Preservice teachers' perceptions of preparation and practices for teaching reading/language arts: three case studies
MetadataShow full item record
This interpretive case study is an investigation of a sample of three preservice teachers’ perceptions of their preparation and practices in learning to teach reading/language arts. The portrayals describe the professional experiences that the participants reported as valuable sources of knowledge in informing their learning to teach in elementary schools. The portrayals also present the knowledge and sources that the three preservice teachers reported drawing upon when asked to view video-clips of other teachers’ demonstrations of reading/language arts teaching; the preservice teachers’ descriptions and interpretations were compared with those of experienced teachers who reported on the same video-clips in order to further contextualize the preservice teachers’ burgeoning understandings about reading/language arts teaching. Interview data were collected during the semester in which the preservice teacher participants were concurrently completing a course in language arts methods and their student-teacher practica. Data analysis was ongoing and inductive (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), and recurring themes and patterns were used to build representations that most exemplified the preservice teachers’ experiences. The findings in this study suggest that the preservice teachers draw from multiple sources of knowledge, which include: course readings, assignments, and discussions; fieldwork observations and teaching experiences; and professor and peer relationship experiences that fostered collaboration and idea sharing. Additional findings suggest that preservice teachers have ready facility with a particular lexicon and notice, label, define, and analyze features of instruction in exact or similar ways to experts. The three preservice teachers also differed from experts in marked ways, including the emphasis given to some features of instruction over others, and the nature and depth of elaboration used to describe and analyze features. The implications of this study and suggestions for future research relate to the potential for preservice teachers to draw from multiple sources in their teacher education program, the potential for more and varied fieldwork experiences to influence preservice teachers’ practices, and the potential for participating in communities of learners in order to impact practices and develop toward expertise, among other implications.