Their parallel paths through the UF experience and complementary research interests fostered their lasting contact and led to the collaborative piece with Foster, who Acosta considers a great mentor in the field.
Drawing from each of their areas of expertise, the article details the historical beginnings of African American pedagogical excellence, demonstrates how the desegregation of public schools led to its marginalization in teacher education and explains how its methods offer solutions to several prominent challenges affecting education today.
“I think it is a very timely and thoughtful piece that, begins to synthesize bodies of work that are out there, under larger ideas, that are really important for the field of education and teacher education,” Acosta said.
Houchen shared the article also seeks to raise the argument that the field of education has been ahistorical, viewing present challenges as though they stand alone in time.
“We are not thinking about how past generations of educational policymaking affects our current achievement gap,” she said.
Many of the challenges facing education today, including teacher diversity, teacher preparation and student achievement, are longstanding and deeply rooted.
“Having a real clear understanding of what’s happened over time is critically important to predicting how we can get better in the future and where we are,” Houchen said.
Acosta shared the title of the article holds particular significance, as it captures the position of African American pedagogical excellence within the field of education today.
“Within our own field of teacher education and education in general, it’s positioned as a historical relic,” she said. “It’s not drawn on heavily as we think about the preparation of new teachers and practicing teachers.”
Although this may be the field perception, teachers are still engaging and enacting African American pedagogy all over the world and experiencing great success.
“It’s not dead,” Acosta said. It’s alive. It’s vibrant.”
AACTE recognized the collaborative article with the 2019 Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education Article Award at the 71st Annual Meeting hosted in February.