Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining preservice teachers cultural beliefs and assumptions, literacy models, ideologies, and identities
by East, Debra K., Ph.D., Indiana University, 2011, 338; 3491467
Abstract (Summary)

Teacher's beliefs and assumptions about teaching and learning, evident in their literacy models, ideologies, and identities, need to be examined in context as teachers work with learners. Literacy models and supporting beliefs can be viewed as sets of storylines, principles, or metaphors used to interpret text and life experiences (Gee, 1996), which explain explicit and tacit theories of how people learn. Guiding questions are: How do preservice teachers position themselves in teaching and learning? What do the preservice teachers' cultural beliefs and assumptions about teaching and learning inform us about problems embedded in teacher education programs?

The theoretical framework for this study rests on critical holistic literacy theory, and focuses on beliefs and ideologies supported by particular literacy models. The Theoretical Orientations towards Reading Profile (DeFord, 1985) provides access to teachers' embedded beliefs and assumptions. Teachers interpreted their roles based on background experiences involving social-cultural ways of being and knowing. Teachers participated in such events guided by beliefs about teaching and learning.

This study draws on data gathered over a semester in a literacy methods course and field experience at a small, rural, Midwestern university. The courses were designed to facilitate interaction during class and the learners' field experiences. The data is analyzed through critical ethnography (Carspecken, 1996) methods because it enables the participant-researcher to describe and interpret a social and cultural situation by participating in its everyday life.

This study sheds light on ways to identify teachers' beliefs and understandings for designing teacher education programs. Findings include that preservice teachers: · Hold deeply embedded beliefs about what is considered appropriate ways of interacting with learners; · Unspoken assumptions that what they know is important; · Some teachers are unaware of alternative teaching-learning models and the different ways literacy learning is viewed; · Position themselves as teachers of facts, evaluators of performance, and passive students; · Teachers were often unaware of how poverty and other social issues color their view of others and affect learning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Burke, Carolyn L., Flint, Amy S.
Commitee: Carspecken, Phil F., Dennis, Barbara K.
School: Indiana University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Teacher education
Keywords: Critical ethnography, Cultural beliefs, Curriculum, Instruction, Literacy, Preservice teachers, Teacher beliefs
Publication Number: 3491467
ISBN: 978-1-267-13816-3
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