Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Essence of the Teaching/Learning Process: An Exploration of the Perspectives and Lived Experiences of University Spanish Language Teaching Assistants
by Schulman, Sarah, Ph.D., The University of New Mexico, 2009, 235; 13857842
Abstract (Summary)

U.S. schools are emblematic of the increasingly linguistic and cultural diversity present in this country. Despite this well-documented shift, U.S. foreign language teacher education programs have yet to align learning outcomes with the cognitive and affective needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students. Providing educators with opportunities to learn about and prepare for the needs of these students is essential, but this alone will not address the essence of the underlying problem. If foreign language teacher education programs are to evolve, a deeper understanding of the teaching/learning process is critical.

In response to this need, this qualitative study explored how multiple participant groups affiliated with a Spanish program at a U.S. Southwest university described their lived experiences and perceptions regarding the teaching and learning of Spanish. Principles from case study and grounded theory methodologies were used to provide a flexible body of knowledge through which current and prospective educators can better recognize and attend to their students’ learning needs. The data collection and analysis were grounded in Vygotsky’s concepts of perezhivanie [one’s lived experiences], vospitanie [nurturing], and obuchenie [teaching/learning process]. This framework allowed for a conceptual understanding of how the dialectical unity of vospitanie and obuchenie, combined with an understanding of students’ sociohistorical and emotional experiences, yields opportunities for reciprocal teaching and learning between an educator and her students.

Insight gleaned from the findings therefore has implications for the evolution of teacher education programs. To provide equitable instruction across all learner profiles, teachers need to understand how an openness and willingness to listen and learn from their students can help them take pride in and control of their own learning. This is the essence of an efficacious pedagogy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mahn, Holbrook
Commitee: Vergara Wilson, Damián, Kingsley, Karla, Ruecker, Todd, Lacorte, Manel
School: The University of New Mexico
Department: Educational Linguistics
School Location: United States -- New Mexico
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Teacher education, Foreign language education, Multicultural Education
Keywords: Efficacious pedagogy, Foreign language teacher education, Qualitative study, Vygotsky's concepts of perezhivanie, Obuchenie, Vospitanie
Publication Number: 13857842
ISBN: 9781085725255
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