ERIC Number: ED443582
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Silver Threads among the Gold: An Exploration of Elementary Schools' Learning Environments.
Beath, Linda S.; Bowman, Andrea C.
This qualitative study used an ecological approach to explore teacher education students' experiences in elementary learning environments and the meaning placed upon those experiences by the students. Participating in the study were 24 university students in their first quarter of a field-based teacher preparation program. Data were obtained from 11 of the students' focused journal entries. Journal entry texts were analyzed and categorized as illustrating one of six characteristics of classrooms: immediacy, publicness, history, multidimensionality, unpredictability, and simultaneity. Further analysis focused on finding patterns that emerged from the classroom characteristics. Findings suggested that many classroom experiences reflected elements of more than one characteristic and that the characteristics were not independent of one another. Stories from students' journals highlighted the ways students encountered and experienced the elementary classroom environments. Discussion of the findings focused on whether the university learning environment can provide the rich context in which students can experience, act, reflect, and react to events that simulate the six classroom characteristics. It was concluded that each characteristic has elements or aspects that probably can be addressed in university-based programs through the use of case methods and story telling. In-depth practice and application can most reliably occur as a result of field experiences where students can directly encounter the often hectic and chaotic nature of elementary classrooms. (The focused journal format is appended.) (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A