ERIC Identifier: ED335297
Publication Date: 1990-00-00
Author: Bartunek, Holly M.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Teacher Education Washington DC.
The Classroom Teacher as Teacher Educator. ERIC Digest 89-7.
The culture of schools historically isolates the teacher in the classroom.
The desire for increased and varied responsibility within the teaching field has
traditionally been accomplished by leaving the classroom and advancing into an
administrative role. That, however, is not always the desire of the career
teacher. Opportunities to expand the teaching role while remaining a classroom
teacher are achievable through a staff development program that recognizes adult
learning and development stages and capitalizes upon the classroom teacher as a
teacher educator. This concept is recognized and supported through career stage
development activities advocated in various reform reports including the Holmes
Group report, "Tomorrow's Teachers" and the Carnegie Task Force report, "A
Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century."
COMPETENCIES AND ROLES
The classroom teacher who is a
school-based teacher educator (SBTE) can be responsible for preservice,
inservice, or continuing education at a school or district level, while
maintaining a primary work location in the elementary or secondary classroom.
Teachers in this role have the potential for enhancing faculty morale by
responding to both the professional and personal development needs of the
faculty and by utilizing other teachers as resources within the designed
program. Critical skills needed by the SBTE include interpersonal ease; group
facilitation; educational content; initiative taking; rapport building; support,
confrontation, collaboration, diagnosing, and demonstration abilities (Saxl,
Lieberman, Miles, 1987).
The SBTE program possibilities are as broad or as narrow as the needs of the
school, the school culture, and the developmental stages of the teachers.
Teacher needs have been addressed most recently through the career lattice
model. This model (Christensen, McDonnell, & Price, 1988) views a teacher's
career as moving within a cycle which includes the stages of "preservice,"
"induction," "competency building," "enthusiastic and growing," "career
frustrations," "stable and stagnant," "career wind-down," and "career exit."
These stages are dynamically influenced, either singularly or in combination, by
personal environmental factors such as family demands, crises, cumulative
experience, and individual dispositions; and by organizational environmental
factors such as societal expectations, administrative style, regulations, and
union guidelines. Collaborative planning between the SBTE and the
administration, which recognizes the unique personal and institutional needs of
teachers and the school, nurtures the total school culture.
Adapting and maintaining the following suggested guidelines contributes to
the success of an SBTE program. First, the SBTE should be identified on the
basis of competence (taking into account the skills needed) and not simply by
position or years of teaching. Second, the SBTE should be familiar with or
receive additional education in adult learning and development. Third, the SBTE
should be familiar with the current research in teaching and related areas.
Fourth, the administration should revise the job description of the SBTE to
reflect the additional responsibilities added to the ongoing teaching schedule.
Fifth, the administration should make arrangements for the SBTE to have needed
time to prepare and deliver the agreed upon program. Sixth, the administration
and the SBTE should recognize that use of additional, outside resource personnel
(i.e., speakers, peer coaches) may be appropriate to implement the professional
development program successfully (Wu, 1987).
A wide range of programs which benefit from
using the classroom teacher as teacher educator can be designed. The following
descriptions illustrate four examples of SBTE programs.
Mentorship programs are rooted in the belief that adults have the capacity
for continued growth and learning, and that this development can be influenced
by specific types of interventions which both support and challenge (Levine,
1989). A mentor relationship supports the teacher who is new to the profession,
district, building, grade level, or subject matter. The mentor, who must now
articulate second-nature, unconscious teaching behaviors to another, brings
these effective teaching skills to a renewed level of awareness. "This
re-examination and reassessment, combined with the exposure to new ideas in
subject matter pedagogy and effective teaching research often brought by the
beginning teacher, stimulates professional growth on the part of the mentor as
well" (Louchs-Horsley, Harding, Arbuckle, Murray, Dubea, & Williams, 1987,
A Resident Supervisor's Program has been initiated in the Master of Arts in
Teaching (M.A.T.) program at National-Louis University in Evanston, Illinois.
This SBTE program provides alternative leadership roles and educational
experiences for the classroom teacher selected as the resident supervisor. A
permanent substitute assigned to the resident supervisor's classroom assumes
teaching responsibilities while the SBTE interacts with the cooperating teachers
and the student teachers; attends college-based meetings; develops the
supervision skills of the cooperating teachers; and assists in presentations to
preservice teacher education classes. In addition to the regular district
salary, the resident supervisor receives a small stipend per student and travel
expenses for supervision and meetings (Christensen, 1989).
The Regional Staff Development Center supplements the professional
development of the educational community of Kenosha and Racine counties in
Wisconsin, and provides the classroom teacher with the specialized leadership
roles of center associate, program coordinator, and mentor. A center associate
is an experienced classroom teacher who takes a one-year leave of absence from
the classroom to work full-time at the center monitoring on-going programs,
developing group facilitation skills, writing grants, and producing a monthly
newsletter. In addition, the associate identifies and facilitates the successful
accomplishment of a self-chosen professional development plan which might
include "national and/or regional conference participation, credit courses, team
teaching with a college faculty member, supervising student teachers, [and]
conducting research" (Letven & Klobuchar, 1990, p. 9). A program coordinator
is a full-time classroom teacher who, for a stipend, organizes and facilitates
the after-school networking activities of faculty members from local school
districts and higher education institutions who share a discipline interest.
Mentors serve to induct beginning teachers into the culture of the school and
into the teaching profession, and receive pay or time trade-offs.
The Fort Worth Independent School District in Texas (Leggett & Hoyle,
1987) concluded that inservice follow-up through peer coaching would help
teachers adopt new teaching behaviors and strategies. Sixteen mastery learning
specialists, who continue to teach at least two classes per day, are responsible
for workshop scheduling, arranging for substitute teachers, providing the peer
coaching and other related training, monitoring the coaching process, and
providing feedback within the coaching process. To transition peer coaching into
an ongoing component of the everyday life of the school, the mastery learning
specialist assists in forming permanent building-based coaching teams who
"choose their own goals for coaching and who coach each other at regular,
frequent intervals throughout the year" (p. 20).
Restructuring the role of the classroom teacher
as a teacher educator to facilitate the expansion of professional skills, is
reflective of the dynamic nature of adult development. There is diversity among
experienced classroom teachers in their career stages and in the personal and
professional characteristics they bring to the classroom. What is appropriate
for one teacher as an incentive for professional growth may not be appropriate
for another teacher. Therefore, options and alternatives for staff development
that are consistent with the realities of teacher career stages will lead to the
greater professionalization of the teacher (Christensen et al., 1988). Opening
an avenue of teacher growth through school-based teacher education, the
classroom teacher is provided the opportunities to promote and support peer
teacher growth, to experience empowerment by facilitating local change, to
assume a leadership role without relinquishing the classroom, and to develop
teaching behaviors which blend clinical skills with practitioner-translated
research and theory. This revitalization of the teaching role with new
responsibilities benefits the schooling process and its participants, and is
achievable when the classroom teacher becomes a teacher educator.
References identified with an EJ or ED number
have been abstracted and are in the ERIC database. Journal articles (EJ) should
be available at most research libraries; documents (ED) are available in ERIC
microfiche collections at more than 700 locations. Documents can also be ordered
through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service: (800) 227-3472. For more
information contact the ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education, One Dupont
Circle, NW, Suite 610, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 293-2450.
Christensen, J. C. (1989). Resident supervisor handbook, Evanston, IL:
Christensen, J. C., McDonnell, J. H., & Price, J. R. (1988).
Personalizing staff development: The career lattice model. Bloomington, IN: Phi
Delta Kappa Education Foundation. ED 299 260
Leggett, D., & Hoyle, S. (1987, Spring). Peer coaching: One district's
experience in using teachers as staff developers. Journal of Staff Development,
8 (1), 16-20. EJ 356 224
Letven, E., & Klobuchar, J. K. (1990). The regional staff development
center. Kenosha, WI: Regional Staff Development Center, UW-Parkside.
Levine, S. L. (1989). Promoting adult growth in schools: The promise of
professional development. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Loucks-Horsely, S., Harding, C. K., Arbuckle, M. A., Murray, L. B., Dubea,
C., & Williams, M. K. (1987). Continuing to learn: A guidebook for teacher
development. Andover, MA: The Regional Laboratory for Educational Improvement of
the Northeast and Islands, and National Staff Development Council. ED 285 837
Saxl, E. R., Lieberman, A., & Miles, M. B. (1987, Spring). Help is at
hand: New knowledge for teachers as staff developers. Journal of Staff
Development, 8 (1), 7-11. EJ 356 222
Wu, P. C. (1987, Spring). Teachers as staff developers: Research, opinions,
and cautions. Journal of Staff Development, 8 (1), 4-6. EJ 356 221