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UW’s Rush Receives Award for Outstanding Research in English Education

July 30, 2018
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Leslie Rush

Leslie Rush, the University of Wyoming’s School of Teacher Education director, is the recipient of an award from the English Language Arts Teacher Educators (ELATE) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Rush, also the associate dean in the College of Education, is the recipient of the 2018 Richard A. Meade Award for Research in English Education, along with colleagues, for a book, titled “Secondary English Teacher Education in the United States.” Rush wrote the book with Samantha Caughlan, an independent scholar; Heidi Hallman, from the University of Kansas; Donna Pasternak, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; and Laura Renzi, from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

The award recognizes an outstanding piece of published research on either the preservice or in-service education of English/language arts teacher development at any educational level, any scope or any setting.

Rush and her colleagues will receive the award during the ELATE luncheon during the NCTE’s annual convention in Houston, Texas, Nov. 1. Group members also will give a presentation on their research at the convention.

The authors conducted a four-year study to provide an evaluation of the content, practices and skills being taught to preservice educators in the United States. The researchers were looking for insight into how colleges and universities prepare secondary English teachers in order to identify key areas of teacher preparation that cross countries and disciplines, Rush says. It was the first major study on the subject in more than 20 years.

The book presents the findings of the research and offers several recommendations for methods course instructors to incorporate into English education programs to effectively prepare future educators. A key takeaway from the book is the importance of integration in methods courses and extending that integration into field experiences.

This integrated vision incorporates into methods course discussions on how technology is used in English preparation programs; how content standards can play a role in teacher preparation and practice; the importance of involving the work of education stakeholders and partners; and including speaking and listening as important components related to reading and writing.

“There are many conflicting pressures on English teacher education programs, both from internal and external sources. Faculty members and administrators in English teacher education programs, in particular, have to make decisions about where to put limited resources, including the resource of time,” Rush says. “Our hope is that the focus of recommendations in this book can assist those in English teacher preparation to reclaim the conversation within their specific contexts.”

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