Editorial for in education, June 2019 special issue

Despite the hope that educational systems are stable and impervious to unconstructive and toxic political, cultural, and economic shifts that swirl around them, there is little evidence to support this prospect. Continuous streams of uncertainty exist. Examples include swings in political governance with disconnected and opposing educational philosophies to the day-to-day living with global and national economic and social policies that directly affect schools and their administrative jurisdictions, and the ongoing push-pull between societal expectations and individuals’ actions. Our teachers and students are vulnerable in their school’s educative spaces and often because of simultaneous unsettling occurrences. We rely on teachers who engage in thoughtful and informed practice and who are stimulated with reputable theory to provide youth with meaningful educational experiences.

The articles and essay in this special issue clearly demonstrate an attentiveness to teaching and learning from multiple perspectives, practices, and theories. At first glance, it is difficult to discern a common thread that connects this issue’s five articles and one essay. Yet in subsequent reviews, there emerges a theme of hope and a realization that research methodologies have the power to seek and discover, uncover, and invite contemplation. Embedded in these methodologies are stories about transitions and connections, reflection, and family and school relationships that sustain and promote an educational praxis that fosters teaching and learning.

The title of Hang Thi Thuy Tran’s article, An Autobiographical Narrative Inquiry Into the Experiences of a Vietnamese Mother: Living Alongside Children in Transition to Canada, clearly signals the content. In this article, Hang studies familial curriculum making from an autobiographical position, which offers a unique insight into the lives of children and mothers who recently arrive from Vietnam. The desire to retain language and traditional cultural identities while at the same time nurturing transitions to their Canadian lives could be promising if connections between with teachers and families are cultivated.

Eleanor Gillis and Jennifer Mitton-Kükner, authors of Exploring Teachers’ Experiences of Participating in Teacher Inquiry as Professional Learning, invite readers to consider what is required for teachers to engage in professional inquiry. The aim of this form of directed inquiry is to purposely advance professional growth. At the core of this writing is the reflective experiences of three teachers who were in a year-long teacher inquiry as a response to their school’s professional learning plan. These teachers, along with this article’s authors, studied their teaching experiences using teacher inquiry as a research methodology.

Continuing the theme of teacher inquiry, Nathalie Reid, Joanne Farmer, Claire Desrochers, and Sue McKenzie-Robblee studied teachers’ technological communications in their article titled: Early Career Teachers’ Experiences of Communicating With Families via Technology: Educatively Dwelling in Tension. Five co-researchers along with 20 early-career teachers explored how the use of technology, for example, forums, e-mail, and social media, influenced teachers’ interactions with students, families, and colleagues. Understanding ethical and relational aspects of technology use and implications for preservice and professional teacher education are significant messages in this article.

Trauma-Informed Practice for New Teacher Standards and the Epidemic of Our Times, written by Alexandra Fidyk, raises awareness about what practices could be used to help teachers better understand and support the mental and emotional health of young girls. Anchored in an ecological framework, Alexandra offers a persuasive argument that young girls’ mental health relies profoundly on their relationships and engagement with the environment, which includes teachers and schools.

Melissa Oskineegish furthers the contemplation theme in her article, The Role of Self-reflection in an Indigenous Education Course for Teacher Candidates. Preservice teachers participated in a mandatory course that explicitly incorporated self-reflection. Through a series of activities and subsequent study of the preservice teachers’ survey responses and a select group of cross-referenced reflection papers, findings show that articulated biases will shift and ideally advance teachers’ Indigenous student relationships and their teaching of Indigenous content.

The Iglu and the Tent: Centring the Northern Voice in Mathematics Teaching, is an essay authored by Fok-Shuen Leung. Tensions exist between mathematics teaching approaches in Canada’s northern and southern regions. The underlying epistemologies, as Fok-Shuen explains, originate from different locations, figuratively and geographically. These ideas are developed throughout the essay with the last paragraph succinctly documenting a valuable take-home message for all of us.

Throughout the articles and essay presented in this issue, the need for quality preservice teacher education and in-service teacher professional development is well-defined. Although teaching and learning reside at intersections of unsettling local and global events, it is reassuring that there is an undeniable resolve to help youth learn the desired content and to live in communities with respect and care. It is with a grateful thank you to the authors and the reviewers that the intent of this special issue is achieved; that is, to disseminate findings that address theoretical and applied research about teaching and learning.

Undertaking a special issue that upholds the scholarship of this journal’s previous authors and the quality guidelines of the editors and editorial team is a huge commitment and daunting task. It is only because of the immeasurable guidance and help from the Managing Editor, Shuana Niessen, and Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Patrick Lewis, that this task was accomplished. Thank you.

Bonnie Watt, PhD and Remonia Stoddart-Morrison, PhD Student

Department of Secondary Education

Centre for Research for Teacher Education and Development

Faculty of Education, University of Alberta


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