Learning to Teach ESL Literacy in a School/University Partnership

Date / Time: 16 February 2015, 10-11am
Venue: TC 2.68

Catherine H. Reischl
Catherine H. Reischl

Catherine H. Reischl is an Associate Professor at the School of Education, University of Michigan. She teaches in the areas of elementary literacy instruction in multilingual contexts, English as a Second Language instruction, and classroom management. Her research interests focus on the intersection of language, culture, and schooling in teacher education contexts. Cathy has taught in K-12 schools and universities in Thailand, India, New Zealand and the United States. She earned her masters degree at Harvard Graduate School of Education and her Ph.D. at Michigan State University.

Amid a chorus of voices calling for reform of teacher education in the United States, a core task for teacher educators is to construct rich, highly-supported, practicum experiences for beginning teachers where novices have opportunities to support the growth of children whose cultural, linguistic and socio-economic backgrounds are often quite different from their own (Ball et al, 2009; CCSSO, 2012; Grossman et al, 2009; NCATE, 2010). Constructing settings and practicum contexts where this kind of teacher education can be situated, and especially where we can draw on the knowledge of experienced educators and community members in these settings, remains a challenge. Addressing this issue, Kenneth Zeichner (2010) writes of the importance of "creating hybrid spaces where academic and practitioner knowledge and knowledge that exists in communities come together in new less hierarchical ways in the service of teacher learning" (p. 89).

In this presentation, Cathy Reischl describes a practice-based reform initiative at the University of Michigan School of Education, where teacher candidates, experienced teachers, teacher educators, and community members work together in this "hybrid" manner to design and teach in an intensive summer program for 10 – 14 year old English Language Learners. The program is intended to curb "summer slide" by engaging students in a culturally-responsive, multimodal literacy curriculum. The program takes place within a university school partnership, the Mitchell Scarlett Teaching and Learning Collaborative, a five year old collaboration between the University of Michigan School of Education and two linguistically, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse schools in Ann Arbor. Reischl will report on findings regarding teacher learning in this program, highlighting specific focal teaching practices that novices were supported to learn in this designed setting (Ball & Forzani, 2009). Further, she will provide an analysis of the organizational structures in this setting that appear to have made it possible to create a productive, less hierarchical context for all educators' learning within the school-university partnership.