Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Examining Grow Your Own Programs across the Teacher Development Continuum: Mining Research on Teachers of Color and Nontraditional Educator Pipelines

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Examining Grow Your Own Programs across the Teacher Development Continuum: Mining Research on Teachers of Color and Nontraditional Educator Pipelines

Article excerpt

Homegrown pathways to teaching have typically offered access to the profession for people of color from varied class, social, and linguistic backgrounds (Tanner & Tanner, 1968). Often times they are community-teachers-in-the-making with longtime dedicated service as parents, school aides, and activists. The notion of the community teacher is grounded within the sociopolitical and historical context of communities of color (Murrell, 2001). Indeed, early trailblazing Black feminist educators like Septima Clark were committed to the liberatory possibilities schools presented for Black youth and marginalized communities at large. And as W. E. B. DuBois (1902) noted more than a century ago, "If the Negro was to learn, he must teach himself, and the most effective help that could be given him was the establishment of schools to train Negro teachers" (p. 1) who were from the communities of the children they served. Although extensive research has documented the value Teachers of Color (TOC) add to the profession (Villegas & Irvine, 2010), less focus has been given to excavating the literature on what works and why as it relates to homegrown pathways for TOC. To address this issue, our article describes a literature review on Grow Your Own (GYO) programs and TOC along the teacher development continuum.

GYO Conceptual Grounding and Recruitment Frame

GYO programs are cited in recent policy briefs (Albert Shanker Institute, 2015; Learning Policy Institute, 2016) as viable pathways for addressing shortages and increasing the racial/ethnic diversity of teachers, yet there are few current research reviews available to understand what we know about how these teachers are developed. With this in mind, we worked to identify what knowledge has been produced related to local community-based TOC from nontraditional (i.e., not middle class, in early 20s, or attending college fulltime) and often overlooked GYO teacher pools (i.e., local high school students, community activists and leaders, crossing guards, cafeteria workers, social service workers, teacher aides, religious leaders, custodial staff, and parents) in an attempt to understand the experiences of TOC who traverse through them, along the continuum. To do this, we frame the design and structure of support offered by GYO programs for TOC as an integrated system taking place across the teacher development continuum--recruitment (i.e., mechanisms that support entry into program), preparation (i.e., curriculum, pedagogy, and structures that support learning), and retention (i.e., mechanisms, such as professional development and mentorship, that support teachers to remain in the profession). We also conceptually situated GYO programs as grounded in grassroots racial and justice movements or initiatives (Irizarry, 2007; Skinner, Garreton, & Schultz, 2011) committed to the academic and professional development of local community TOC (Murrell, 2001). This is connected to the idea that TOC possess a form of "community cultural wealth" that imbues them with "an array of knowledge, skills, [and] abilities" (Yosso, 2005, p. 77) to effectively teach Black and Brown youth.

This notion of Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) offers a strong critique of Bourdieu's widely utilized construct of cultural capital because of the way in which it normalizes White middle class cultural values while pathologizing other ways of knowing. A CCW perspective views the knowledge, skills, and experiences of people of color as valuable assets encompassing six forms of capital including "aspirational, navigational, social, linguistic, familial, and resistant capital" (Yosso, 2005, p. 77). These forms of capital can be applied to understand the strengths that TOC bring to their profession. For example, aspirational capital refers to the way communities of color manage to stay hopeful in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. This is consistent with the notion that TOC are likely to possess strong beliefs in the ability of students of color to succeed even when those students face significant personal challenges. …

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