ERIC Number: EJ839404
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
Moving between Literacy Theory and Practice with Preservice Teachers: Listening to Their Voices
Parkinson, Debra D.
Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, v25 n3 p255-265 2005
The purpose of this study was to investigate two research questions: What literacy learning did preservice teachers experience through a Penpal Project embedded in an early literacy course? What sense did preservice teachers make of the Penpal Project?--with an overarching focus on bridging literacy theory with practice. Data were gathered in a university classroom setting, situated in a small Western town, over a period of one school semester. Data methods and sources included videotaped participant observation during weekly penpal letter-sharing, preservice teachers' reflection journals, focus group interviews, and preservice teachers' Penpal Project Summaries. Patterns emerged from the data and were conceptualized under three broad categories: discourse, discovery and dilemmas. In the discourse category, cultivating relationships and learning through collaboration emerged as themes. Discoveries included meaning- and skill-centered interpretations and professional learning. With regard to dilemmas, preservice teachers reported feelings of inadequacy in decoding their penpals' letters, in finding topics to pique their penpals' interests, and in making logical speculations. Conclusions highlighted the importance of including field experiences in teacher education courses in order for preservice teachers to integrate early literacy theory and practice. A focus on forming relationships, working in collaboration with others, and acknowledging and solving challenges revealed added benefits for the preservice teachers, including a deeper understanding of young students' early literacy development.
Descriptors: Preservice Teacher Education, Preservice Teachers, Education Courses, Participant Observation, Focus Groups, College School Cooperation, Field Experience Programs, Emergent Literacy, Theory Practice Relationship, Written Language, Oral Language, Student Journals, Social Networks, Network Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A