condition of receiving funds for technology implementation. Because such mandates are only
The William & Mary Educational Review effective when there is already strong support for an issue (Fowler, 2013), policy makers should take care to consider funding only for initiatives that have already garnered widespread community interest. To further encourage community involvement in the implementation process, business partners should work with the schools to offer incentives for students and community members who avail themselves of technology training in the schools. Such inducements would encourage a higher degree of participation from both business partners and other community members and result in long-lasting support of new initiatives (Fowler, 2013). Partnerships between private companies and public schools have proven effective in the past (Hertz, 2011) and offer the potential to expand schools’ abilities to reach out to community members. Policy makers should be aware that recruiting and retaining community involvement might require their approval of some nontraditional funding requests. As in the successful example of FTRCs, additional personnel, facilities, and resources will be needed to support successful implementation. Policy makers should be prepared to approve such requests. This upfront investment in facilities and human resources will ensure that programs have dedicated, long-term support, without overburdening existing personnel with new responsibilities (Fowler, 2013). This line of thinking represents a dramatic change for most school districts. Dramatic change is needed. The current model of technology funding is not working. Too often, schools and school boards are investing in technology without investing in a plan for keeping that technology viable. Eliciting community support and involvement offers a solution to the problem of long-term viability and also addresses the growing issue of the digital divide. It is not often that policy makers have the opportunity to remediate widespread social problems while also improving schools and communities. The changes proposed here offer that opportunity. It is not enough to provide the tools. Schools must also provide support and training and rely on community involvement for long-term success. Too often, schools adopt technology without a plan for how to use it. Money is wasted
The Wren's Nest and initiatives fail. With smart, effective community involvement, these pitfalls can be avoided. Schools can become the training ground for closing America’s digital divide. The facilities exist; the motivation is there; what is needed is the vision to make smart decisions about technology implementation. References Barbour, M., Brown, R., Waters, L. H., Hoey, R., Hunt, J. L., Kennedy, K., … Trimm, T. (2011). Online and blended learning: A survey of policy and practice of K-12 schools around the world. International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Vienna, VA. Retrieved from www.inacol.org Bernard, S. (2011). Crossing the digital divide: Bridges and barriers to digital inclusion. edutopia.org. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/digital-dividetechnology-access-inclusion Epstein, D., Nisbet, E. C., & Gillespie, T. (2011). Who’s Responsible for the Digital Divide? Public Perceptions and Policy Implications. The Information Society, 27(2), 92–104. doi:10.1080/01972243.2011.548695 Fowler, F. C. (2013). Policy studies for educational leaders: An introduction (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Hassani, S. N. (2006). Locating digital divides at home, work, and everywhere else. Poetics, 34(4-5), 250–272. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2006.05.007 Hertz, M. B. (2011). A new understanding of the digital divide. edutopia.org. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/digitaldivide-technology-internet-access-marybeth-hertz O’Neil, D. V., & Baker, P. M. A. (2003). The role of institutional motivations in technological adoption: Implementation of DeKalb County’s Family Technology Resource Centers. The Information Society, 19, 305–314. doi:10.1080/01972240 390227886 Rye, S. A. (2008). Exploring the gap of the digital divide: Conditions of connectivity and higher education participation. GeoJournal, 71(2/3),171–184.doi:10.1007/S10708-0089154-8 Zhao, Y. (2003). Recent developments in
technology and language learning: A literature review and meta-analysis. CALICO Journal, 21(1), 7–27.
About the author Diana Theisinger is an EdD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on Curriculum and Educational Technology.
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The Rationale, Success, and Critics of Virtual Schooling: An Annotated Bibliography Jay Samant Introduction The purpose of this research is to examine the rationale, success, and critics of virtual schooling for students and teachers in Americaâ€™s education system. The history of online learning at the K-12 level is almost as long as its history at the post-secondary level, with the first virtual school programs beginning in the early 1990s. While these opportunities were designed as a way to provide students with access to more specialized courses, as opportunities have become organized into virtual or cyber schools the nature of students served by these institutions have broadened. Unlike traditional learning in general, much less is known about virtual schooling, even less of which is based on systematic research. Regardless, the growth and practice of virtual schooling has far outpaced the production of reliable and valid research. The following seven articles will focus upon describing the evolution of K-12 online learning in the United States, how that evolution has impacted schools, what lessons can be learned from the experiences with K-12 online learning, the implications virtual schooling has on students and teachers regarding training and challenges, and effective strategies for implementing instruction and learning. Davis, N. E. , & Roblyer, M. D. (2005). Preparing Teachers for the â€œSchools that Technology Builtâ€?: Evaluation of a Program to Train Teachers for Virtual Schooling. Journal of Research on Technology in Education 37(4): 399-409. Retrieved from: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfview er/pdfviewer?sid=262610e6-eb99461eb2103ecf3abd9377%40sessionmgr 104&vid=4&hid=113 The goal of the research provided in this article is to help educators understand the Iowa State planned model that has been designed and
integrated into pre-service training to help train teachers for virtual schooling. The planned model incorporates an assessment of the range of acquired competencies and skills needed to provide an innovative model of curriculum. The article also discusses the evaluation component of assessing the virtual schooling pre-service program through formative and summative measures of the implementation, results, institutionalization, and assessment instruments and resources. The ultimate goal of the project aspires to go beyond small representative samples of participating teacher education programs, and to create a universal model for the entire country to implement. The research suggests that the creation of a model for incorporating virtual schooling in pre-service teacher education programs with appropriate assessment of the effectiveness of the range of competencies would be a significant innovation. Prior to reading this research, I was unaware of the rapid increase of virtual schooling, in which the American public school system is providing school courses and diplomas through distance technologies. As a high-school teacher, this was eye-opening for me since I realized that technology will make advances in education in the next decade that go far beyond any changes that have taken place in the past. Curriculum, teaching methods, and schedules can all be customized to meet the learning styles and life situations of individual students. As a future aspiring leader, I have learned that evaluating and assessing teacher effectiveness in virtual education is crucial since it will transform the core components of schooling in years to come. Barbour, M. A. , Graham, C. R. , Hawkins, A. R. & Sudweeks, R. R. (2013). Academic Performance, Course Completion Rates, and Student Perception of the Quality and Frequency of Interaction in a Virtual High
The Wren's Nest School. Journal of Distance Education 34(1): 6483. Retrieved from: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfview er/pdfviewer?sid=595a4e64-07094d91-9315f7d345552727%40sessionmgr 112&vid=4&hid=113 The goal of the research provided in this article is to help educators examine a virtual high school and the relationship between students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of student-teacher interaction, and the academic performance of students through using Pearson’s product correlation coefficient and linear modeling. The research suggests that in the past, virtual schooling has faced higher dropout and failure rates compared to traditional classrooms. In this study, student success depended on different external factors, such as student pre-course orientation sessions, study skills, strong computer skills, and student-teacher interaction as the main issue. In the study conducted, 3.4% of the student population filled out the class evaluation survey, with 75% of the respondents indicating they had completed the course, and 25% of the respondents indicated that they had not completed the online course. The data indicated that students who completed the course perceived greater interaction and quality of interaction than noncompleters. However, in contrast to interaction impacting completion, the research showed that there was not any significant effect of interaction on the grade awarded in the course. Prior to reading this research, I was surprised on how very little surveys were retrieved back from student respondents. However, I think more results could have been yielded if the research team had utilized various tools other than just e-mails. I learned that effective student-teacher interaction is imperative in determining student success in a virtual education course. As a future aspiring leader, I think it’s important to provide ample opportunities for teacher training/professional workshops on effective communication, student orientation, and increasing the quality and frequency of interaction and engagement between students and teachers. Chamberlain, R. , Vrasidas, C. & Zembylas, M. (2003). Complexities in the Evaluation of Distance Education and Virtual Schooling. Educational Media International 40(3): 201-
218. Retrieved from: http://web.ebscohost.com/eho st/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=595 a4e64-0709-4d91-9315f7d345552727%40sessionmgr 112&vid=6&hid=22 The goal of the research provided in this article is to help educators examine the challenges involved in the evaluation of distance learning and virtual schooling. The research analyzed the Large Unit District’s Association Education Foundation Virtual High School, it’s planning committee (which consisted of LUDA representatives and teachers), and the evaluation design that this group created to resolve the challenges related to online class development. The focus of the evaluation was to collect data to help the LUDA Education Foundation improve the virtual school. Data was collected through surveys, interviews, email messages, memos, and usability testing. The findings were very positive, with a very low student dropout rate of only 4.2%, frequent studentteacher interaction, alignment with the school districts technology plan, and high quality resources and collaboration were all underlying factors in the program’s success. However, the study also concluded that other factors needed to be addressed, such as student selection and support, teacher training on instructional strategies for online learning, and educating the public on the benefits of online learning. Through this article, I learned the importance of committee planning, and collaboration. I was surprised how powerful this process can be, and it was the contributing factor for the LUDA virtual school to have a successful start. As a future leader, it is important to implement team (teacher, student, and parent led) action plans, strategic programs, on-going teacher training, and evaluation to improve the issues of online learning. Compton, L. , Correia, A. & Davis, N. (2010). PreService Teachers’ Preconceptions, Misconceptions, and Concerns About Virtual Schooling. Journal of Distance Education 31(1): 37-54. Retrieved from: http://web.ebscohost.com /ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=
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34 595a4e64-0709-4d91-9315f7d345552727%40sessionmgr112 &vid=8&hid=22 The research incorporated a qualitative study of analyzing the personal journals, responses, and feedback of 65 pre-service teachers in the United States in regards to virtual schooling that had no previous experience other than attending a virtual schooling demo course. The research helped to show educators that there were common themes in the respondents misconceptions and concerns, which included career loss and job threat, academic dishonesty and equity, student-teacher interaction, teacher feedback, and academic rigor. However, I was surprised to see that when the same pre-service teachers were provided with case studies of virtual schooling and various reading activities about virtual schooling in the United States, most overturned their previous beliefs and showed in their reflections that they actually found the virtual schooling curriculum to be beneficial, plausible, and intelligible. Through this article, I learned and now understand the importance of providing substantial amount of teacher training, professional workshops, and research in order to get teachers on board for online learning and virtual teaching. Reform efforts and integrating technology as a school course can be initially challenging. However, it is the duty of educational leaders to provide opportunities in reading tasks, research, and virtual schooling practices in order for faculty members to feel more comfortable in implementation of online learning. Belair, M. (2012). An Investigation of Communication in Virtual High Schools. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning 13(1): 105-123. Retrieved from: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/ pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=595a4e64-07094d91-9315f7d345552727%40session mgr112&vid=10&hid=22 This article helps educators examine a qualitative study on how regular phone calls by teachers contributed to the academic success of students in four virtual schools. Eight virtual teachers were observed and interviewed, and the data showed that they did not find phone calls an effective way of communication with their students. I was surprised
that the data also revealed that all eleven of the students interviewed indicated they preferred written communications over phone calls. Only 20% of the students responded to teacher phone calls and only 9% of these students completed the work requested by their teachers. From this article, I learned the importance of communicating in different ways to students, especially by written communications. Teachers must chose wisely in the ways they communicate with their students to maximize learning and student success. This information is important to me as a future leader since effective teacher-student communication is an imperative aspect and one of the most important factors in determining student academic success in virtual schooling. Feng, L., Black, E., Algina, J., Cavanaugh, C., & Dawson, K. (2010). The Validation of One Parental Involvement Measurement in Virtual Schooling. Journal Of Interactive Online Learning, 9(2), 105-132. Retrieved from: http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy. wm.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer? sid=70 e301b3-dfcf-4ffc-b1fbe24735baac76%40sessionmgr 4001&vid=4&hid=4109 The impetus of the research conveyed in this article is that parental involvement has been recognized as an important factor for student achievement in traditional school settings. However, the lack of research regarding the effect of parental involvement on student achievement in virtual schooling is, in part, due to the absence of a valid and reliable instrument to measure this construct. The article introduces the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandlerâ€™s Parental Involvement Mechanisms Instrument to address this issue. The instrument includes four factors: parent reinforcement, parent modeling, parent encouragement, and parent instruction. These were analyzed using the Confirmatory Factor Analysis, with data collected from a state-led virtual school. The results show that this instrument is overall a valid and reliable measurement of parental involvement in virtual learning environments. In reflection, this study will be beneficial to educators, researchers, online program administrators, and society at large. It could shed
The Wren's Nest light on the process of the design and development of a reliable and valid instrument in online learning research. It also called for more validation studies with instruments in online learning environments. This article provides the evidence for the establishment of a quantitative model during the online learning process and will help promote more rigorous quantitative research in virtual education in general and the virtual school learning environment in specific. It also has practical implications for virtual school teachers who can make good use of parental involvement mechanisms during the design and development of academic activities, such as the development of learning materials and implementation of instructional strategies.
teacher feedback, and lack of rigor. The curriculum innovations in this innovative teacher preparation program were shown to address these misconceptions and concerns and facilitate understanding and acceptance of virtual schooling as an alternative form of education by many of these pre-service teachers. Three main recommendations were proposed to address these issues, which included implementing virtual schooling in early field experiences because of the pervasiveness of virtual schooling as a new mode of schooling, to provide an increased range of curriculum materials reflecting virtual schooling in a greater range of content areas, virtual schools, and regions, and to address institutional sources.
Compton, L., Davis, N., & Correia, A. (2010). Preservice teachers' preconceptions, misconceptions, and concerns about virtual schooling. Distance Education, 31(1), 3754.doi:10.1080/01587911003 725006. Retrieved from: http://web.a.ebscohost.com. proxy.wm.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdf viewer?sid=70 e301b3-dfcf-4ffc-b1fbe24735baac76%40sessionmgr4001& vid=4&hid=4109 The purpose of this article was to examine how virtual schooling is growing exponentially in the United States. Of the 50 states, 45 have established a state virtual school and state-led online programs. Although virtual schools tend to develop their own approach, there is a great diversity of approaches to virtual schooling across the country, including organizational structures, pedagogies, and technologies deployed. This has led many educators to have misconceptions about it. Pre-service teachers' personal histories as students and their preconceptions, misconceptions, and concerns influence pre-service teacher training experiences. A qualitative study of an introductory field experience course that included this new mode of schooling for the first time analyzed the personal journals and online discussion responses of 65 pre-service teachers in the United States. Through this study, the data identified that common misconceptions and concerns included career threat, viability of virtual schooling, academic dishonesty, reduced interaction,
About the author Jay Samant is an EdD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on K-12 Administration.
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Shifts in Conversation: How Culturally Responsive School Climates are Changing the Way Educators Think About Meeting the Challenges of Diversity Krista Root Abstract Increasingly diverse student populations and accountability demands are two of the most critical and defining challenges for K-12 public schools in the 21st century. Meeting the needs of culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse (CLED) students is not a contemporary issue. Educational institutions have recognized, to varying degrees, the inequities in education for this population as far back as the Civil Rights Era (Gorski, 1999). In recent years, however, the rapid growth of minority and immigrant populations in public schools in combination with accountability-era transparency has intensified the pressure on schools to eradicate educational disparities for diverse student populations. This paper examines the change over the past two decades in the rhetoric and research regarding how teacher preparation programs, schools, and classroom teachers should foster culturally responsive practices. The author highlights encouraging approaches for teacher preparation programs and school systems to use in planning to meet the needs of all students. Keywords: cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity; cultural competence; culturally responsive schools; equity pedagogy; school reform As the demographics of student populations in K-12 public schools across the United States continue to change dramatically and educators are pressed to meet accountability demands, teacher preparation programs, school systems, and classroom teachers continue to struggle to meet the needs of their culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse (CLED) students. However, shifts in ideas about the meaning of diversity, in the focus and organization of teacher preparation programs, and in the roles teachers play in the academic achievement of their students have promising implications for moving educators in the right direction when it comes to culturally responsive practices. Furthermore, a shift in perspective from the classroom to the school system in terms of where critical changes should occur makes transformational change a real possibility for educational leaders wishing to make progress when it comes to rectifying educational inequities. Consequences and Context of Educational Inequities Millions of students suffer life-altering consequences as a result of inequities in education.
Hispanic and African-American students drop out of school at much higher rates than their white peers (Hawley & Nieto, 2010). Culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse (CLED) students and low socioeconomic students consistently perform worse than their peers on standardized assessments, causing achievement gaps to persist among these students, particularly in secondary grades (Terry & Irving, 2010). CLED students are overrepresented in special education, which can cause them to lose valuable instructional time in classrooms depending on how often they are pulled out of general core classes (Terry & Irving, 2010). Additionally, these students are underrepresented in gifted education (Terry & Irving, 2010). Such misidentifications and mismatches between ability level and level of instruction can lead to â€œlow academic achievement, low expectations, decreased motivation and involvement in schools, increased placement in lower or vocational tracks, and limited postsecondary and employment opportunitiesâ€? (Terry & Irving 2010, p. 118). Consequences such as these coupled with a population of increasingly diverse learners makes the issue of combating inequities in education even
Shifts in Conversation more pressing. This not only affects school leaders, but also schools of education which must work towards transforming the status quo within schools while fostering cultural competence in the next generation of teachers. While the research findings above indicate a dire need for serious reform in public schools, education systems appear stagnant, foundering in the area of how to equalize the playing field for underserved populations despite numerous efforts over the years to do so. While the demographics of students filing through school hallways change every year, the typical teacher greeting them at the classroom door remains white, female, and middle class (Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). Students in highpoverty and high-minority schools are consistently taught by teachers with less experience, less education in the content they teach, and less qualification to teach than students in wealthier schools and school districts (Peske, H. & Haycock, K., 2006). In fact, students in high-poverty and high-minority schools are twice as likely to be assigned a novice teacher as students in wealthier school districts (Peske, H. & Haycock, K., 2006). In secondary high-poverty and high-minority schools, students are far more likely to be assigned to teachers without a degree in the subject they teach (Peske, H. & Haycock, K., 2006). Thus, while many education leaders lament the difficulties of meeting CLED students’ needs, many also continue to assign the least qualified teachers to teach these students. Education leaders also regret the high turnover rates of novice teachers, yet many systematically continue to place new teachers in the most challenging settings to endure trial by fire in their nascent years. These discrepancies between school cultures and the clients they are tasked with serving do not persist for lack of effort to understand how to resolve them. However, it appears that the focus of past research and the points of origin for where and how to implement change have neglected the scope of the issue. Fortunately, the notion that reform must happen at the systems level, rather than solely at the classroom level, is gaining prominence in the research (Gay, 2004; Terry & Irving, 2010; Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). Shifts in how we define diverse populations, as well as in how we think about preparing new teachers and training veteran teachers, have provided more substance for potentially transforming school cultures.
37 Diversity As might be expected, the increasing impetus to address the needs of diverse learners has resulted in the evolution of the concept of diversity; from a term used to refer to minority populations to a more mainstream term used to define differences between people in society in general. For example, in a 1995 study on the impact of formal diversity coursework or training and exposure to working with diverse student populations on pre-service teachers, the term diverse referred to “student differences related to gender, ethnicity, cultural, language, or socioeconomic status” (Guillaume, Zuniga-Hill, & Yee, p. 73). Since then, the term has grown to include differences in areas like sexual orientation, age, disabilities, political affiliation, and religion. The Education Alliance at Brown University defines diversity as “variety or heterogeneity; in populations, variety based on cultural, ethnic, racial, linguistic, and religious differences (among others)” (Trumball & Pacheco, 2005). Thus diversity itself has become a term that can be used to define all students in the collective. Guttierez and Rogoff (2003) explain that using the term diverse to refer only to those populations in the minority is misleading and “perpetuates a norm of separation and inequity” which reinforces the idea that the dominant group is somehow “normal” while those who are different are “not normal” (as cited in Trumball & Pacheco, 2005, p. 13-14). Since all students can identify with multiple groups of various gender, cultural, ethnic, linguistic, religious, political, and socio-economic backgrounds, diversity applies to all students (Trumball & Pacheco, 2005). It is because all classrooms contain students from a variety of backgrounds that educators must move away from the idea of “multicultural education” as an addition to the curriculum which supports only some learners towards an understanding that culturally-sensitive awareness and pedagogical practice are matters of ethics and integrity which impact all learners and which should pervade our school systems. The shift in the connotation of diversity has important implications for how educators and educational institutions view its significance within the context of school culture, specifically when it comes to curriculum, instruction, and assessment of students.
38 Teacher Preparation Programs Much of the conversation around teacher education programs in the 1980’s and 1990’s focused on how to incorporate multicultural education into the programs of study and field experiences of preservice teachers (Gorski, 1999; Sleeter, 2001; Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). Arguments over whether teacher preparation programs should isolate single courses on multicultural education or infuse multicultural education throughout coursework and field experiences were and still are abundant (Guillaume, Zuniga-Hill, & Yee, 1995; Sleeter, 2001; Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). However, early research on the impacts of multicultural education courses on preservice teachers focused mainly on whether it improved teacher attitudes towards teaching diverse learners (Sleeter, 2001). Most of the studies were action-research narratives published by the instructors of such courses and in such immersion programs, and of those studies that were experimentally-designed, the findings were often mixed on which strategies for incorporating multicultural education into teacher preparation programs were effective (Sleeter, 2001; Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). Furthermore, there was no research on whether these courses impacted the subsequent achievement of the diverse learners these pre-service teachers taught once they left their preparation programs (Sleeter, 2001). Ironically, the suggestions made at the conclusion of many of these earlier studies on teacher preparation programs are strikingly similar to the recommendations made in more recent reviews of the literature. However, the explanations for why programs have remained unable to make gains in preparing pre-service teachers to meet the needs of diverse learners have somewhat shifted. Earlier research included suggestions such as recruiting more diverse professionals into the education field and de-emphasizing “deficit” theories of CLED learners in schools of education in lieu of more emphasis on critical race and social justice theories (Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). Suggestions also included increasing research on the sustained impacts of multicultural education programs through following teachers into the field after graduation and engaging in more qualitative research on processes and program-level practices which appeared to sustain the marginalization of multicultural education in
The William & Mary Educational Review pre-service programs (Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). While more recent research makes similar suggestions for improvement, it also indicates that perhaps there are more systematic issues at play among these institutions which are not being addressed, such as “limited experiences and apprehension on the part of faculty” and limited experiences for pre-service teachers to engage with diverse learners (Frankenberg & Siegel-Hawley, 2008; Sleeter, 2007; Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008, p. 342). Perpetuations of the status quo, such as lack of fieldwork with culturally-sensitive in-service teachers (Sleeter, 2007), lack of opportunities for discussion and reflection on observations of injustice in classrooms, and lack of assignments and assessments in schools of education which prioritize the teaching of diverse learners, have become suspect as structures inhibiting progress in teacher education programs (Frankenberg & Siegel-Hawley, 2008; Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). The shift in the discussion from a focus on effective models of incorporating diversity training into teacherpreparation programs and how they impact teacher attitudes towards a discussion of possible underlying belief systems that exist within these programs is a step forward. Shifting the focus should allow schools of education to approach their programs from a different perspective, examining the underlying systematic structures which undermine professed goals to improve the training of pre-service teachers in how to teach diverse learners. Teachers and Schools Just as the research suggests that teacher preparation programs must shift their focus, so the research on teacher roles indicates the need for teachers to engage in critical reflection of their values and beliefs in order to understand the lens through which they view their students (Banks, 2006; Guillaume, Zuniga-Hill, & Yee, 1995; Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). Earlier research on school failure to close achievement gaps and improve instruction of culturally diverse students focused mainly on teacher attitudes and pedagogical practices (Gay, 2004). In their review of the literature on teachers’ attitudes towards diverse learners, Guillaume, Zuniga-Hill and Yee (1995) included studies which found classroom teachers lacked understanding and preparation in teaching and interacting with diverse learners, studies reporting teachers’ bias and
Shifts in Conversation resentment towards CLED students, and even findings of some teachers’ beliefs that minorities were to blame for their own poverty (p. 69). Gay (2004) explains that teachers have often been the brunt of criticism, accused of having low expectations, harboring negative racial attitudes, and engaging in deliberate oppressive practices (p. 210). Studies of pre-service candidates have shown a trend in teachers to “distance” themselves; to avoid talking about racial and cultural inequalities in educational practice. Claiming to be “color-blind,” avoiding nonrequired coursework on social injustice, and believing “race and color no longer influence outcomes for CLD learners” are some examples of these distancing strategies (Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008). A study of teacher candidates’ abilities to incorporate culturally-sensitive approaches in their lesson plans revealed minimal skill in understanding how to do so, often resulting in “contributions approach” methods of “adding” a multicultural element superficially, omitting or limiting assessment and assessment options, and not addressing the needs of ESL populations (Ambrosio, Sequin, & Hogan, 2001; Banks, 2006). Considering the previous discussion on the research of teacher education programs in adequately training pre-service teachers, one might attribute some of these characteristics to poor preparation. However, the role of training programs in the development of cultural awareness is only a recent connection made in the literature due to the general trend toward viewing teacher ineptitude in meeting diverse learners’ needs through the lens of systemic failure (Gay, 2004). According to Geneva Gay (2004), “Equality requires holistic and systemic reforms” (p. 207). Teachers are people too, and as such, experience the world from their own cultural perspectives which in many cases are “incompatible” with the cultural systems characteristic of their students’ experiences (Gay, 2004). Recent research embraces the concept of equity pedagogy which entails cultivating the strengths students bring to the classroom as a result of their cultural and linguistic backgrounds and experiences (Gay, 2004). Teachers must explicitly discuss cultural differences and social injustices, rather than avoid the conversation simply because it is uncomfortable (Hawley & Nieto, 2010; Terry & Irving, 2010). Teachers must differentiate their instruction to include not only a variety of curricular
39 materials which capture multiple cultural perspectives, but also a variety of instructional methods and assessments to give students equitable opportunities to succeed (Banks, 2006; Gay, 2004; Terry & Irving, 2010). Just as teachers are tasked with altering their thinking about their students and incorporating a variety of perspectives and cultures into their curriculum, instruction, and assessment, school leaders should understand teachers as “products of their culture” as well (Gay, 2004). Teachers should not be reprimanded for their lack of cultural competency; but rather should be viewed with the same respect as students and provided with opportunities to improve their awareness through leadership support and professional development (Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005). Furthermore, school leaders should consider subjecting their own school structures to the same scrutiny to determine whether they foster or deny climates of cultural responsiveness and sensitivity (Hawley & Nieto, 2010; Trumball & Pacheco, 2005). If schools engage in practices which result in overrepresentation of CLED students in special education or in low-rigor courses, underrepresentation of CLED students in gifted programs or AP courses, and alienation of some families and communities in favor of practices which accommodate others, then systemic reforms need to be pursued (Gay, 2004; Terry & Irving, 2010). One cannot expect teachers to drastically change their ways if schools do not make efforts to do the same. Through professional development for teachers and the use of cultural proficiency frameworks (Lindsey, Graham, Westphal, & Jew, 2008), schools can face the challenges of identifying where inequities lie in their own schools and make strides towards closing gaps and facilitating culturally-responsive school environments where all students have an equal opportunity to succeed. Next Steps for Leaders and Practitioners There are a number of steps educational leaders can take to improve the cultural responsiveness of their schools and develop cultural competencies in their teachers. A climate survey distributed to teachers, students, and families is one way to collect data on how comfortable stakeholders feel about the equity in school practices (Trumball & Pacheco, 2005). Once
40 this data is collected, education leaders can share it with teachers and begin to promote “courageous conversations” about the barriers to equity that exist within their schools (Singleton & Linton, 2005). Professional development which provides activities for teachers to reflect on their own cultural heritage and belief systems and to discuss their experiences with colleagues; as well as training in cultural competency, domains of awareness, cultural orientations, and categories of racism are some strategies suggested in the literature for beginning to foster culturally-responsive school climates (Hawley & Neito, 2010; Stith-Williams & Haynes, 2007; Trumball & Pacheco, 2005). Vivian Stith-Williams and Phyllis M. Haynes (2007) developed a Resource Manual for Developing Cultural Competence with the support of a grant from the Virginia Department of Education. This manual is a valuable resource for professional development activities grounded in research on culturally responsive pedagogy and cultural theories. An updated curriculum based on this manual and created for Arlington Public Schools is also available (Patton & Day-Vines, 2010). Developing professional learning communities which focus on issues of cultural awareness would be the next step for educational leaders to take in order to sustain the impact of cultural competency training. These professional learning communities might be tasked with completing audits of their curricular materials for evidence of bias in textbooks (Trumball & Pacheco, 2005); auditing library offerings to ensure a balance of materials representing various racial and ethnic cultures; observing best practices through identifying master teachers who can model them (Hawley & Nieto, 2010); reading articles and print resources on culturally responsive teaching and reporting on them; and researching the communities represented by their students through taking part in community events, visiting local neighborhoods, and inviting family members into the school for engaging in discussion on how the school can help meet their needs (Hawley & Nieto, 2010). Finally, individual teachers can practice implementing equitable practice in their own classrooms by conducting research into their students’ backgrounds and implementing methods which work for their own students. Creating classroom environments which reflect all learners and engaging in open dialogue about race and culture
The William & Mary Educational Review in a sensitive way is a more effective and honest approach than engaging in “color-blind” practices which devalue cultural heritage and ignore reality. Finally, using knowledge of learning styles to apply differentiated methods of instruction, holding high expectations for all learners, and involving parents and families of all backgrounds are observable and measurable ways in which teachers can gauge their own development and by which school leaders can gauge the extent to which their schools are making progress in meeting the needs of diverse learners (Banks, 2006; Hawley & Neito, 2010; Terry & Irving, 2010). References Ambrosio, A. L., Sequin, C. A., & Hogan, E. L. (2001). Assessing performance-based outcomes of multicultural lesson plans: A component within a comprehensive teacher education assessment. Multicultural Perspectives, 3(1). Banks, J.A. (2006). Cultural diversity and education: Foundations, curriculum, and teaching (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Frankenberg, E. & Siegel-Hawley, G. (2008). Are teachers prepared for racially changing schools? Teachers describe their preparation, resources, and practices for racially diverse schools. Southern Poverty Law Center. Gay, G. (2004). Beyond Brown: Promoting equality through multicultural education. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 19(3), 193-216. Gorski, P. (1999). A brief history of multicultural education. EdChange. Retrieved from http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/pa pers/edchange_history.html Guillaume, A. M., Zuniga-Hill, C., & Yee, I. (1995) Prospective teachers’ use of diversity issues in a case study analysis. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 28(2), 69-76. Hawley, W. & Nieto, S. (2010). Another inconvenient truth: Race and ethnicity matter. Educational Leadership, 68(3), 6671. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Lindsey, R. B., Graham, S. M., Westphal, R. C., & Jew, C. L. (2008). Culturally proficient inquiry: A lens for identifying and examining educational gaps. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Patton, J. & Day-Vines, N. L. (2010). Cultural
Shifts in Conversation competence curriculum: Phase III. Council for Cultural Competence. Arlington Public Schools. Retrieved from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/tec h_asst_prof_dev/self_assessment/dispro portionality/arlington_adapted_cultural_c ompetence_notebook.pdf Peske, H. G. & Haycock, K. (2006). Teaching inequality: How poor and minority students are shortchanged on teacher quality. Washington D.C.: The Education Trust. Retrieved from http://www.edtrust.org/dc/publication/teac hing-inequality-how-poor-and-minoritystudents-are-shortchanged-on-teacher-qualit Singleton, G. & Linton, C. (2005). Courageous conversations about race: A field guide for achieving equity in schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Sleeter, C. E. (2007). Preparing teachers for multiracial and historically underserved schools. In E. Frankenberg & G. Orfield (Eds.), Lessons in integration: Realizing the promise of racial diversity in American schools (pp. 171-189). Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press Sleeter, C. E. (2001). Preparing teachers for culturally diverse schools: Research and the overwhelming presence of whiteness. Journal of Teacher Education, 52(2), 94-106. doi: 10.1177/0022487101052002002 Stith-Williams, V. & Haynes, P. (2007). For cultural competence: Knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to embrace diversity. Virginia Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/tec h_asst_prof_dev/self_assessment/dispro portionality/cultural_competence_ manual.pdf Terry, N. P. & Irving, M. A. (2010). Cultural and linguistic diversity: Issues in education. In Colarusso, R. P. & Oâ€™Rourke, C. M. (Eds.), Special education for ALL teachers (5th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.kendallhunt.com/uploaded Files/Kendall_Hunt/Content/Higher_ Education/Uploads/Colarusso_CH04_ 5e.pdf Trumbull, E. & Pacheco, M. (2005). Leading with diversity: Cultural competencies for teacher preparation and professional development. The
Education Alliance. Providence, RI: Brown University. Trent, S. C., Kea, C. D., & Oh, K. (2008). Preparing preservice educators for cultural diversity: How far have we come? Council for Exceptional Children, 74(3), 328-350.
About the author Krista Root is a PhD candidate in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on K-12 Administration.
The William & Mary Educational Review
The Formation of a Department: Theatre at William and Mary 1926-1963 Joseph Thomas Abstract From the foundation of the dramatic club in 1926 to the establishment of an independent academic Department of Theatre and Speech in 1963, the William and Mary Theatre experienced many changes as it grew from an extracurricular pursuit into a degree-granting program. Developments in facilities, curriculum, and local theatrical activity all contributed to shaping the organization of the department. This investigation uses information from faculty memoirs, course catalogs, departmental reports to presidents, and news publications to argue that many external factors influenced the particular way in which this department manifested. This work is intended to contribute to a broader literature of histories chronicling the ways in which new disciplines and departments can become integrated into higher education institutions. Conclusions propose that forthcoming changes to William and Mary’s curriculum and physical campus could again change the face of theatrical education at the college. Keywords: academic theatre, Althea Hunt, College of William and Mary, curriculum, educational theatre, theatre history, theatre production The 2013-2014 academic year marked the 50th anniversary of the formal foundation of the Department of Theatre and Speech at The College of William and Mary. Theatre has been a subject of philosophical and practical study since Aristotle’s Poetics in antiquity, though it did not become integrated into the curriculum of many American colleges and universities in a significant way until the early-mid 20th Century (Berkeley, 2009). Though we know little about theatrical training in the Western tradition between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance (Benedetti, 2005), pedagogical models for training theatre artists between the 16th19th centuries generally involved joining a professional troupe as a novice and learning the craft through an apprenticeship model. “Handbooks of rhetorical gesture” (Benedetti, 2005, p.33) were also available during this time as early versions of acting textbooks. The foundation of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1861 provided the modern model for a “drama school,” but schools of this nature generally focus on skill development and lack the connections to a broader liberal education that we associate with the 20th century academic theatre model. The beginnings of an academic theatre at the College predate the vast majority of
academic theatres at other institutions by decades; the evolution of the theatre program at William and Mary provides insight into possible ways that new disciplines can become academized and how a range of external elements influence the development and initial architecture of a department. This paper explores the history of theatrical performance and education at the College of William and Mary between 1926 and 1963 under the leadership of Althea Hunt, tracking the development of the campus dramatic club into a full academic department of Theatre and Speech over the course of the period. A brief history of theatrical activity around Williamsburg frames the foundation of the dramatic club, followed by an investigation of how historical developments concerning campus facilities, the college’s curriculum, national dialogue regarding training in the arts, and professional theatrical activity associated with the college all influenced the formation of the Department of Theatre and Speech. Theatre in Williamsburg Though the dramatic club that became the William and Mary Theatre and its associated academic department was not founded until 1926, there is a noteworthy history of theatrical
Theatre at W&M 1926-1963 performance in Williamsburg that precedes it. Students from William and Mary performed a Latin “pastoral colloquy” for the Royal Governor in 1702, constituting the first documented theatrical performance in America (“Theatre, Speech, and Dance – History,” 2013). The first dedicated theatre building in America was built between 1716-1718 on Williamsburg’s Palace Green, used by community members and men from the College to present plays periodically (Fischer, 2011). The original owners sold the building to the city of Williamsburg, which repurposed it as a courthouse in 1745. Another theatre was built six years later, which hosted the first professional performance of a Shakespeare play on the continent (Fischer, 2011). Unfortunately, the revolutionary spirit of the late 18th century in Williamsburg would paint theatre as a decidedly British pursuit, and there is no evidence that a play was ever performed in that theatre after 1772 (Fischer, 2011). In 1780, Richmond supplanted Williamsburg as the capital of Virginia, and the tours of performing artists that once travelled through Williamsburg would instead spend much of the 19th century visiting the more prosperous cities of Richmond and Norfolk. Williamsburg would be without a dedicated theatre until the 1920s. Beginnings of the Dramatic Club Julian A.C. Chandler’s ascendance to the presidency of William and Mary in 1919 represented a critical moment in the history of the College and for the presence of theatre on campus. Chandler is largely credited with transforming William and Mary into a modern institution of higher learning. He aggressively pursued institutional fundraising and began campus expansion westward of the Christopher Wren Building to facilitate the needs of a growing student body (Perry, 2009). Before the start of his first semester as president, he hired six new professors and proposed plans for a large new building in honor of Phi Beta Kappa, a national honors fraternity founded at William and Mary, to be used as an auditorium and as a home for visiting Phi Beta Kappa guests (Perry, 2009). Construction began in June 1925, and the building was completed in November 1926 (Perry, 2009). Prior to the completion of Phi Beta Kappa Hall, the 1924 student handbook promised that the face of dramatics would be changing on campus: With the beginning of this year, dramatics at this college will assume a position of greater
43 prominence than heretofore. The presentation of dramas and other plays will be under the supervision and direction of a dramatic committee. With the existence of this committee it is believed that the production of plays will be greatly enhanced. (Wells, Kent, & Ambler, 1926, p. 33-34) The handbook references English professors Gwathmey and Montgomery as faculty sponsors of the dramatic committee, who were “play producers inferior to none” (Wells et al., 1924, p. 34), though they would not oversee the club that would come out of the new committee. For the fall semester of 1926, Chandler hired Althea Hunt as assistant professor of English and “director-teacher” for the dramatic club (Hunt, 1968, p. xiii). The local chapter of Alpha Theta Phi, a national dramatic fraternity, co-sponsored the dramatic club and outlined its plans for the year as “to study plays intensively, to make trips to see special plays at Richmond and other cities […], and to present during the year several popular plays” (“Theta Alpha Phi Runs Dramatics,” 1926). As part of her first semester of teaching, Hunt offered a play production class; as she would later recall, this academic approach to teaching theatre came unusually early in the history of the profession – only Harvard (1905), Cornell (1912), the University of Iowa (1920), and Yale (1924) had dramatic instruction courses prior to 1926, and Harvard’s was still primarily focused on playwriting and not production (Hunt, 1949). The 1926 Dramatic Club featured 25 members, drawn primarily from the production class and those involved in previous dramatics committee activities (“Theta Alpha Phi Runs Dramatics,” 1926). Hunt and members of the Dramatic Club spent the semester rehearsing a production of the recent Broadway hit “The Goose Hangs High” to be performed in the in the newly completed Phi Beta Kappa Hall just before the semester break. Various departments of the college also cooperated with Hunt to help put on this first production. Professors Carey and Sellevold from the Art Department were in charge of set decoration, and Professor Cummings from the Home Economics Department was credited with costuming (“Goose Hangs High Given Tomorrow,” 1926). This early collaboration would contextualize the coming
44 decades of theatre training classes being offered under Fine Arts rather than the English Department. On December 18, 1926, “Goose” played to much success and a full house containing a majority of the student body (“Dramatic Club Makes Success of First Play,” 1927); a Flat Hat editorial piece recorded the experience of this seminal piece as: undoubtedly the best that has ever been staged on the campus and its quality promises better productions in the future. It was very well supported by the college and town and is deserving of the highest praise. […] The excellence of the first production leaves little to be desired except that future plays will not be far off and that they maintain the standard set by the cast of the initial drama. (“Dramatics at the College,” 1927) The 1927-1928 and 1928-1929 academic years saw another one production each – “Outward Bound” and “The Enemy” (Scammon, 1978, p. 4-7) – and the additions of both an advanced play production class and a playwriting class due to popularity and demand (Hunt, 1968, p.16). Phi Beta Kappa Hall Erected primarily to suit the needs of convocations, commencements and other large gatherings, Phi Beta Kappa Hall was not particularly outfitted for theatrical production. Hunt described the building as: unsuited for theatre – a level floor, a gallery along both sides from front to back (from which no one could see the stage) and a small balcony at the back. The shallow vestibule, opening into the auditorium by means of three swinging doors, included two small areas for a box office and a cloak room. Steep steps led from the ground level through three noisy double doors. Another source of noise was the two unpadded stairs at either side of the vestibule leading to the seats above. (Hunt, 1968, p. xiv) Articles in the Flat Hat corroborated its defects, complaining that the level floor made it difficult to see the stage for a large portion of the audience and that the lack of bathroom facilities for a building intended to host more than 1,000 people was an embarrassment for the campus overall (“The New
The William & Mary Educational Review Auditorium,” 1926). Shortcomings aside, the building hosted the majority of theatrical productions until late 1953 and provided a home for a burgeoning campus pursuit that had not seen dedicated local facilities in almost 150 years. Performing in Phi Beta Kappa Hall was certainly preferable to under-documented earlier campus dramatic work, which took place in the cramped chapel of the Christopher Wren Building, furnished only with church pews and a small platform with chairs for speakers. (Hunt, 1968, p. 3) Early Development of the Theatre A 1934 Richmond News Leader report detailed that the “William and Mary players have built up rather an enviable reputation among amateur dramaticians in the state” (Hunt, 1968, p. 57). In the ten years between the 1926-1927 and 1935-1936 seasons, Hunt was responsible for directing, managing, and marketing an astounding 33 full productions in addition to maintaining her regular teaching load (Scammon, 1978), and the fruits of her labors were evident. Alpha Theta Phi’s presence on campus waned by 1929, and the organization would operate under the name of the William and Mary Players for the next seven years (“Theatre, Speech, and Dance – History,” 2013). A few years later in 1933, Williamsburg celebrated the opening of the new Kimball Theatre in the reconstructed Merchant’s Square area by hosting a student revival of “The Recruiting Officer,” the first script to be staged on the Palace Green theatre just blocks away in the early 18th Century (“Kimball Theatre,” 2013). Though the Kimball was not formally associated with the William and Mary Players, it is notable that the town would now have a second performance venue; when the Players christened this building with their performance, the reputation of the group and for dramatics overall would certainly have been elevated in the community. In 1935, the William and Mary Theatre was brought under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Department of Fine Arts; the appointed chair Leslie Cheek became the official technical director and designer (Scammon, 1978) and all course listings related to theatrical performance and production were transferred from the English Department to Fine Arts (“Theatre, Speech, and Dance – History,” 2013). Over the next ten years, the roster of faculty members specifically associated with the William and Mary Players would continue
Theatre at W&M 1926-1963 to grow and the scale of production would increase. The first full-length outdoor drama was produced in 1936, establishing a tradition that would be greatly expanded in the late 1940s and beyond. The next year, 1937, was the first time in which a production saw multiple performances; until then, each show played only one night (Scammon, 1978). This was also the year in which the organization adopted the name The William and Mary Theatre, which stands to this day (“Theatre, Speech, and Dance – History,” 2013). An annual tradition of performing widely popular light opera pieces by Gilbert and Sullivan also began in 1937 and lasted through the early 1940s. Though Gilbert and Sullivan would not again be presented consistently until the student foundation of the Sinfonicron Light Opera Company in 1964, it is notable that one of the earliest collaborations of the different subdivisions of the Department of Fine Arts was Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers” (Scammon, 1978). “The Comedy of Errors” was produced in the spring of 1947, which was the first Shakespeare play in almost a decade. Following this performance, Shakespeare would become an integral part of the theatre’s academic production cycle (Scammon, 1978). An additional 46 shows would be produced between 1936-1947, still primarily helmed by Hunt. Awareness of campus theatrical activity at the national level was established in 1949 when the Bibliography of Theatre and Drama in American Colleges and Universities published both an article by Hunt entitled “The Philosophy Motivating the Teaching of Dramatic Arts in College and University” and a feature on the William and Mary Theatre, including ten production photos and set plans from performances that took place between 1944-1948 (McDowell, 1949). Even though all theatrical activity during this time was taking place under the Department of Fine Arts, the William and Mary Theatre was establishing its own identity through a continually growing portfolio of local performances and inclusion in academic publications. The Institute of Theatre and performances of “The Common Glory” would continue to elevate the theatre’s profile in the late 1940s, setting the organization on a track that would lead to its eventual institutionalization as an academic department.
45 “The Common Glory” and The Institute of Theatre A tradition of summer theatre at William and Mary was established as early as 1927. These productions usually played only one night, were not chosen in advance of the summer session, and were not all directed by Hunt (Scammon, 1978). There are only records of eleven summer productions occurring between 1927-1946 (Scammon, 1978). This informal approach to summertime performance changed in the spring of 1947 when auditions for a production of Pulitzer prize-winner Paul Green’s outdoor symphonic drama “The Common Glory” were announced. The Jamestown Corporation, formed to produce an annual spectacular about the American Revolution for purposes of tourism, intended to present the drama at the planned site of the new Matoaka Amphitheater. Green’s work was solicited because of his previous success with “The Lost Colony,” another historic drama that had been playing for large audiences at Roanoke Island (Hunt, 1968, p. 103). The Corporation selected Hunt as production director, and many college students and faculty members participated in the production during that summer. Similar to the production of “Goose” in 1926 in Phi Beta Kappa Hall, the new venue was barely finished before the premiere, with some reporting construction and touch-ups until moments before curtain on opening night (Hunt, 1968, p. 103). The show was received favorably, and even drew the New York Times theatrical cartoonist Don Freeman, who featured the production on the front page of the drama section of the Sunday Times (Hunt, 1968, p. 104). This seasonal success inspired Hunt, with the sponsorship of the Fine Arts department, to form both the Institute of the Theatre and the William and Mary Summer Players in the summer of 1948. “The Common Glory” would continue playing each summer for almost 30 years, with average attendance during its first ten seasons around 80,000 patrons (Schindler, 2010). With a grant from the General Education Board, Hunt developed the Institute as an academic pursuit parallel to summer production activity; “arranged to accommodate all categories of people interested in the theatre” (Hunt, 1948, p. 1). Courses were offered in theatre, speech, acting, directing,
46 playwriting, design, and stagecraft. Six theatre experts were brought to the campus over a six-week period, giving lectures in their particular fields followed by two days of informal seminars (Hunt, 1949). Notable attendees included Robert Edmond Jones, who was the self-professed greatest living set designer of the time (Hunt, 1948); that Hunt was able to attract Jones to attend the 1948 institute for the comparatively modest fee of $400 speaks volumes about the increasing attention theatre at the college was receiving. As the Richmond TimesDispatch put it: It is possible that the presence of the Common Glory at the Matoaka Theater last year was instrumental in crystallizing plans, [for] the big outdoor pageant has turned the eyes of many a would-be thespian toward Williamsburg for the summer and stimulated interest in the theater. (“College Theater Institute to Draw Broadway Experts,” 1948) Hunt renewed the institute for the 1949 and 1950 summer sessions. Its popularity grew over these few years – a note penned by Hunt on the back of a season program for 1950 recorded that “people from out of town who have come to the institute for individual speakers have represented Norfolk, Newport News, Hampton, VA Beach, Richmond, Charlottesville, Washington DC, Vermont, Massachusetts, Ohio, [and] Delaware” (Hunt, 1950). In attracting attendees from all over the eastern US, it is certain that the Institute’s programming was raising the profile of theatrical work in Williamsburg regionally and contributing to the strength and reputation of the William and Mary Theatre overall. The Institute Discontinued The 1951 annual report from the Department of Fine Arts to William and Mary President Pomfret pointed out that “inquiries about an institute for this summer justify a recommendation [that it] be continued” (Thorne, 1951), but the initial three years of funding Hunt secured from the General Education Board were not renewed by the college. Similar pleas were issued in the following two annual reports, but the institute was never revived. The institute did not continue, but summer productions alongside “The Common Glory” continued annually until 1955. Hunt’s memos remained optimistic about the potential for a future incarnation of the institute and summer
The William & Mary Educational Review theatre. Howard Scammon, a student of Hunt’s in the 1920s who was later hired to the faculty in 1948, was perhaps more realistic when he cited “loss of money, poor attendance, difficulty in scheduling a place for rehearsals and performances, lack of interest on the part of the regular summer school student, [and] poor attendance in the summer session theatre courses” as a “few reasons” for the discontinuation (Scammon, 1978). However, the series of courses offered over those three summers would inform the type of curriculum changes Fine Arts would see in the early 1950s, and the variety of theatre-specific courses introduced into the educational landscape of the college would inform a greater need for departmental independence in the future. Growth and Curriculum Shift In 1949, the Department of Fine Arts conducted a complete survey of the teaching program at the request of the administration, so that the department could “best serve the needs of the liberal arts college” (Thorne, 1949). A new fine arts curriculum was introduced the following year, and the annual report for 1950 claimed that curricular changes: reaffirmed the original intention of the department to supply a broad liberal background in the fine arts without the emphasis on professional training. […] The offerings have been condensed from approximately 70 courses to 53 and many of these courses will be given in alternate years so that the actual offerings for the year have been greatly reduced and condensed. It is hoped that the general course requirements on the 200, 300, and 400 level will interest students majoring in other departments. (Thorne, 1950) This broadening of scope and downscaling of depth in specific skills appealed to a greater number of students, leading to a noticeable increase in the enrollment and participation of students in speech and theatre at the college (Thorne, 1950). As a result, the department called for a study of the three internal sections of fine arts (architecture, painting, and sculpture; theatre and speech; music) in 1952, finding that successes in the educational use of “The Common Glory” could potentially lead to a master’s degree in theatre, which would be “administratively more successful if a separate
Theatre at W&M 1926-1963 department of drama and speech could be set up” (Thorne, 1952). Though the master’s degree would never come to fruition, progress toward an independent department for theatre was being made. The Fine Arts department commissioned a report on dramatics in 1953, which examined the objectives of extra-curricular dramatic activity at William and Mary, policies regarding the theatre, and ways to preserve and improve upon current programming (Hunt, 1953). The committee, led by Hunt, recommended that the theatre seek to entertain, contribute to the culture of the audience, strengthen relations between the community and college, and to increase the influence of William and Mary through performances on and off campus (Hunt, 1953). The committee also recommended that student recruitment should involve mentioning the William and Mary Theatre, and that additional consideration should be given to applicants with special promise for theatrical achievement (Hunt, 1953). It concluded with a diatribe against the current state of Phi Beta Kappa Hall, painting it as a “constant source of embarrassment” and a “fire trap” (Hunt, 1953, p. 6). This same year also saw the annual report include rhetoric focused on educational and performance facilities. As fine arts and theatre grew in tandem, working space became increasingly tight. The annual report for this year detailed that “the department is very well equipped as to personnel and facilities with the exception of space” (Thorne, 1953). Thomas Thorne, the chair of fine arts, proposed a new building housing the ceramics kiln and the theatrical scene shop. This building would serve as a workshop and community hub for learning artistic craft modeled after a system in place at the University of New Hampshire (Thorne, 1953). This construction would never come to pass, however, as fate intervened and disaster struck campus. Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall The summer institute of 1948 featured a somewhat prescient speech by Edward Cole, an authority on theatre planning who was also a professor at Yale. In his lecture “Theatre Planning: Technical Production” at the underequipped Phi Beta Kappa Hall, Cole declared that a lack of proper facilities was a significant handicap to the advancement of the craft nationally despite
47 “widespread healthy interest” (“Theatre Expert Gives Speech,” 1948). The facilities at Phi Beta Kappa Hall would show their weakness when a ceiling under the north balcony of the main auditorium collapsed in February of 1950, and again when a fire in December 1953 – as predicted just months earlier by the committee on dramatics completely destroyed the auditorium (Schindler, 2009). The next few years of the William and Mary Theatre saw performances in alternate locations, such as the local Matthew Whaley Elementary School and the gymnasium at Blow Hall (Scammon, 1978). After the original Phi Beta Kappa building burned down, Hunt and the remainder of the William and Mary Theatre staff began an initiative to identify features of an ideal theatre building suited for the dual purposes of instruction and production. The result was Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall, which was completed in 1957 and touted by the campus as “the best equipped nonprofessional playhouse in America,” and for professor Scammon as “the realization of the dreams of all of us as to what a theatre and a theatre school should be” (“New Theatre at William and Mary College,” 1957). The new building featured a proscenium main stage with trap doors, a counter-weight system to fly set pieces into the air and out of sight, a large cyclorama backdrop, dressing rooms and a green room equipped with intercom technology, a full scene shop and storage for properties, costumes, and sets (“New Theatre at William and Mary College,” 1957). The first production to be performed in the new building was “Romeo and Juliet,” and, characteristic of William and Mary’s history, the building was barely completed before the opening (Scammon, 1978). Hunt took ill during the rehearsal period, and Scammon took over the directing duties. The opening was a dressy gala affair with guests invited from all over the country. The performance was well received, with Scammon remembering the only criticism being the cold conditions of the auditorium (Scammon, 1978). Later that year, the building also hosted another important event – the 350th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement, celebrated with a commissioned performance depicting William and Mary’s history entitled “Hark Upon the Gale”
48 (Scammon, 1978). The original Phi Beta Kappa Hall was rebuilt with different plans in 1955 and rechristened as Ewell Hall in 1957, allowing the Department of Music to move its offices and instructional rooms from their previous home at the Williamsburg Methodist Church (Schindler, 2009). This move would further separate the three sections of the Department of Fine Arts, as each was now housed in a unique building on campus. With state-of-the-art facilities for its new home, the William and Mary Theatre continued to truly come into its own. It would not again share space with the rest of Fine Arts until the construction of Andrews Hall on the backside of Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall in 1967, four years after Theatre and Speech would have its own autonomous academic department (“William & Mary – Andrews Hall,” 2013). The Griswold Report In 1959, President Whitney Griswold of Yale authored a paper titled “The Fine Arts and the Universities.” Although unpublished by an academic press until 1965, a manuscript version dated Spring 1959 located in the office files of the Department of Fine Arts suggests that at least Thorne had read it upon preliminary circulation. The report argued that creative art and higher education constituted an “integral process,” advocating that universities find a mutually profitable relationship between creative art and liberal learning (Griswold, 1959, p. 3). The report concluded that powerful learning in the arts does not stem from “stimulation by an artist in residence, [but from] intellectual discipline in the context of humanistic learning that is the province of liberal education” (Griswold, 1959, p. 8). This report indicates a new sector emphasis on “intellectualizing” academic theatre in the mid-late 1950s, very much aligned with the William and Mary administration’s earlier request to deemphasize artistic skill in favor of a broad liberal arts approach. The Yale School of Drama was founded in 1955 in response to the growing regional theatre movement in America, which served to professionalize academic theatre nationwide. William and Mary’s theatre faculty in the 1950s and 1960s included Yale graduates, and it is reasonable to assume that the curricular philosophies of Yale’s president travelled south with them to Williamsburg. The Griswold report represents a pedagogical shift from a skills-based education (akin to the British drama school model) to one that blends the development of both talent and intellect. This
The William & Mary Educational Review pedagogical change is important to the development of an academic theatre department because it empowered faculty with a rhetorical and curricular toolkit with which they could claim academic merit. Scammon referred to the William and Mary Theatre in the epilogue of his 1978 memoir as a “bastard organization whose [two-fold function was to] fulfill the academic need [and] to fulfill the individual’s need for creative and/or technical extra-curricular activity” (Scammon, 1978). This “bastardized” ideal constitutes the heart of the department’s philosophy to this day. Twilight of Association with Fine Arts The 1962-1963 course catalog offers the final view of theatrical activity under the Department of Fine Arts. A three-paragraph description of the William and Mary Theatre offered information about faculty, performances, production crews, and current facilities with only a passing mention of its formal association with Fine Arts (“Bulletin of the College of William and Mary,” 1963). Hunt retired in 1962, leaving a legacy of work that would later be administratively honored by naming a campus dormitory after her. The official transition to an independent department in 1963 failed to leave a significant archival paper trail or many poignant reflections in the archived papers of Hunt, Scammon, or Thorne; the change was perhaps so logical or in process for so long that extraneous documentation was unwarranted. Conclusion From the construction of the original Phi Beta Kappa Hall to the formal establishment of an academic department hosted in Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall, it is clear that the historical happenings of 1926-1963 deeply influenced the development of the William and Mary Theatre. Performance facilities critically impacted the theatre’s ability to produce and teach. The original Phi Beta Kappa provided the theatre with a license to exist, while the construction of Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall allowed the theatre to establish its own identity, diversify its course offerings, and improve the quality of its productions. The college’s curriculum informed what kinds of courses were being taught and created associations with other disciplines to various effects. Professional theatrical activity in Williamsburg, primarily centered around “The Common Glory,”
Theatre at W&M 1926-1963 helped to raise the profile of the theatre and provided it with the experience and artistic muscle to function independently. National dialogue regarding training in the arts created a theoretical framework around which the Department of Theatre and Speech could organize itself into a viable academic wing. Implications for Future Research In this academic year, two major campus developments have occurred which suggest we may see another cycle of institutional change for the current iteration of the Department of Theatre, Speech, and Dance. In September 2013, William and Mary administration announced that the construction of a new “Arts Quarter” was a “top priority in the university’s six-year plan” (Shearin, 2013). This plan would incorporate a new building for music and extensive renovations and expansions for Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall and Andrews Hall. As this paper illustrates, new facilities have historically heralded extensive changes in the theatrical curriculum, and new renovations could bring the possibility of new courses and design specialties reliant on current technologies, such as projection design and video integration. A second announcement at the end of the Fall 2013 Semester revealed faculty approval of a new general educational curriculum encouraging interdisciplinary learning that connects disciplines across three broad knowledge domains of physical science, social science, and the humanities (Boyle, 2013). These courses are intended to promote a “shared educational experience” among students at the college (Boyle, 2013); implications include a new impetus for theatre, speech, and dance classes to connect with other liberal arts disciplines in an attempt to foster the development of “intellectually astute, intellectually flexible students” (Boyle, 2013) prepared for the challenges of a changing global economy and workforce. Possible outcomes include a return to a model similar to the holistic “fine arts” approach as seen in the 1930s and 1940s, one that relied on stronger ties between departments of Art/Art History, Theatre/Speech/Dance, and Music to satisfy requirements, or a greater integration of mathematical and scientific concepts as they relate to stage technology and design. Another possibility is that the profile of students majoring in the current degree program will change, as the demands for
49 increased interdisciplinary learning will decrease the amount of theatre-specific professional training credits students will be able to pursue. This shift in pedagogy and content could result in students less prepared to compete for non-academic jobs in theatre, or could lay the groundwork for new graduate programs that are more skill-oriented to complement the broader undergraduate training. However the curricular alterations manifest, it is clear that as the William and Mary Theatre approaches its 100th anniversary, the organization will need to remain adaptable to change while continuing to emphasize quality theatrical training in the context of a liberal arts institution. References Benedetti, Jean. (2005). The art of the actor: The essential history of acting from classical times to the present day. London, UK: Methuen Publishing Limited. Berkeley, A. (2009). Changing view of knowledge and the struggle for undergraduate theatre curriculum, 1900-1980. In A. Fliotsos & G. Medford (Eds.), Teaching Theatre Today (Revised 2nd ed., pp. 7-30). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillian. Boyle, A. (2013, December 12). College faculty approve new general education curriculum, will replace GERs in 2015. The Flat Hat. Retrieved from http://flathatnews.com/2013/12/12/gerwm-curriculum-ap-ib/ Bulletin of the college of William and Mary. The College of William and Mary in Virginia, 19631964. (Vol. 58, no. 6). Retrieved from https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/bitstream/ handle/10288/13553/bulletinofcolleg586coll .pdf College theater institute to draw Broadway experts. (1948, May 16). The Richmond Times-Dispatch, p. 14-D. Dramatics at the college. (1927, January 7). The Flat Hat, p. 4. Goose Hangs High given tomorrow. (1926, December 17). The Flat Hat, p. 1. Fischer, L. (2001). The Douglass-Hallam theater: Excavation of an Eighteenth-century playhouse. Retrieved from http://research.history.org/Archaeological_ Research/Research_Articles/Theme
50 Virginia/Hallam.cfm?pageNum=1 Griswold, W. (1959). The fine arts and the universities. Department of Fine Arts, 1936 1998, UA 206. Series 2, Acc. 1980.004: Office Files, 1946 – 1967. College of William and Mary University Archives, College of William and Mary, Virginia Hunt, A. (1948). Membership in the institute. Althea Hunt Papers, UA 6.028. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 224. College of William and Mary University Archives, College of William and Mary, Virginia. Hunt, A. (1949, March 1.) The theatre in Virginia. University of Virginia Newsletter, p. 1. Hunt, A. (1950). Membership in the institute. Althea Hunt Papers, UA 6.028. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 226. College of William and Mary University Archives, College of William and Mary, Virginia. Hunt, A. (1953). Report of the subcommittee on dramatics. Althea Hunt Papers, UA 6.028. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 230. College of William and Mary University Archives, College of William and Mary, Virginia. Hunt, A. (1968). The William and Mary theatre: A chronicle. Richmond, VA: Dietz Press. Kimball theatre: The colonial Williamsburg official history & citizenship site. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.history.org/almanack/places/hb /kimball.cfm?showSite=mobile-regular McDowell, J. (Ed.). (1949) Bibliography of theatre and drama in American colleges and universities. New York, NY: Speech Association of America. New theatre at William and Mary college. (1957, November). Virginia Drama News, p. 2. Perry, M. (2009). Julian A.C. Chandler – special collections. Retrieved from http://scdb.swem.wm.edu/wiki/index.php/ Julian_A._C._Chandler Scammon, H. (1978). The William and Mary theatre: 50 years. Richmond, VA: Dietz Press. Schindler, A. (2009). Ewell hall - special collections. Retrieved from http://scdb.swem.wm.edu/wiki/index.php/ Ewell_Hall Schindler, A. (2010). The Common Glory – special collections. Retrieved from http://scdb.swem.wm.edu/wiki/index.php/
The William & Mary Educational Review The_Common_Glory Shearin, M. (2013, September 26). W&M unveils site plan for arts facilities. William & Mary: News & Events. Retrieved from http://www.wm.edu/news/stories/2013/w m-unveils-site-plan-for-arts-facilities123.php The new auditorium. (1926, n.d.). Althea Hunt Papers, UA 6.028. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 1. College of William and Mary University Archives, College of William and Mary, Virginia. Theatre expert gives speech. (1948, July 14). The Virginia Gazette, p. 9. Theatre, speech, and dance - history. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.wm.edu/as/tsd/theatre/about /history/ Theta Alpha Phi runs dramatics. (1926, October 15). The Flat Hat, p. 5. Thorne, T. (1949, August 9). Annual report to the president. Department of Fine Arts, 1936 1998, UA 206. Series 2, Acc. 1980.004: Office Files, 1946 – 1967. College of William and Mary University Archives, College of William and Mary, Virgini.a Thorne, T. (1950, June 17). Annual report to the president. Department of Fine Arts, 1936 – 1998, UA 206. Series 2, Acc. 1980.004: Office Files, 1946 – 1967. College of William and Mary University Archives, College of William and Mary, Virginia. Thorne, T. (1951, June 16). Annual report to the president. Department of Fine Arts, 1936 – 1998, UA 206. Series 2, Acc. 1980.004: Office Files, 1946 – 1967. College of William and Mary University Archives, College of William and Mary, Virginia. Thorne, T. (1952, July 15). Annual report to the president. Department of Fine Arts, 1936 – 1998, UA 206. Series 2, Acc. 1980.004: Office Files, 1946 – 1967. College of William and Mary University Archives, College of William and Mary, Virginia. Wells, R., Kent, E., & Ambler, J. (Eds.) (1926). College of William and Mary students handbook. (Vol. 12). Retrieved from https://archive.org/stream/collegeofwillia m12coll William & Mary – Andrews Hall. (2013). Retrieved
Theatre at W&M 1926-1963 from http://www.wm.edu/about/administr ation/senioradmin/adminoffice/const ruction/completedprojects/andrews/ index.php
About the author Joseph Thomas is a PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on Higher Education.
The William & Mary Educational Review
Creativity and The Reggio Emilia Approach Duna Alkudhair Abstract The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education was developed in the city of Reggio Emilia after the Second World War under the leadership of Loris Malaguzzi. Today, Reggio Emilia schools stand as exemplars for the development of young children’s creativity. This paper provides an overview of the Reggio Emilia approach and examines how it aligns with current research findings related to the development of creativity in young children. Keywords: Creativity, Early childhood education, Reggio Emilia
Introduction The city of Reggio Emilia, located in the northern region of Italy, prides itself as a diverse city with a strong sense of community that cares for the emotional wellbeing and education of young children. The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, established after the Second World War by a group of passionate parents and educators, emphasizes the importance of the learning relationships between the child, the teacher, the environment, and the community (Hewett, 2001). Over the past thirty years, the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy has attracted early childhood educators from all over the world to see its “main attraction: schools in which the minds, bodies, and spirits of young children are treated with utmost seriousness and respect” (Project Zero, 2001, p. 25). There is much to be gleaned from the work of Reggio Emilia schools in terms of how they educate young children and, more importantly, how this educational approach enhances children’s creativity and critical thinking skills. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the philosophy, history, curriculum, and pedagogy of the Reggio Emilia approach and examine how it relates to current research findings on creativity. Creativity Wright explains creativity as involving the act of using information or common ideas in original or unique ways (as cited in Kemple & Nissenberg, 2000). “Creativity is a way of thinking or acting or making something that is original for the individual
and valued by that person or others” (Mayesky, 1998, p. 4). Widely regarded aspects of creativity include imagination, curiosity, risk-taking, wonderment, flexibility, experimentation, breaking of boundaries, and openness to new perspectives (Prentice, 2000). Environments that foster creativity are typically learning-enriched and promote independence and respect for children (Kemple & Nissenberg, 2000). Families that promote freedom of exploration and allow children long periods of uninterrupted play to make mistakes and take risks have been shown to support more creative development than rushed lifestyles with structured schedules (Kim, 2011). Similarly, schools that provide children with uninterrupted periods of play and work in order for children to concentrate and make individual choices about activities that match their interests, have been shown to promote children’s creativity and critical thinking skills (Kim, 2011; Roemer, 2012). Additionally, with an adult’s encouragement, these long periods of uninterrupted time encourage problem-finding skills which are necessary skills for generating new ideas (Kim, 2011). Collaboration and asking open-ended questions have also been shown to enhance the creative process ( Cheung & Leung, 2013). Reggio Emilia Historical Foundations After the Second World War, the city of Reggio Emilia re-invented itself as a civic community. “The city, from that moment on,
Creativity and Reggio Emilia founded itself on the participation of the people, on the sense of the community, on the sense of dependency from one to another” (Delrio, 2012). Parents and educators worked together to build municipal pre-schools and early childhood centers under the visionary leadership of Loris Malaguzzi, a teacher himself. In 1961 he opened the Robinson school, the first municipal school in Reggio Emilia. Malaguzzi, regarded as the founder of the municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools, continued to open and lead the centers until his death in 1994 (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012). Today, the municipality of the city of Reggio Emilia operates and finances twenty-two schools for children ages three to six, and thirteen infant toddler centers for children ages zero to three. Parents, to this day, play an essential role in their children’s education (Hewitt, 2001). Reggio Emilia currently spends 41% of its educational resources on early childhood education, while the rest of Italy spends only 9%. The municipality believes that investing in early childhood education yields high economic returns (Delrio, 2012). Social, Philosophical, and Psychological Foundations One of the fundamental beliefs in Reggio Emilia is respect for the child, or what Malaguzzi called “the image of the child,” which is a socially constructed and shared understanding of the child as having “rights rather than simply needs. Influenced by this belief, the child is beheld as beautiful, powerful, competent, creative, curious, and full of potential and ambitious desires” (Hewett, 2001, p.96). This respect for the child as a curious being is one of the most important elements that promotes a child’s creativity (Prentice, 2000; Roemer, 2012). The social constructivist approach of Reggio Emilia education is composed of a combination of educational theories that support and expand on Malaguzzi’s conviction of the image of the child (Hewett, 2001). It draws heavily on the philosophies of Piaget (1973), Dewey (1966), Vygostky (1978), and others. Malaguzzi used these philosophies and expanded on them to create his vision of education, which is an education based on relationships. “It focuses on each child in relation to others and seeks to activate and support children’s reciprocal relationships with other children, family, teachers, society, and the environment” (Edwards, 2002, p.10).
53 Curriculum and Pedagogy As a result of Reggio Emilia’s historical foundations, which are built upon collaboration between parents, educators, and the community, curriculum is regarded as “a communal activity and as a sharing of culture through joint exploration between children and adults who together open topics to speculation and discussion” (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012, p.8). Learning is a process that occurs individually and through group construction, which takes its shape through the relationships amongst the group members, the adults, and the interactions with the environment. Time and communication, particularly “active listening between adults, children, and the environment is the premise and context of every educational relationship” (Infant-toddler centers and preschools, 2010, p.11). Communication is essential to the construction and verification of knowledge. Learning takes place through research and the group sharing of ideas, which allows for the facilitation of creativity and curiosity (Piaget, 1981). Vygotsky (1990) clarified that “A child needs meaningful interactions and collaborations to be creative” (as cited in Kim, 2012, p.293). Curriculum Through the lens of social constructivism, knowledge in the Reggio Emilia approach is perceived as dynamic; and instead of the existence of one truth, there are multiple truths or multiple forms of knowing (Hewitt, 2001). Similarly, there are multiple forms of expressing: Children grow in competence to symbolically represent ideas and feelings through any of their “hundred languages” (expressive, communicative, and cognitive)—words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic play, music, to name a few—that they systemically explore and combine. (Edwards, 2002, p. 10) Researchers view creativity as multifaceted—expressed through a variety of forms of communication and expression, and applied in a variety of contexts (Gardner, 1993). To allow for such forms of expressions in Reggio Emilia classrooms, teachers do not follow a prescribed curriculum or a set of standards indicating what is to be learned (Hewitt, 2001). According to Malaguzzi (1993), “these [standards] would push our schools
54 towards teaching without learning” (p.8). The curriculum has “purposive progression but no scope and sequence” (Edwards, 2002, p. 11). Creating a meaningful and emotional relationship with the subject matter is emphasized over spending hours developing a certain academic skill. (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012). Instead of an early push to read, teachers foster emergent literacy, which naturally evolves when children are in a literacy rich environment that encourages them to record and communicate their ideas with others (Barron, 2000; Edwards, 2002). This kind of approach, which is not so focused on academics and standardization, provides opportunities for teachers and students to think flexibly, creatively, and critically (Kim, 2011). The collaborative and negotiated process of teaching and learning through long-term open-ended projects takes place in carefully designed environments that offer “complexity and beauty as well as a sense of well being” (Edwards, 2002, p.11). Providing psychologically safe environments that allow children to explore, experiment, and make mistakes tends to advance children’s creativity, as opposed to environments that are structured with a strong focus on academics, which can lead to anxiety, pressure, and ultimately, the stifling of creativity (Kemple & Nissenburg, 2000). The Child as a Learner In Reggio Emilia, each child is an active participant in his or her own learning and growth. Children are protagonists – or, as defined by Malaguzzi, “authors of their own learning” (Malaguzzi, 1993, p.20). For creativity to thrive, it is essential for the learner to be actively engaged in the learning process (Prentice, 2000). In Reggio Emilia, children are given opportunities to engage in the natural process of in-depth research and discovery as they undertake projects of their choice (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012, p.247). Children question, hypothesize, predict, experiment, reflect on their discoveries, and revisit their projects to “refine and clarify their understandings thereby expanding the richness of their thinking” (Hewett, 2001, p.96). Inquiry and reflection are important creativity skills (Prentice, 2000). According to Piaget, reflection is essential to creativity because new ideas stem from “mental actions, not external objects” (Kim, 2011, p.293). The Role of the Teacher Malaguzzi described the learning process
The William & Mary Educational Review between children and adults as a game of ping-pong. Teachers are involved in the learning process and take on the role of collaborators and co-learners (Hewitt, 2001). Reggio Emilia teachers practice negotiated learning. “In negotiated learning, the teachers seek to uncover the children’s beliefs, assumptions, or theories about the way the physical or social world works” (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012, p.247) through dialogue and discussion. Teachers tend to encourage rather than suppress differences of opinions and viewpoints. This intellectual conflict is understood as a tool for growth and a way to advance higher level thinking for both children and teachers (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012; Hewitt, 2001). The teachers do not control the children’s learning; instead, they respect their discoveries by being active participants. They act as facilitators and guides, promoting the children’s discovery by gently provoking and probing (Hewitt, 2001). At the same time, they never answer the children’s questions, as they believe that answering the questions brings the research process to a halt. “Because when they ask ‘why?’ they are not simply asking for the answers from you (the teacher). They are requesting to find a collection of possible answers” (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012, p.239). These open-ended questions proposed by both the children and teachers create the tension that fuels the research (Tedeschi, 2012). Involving children in the process of asking open-ended questions, finding problems, engaging in intellectual conflicts, and moving beyond prescribed procedures and preconceived ideas provides opportunities for creativity to flourish (Prentice, 2000). Like the children, teachers take on the role of researchers by documenting and assessing children’s work through careful observation and listening. By collecting and analyzing the data, they are able to determine critical information regarding the children’s learning, development, and interests in order to create activities and work that match those interests. The data typically include transcribed audio recordings of conversations and dialogues, videos of children working and collaborating, and photographs of children’s artwork in various stages of completion (Hewitt, 2001). Teachers work together along with a teacher specialized in visual arts to analyze and organize the data in a meticulous way to be displayed in the school and to make learning visible to the children and their parents (Edwards, 2002). Rinaldi
Creativity and Reggio Emilia explains that making the documentation accessible and the learning visible to the children can “help you to understand and change your identity; it can invite you to reflect on your values” (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012, p.236). Rinaldi furthers this point by arguing that the point of view of others confirms or changes one’s own point of view. This helps children recognize that what they say and do is important—that it is valued, shared, understood, and respected (as cited in Edwards, Gandini, & Forman). This parallels Csikszentmihalyi’s (1996) view of creativity which states that creativity takes place in a societal context that involves not only the person with the original idea but also the experts within that culture who recognize and validate the novel idea. An example of a Reggio Emilia project is the story of the Un-composed Chairs. After a group discussion about sitting at the dinner table, which began when a child expressed discomfort about sitting patiently at the table, the class visited one of their favorite pizza restaurants in the city of Reggio Emilia and brought back a chair to study. They drew self-portraits of the many possible ways one can sit in a chair and experimented with the idea: What does it feel like to be composed or un-composed while sitting in a chair? The teachers documented the children’s work and extensive dialogues to study the amount of research and change that took place over a period of a month and to make the thinking process visible. When the class took the chair back to the restaurant, they brought along with them a detailed poster of their work, representing their multiple perspectives, which the restaurant owner posted outside the door (Birtani, 2012). The product of their work is not as valuable as the creative process and collective growth that took place to produce the poster (Project Zero, 2001). Reggio Emilia educators believe in open-endedness. Projects are never finished. Instead, they are transformed into different versions as they are studied from different perspectives. This kind of open and flexible curriculum that stems out of the interests and passions of the children invites independence and is the foundation of entrepreneurship and creativity (Zhao, 2012). School Structure and Classrooms One of the reasons for the Reggio Emilia schools’ success in promoting children’s creativity is that all the essential elements required to enhance creativity are embedded in the school culture and the
55 parent community. Because of the strong relationship between teachers and parents, which was traditionally established when the schools were first conceived, the mission of the schools is to maintain this relationship through collaboration and active communication with parents (Tedeschi, 2012). Wright (1987) has “argued that unless early childhood programs consider and include the family as an important influence on creative development, the long-term effects of teacher training and creativity programs in schools is dubious” (as cited in Kemple & Nissenberg, 2000, p. 69). The schools are designed to reflect the architecture of the city: each school houses a central piazza, or a gathering area, that leads into the classrooms, where children meet and socialize before transitioning to their respective classrooms. The piazza is also a meeting place for group discussions and imaginative play. Imaginative play in the Reggio Emilia schools is valued as a form of expression (Project Zero, 2010). Children are allowed long uninterrupted periods of play time to engage in the process of play and imagination, which are precursors to the development of creativity (Prentice, 2000). The atelier or art studio is at the heart of every school, and was conceived as a laboratory for the development of the expressive potential and creativity of the adults and children. In the 1980s, Loris Malaguzzi developed the novel idea of combining art and pedagogy. “He said, ‘Let’s make an experiment and see what happens. We will mix one drop of art and one drop of pedagogy.’ And that’s how the atelier started (A. Gambetti, personal communication, April 20, 2012). According to Edwards, Gandini, and Forman (2012), the atelierista (the artist) who is in charge of the atelier and is responsible for maintaining the aesthetics of the school typically holds an art degree and works with the teachers who hold degrees in early childhood education. The idea is that the atelierista and the teachers learn from their experiences together. The classrooms are composed of two teachers and twenty-five children and each school has a main atelierista. In addition to the large atelier, each classroom has a mini atelier. Children work in the smaller atelier or visit the larger one depending on their projects or needs. The kitchen, which is central to every school, is called the atelier of taste. All adults, including the chefs are active participants with
56 shared responsibilities for the education of children. Children’s sense of ownership of the school and their learning is evident as they freely move in and out of the classrooms throughout the day to visit the piazza, the cooks in the kitchen, or the large atelier. A need to control the young children’s whereabouts is non-existent (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012). Environments that do not overprotect or engage in excessive control over children’s actions and behaviors allow children the freedom to explore, experiment, and develop their creative imagination (Kemple & Nessenburg, 2001). According to Hewitt (2001), the children remain in the same classrooms with the same teachers over a three-year cycle. This creates continuity and helps build their comfort level and confidence, as it reduces the number of transitions. It also strengthens the connections between teachers and parents as they learn from each other. All staff members meet once a week to share ideas and practice in in-service training. Classroom teachers and the atelierista meet more frequently to share children’s daily progress. Additionally, the teachers’ roles include active collaboration with the parents and the community. “Collaboration, from all angles, is a cornerstone of the Reggio Emilia approach” (Hewitt, 2001, p.97). Collaboration and teambuilding skills are both enhancers of creativity (Kim, 2011). Implications for Early Childhood Educators Although the Reggio Emilia approach is conducive to the development of creativity, it cannot be viewed without skepticism. Children in Reggio Emilia are not required by law to have formal education until the age of six or first grade (Delrio, 2012). Therefore, early childhood centers are free to exercise great flexibility in teaching and learning, as they are not required or pressured to maintain school readiness for children moving up to first grade, as is the case in the United States. Additionally, the municipality and the Italian government do not impose federal or state mandates at the early childhood level; nor do they require schools to follow certain academic standards. There are only minimal guidelines for developmentally appropriate practice, developed by the municipality, to ensure the safety of children (Infant-toddler centers and preschools, 2010). Educators in Reggio Emilia believe that their approach should not be viewed as a model or a
The William & Mary Educational Review recipe for an early childhood education, as it was designed specifically for the community and culture of the city of Reggio (Edwards, 2002). However, the approach provides inspirational ideas that can be incorporated in any early childhood setting to promote children’s creativity: • Dialoguing with children through open-ended and probing questions that fuel the research process • Engaging children in large group discussions and incorporating activities that match their interests • Designing the classroom environment to foster more collaborative work between children • Collaborating actively with parents and the community and educating them about creativity and its importance at the early childhood level • Establishing teachers as researchers, reflective practitioners, and co-learners • Providing large blocks of unstructured work and play for children to experiment, engage in openended projects, reflect, develop their imagination, and take risks Conclusion As documented in this paper, the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education is an exemplar for the development of young children’s creativity, as it parallels current theoretical research. The approach facilitates the development of young children’s creativity by encouraging open-ended projects, an emergent curriculum, dialogue between teachers and children, imaginative play, reflection, and intellectual risk taking. Reggio Emilia’s respect and celebration of children’s natural curiosities and wonderment is an inspiration to early childhood educators and administrators. References Barron, M. (1990). I learn to read and write the way I learn to talk: A very first book about whole language. Katonah, N.Y: R.C. Owen Publishers. Birtani, L. (2012, April). Uncomposed chairs: Project of the municipal preschool Robinson. Paper presented at the International Study Group. Reggio Emilia: Italy. Cheung, R. H. P., & Leung, C. H. (2013). Preschool Teachers’ Beliefs of Creative Pedagogy: Important for Fostering Creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 25(4), 397-407. doi:10.1080/10400419.2013.843334 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the
Creativity and Reggio Emilia psychology of discovery and invention. New York: HarperCollins. Delrio, G. (2012, April). Welcoming remarks. Unpublished paper presented at the International Study Group. Reggio Emilia: Italy. Dewey, J. (1966). Democracy and education. New York, NY: Free Press. Edwards, C. P. (2002). Three approaches from Europe: Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia. Faculty Publications, Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies. Paper 2. Edwards, C., Gandini, L., & Forman, G. (Eds). (2012). The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia experience in transformation. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books. Hewitt, V. M. (2001). Examining the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(2). Infant-toddler centers and preschools (2010). Indication preschool and infant-toddler centers of the municipality of Reggio Emilia. Reggio Emilia, Italy: Reggio Children. Kim, K. H. (2011). The creativity crisis: The decrease in creative thinking scores on the torrance tests of creative thinking. Creativity Research Journal, 23(4), 285–295. doi:10.1080/10400419.2011.627805 Kemple, K. M., & Nissenberg, S. A. (2000). Nurturing creativity in early childhood education: Families are part of it. Early Childhood Education Journal, 28(1). Malaguzzi, L. (1993). For an education based on relationships. Young Children, 49(1), 9–12. Mayesky, M. (1998). Creative activities for young children (6th ed.). Albany, NY: Delmar. Piaget, J. (1973). To understand is to invent: The future of education. NY: Grossman Publishers. Prentice, R. (2000). Creativity: a reaffirmation of its place in early childhood education. The Curriculum Journal, 11(2), 145–158. Project Zero Harvard Graduate School of Education. (Ed). (2001). Making learning visible: Children as individual and group learners. Reggio Emilia, Italy: Reggio Children. Roemer, K. L. (2012). Creativity and Montessori education. Montessori Life, 4–6. Tedeschi, M. (2012, April). The wonder of learning: A
new idea of care in schools. Paper presented at the International Study Group. Reggio Emilia: Italy. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Zhao, Y. (2012, July). Doublethink: Creativity, entrepreneurship, and standardized tests. Education Week, 31(36). Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/0 7/18/36zhao_ep.h31.html?tkn=RXPFfO WUi7DZOntAyaz6k5nhOdlVmzXjPjGS &cmp=clp-edweek
About the author Duna Alkhudhair is a PhD candidate in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on K-12 General Administration.
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