Transforming Learning Environments: Strategies to Shape the Next Generation: Volume 16


Table of contents

(18 chapters)

In the first section of the book, Maureen D. Neumann, Laura C. Jones, P. Taylor Webb, and Olga M. Welch examine the ways in which “new” notions of leadership have influenced leadership development programs. Neumann, Jones, and Webb in the chapter, “Developing Teachers Leaders to Transform Classrooms, Schools and Communities,” advocate for, and offer ways that teachers can become cognizant of their leadership and its effects, so that they can develop deliberate commitments towards social justice in schools which are sites of social, political, and economic influence. They propose a model for leadership that is an alternative to traditional allocations of power through positional hierarchies. According to Neumann, Jones, and Webb, “while school leaders may recognize their actions within a single frame of the model, the practice of leadership is the ability to move in and out of three different conceptualizations of leadership, managerial (transactional), professional development (transformational), and social responsibility (critical).” They propose that effective teacher leaders utilize all three aspects of the leadership domains as a way to adapt to, oftentimes, challenging and rapidly shifting political and economic climates within education. Neumann, Jones, and Webb conclude their chapter with a discussion of pedagogy of possibility and argue that pedagogical content knowledge is a marker of professional teaching competence, and teachers must engage students in the moral and ethical issues surrounding the use of knowledge in our democracy for any subject matter.

All teachers are leaders by the nature of their work. They lead within their schools, whether implicitly or explicitly, for good or for bad, proactively or reactively. In this chapter, we present a framework of teacher leadership that is an assemblage of our previously published works. We use this chapter to provide a consolidated view of how to help all teachers to acknowledge, understand, and use their “awesome” power as leaders to transform their classrooms, schools, and communities. Schools are sites of social, political, and economic influence and teachers play key roles in either maintaining the status quo or creating environments that are transformative and equitable for all members. We argue that a teacher's power is essential both within and beyond the walls of the classroom. Teachers have the capacity and power to participate in change decisions and efforts that traditionally either have been tacitly assumed by them or deliberately defined by others. By having an understanding of critical leadership or leadership for social justice, teachers will be more prepared to identify and resist the variety of contexts which threaten their professional expertise and contexts that deliberately question their professional knowledge.

The purpose of this chapter was to describe how the School of Education at Duquesne initiated a school-wide, redesign of its doctoral program in educational leadership through its participation in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) – an initiative begun by Lee Shulman in 2006. The focus of CPED is to encourage colleges and schools of education that offer doctoral degrees in leadership, curriculum and instruction, or a similar area to rethink the program in ways that would enhance the learning opportunities and experiences of practitioners in the program. The intent of CPED is to generate more practitioner-leaders who are action researchers prepared to transform pre-kindergarten to secondary learning environments. In the chapter, the author discusses how Duquesne has redesigned its program and the concomitant opportunities and challenges for leadership. She also discusses how the redesigned programs have informed Duquesne's preparation of transformative research practitioners in educational leadership. Finally, the author operationally defines “traveling leadership theory” and what this theoretical concept means in terms of her leadership.

In this chapter on “Teaching About Religious and Spiritual Difference in a Global Society,” Robert J. Nash and Vanessa Santos Eugenio present a broad religio-spiritual overview of the world, complete with current statistics of religious affiliation across all countries, ethnicities, cultures, and races. The authors’ claim is that a well-developed religio-spiritual literacy in each person is necessary in order to be a productive, pluralistic member of an interdependent global community. In order to become increasingly pluralistic in our worldviews, we must look at how educators at all levels of schooling facilitate conversations about religion. We must learn how to become “cosmopolites” – citizens of the world who are not only genuine sociocultural pluralists, but who are also literate, and understanding, regarding the core religio-spiritual differences that often divide, rather than unite, people. In their concluding section, the authors summarize their personal educational beliefs through two letters written to teachers. These letters provide a number of practical tips and tools for teaching about religion and spirituality in classrooms at all levels of education.

Guiding college and university students through the process of becoming globally aware citizens has increasingly become a part of the higher education landscape in the United States. Student affairs administrators, alongside faculty, are charged to assist students in their journey toward global citizenry. Each is encouraged to do so without prescribed methods or plans imposed upon them. Written from the perspective of a student affairs administrator within an academic unit, this chapter affirms the importance of global citizenry and how concepts of global citizenry can be incorporated into student-centered academic advising. The literature presented is drawn from foundational research on academic advising and student development coupled with references to the leading entity regarding global citizenry – Oxfam International. In addition to the aforementioned scholarship, the author also includes narrative examples from her own professional experiences within higher education. This chapter concludes with concrete recommendations for ways to incorporate concepts of global citizenry into academic advising.

The Southeast Ohio Teacher Development Collaborative (SEOTDC) represents a regional professional community-of-practice with leadership as a key component of educator and organizational capacity building. This chapter highlights the work of this collaborative partnership among five teacher preparation programs in Appalachian Ohio that responds to regional contexts in planning and delivering professional development. Individuals from representative public and private institutions of higher education, state and local educational agencies, and school districts engage in action planning to improve teacher preparation, professional development, and mentoring processes for educators. This is accomplished through recruitment, retention, identification, support, promotion, encouragement, and involvement in a variety of SEOTDC initiatives. Professional development to build educator capacities is considered in terms of people and their contributions, the synergies that are created during the process of collaboration, and organizational arrangements that are designed to support renewal, reform, and personal and interpersonal development. After setting the context within which SEOTDC operates, the chapter identifies concerns, solutions, and outcomes related to four collaborative initiatives.

Larger numbers of students are entering higher education with more diverse learning needs. While laws are in place to create equal access to education for all, government-mandated learning supports for students with documented disabilities vary significantly from K-12 education to higher education. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a course design framework based on Universal Design in architecture, neuroscience research, and the latest technology, to design learning environments and curriculums that are accessible to all students in every learning environment. This chapter reviews literature on the history of Universal Design concepts, starting with Universal Design in architecture and moving into UDL. A review of the learning preferences of Millennial students, along with the neuroscience of learning and its connection to the principles of UDL, is also included in the literature review. This chapter also includes a section on Dr. Buckland Parker's study which documents four faculty members who chose to work with a small team of faculty development specialists to redesign their large enrollment courses using the principles of Universal Design for Learning.

It is generally understood and accepted that teacher quality is a key factor in promoting student achievement and success. It is also understood that teachers vary in their effectiveness. Articulating a clear definition of what it means to be an effective or high-quality teacher, however, has been somewhat variable in both practice and in the literature. For a variety of competing interests there is significant debate over the best means of holding teachers accountable for student learning. In recent years the common methods and results of teacher evaluation systems have been questioned. In response to the increasing political and accountability pressures is the application of value-added models (VAMs) as a means to identify effective teachers and schools. VAMs are a growth model that accounts for the effects of nonschool related factors on student achievement. The purpose of VAM is to control for nonschool factors that contribute to student growth and achievement. VA models attempt to shift the evaluation of schools and teachers away from input methods (credentials, experience, and teacher behavior) and toward output measures of improved intellectual skill and the achievement of students. The application of a data derived score for teacher effectiveness is appealing but should be used with caution and with complete understanding of what the VA score measures, what it actually reports, and an awareness of the statistical assumptions.

Dramatic cultural shifts driven by technological innovations beg for a reenvisioning of responsive education for young adolescents. Through the voices of theorists, educators, and students, the authors initiate a dialogue about technology's role in purposeful learning and relevant curriculum; a supportive learning culture for students, family, and community; and bold and innovative school leadership. The analysis yields practical ways in which technology can contribute to effective middle schooling and paints a vivid picture of technology-rich and responsive learning environments for young adolescents.

Telling a story is an essential tool for being human. Storytelling has been described as an aspect of the social self that helps shape relationships through the power of words. This chapter examines the role of digital personal narratives in the schooling of middle grades English language learners (ELLs) in one middle school in a rural, Northeast state. The ELL students, their teacher, and the author engaged in a digital story project, which was part of a literacy unit that took place over a period of six months in an intermediate English classroom of 14 students. Using the This I Believe (TIB) national curriculum that focuses on the core values that guide daily lives, the ELL students narrated their own stories. The author argues for the use of such stories in institutions where the preparation of future professionals, such as teachers, social workers, and counselors grapple with the meaning of cultural competency skills and its implications for their fields. How might such institutions embrace and integrate more student voices? How might such stories inform pedagogy? As a result of the project, the author developed a model that could utilize these digital narratives to develop cultural competency in a preservice teacher education program. Such stories could become part of a larger agenda of meaningful activities for preservice teachers related to the areas of (1) digital storytelling, (2) response to literature, (3) service learning and research, and (4) critical reflection.

Multiple intelligence, cognitive thinking, and sensory theories provide the framework for understanding how to improve learning and learning environments for students. Research involving the use of a multimodal video game to enhance student learning is discussed. It is proposed in the chapter that multimodal and multiplayer video games make use of sensory-rich interactions to engage users, create meaningful experiences, and often facilitate communication between people located all over the world. Multiple learning theories are addressed and evaluated in order to bring to light issues and areas for investigation when designing technology-rich learning environments. Implications of the findings in relation to connections with gaming technologies, capacity for community building, and next steps for investigating ideal designs for 21st century learning environments are discussed.

If there are truly impermeable walls between objective research purity, applied science research and development, and advocacy for social justice, then the current system of education, tenure, rewards and recognition should be serving society well now and into the future. However, the world has dramatically changed due to three shaping forces in society: (1) technological flattening of the landscape of opportunity, (2) the rise of the inseparable role of technology in creating knowledge and culture, and (3) the development of complex systems science. These three game changers imply a dramatic rethinking of the foundations of knowledge and practice in all fields because they exert new constraints and open up new opportunities for education concerning the knowledge and skills needed to prepare the next generation of leaders for the global competition of ideas, creativity, and human potential. The 21st century educator capable of transforming learning environments is a person who is a master of these three core concepts. This chapter articulates a vision that is aimed to generate thinking and debate, and like an attractor, pull mental models toward the future as scholarly communities in education grapple with their own next steps and the challenging conversations needed for advancement and innovation in response to the globally changing landscape.

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Book series
Advances in Educational Administration
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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