Preparing Nebraska Teachers to See Demographic Change As an Opportunity: Reflections on Immigrant Integration and the Role of Government, Communities, and Institutions April 28, 2007 Edmund “Ted” Hamann & Jenelle Reeves
Nebraska’s Students Are Changing, But Its Teachers Are Not • A 459% increase in Hispanic student enrollment in K-12 from 1991 to 2006 (to 11.5% of Nebraska’s total K-12 enrollment) • Five majority Hispanic school districts • Less than 1% of K-12 teachers are Hispanic • Hispanic enrollment in CEHS is 2.4%
How Latinos are Faring in Nebraska Schools % Not meeting Neb. state writing standards
The ITLE Project • Goal: To engage preservice teachers in considering the implications of Nebraska’s demographic changes for their future professional practice. • In fall of 2006, 10 practicing teachers and 44 undergrads participated in mentor groups. • Mentors were recruited from TEAC 840D “Schooling in Demographically Transitioning Communities” and TEAC 890 “Teaching in Demographically Transitioning Communities.”
Project Results • Undergraduates engaged with texts (e.g., Gouviea, Carranza, & Cogua 2005; Hamann, Zúñiga, & Sánchez, 2006; Reeves, 2004), with videos (e.g., Hannah Meyer’s Escuela), and with mentors. • They visited schools in Lincoln, Westside, Crete, and Norfork (and also corresponded with teachers in Lexington). • They wrote reflection papers, and generated 93,000+ words of Blackboard reflections.
Conclusions • Initial skepticism/confusion ---> Compliance ---> Engagement/enthusiasm • Mentors varied in their mentoring capacity (from fine to exceptional). • Students varied in terms of prior experience with diversity and change, but none overtly chafed at class premises. • The chance to interact with practicing teachers was an asset in both preservice courses.