PhD grad awarded CATE Recognition Award for dissertation

Cristyne Hébert, postdoctoral researcher at the Institution for Research on Digital Learning and recent graduate from the PhD program in Education at York, has received the CATE recognition award for her dissertation “(Student) Teaching Inside the Box: Stories of Teaching and Learning In and Against the edTPA”.

Cristyne Hébert
Cristyne Hébert

The dissertation examines stories of teaching and learning advanced in the edTPA, a pre-service teacher performance assessment quickly becoming a required component of teacher education programs across the United States.

In this project, Hébert uses narrative inquiry, informed by both curriculum theories and feminist epistemologies, to examine the story about teaching and learning offered to candidates within the edTPA Handbooks. Exploring elements of this story, inclusive of authorship, audience and characters, she highlights the ways in which this standardized assessment confines candidates to thinking about teaching and learning in a uniform manner, while at the same time demonstrating, through testimony of teacher candidates preparing to write the edTPA in New York, how this framework constrains in ways not congruent with their own experiences. To trouble the predominance of the edTPA dominant narrative, this story is juxtaposed against counternarratives offered by teacher candidates, which offer alternative ways of thinking and talking about education beyond the edTPA’s frame.

“Hébert’s work offers important lessons for those of us involved in teacher education in Canada,” said Professor Celia Haig-Brown who supervised the dissertation. “She exposes the tyranny of accountability which all too often stifles student teachers’ creativity and interrupts their capacity for fulsome responsiveness to students in their classrooms.”

The CATE Recognition Award for Theses and Dissertations on Teacher Education serves to promote teacher education research and scholarship in pre-service education, in-service education, and professional development, showing evidence of connecting and contributing to the body of literature in any one or combinations of these areas.

For a thesis or dissertation to be considered for a recognition award, the study must directly address the field of teacher education not only in the conclusion, but throughout the research.  The study must also connect to one or more of the following topics: teacher education and societal issues; the study of teacher education practice; and, challenges and possibilities for teacher education.