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Schoonmaker and Steiner-Khamsi are Awarded the 2000-2001 TC Faculty Research Fellowships

Dean Karen Zumwalt announced the recipients of the Tenured Faculty Research Fellowships for the year 2000-2001. The award underscores the excellence and importance of research being done by TC faculty. The faculty members recognized for their outstanding research are Frances Schoonmaker, Associate Professor of Education in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching and Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Associate Professor of Education in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies.

In a letter to the TC community, Dean Zumwalt wrote, "I want to extend my appreciation to faculty who shared their work and submitted proposals, and to the advisory committee for the care with which the proposals were reviewed. The members of the committee included Professors William Baldwin, Leslie Beebe, John Broughton, Lucy Calkins, and Clifford Hill.

Professor Frances Schoonmaker received her award for the proposal, "Promise and Possibility: Learning to Teach." According to Schoonmaker, "This proposal for a research grant is to complete work for a book based on a seven year study of teacher development.

The research focuses primarily on the development of one teacher, Kay, from the time she entered the Preservice program in Childhood Education until the end of her sixth year of classroom teaching."

The broad question Schoonmaker will be exploring is: "How do beginning teachers reconstruct knowledge in their development as teachers? Of particular interest are deliberation and leadership, two of the characteristics we emphasize in the Preservice program."

Schoonmaker believes that despite efforts to reform teacher education by the Holmes Partnership and teacher preparation programs that emphasize teacher reflection and deliberation, the past decade has seen increasing criticism of university-based teacher preparation. "University-based teacher preparation is particularly vulnerable because a disturbing body of evidence suggests that the effects of teacher preparation are undermined in the workplace. The typical school and classroom milieu is likely to support authoritarian teaching practices rather than the child-centered practices advocated at universities," she writes.

"Realistically," she adds, "one in-depth study of a teacher will hardly provide sufficient evidence to allay the fears of those who believe that universities have failed in the task of preparing teachers to deal effectively with the challenges of today's schools." Nevertheless, Schoonmaker says, "My choice to focus on Kay is similar to that made by the biographer who decides to look at the life and work of one individual than rather than at numerous people. The fact is, we need both broad scale studies of the development of teachers and careful, in-depth examination of individual teachers in order to develop a stronger understanding of the process of learning to teach over time."

Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Associate Professor of Education, says the fellowship "will give me an opportunity to further develop my research on international educational transfer, that is ‘educational borrowing' and educational lending across national borders." The fellowship, according to Professor Steiner-Khamsi, will enable her "to prepare an edited volume on educational transfer and will include studies by current and former doctoral students at Teachers College as well as educational researchers from other universities."

In addition to the above, Steiner-Khamsi intends to write up her findings on "two areas that are closely related: educational borrowing in developing countries and the emergence of international non-governmental organizations as contemporary agents of educational transfer." The Mongolian Educational Development Program, School 2001: School-Based Reform in Mongolian Schools, which is funded by the Mongolian Foundation for Open Society (Soros Foundation), will serve as Steiner-Khamsi's case study for educational borrowing in a developing country.

According to Steiner-Khamsi, "Ultimately, I expect this fellowship to strengthen Teachers College's reputation as the primary center for international comparative research on educational transfer, as well as an institution of domestic and international perspectives in educational research."

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