This qualitative research examined and described the process of transitioning from theory to practice as experienced by 7 English Language Arts (ELA) teacher candidates during their student teaching internship semesters. The conceptual framework employed in this study was phenomenology. Two sub-questions were also considered: (1) What is the perception of these interns at a major university in the southwestern United States regarding their preparation for teaching, particularly in the area of writing instruction?, and (2) How do these intern expectations compare to their actual classroom teaching experiences? Over a three semester period the researcher gathered data from the student teacher interns in the form of 14 interviews and reflective journals.
Transcriptions of the interviews and the reflective writings were analyzed and coded into themes. Six major themes related to the internship experience in general emerged: importance of the task, writing instruction expectations, preparation, teaching styles, influence of cooperating teachers, and actual practice. Under the theme of actual practice, six sub-themes related to writing instruction strategies and activities also emerged: focused free writing, grammar instruction, providing model pieces of literature for emulation, in-class writing communities, teacher-invented models, and assessment. These themes and sub-themes were utilized as the structure for description of the experience of the participants and analysis of the data.
The interns in this study described, as they recalled it, several gaps in their program of study at the university regarding writing instruction, which became evident during the course of the semester. Further research is needed to determine whether these perceptions are unique to this group of participants, or if this is an area that may require adjustments in curriculum. This research may also be drawn upon by other English Education programs to guide curriculum development and as a catalyst for their own distinctive courses of inquiry.
|Commitee:||Chiodo, John, Griffith, Priscilla, Letcher, Mark, Vaughn, Courtney|
|School:||The University of Oklahoma|
|Department:||Department of Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum|
|School Location:||United States -- Oklahoma|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Teacher education, Secondary education, Curriculum development|
|Keywords:||English, English language arts, Student teachers, Student teaching semester, Theory to practice, Writing instruction|
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