Between Student and Teacher: Learning to teach as translation

Alison Cook-Sather
2001 Teaching Education  
Cook-Sather, Alison. "Between Student and Teacher: Learning to Teach as Translation. " Teaching Education 12, no. 2 (2001): 177-190. Between Student and Teacher -1 Between Student and Teacher: Learning to Teach as Translation Alison Cook-Sather Teaching Education, 12, 2 (2001), 177-190. Becoming a teacher poses a challenge unlike preparation for any other profession: to return to a context in which one has spent the majority of one's life, yet to re-enter after several years spent away and in a
more » ... role presumed to be opposed to one's previous role. This challenge is intensified for pre-service teachers who pursue secondary certification at the undergraduate level. Still immersed in their own higher education and poised to re-enter the familiar/strange context of the high school classroom, they are steeped in subject-specific content and educational theory, but they are uncertain about how that knowledge will play out in practice. Cast in the dual role of student-teacher, they are expected to transition from the former role into the latter. Pulled in various directions by these complex experiences and expectations, many pre-service teachers describe a profound sense of dislocation and dissonance. The dichotomies according to which education is organized heighten this sense. Dichotomies between the contexts of the high school classroom and college, between the roles of student and teacher, and between the discourse practices associated with each of those polarized pairs catch pre-service teachers in the middle and compel them to choose between the poles. Faced with having to choose, many pre-service teachers turn away from the theoretical and toward the practical, accept the traditional roles assigned to student and teacher, and succumb to the apparent disjunction between the languages that teachers and students speak. This choosing and splitting is neither necessary nor desirable. In defining and redefining their roles and in learning to interact with students, pre-service teachers should not have to divide themselves and replace one prescribed role and designated language with another. As teacher educators, we should facilitate learning to teach that is about creative re-integration rather than splitting. We should help pre-service teachers explore the multiple versions of their identities and the various forms of their discourse practices, each and all of which are integral to who they are. Likewise, we should provide opportunities for pre-service teachers to learn about the people they are preparing to teach, who have equally multiple and diverse identities and discourse practices.
doi:10.1080/10476210120068066 fatcat:m5x5wt3cmrcevhtgnwug37tuka