Underutilized Potential of Hybrid Educator
Jennings, G., & Peloso, J. M. (2010). The underutilized potential of the hybrid educator in teacher education. The New Educator (6)2, pp. 153-162.
Summary: This article offers the opinion of the authors that hybrid educators are critical personnel in school-university partnerships whose potential is underutilized. They use the term hybrid educator to indicate a college adjunct faculty at a small liberal arts school, and the information from this article is drawn from their experiences. However, there is no mention of any research question, methodology, or methods. Instead, they simply comment on their experiences. In the article, they provide a rationale for the work of the hybrid educator. They describe characteristics that they feel are important for hybrid educators to possess, such as being flexible, master teachers, and the ability to connect theory and practice. Hybrid educators must also have good interpersonal skills, relate well to all stakeholders (children, teachers, parents, and faculty), knowledge of both institutions, advocates for communities, schools, teachers, students, and families, and the ability to work collaboratively with others. They also offer barriers to the role. In particular, they claim that adjunct faculty as hybrid educators may feel disconnected to the colleges of education in which they serve because of their lack of connection and interaction with tenured or tenure-track faculty. Overall, they claim that this role is critical to partnership work.
They define hybrid educator as:
“A hybrid educator is a college adjunct professor employed full time by a public school system (p. 153).”
- “It is the work of the hybrid educator to serve as a conduit between the colleges of education and the public school settings (p. 155).”
- “Hybrid educators also have limited contact with full tiem faculty members who might assist with becoming more integrated within the colleges of education structure (p. 156).” (NOTE TO SELF – I wonder if our PRTs or the PDAs would feel this way. If not, what are the conditions of the environment that we create that contribute to or dissipate that kind of environment?)
- Because hybrid educators exist in both worlds, they implicitly communicate the ability to make theory-practice connections to their students. (NOTE TO SELF – Notice that the connections are not written as the other direction. That privileges on knowledge over the other. Is it possible to make practice-theory connections? I would argue that in a clinically-rich or more appropriately a clinically-centered context, it is practice-theory connections.)
- Hybrid educators “…bring a wealth of information about the informal and hidden curriculum of being a teacher in [the local school district].” (NOTE TO SELF – I would say this is a characteristic more of school-based hybrid educators more so than university-based. That is not to say that some university-based hybrid educators can’t possess that kind of knowledge, but I would say that it is more of a predominant characteristic of the school-based hybrid educator.)
- The environment for hybrid educators to do their work must have open channels of communication between both institutions.
The authors would recommend:
- A recruitment system for bringing practitioners to this role
- A support system for hybrid educators as they transition, specifically with helping them learn how to teach in the college setting
- A mentoring system with tenure or tenure-track faculty
- A mechanism for giving them feedback (NOTE TO SELF – We, the PRTs and I, can write about this.)
- A cross-institutional committee to discuss needs of students in the field