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A teaching and learning tightrope: Navigating accountability mandates while maintaining sound pedagogical practices
Applying Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model, this article describes how one Head Start classroom successfully navigated external accountability mandates and privileged student academic achievement and overall well-being by attending to person (organizational infrastructure), context (instructional capacity), and the intersection of both. Located in an economically under-resourced urban community, a government-funded preschool classroom achieved compliance with external mandates while maintaining pedagogically sound teaching practices. This 8-week case study complemented by video-based fieldwork examines local instructional practices and investigates the policies and protocols facilitating these practices. Field notes, artifacts, interviews, and video data informed the analysis. Findings indicate that while policies and protocols necessitated by external mandates impacted the organizational infrastructure, their intentional integration with sound pedagogy and the Center’s mission facilitated instructional capacity in a climate where children thrive. (author abstract)
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