Faculty Abstracts and Articles From the 2008 Convocation
Charles (Kip) Ault
The passage I am sharing ends an essay aimed at resolving the potential for conflict between “place-based” (Smith, 2007) and “subject-centered” curricula. My essay elaborates upon the Spanish word or feeling of “querencia” as introduced by Barry Lopez in his book, The Rediscovery of North America. According to Lopez, the Spanish querencia refers to “a place on the ground where one feels secure, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn—a place in which we know exactly who we are—the place from which we speak our deepest beliefs” (Lopez, 1992, p. 39).
With a bit of literacy license, I use querencia to encompass a sense of self drawn from a relationship to place. Querencia secures the feelings and deepest beliefs that attach the self to community and landscape. At the same time, querencia may describe the feeling of attachment to trusted ways of thinking, to understandings that rescue the self from confusion. In this sense, querencia is a place in the mind, revisited in order to draw the strength needed to think through challenging problems. Conceived in this fashion, discipline and place share a commitment to the achievement of querencia and work best when pursued in tandem.
An email from a former student—30 years after I had been her teacher—became the inspiration for this passage with which I close my essay. The brief portrait I draw of her captures the meaning of querencia, for she has fully integrated a sense of place with disciplined thinking.
Alejandra Favela & Danielle Torres
Supported by a grant from the Oregon Department of Education, two Lewis & Clark faculty members developed a summer institute for new minority teachers (The Oregon New Minority Teacher Institute). Nineteen teachers from the Beaverton School District and Woodburn School District gathered in an effort to attain Institute goals: 1) to learn about the distinct experiences, strengths, and challenges faced by new minority teachers, and 2) to establish a support system amongst minority colleagues, faculty members, community liaisons, and district personnel. This article includes background information detailing the importance and need for programs that support the specific needs of new minority teachers; describes the ONMTI summer institute program and outcomes; and provides recommendations for sustaining recruitment and retention efforts locally and nationally. The article highlights a commitment to teachers in the field, a creative response to the critical needs of educators, and the collaborative nature of faculty work across programs at Lewis & Clark College.
Full article: Fulfilling the Promise of Educational Accountability
Widely regarded as the model for NCLB, the Texas education reforms have had their share of unintended consequences. The authors argue that examining those problems will suggest the changes that need to be made in both reform agendas.
Full article: Connecting with Community through Our Front Yard
How do we provide relevant, meaningful experiences for our students? This article describes a second grade teacher’s work in connecting students to their community through a real-world problem. Students were actively engaged in learning from multiple disciplines as they moved toward possible solutions to the uses of their “front yard” at the school.
Full article: I Just Want to Read Frog and Toad
“I Just Want to Read Frog and Toad” is an article I wrote in response to my son’s experience as a beginning reader who was subjected to a commercial reading program and ability grouping as a first grader. Eamonn’s experience ultimately led to my doctoral dissertation, which is an autoethnography about my journey as an education activist. Through Eamonn’s experience, I have been able to capture in deep personal ways what is so wrong with curriculum that damages a child’s self-esteem, relegates their instruction to rote skills and lifeless stories and denies them the opportunity to fall in love with literacy in all its forms. I am committed to assuring that new teachers entering the field are securely grounded in theory and enthusiastically embrace their responsibility to be change agents and activists in the field. We owe the children in our schools no less.
As professional organizations have begun to incorporate expectations for addressing social justice and advocacy in competency standards for mental health professionals, they are challenged to stretch their limits and define their personal and professional boundaries. For LGBT professionals, the act of coming out or being out is a basic form of activism. In the context of environmental pressures that professionals come out or be out, it is important to acknowledge both the potential for this basic form of activism to reduce prejudice, and the risk individual’s may be taking. It is important to recognize and support professionals in their decisions about when to come out or be out in the same manner that one supports clients in similar situations.
Full article: Selections from The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft (University of Georgia Press, 2003).