pedagogy matters

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an article about the importance of pedagody for teachers


  • 1center for research on education,diversity & excellence


    Stephanie Stoll Dalton


    Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence

    PEDAGOGY MATTERS:Standards for EffectiveTeaching Practice

  • 2Collaborating Institutions

    ARC AssociatesBrown UniversityCalifornia State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, San JoseCenter for Applied Linguistics (CAL)Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST)Claremont Graduate SchoolGeorge Mason UniversityJohns Hopkins UniversityLinguistic Minority Research InstituteNational Center for Early Development and Learning (NCEDL)RANDTERCUniversity of ArizonaUniversity of California, DavisUniversity of California, Los AngelesUniversity of California, San DiegoUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraUniversity of California, Santa CruzUniversity of Colorado, BoulderUniversity of HawaiiUniversity of HoustonUniversity of LouisvilleUniversity of MemphisUniversity of Southern CaliforniaWestern Washington University

    Research Report No. 4Production: Vincent Sagart and Sonia KundertCover & interior design: SAGARTdesign

    This report was written by the author in her capacity as a CREDE Principal Investigator. The work reportedherein and the editing and production of this report were supported under the Educational Research andDevelopment Centers Program, Cooperative Agreement No. R306A60001-96, as administered by theOffice of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education. However, the contentsdo not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the National Institute on the Education of At-RiskStudents, the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, or the U.S. Department of Education, andyou should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

    1998 by the Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence, University of California, Santa Cruz

    All inquiries should be addressed to Dissemination Coordinator, CREDE/CAL, 4646 40th Street NW,Washington DC 20016-1859.

  • 3Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE)

    The Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence is funded by the Office ofEducational Research and Improvement of the U.S. Department of Education to assist thenations diverse students at risk of educational failure to achieve academic excellence. TheCenter is operated by the University of California, Santa Cruz, through the University ofCalifornias statewide Linguistic Minority Research Project, in collaboration with a numberof other institutions nationwide.

    The Center is designed to move issues of risk, diversity, and excellence to the forefront ofdiscussions concerning educational research, policy, and practice. Central to its mission,CREDEs research and development focus on critical issues in the education of linguisticand cultural minority students and students placed at risk by factors of race, poverty, andgeographic location. CREDEs research program is based on a sociocultural framework thatis sensitive to diverse cultures and languages, but powerful enough to identify the greatcommonalities that unite people.

    CREDE operates 30 research projects under 6 programmatic strands:

    Research on language learning opportunities highlights exemplary instructionalpractices and programs.

    Research on professional development explores effective practices for teachers,paraprofessionals, and principals.

    Research on the interaction of family, peers, school, and community examinestheir influence on the education of students placed at risk.

    Research on instruction in context explores the embedding of teaching andlearning in the experiences, knowledge, and values of the students, their families,and communities. The content areas of science and mathematics are emphasized.

    Research on integrated school reform identifies and documents successfulinitiatives.

    Research on assessment investigates alternative methods for evaluating theacademic achievement of language minority students.

    Dissemination is a key feature of Center activities. Information on Center research ispublished in two series of reports. Research Reports describe ongoing research or presentthe results of completed research projects. They are written primarily for researchersstudying various aspects of the education of students at risk of educational failure.Educational Practice Reports discuss research findings and their practical application inclassroom settings. They are designed primarily for teachers, administrators, and policymakers responsible for the education of students from diverse backgrounds.

  • 4Abstract

    This paper presents five standards for pedagogy that are applicable across grade levels,student populations, and content areas. The five pedagogy standards are joint produc-tive activity (JPA), language and literacy development (LD), meaning making (MM),complex thinking (CT), and instructional conversation (IC). These standards emergefrom principles of practice that have proven successful with majority and minority at-risk students in a variety of teaching and learning settings over several decades.Indicators are introduced for each standard, revealing action components of thestandards and their functions in teaching and learning. Illustrations and examplesreflecting the standards and their indicators across a broad range of classroom settingsare presented to support a claim of universality for such standards in K-12 majority andminority at-risk students classrooms. The purpose is to urge standards-based reformto reflect its own recommendation that pedagogy occupy a central place in accomplish-ing all student learning.

  • 5IntroductionThis decades standards-based reform movement emphasizes the centrality ofteaching in the improvement of student achievement. The reports of the NationalCommission on Teaching and Americas Future [NCTAF] (1996) recognize teachingexpertise as the single most important factor in increasing U. S. students academicsuccess. Research and reports of effective practice confirm the critical relationshipbetween what teachers know and do and what students learn (NCTAF, 1996; Darling-Hammond, 1997). Because of this, standards statements have been generated toguide competent, caring, and qualified teaching in curriculum content, induction,student performance, opportunity to learn, and assessment (NCTAF, 1996, p. 3; seealso Darling-Hammond, 1997; McLaughlin & Shepard, 1995). These standards,however, remain focused more on developing statements of what students shouldknow and be able to do and less on articulating how teachers are to accomplish suchstudent outcomes. In fact, statements, principles, and standards that directly addresseffective teaching or pedagogy have remained peripheral in teaching reform(McLaughlin & Shepard, 1995; Noddings, 1997).

    This paper presents five explicit standards for pedagogy that are applicable acrossgrade levels, student populations, and content areas. The standards emerge fromprinciples of practice that have proven successful with majority and minority at-riskstudents in a variety of teaching and learning settings over several decades. Indicatorsare introduced for each standard, revealing the standards action components and theirfunctions in teaching and learning. Illustrations and examples reflecting the standardsand their indicators across a broad range of classroom settings support a claim ofuniversality for such standards in K-12 majority and minority at-risk studentsclassrooms.

    What Is the Problem?Increasing effective teaching has emerged as the means to improve schools, meetnational education goals, and ensure that all students experience learning success. But,in Noddingss (1997) view, the current reform movement repeats the error of previousdecades by neglecting to examine how standards statements respond to the chiefquestion of teachershow to help students learn everything they are supposed toknow. He says that reform continues to focus on what students need to learn butignores teachers struggle with how to help them learn it. Experienced teachersstruggle with this question no less than preservice teachers, yet there is inadequatepedagogical guidance for either.

    Reports indicate that principles of pedagogy and their relationship to teaching andlearning theory are generally absent and infrequently modeled within the continuum ofteacher development, from preservice through inservice (Dalton & Moir, 1992, 1996;NCTAF, 1996). This is demonstrated in statistics revealing that a quarter of newly hiredteachers during 1991 were unprepared to deliver effective instruction, with even higherproportions in urban and rural isolated schools serving minority at-risk students(Darling-Hammond & Falk, 1997). Practicing teachers report that their professionaldevelopment is generally aligned with reform goals, but the excess number of topicsand confusing variety of trainers impede their opportunities for complex skilldevelopment (Goertz, Floden, & ODay, 1996). National surveys and case studies ofreform indicate that when school-based reform does attend to improving classroompedagogy, the efforts are likely to be desultory rather than systematic or focused(Shields & Knapp, 1997).

  • 6At the same time, sustained research, analysis, and promulgation of effective peda-gogy does exist, primarily in classrooms serving the nations diverse at-risk students.The lack of focus on this body of knowledge may be due to the fact that U.S. educationhas mostly attended to mainstream students who are native speakers of English,although English language learners (ELLs) have increased by at least a million K-12students in the last decade (August & Hakuta, 1997). Because ELLs continue to betreated as exceptions