Judith Herb College of Education

Archive for September, 2021

Grant Award: LAUNCHING EDUCATORS FOR ALL LEARNERS

The Judith Herb College of Education has recently been awarded a grant from the Ohio’s Dean Compact.

The project, entitled Launching Educators for All Learners: UToledo’s Dual License Initiative, will redesign the University of Toledo’s successful graduate-level licensure programs for middle childhood education and adolescent and young adult education. The outcome of this work will result in inclusive graduate-level teacher preparation programs which prepare educators to meet the needs of all learners, particularly those with diverse learning needs. The revised programs will be grounded in culturally responsive practices and leads to dual licensure (e.g., middle childhood education + 4-9 intervention specialist; adolescent young adult education + 7-12 intervention specialist) and a Master of Education.

The two year project is in collaboration with school partners Toledo Public Schools and Washington Local Schools. The co-principal investigators are Richard Welsch, Jenny Denyer, and Rebecca Schneider.

Program redesign is an exciting opportunity to ensure further Rocket educators are well prepared for launching their careers as educators.

 


Best Wishes Student Teachers

Best wishes to our Fall 2021 student teachers!  The candidates began the semester with a day of professional development and learning on campus.  These bright candidates are eager to begin teaching and making an impact on young learners.  Have a wonderful semester!

Special thanks to all of our partner schools for mentoring the next generation of #RocketEducators


Study Shows Motivation is Key for Teachers to Overcome Racial Bias in Classroom

Study Shows Motivation is Key for Teachers to Overcome Racial Bias in Classroom

New research focused on college students training to become K-12 teachers emphasizes the need to recruit and enroll more diverse students in teacher education programs.

The study about culturally inclusive teaching published in the journal Learning and Instructionshows the motivation to appear unprejudiced alone does not result in a positive and meaningful change in teachers’ classroom-related beliefs and instructional practices.

For this to happen, it is important that teachers are also motivated to be unprejudiced — that is, to act in an unprejudiced way because it is personally important to them as opposed to acting unprejudiced because it is the politically correct thing to do or they feel pressured by others.

“All of us carry biases — it’s natural because we’re human,” said Dr. Revathy Kumar, professor of educational psychology in The University of Toledo Judith Herb College of Education. “What we do about our awareness of those biases makes a difference to our students, their comfort in the classroom, their academic efficacy, self-esteem and academic performance. It is vital for teachers to be motivated to be genuinely unprejudiced to overcome racial bias and create an inclusive learning environment.”

The study found that pre-service teachers’ genuine desire to be unprejudiced was positively associated with their endorsement of culturally and motivationally supportive instructional practices. A genuine desire to be unprejudiced also was negatively associated with expressions of explicit bias toward minority students.

The study also shows that the positive impact of being motivated to be unprejudiced — the preservice teachers’ commitment to promoting respect in the classroom and adapting instructions for culturally diverse students — gets amplified if the teacher-in-training also wants to appear unprejudiced.

“However, just wanting to appear unbiased in the absence of a genuine desire to be unbiased is insufficient,” Kumar said. “Every student should feel that he or she belongs, not isolated or alienated. This can only happen if we create culturally inclusive learning environments that are responsive to students’ academic, social and emotional needs. This requires teachers to become aware that they and their students are cultural beings.”

The research adds additional credence to ongoing advocacy efforts proposing that it is essential for Black and other minority students to see members of their community present in the teacher workforce.

The study used a sample of 258 college students studying to become teachers — 82% white, 9.7% Black, 3.1% Latinx, 1.6% Asian American, 0.7% American Indian, 2.7% biracial and 1.6% other.

Findings indicated that white pre-service teachers on average displayed a distinct and significant preference for white students over Black students, whereas minority teachers on average didn’t show preference.

“What is valued in society influences how we think and feel even about our own group,” Kumar said. “Therefore, it is important to note minority pre-service teachers are not insulated from holding bias toward students of color.”

“I would love to follow these same pre-service teachers into the classroom,” Kumar said. “We have all these beliefs and biases, and we have these motivations to be or to appear prejudiced. How are these beliefs and motivations going to translate into classroom behavior? For preservice teachers, most will advance into student teaching, but many still are not in the classrooms when they are taking important pedagogical courses such as educational psychology. They are not yet dealing with real students and students from different groups. They are talking about these issues at an abstract and intellectual level.”

Kumar, who emigrated from India in 1991, studies culturally inclusive teaching, self and identity processes and achievement motivation. She was a high school chemistry teacher before earning her Ph.D. in education and psychology at the University of Michigan and transitioning to teach future educators at the collegiate level.

“There has been a distinct difference in the last two years in the way people are responding to my work,” Kumar said. “People are starting to recognize culturally inclusive teaching as critically important in educational psychology. It’s not easy on our children. There is a social-cultural power dynamic in our educational institutions and definite link between power and knowledge that is valued.”

For teachers, Kumar said the key is to cultivate open-mindedness rather than anti-racist training because “open-mindedness includes a repertoire of intellectual virtues such as intellectual humility, intellectual diligence and intellectual courage. Developing these intellectual virtues enable us to become aware of our biases, have the humility to acknowledge that we hold biases and have the courage and persistence to overcome them.”

written by Christine Billau