ERIC Number: ED392772
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Searching Literature for Moral Guidance: The Development of a Prospective English Teacher.
Malenka, Margaret M.
This report examines the development of one prospective English teacher's thinking about what it means for secondary students to learn literature and what it would mean for her to teach it. The prospective teacher was one of 14 research participants in the "Understanding Literature for Teaching" study of the National Center for Research on Teacher Learning (NCRTL). She was interviewed at the beginning and again at the conclusion of her college English program. Each interview covered three areas: her experiences with literature, including within her family and school; her conceptions of literature, including her responses to theories of criticism and analysis of a specific text; and her ideas of teaching literature within specific educational contexts with particular texts. A central issue of her development was her struggle to define morality. She was raised in a home that gave equal weight to all views; in high school she struggled with the possibility of multiple viewpoints and the presence of ambiguity. After she became a "born again" Christian, she valued literature that reflected biblical teaching and moral absolutes, but continued to perceive a place for multiple truths in literature. In college, as she grew in knowledge of authors' craft and tools, she applied this knowledge to her analysis of texts in order to reach their "core" meaning and arrive at a "correct" interpretation of them. She intended to teach her prospective students to do this as well. In her senior year an unplanned pregnancy prompted her to reconsider her rigid positions and try to"look through others' eyes" to learn from them and understand their reasoning. This study concludes that the subject's development regarding literature corresponds to the intellectual and ethical stages of development as described by W. G. Perry (1970) in a study of Harvard undergraduates. This study also acknowledges that studies on women's ways of knowing and understanding provide insights on this subject's ways of viewing the world. (Contains nine references.) (NAV)
Descriptors: College Students, Critical Reading, English Instruction, English Teacher Education, English Teachers, High School Students, High Schools, Higher Education, Intellectual Development, Literary Criticism, Literature Appreciation, Moral Development, Moral Values, Preservice Teacher Education, Student Attitudes, Student Development, Teacher Attitudes
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning, 116 Erickson Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1034 ($3.87).
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning, East Lansing, MI.