4.14: Images of Teachers and Teaching

What images come to mind when you think of the word "teacher?" What would you create if you were asked to "Draw a Teacher Teaching?"

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Over the decades, when children were asked to draw a scientist, nearly every youngster in the 1960s and 1970s, regardless of gender identity, drew a male scientist (Edutopia, May 22, 2019). Gradually, over time, the pattern shifted, and today about 58% of students who identify as female are more likely to draw a woman scientist. Nevertheless, despite progress toward gender equity in many fields, at the high school level, across all students and genders, drawings of male scientists outnumber drawings of female scientists 4 to 1. Longstanding educational and career stereotypes about women in science remain entrenched.

Conventional images of teachers also seem resistant to change. In a study comparing the drawings of teachers by college undergraduates, student teaching interns, and practicing teachers, the undergraduates tended to display a teacher at the front of the classroom with students sitting in rows passively listening, while student teaching interns drew students rather than adults at the center of the learning process, and practicing teachers drew more teacher-centered scenes that showed frustration and unhappiness on the part of the adults (Sinclair et.al., 2013). What is happening that might explain these different visions of teaching and teachers? 

In these activities, you will first design an interactive image of a teacher in a 21st century school before evaluating images of teachers taken from different media sources over the past 100 years. As you engage in these activities, consider: "How do you think images of teaching might impact how students in K-12 schools think about teaching and education as a possible career choice?"

Activity 1: Design an Interactive Image of a 21st Century Teacher

  1. Start a new Google Drawings canvas
  2. Sketch an image of a 21st century teacher teaching.
  3. Add text boxes with more information and/or hyperlinks to external sources (e.g., information about 21st century teachers).
  4. Go to Insert --> Image --> Search the Web and find Creative Commons/Public Domain images to enrich your drawing. Hyperlink the images to go to external sources (e.g., a YouTube video, article, information about the image). 
  5. Next, complete Activity 2 (below).
  6. Then, return to your drawing and determine whether you want to revise it based on what you learned during Activity 2.

Designing for Learning: Student-Created Activity Example

Design an Interactive Image of a 21st Century Teacher by Kathleen Boulton

Activity 2: Evaluate Images of American Teachers 

Designing for Learning: Student-Created Activity Example

Evaluating Images of American Teachers by Viviana Sebastiano

TikTok Video by Grace Sherwood 

Connecting to the Building Democracy for All eBook

Building Democracy for All: Is Teaching a Career for You?

Connecting to the Standards

  • Massachusetts Civics & Government Standards
    • Explain the importance of public service and identify career and other opportunities in public service at the local, state and national levels. (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [8.T4.9]
  • ISTE Standards
    • Digital Citizen
      • 2c: Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
    • Knowledge Constructor
      • 3b: Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
    • Creative Communicator
      • 6b: Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
      • 6d: Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for the intended audiences.
  • DLCS Standards
    • Ethics and Laws (CAS.b)
    • Interpersonal and Societal Impact (CAS.c)
    • Digital Tools (DTC.a)
    • Collaboration and Communication (DTC.b)
    • Research (DTC.c)
  • English Language Arts > History/Social Studies Common Core Standards
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.5
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7

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