The Architecture of a [s]ocial [e]ducation: A Self- Study in Building a [s]ocial [e]ducation Experience
As architects of our curricula, teacher educators need access to architectural digests that catalogue ways in which we can create content specific methods courses that empower students to be their own designers of education. This self-study offers an entry in such an educational digest of practice through the exploration of the practice of an elementary Social Studies methods instructor, teaching from the paradigm of a social education. Built upon the pyramidal structure of a social education as access to critical awakening, freedom and transformative action this study offers sketches of my teaching practice as guided by the following inquiries: How will I construct a meaningful social education experience for students? What might be the far- reaching possibilities of such an experience on the students’ creation of their own being as educators? At its foundation, this self-study is the story of my practice from varied perspectives. The layered narratives of the study metaphorically construct the multiple-storied structure that is the course. The first level houses the blueprints, redesigns, and tools of renovation. Research offers insights into the direction and extent of the redesign of the course over time. The story of the course is further explored through a paralleled chronological analysis of the doctoral readings and reflections explored and produced as a result of my dual role as both methods instructor and doctoral student. The second level of this study is home to the inhabitants of those who experienced living in the course. The voices of the residents of the course can be distinguished in three ways. First is the voice of the students while in the course. Student teachers and first year teachers who took the course comprise the second category of voices heard in this study. Lastly my own voice is offered as I lived alongside students during the course. The third story of this research houses the architectural firm that offers personal support as I develop my course designs. My collaboration with other architects of social education cultivates creative synergy and a strong mentorship in the development of my teacher knowledge as a teacher educator devoted to creating social education experiences. The snapshots of practice offered in this study present the challenges and successes of a novice teacher educator committed to understanding the impact of her course on the burgeoning teaching careers of her former students. In the end, it is offered as a possible blueprint of practice as others construct their educational courses.