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ERIC Number: EJ1014140
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0094-0771
"The Middle Found Me." Using a Life Story Approach to Guide the Career Paths of Future Middle Grades Teachers
Irvine, Colin
Middle School Journal (J3), v44 n5 p48-56 May 2013
This article examines the use of narrative identity analysis of the life-story theory approach to guide the career paths of middle grades teachers. It presents the views of middle grades teachers and education students on the integral role of narrative and on the impact of life-story approach in their careers and their identities. It explores how education professors and programs can construct courses and requirements to help students in discerning their suitability in working with middle grades. Drawing on narrative identity analysis (otherwise referred to as life-story theory), this article situates the stories of many teachers who "end up" in middle grades schools in a larger, theoretical context. It analyzes the responses of middle grades teachers and education students to a series of questions intended to elucidate the integral role narrative plays in how individuals apprehend and outline through story their careers and their identities. After establishing a theoretical framework and providing particular examples that fit neatly within that structure, the article addresses three pressing questions: (1) How can methods courses employ narrative studies to help individuals harvest from their experiences insights that will enable them to make informed decisions regarding at what levels they want to teach and why? (2) How might education professors and programs construct courses and requirements in a manner that helps students discern their interests and proclivities and, by extension, evaluate whether they are well suited for working in the middle grades? and (3) What kinds of assignments in methods courses might offer students authentic experiences that prepare them to encounter actual issues and texts while also helping them to determine a level of personal fit with that grade level and those corresponding materials? Although this article does not attempt to answer definitively any or all of these questions, it does nonetheless seek to braid them together in a manner that presents a new mode for discussing the issues while providing certain field-tested and successful assignments and strategies. Responses to a questionnaire administered to 250 middle grades educators in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota were collected. The author viewed the responses as individual stories and also as part of a larger narrative pattern that spoke to the persistent sense among many teachers that one seldom decides before or during college to teach middle grades. Life story analysis helps preservice teachers clarify their career paths.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A