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Michelle Bauml Prepares Teachers for Urban Settings

The education professor helps lead the way in best practices for multicultural education.

best practices in multicultural education, TCU EC-G6

The TCU College of Education won the 2015 best practice award in support of multicultural education and diversity from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Michelle Bauml Prepares Teachers for Urban Settings

The education professor helps lead the way in best practices for multicultural education.

While many beginning teachers have concerns about teaching in urban schools, the available jobs are often in large metropolitan cities.

If the fears of young educators aren’t addressed, the consequences can be career altering, said Michelle Bauml, assistant professor of early childhood and social studies education. “Without excellent preparation and ongoing support as they begin their teaching careers, new teachers are seriously at risk of leaving the profession altogether.”

From the earliest days of her academic career, Bauml has been interested in studying young educators’ decisions to teach (or not teach) in culturally and linguistically diverse schools, which are becoming more typical in urban settings, as well as the implications for those who educate future teachers.

“Through my research and teaching, I strive to help prepare TCU’s future teachers for the important work of teaching in any context, but especially in urban schools,” said Bauml. “All children deserve excellent teachers, no matter where they attend school.”

Michelle Bauml

Michelle Bauml. (photo by Carolyn Cruz)

Bauml’s interest in urban schools comes from personal experience. She taught third through fifth grades in Richwood, a small Texas town along the Gulf Coast, for nine years before accepting a position supervising first-year teachers in the Houston Independent School District — the largest school district in Texas.

“Moving from such a small community to a big city where there was much more cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic diversity than I had ever experienced as a teacher, I went through a brief period of culture shock,” said the professor. “I also witnessed distressing inequities among Houston’s schools in terms of facilities, teaching materials and new teacher support.”

Those experiences inspired Bauml to pursue a doctorate so she could learn more about unraveling the complexities of teaching in urban schools. Her research efforts included co-authoring several peer-reviewed papers dealing with teacher candidates’ decisions to teach in urban and culturally diverse schools.

“All children deserve excellent teachers, no matter where they attend school.”
Michelle Bauml


One research paper, “Learning from Preservice Teachers’ Thoughts about Teaching in Urban Schools: Implications for Teacher Educators,” was published in Education and Urban Society. For the study, Bauml and her co-authors interviewed preservice teachers — education students participating in school-based field experiences.

“We learned so much about what prospective teachers were afraid of when it comes to teaching in urban schools,” Bauml said. “They are concerned about spending their first critical year as a teacher in such a challenging context as well as racial and cultural barriers and student misbehavior.”

At TCU, education students study these kinds of issues in the Early Childhood through Grade Six program, where Bauml, who won the College of Education’s Dean’s Research and Creativity Award for 2015, is coordinator. “[The program] is intentional about providing students with experiences observing, teaching and learning in a variety of diverse contexts.”

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education honored TCU’s program with the 2015 Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity. “We were so proud to receive the award,” said Bauml, “because it’s such a public statement to the education community that TCU is doing exemplary
work.

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