Visualizing the Systemic Structures within the American Schoolhouse

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This presentation will highlight two teacher educators’ use of a docuseries in an online graduate level course for initial certification teacher candidates (TCs) at a large, multi-campus university in the Southeastern US. This course is taken at the start of the program, and introduces TCs to middle and secondary education classrooms. The course reviews characteristics of adolescent learners, developmental techniques for teaching adolescent learners, and philosophies for teaching and learning. Working as co-teachers, presenters assigned the 10-episode docuseries, America to Me, intent on asking TCs to analyze and, most importantly, visualize the systemic structures within school systems and school buildings that the course objectives address. Because “[o]ur visual experiences do not take place in isolation” (Sturken & Cartwright, 2001, p. 2), presenters will describe the pedagogical possibilities they recognized after assigning an extended documentary as a curricular text. Greene (1995) calls all people to become aware of the worlds they create and how they live together in those worlds. By asking TCs to analyze one school in peer groups and through accompanying reflections and writing prompts, presenters will share how they observed their TCs become aware of, while confronting, the worlds they had constructed about schooling in America.


Georgia Southern University faculty member, Janel Smith and Taylor Norman co-presented Visualizing the Systemic Structures within the American Schoolhouse in the Georgia Educational Research Association Conference, October 2021.

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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Georgia Educational Research Association Conference (GERA)