ERIC Number: ED409979
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar-28
Descending the Tower: Lessons Learned in a First Grade Classroom.
Ford, Michael P.
In light of concerns that previous staff development projects did not truly capture life in the classroom, and that there may be a gap between one's previous elementary and current university teaching experiences, a teacher educator used a semester sabbatical to shadow six first-grade teachers in order to inform thinking and practice in teaching young children. The observations took place in six schools, ranging from a small satellite rural school with one teacher per grade level to a racially mixed district drawing students from suburbs and urban housing projects. One teacher was shadowed in each school for 2 to 3 weeks; the balance between participation and observation varied among classrooms. Data obtained through field notes, a daily journal, lesson plans, work samples, and photographs of classroom activities were used to develop classroom profiles. Results revealed three key issues affecting thinking as a teacher educator. The first issue involved six key principles that were identified as fostering engagement in regular classrooms within holistic instructional models: (1) preparation; (2) physical closeness; (3) inherently engaging content; (4) including all voices in classroom activities; (5) paper and pencil structures, such as story wheels; and (6) using a paper trail to more closely monitor engagement. Second, preservice teachers should realize that instruction needs to be learner-centered; teacher intervention is needed to maximize the value of holistic routines. Third, the lack of information texts at appropriate levels contributes to the difficulty of maintaining the balance between instructional content and process. (Contains 19 references.) (KDFB)
Descriptors: Classroom Environment, Curriculum Development, Elementary School Teachers, Grade 1, Higher Education, Holistic Approach, Job Shadowing, Participant Observation, Personal Narratives, Planning, Preservice Teacher Education, Primary Education, Profiles, Student Centered Curriculum, Teacher Role, Teaching Methods, Theory Practice Relationship, Time on Task
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).