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ERIC Number: EJ1014351
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
Dilemmas in Guiding Pre-Service Teachers to Explore Literacy Instruction and Diversity
Brock, Cynthia H.; Case, Rod; Taylor, Shanon S.
Teacher Education Quarterly, v40 n1 p81-100 Win 2013
This study focuses on the learning of a small group of pre-service teachers in a literacy methods course and their instructor, Cindy, a literacy methods professor. The pre-service teachers in Cindy's literacy methods courses conduct literacy practicum experiences at a local city school that is populated by children from non-dominant backgrounds. When a colleague recently learned of Cindy's work with her students at the practicum site, she declared that teacher-educators are wrong to let pre-service teachers teach in those schools. Novice teachers, she insisted, must first learn to teach literacy in less complex settings. That declaration exemplifies several documented concerns in education. The first problem relates to the misconception that methods, strategies, and instructional frameworks can be adequately learned and taught in a disembodied and decontextualized manner apart from real children abiding in actual classrooms (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005; Johnson, 2007). The second problem relates to educators who perpetuate (perhaps unwittingly?) deficit views of children from non-dominant backgrounds (Connell, 1994; Frank, 1999; Gutierrez, 2008). These problems merit attention because they relate to broader concerns about relationships between theory and practice with which individual educators must grapple (Gee, 2012). The purpose of this qualitative investigation is to explore and describe one small group of pre-service teachers' reflections on their literacy instruction to children from non-dominant backgrounds, and to use this as a backdrop to sort out, and sort through, Cindy's work as a teacher educator. The pre-service teachers in the three-credit upper-level literacy methods course conducted their practicum at an elementary school (pseudonym, Evergreen Elementary) where approximately four-fifths of the children speak a language other than English as their first language. The pre-service teachers worked in small teacher-research teams of four people, designing and implementing a seven-lesson, literacy-related thematic unit that they taught to the children in one classroom. There were six teaching teams in the undergraduate methods class. Following each lesson taught at Evergreen Elementary the pre-service teachers met with their fellow teaching team members to debrief about and reflect upon their teaching each day. The research questions guiding this investigation were: (1) When did the pre-service teachers discuss diversity-related issues relative to their practicum experience? and (2) What did their discussions reveal about their attitudes towards children from non-dominant backgrounds? (Contains 4 notes and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A