Can prospective teachers learn to be both educators and activists, to regard themselves as agents for change, and to regard reform as an integral part of the social, intellectual, ethical,and political activity of teaching? In this article, Marilyn Cochran-Smith argues that a powerful way for student teachers to learn to reform teaching, or what she refers to as teaching against the grain, is to work in the company of experienced teachers who are themselves struggling to be reformers in their own classrooms, schools, and communities.

Cochran-Smith analyzes two approaches to preparing preservice teachers to teach against the grain, proposing that differences between them can be understood as the result of different underlying assumptions about knowledge, power, and language in teaching. By analyzing conversations among student teachers and experienced teachers in four urban schools, the author explores the nature of reformers' intellectual perspectives on teaching and demonstrates that regular school-site discussions are an indispensable resource in the education of reformers.

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