Biases, Assumptions, and Ethics My Positionality I am a teacher; a white, female, middle class teacher in her thirties.

I am a heterosexual, married mother of two young children. I was raised in a two-parent family in a rural community in the Central Valley of California. Education is a non-negotiable in my family. My grandparents and parents all attended college. I was the valedictorian of my high school class and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California. My three younger sisters did the same. It was expected of us. My mother was a teacher and my father was on the school board. My success in and close ties to school made me appreciate and enjoy it. I am a learner. I enjoy acquiring new knowledge, meeting new people, and exploring new places. Thinking in an analytic manner, debating the merits of varying perspectives, and solving complex problems is fun for me. I work diligently, relax infrequently, and strive for continuous improvement. I have high expectations for myself, my family and friends, and my students. I express care through challenge and support. I am a teacher educator. I facilitate pre-service teacher learning in the areas of curriculum, assessment, and social studies methods. I encourage them to reflect upon their assumptions about schools, learners and learning, and content and the extent to which these inform their developing beliefs and teaching practices. I am a member of a faculty who views “teaching as a calling to redemptive service.” Our program seeks to prepare teachers who will meet the emotional, social, and academic needs of the culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse student population in the Central Valley. We develop our course work and establish partnerships with school districts for student teaching placements to achieve this goal. I believe that “teaching is a complex and multidimensional process that requires deep knowledge and

understanding in a wide range of areas and the ability to synthesize, integrate, and apply this knowledge in different situations, under varying conditions, and with a wide diversity of groups and individuals” (Hollins, 2011, p. 395). It is from this standpoint (McCorkel & Myers, 2003) that I begin to envision a research agenda in the field of teacher education. My Assumptions At first glance, it would seem that my insider status as a researcher who plans to study pre-service teacher learning as it relates to curriculum and field experiences in university-school partnerships would be unquestioned. I have been in each of the roles (teacher candidate, cooperating teacher, university supervisor, teacher educator) of my potential participants. My varied experience, however, has taught me that not all educators share my beliefs about or approach to schooling, teaching, and learning. I am, admittedly, intolerant of teachers who fail to understand that schools are influenced by social, political, and economic contexts, fail to recognize and address their students’ diverse gifts and needs, and fail to plan for and reflect upon their own practice. Educators who view learning and learning to teach as a monolithic, behavioristic processes infuriate me. Equally loathsome are those who disregard the significance of a theoretical foundation, teacher self-efficacy, and teacher decision-making. No doubt, I will that the teacher education programs I am studying approach the preparation of teachers in a manner entirely different from the one in which I work. Each of these situations will be critical points at which I will need to confront myself and carefully examine my research process. Ethics in Teacher Education Research The types of research and the qualitative methods frequently employed by educational researchers are often cited as a source of delay and disapproval by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) (Lincoln & Tierney, 2004). This well-documented trend in IRB oversight of educational

research is of particular interest to me as I plan to enter the research community. My research interests lend themselves to qualitative methods and my current work in teacher education could potentially provide opportunities for me to conduct action or participant research. Lincoln and Tierney (2004) outline several challenges faced by educational researchers of which I must be aware. First, they refer to a growing concern with research conducted within one’s own context. Second, they point to the difficulties of conducting research with children despite approval from school districts and appropriate proposals to obtain informed consent. A third difficulty that could potentially impact my research agenda is IRB misunderstanding or disapproval of action research models. Knowing these areas of concern exist will assist me in the design of my research and the preparation of my documentation for IRB approval. I will uphold the basic principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice that serve as the foundation for federal regulations regarding ethical conduct for research with human subjects (National Institutes of Health, 2011). I will ensure that I obtain informed consent from participants throughout the research process, that my study minimizes risk and maximizes benefits to the participants to the greatest extent possible, and that I am taking a reflexive approach to my own research practice. This could include the protection of my teacher participants’ privacy so as not to jeopardize their employment status or performance evaluation. I will design criteria for inclusion or exclusion of human subjects based on the problem being studied rather than the availability or position of a given group. This could result in my selection of a teacher education program outside of the community in which I work as a teacher educator. Finally, I will address the needs of children as a special population within the research process (National Institutes of Health, 2011).

References Hollins, E. R. (2011). Teacher preparation for quality teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 62(4), 395-407. Lincoln, Y. S. & Tierney, W. G. (2004). Qualitative research and institutional review boards. Qualitative Inquiry, 10(2), 219–234. doi:10.1177/1077800403262361 McCorkel, J.A. and Myers, K. (2003). What difference does difference make? Position and privilege in the field. Qualitative Sociology 26(2), 199-231. National Institutes of Health, Office of Extramural Research. (2011). Protecting human research participants. Retrieved from