Experimenting With Asset Pedagogy in Elementary Teacher Education: One Semester-Two Perspectives

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Making Connections




Perspectives of the Teacher Educator In the spring of 2015, I served as field supervisor for Ms. Rivers and eleven other practicum candidates at a rural elementary school in the Southeast region of the United States. The context of this work is a senior-level practicum course designed to provide preservice teachers experiences with observation and actual teaching in a supervised 3rd-5th grade classroom setting. Students are placed in elementary schools within a 60-mile radius of the university to maximize exposure to varied schools and student demographics. The complaints ranged from limited instruction time to the academic underperformance of their lower-income and black students, the language difficulties of their English language learners or the chronic behavior issues of their students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). The Collaboration Prompted by Ms. Rivers' request, a pedagogical call to action that could not be denied, and the apparent under-preparedness of our candidates to be asset pedagogues, I restructured the practicum course. Instead of visiting South Elementary solely on the days I supervised the candidates teaching a lesson, I designed a tandem professional development series to help the teacher candidates explore cultural competency and apply asset. The remaining five sessions focused on the assets of South Elementary students, the un- or underexplored biases and privileges of the teacher candidates, the historical and contemporary principles of asset pedagogies, and the application of asset pedagogy in their respective classrooms.


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