School of Education’s Dotger wins AACTE Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education Article Award

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) will present its 2013 Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) Article Award to Benjamin Dotger, Ph.D., associate professor of teaching and leadership at the Syracuse University School of Education. The award recognizes exemplary scholarship published in the JTE in the areas of educator preparation or of teaching and learning with implications for educator preparation. It will be presented March 2 at AACTE’s 65th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. Dotger will be recognized along with his co-author, Joan Turner Walker, Ph.D., associate professor at Pace University School of Education.

The AACTE Committee on Research and Dissemination, which reviews submissions for the award, selected the authors for their joint article, “Because Wisdom Can’t Be Told: Using Comparison of Simulated Parent-Teacher Conferences to Assess Teacher Candidates’ Readiness for Family-School Partnership.” The article, published in the January/February 2012 issue of JTE, addresses a critical shortcoming in many educator preparation programs of preparing educators to communicate and partner with families.

Reviewers noted that the study follows from an elegant conceptual framework and builds from prior research. The study examines a well-designed intervention that repurposed materials from an experiential simulation to create a video-based vicarious learning experience for teacher candidates. The study’s design and findings offer the field evidence for an effective pedagogical model to teach candidates both about communication with parents as well as how to do so in respectful and responsive ways.

“Dr. Dotger’s clinical simulations represent an innovative, cross-profession approach to the preparation of teachers and school leaders,” said Douglas Biklen, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education at Syracuse University. “This paper shows how clinical simulations that involve active, experiential learning through specific case examples of real problems of practice can prepare pre-service educators for the world of schools they will soon enter. When teacher and education-leader candidates engage in clinical simulations and vicarious learning experiences, they as well as their instructors get to observe and reflect on how they are transferring what they know about teaching and learning into what they can do in support of students and families. Dotger’s approach gives students the opportunity to practice engaging with tough problems in conditions that feel real.”

“Pace University is embarking on a much more research focused trajectory, and Professor Walker’s research award highlights the strong academic programs in our School of Education,” said Uday Sukhatme, Sc.D., provost of Pace University. “She has created a model approach to online learning, which addresses a gap in many teacher preparation programs. We are very proud of her accomplishments.”

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE’s reach and influence fuel its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education.