Supporting new science teachers in pursuing socially just science education
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This forum explores contradictions that arose within the partnership between Teach for America (TFA) and a university teacher education program. TFA is an alternate route teacher preparation program that places individuals into K-12 classrooms in low-income school districts after participating in an intense summer training program and provides them with ongoing support. This forum is a conversation about the challenges we faced as new science teachers in the TFA program and in the Peace Corps program. We both entered the teaching field with science degrees and very little formal education in science education. In these programs we worked in a community very different from the one we had experienced as students. These experiences allow us to address many of the issues that were discussed in the original paper, namely teaching in an unfamiliar community amid challenges that many teachers face in the first few years of teaching. We consider how these challenges may be amplified for teachers who come to teaching through an alternate route and may not have as much pedagogical training as a more traditional teacher education program provides. The forum expands on the ideas presented in the original paper to consider the importance of perspectives on socially just science education. There is often a disconnect between what is taught in teacher education programs and what teachers actually experience in urban classrooms and this can be amplified when the training received through alternate route provides a different framework as well. This forum urges universities and alternate route programs to continue to find ways to authentically partner using practical strategies that bring together the philosophies and goals of all stakeholders in order to better prepare teachers to partner with their students to achieve their science learning goals.
KeywordsAlternate route Science teacher education Research and practice Partnership Social justice
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