communication in the socialization of preservice teachers
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Communication in the socialization of preserviceteachersAnn Q. StatonSpicer a & Ann L. Darling ba Department of Speech Communication , University of Washington , DL15, Seattle,Washington, 98195 Phone: 2065434860b Department of Speech Communication , University of Washington ,Published online: 18 May 2009.
To cite this article: Ann Q. StatonSpicer & Ann L. Darling (1986) Communication in the socialization of preservice teachers,Communication Education, 35:3, 215-230, DOI: 10.1080/03634528609388345
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03634528609388345
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COMMUNICATION IN THESOCIALIZATION OF
PRESERVICE TEACHERSAnn Q. Staton-SpicerAnn L. Darling
There is a renewed and widespread interest in educational excellence in Americatoday. In A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform (1983) theNational Commission on Excellence in Education recommended new directions infive broad areas, one of which was labeled Teaching and defined as "intended toimprove the preparation of teachers or to make teaching a more rewarding andrespected profession" (p. 30). An important aspect of teaching effectiveness is that ofteacher preparation. While certainly not the only factor contributing to success inteaching, many educators believe that teacher education is critical to the quality ofteachers who enter the marketplace. The focus of this paper is on the internshipphase of teacher training, the period in which individuals learn to be teachers andfirst enter schools as teachers.
Socialization has been defined as "the process by which people selectively acquirethe values and attitudes, the interests, skills and knowledgein short the culturecurrent in groups to which they are, or seek to become a member" (Merton, et al.,1957). Primary socialization is that which occurs from birth, the process by which achild becomes a part of society, while secondary socialization is "any subsequentprocess that inducts an already socialized individual into new sectors of the objectiveworld of his society" (Berger & Luckmann, 1966, p. 130). As college/universitystudents become teachers, they experience a process of secondary socialization whichtakes two forms: (1) occupational or role socialization, and (2) organizationalsocialization.
Prospective teachers experience a decision-making period during which they makea commitment to enter the teaching profession, to become members of the occupa-tional group known as teachers. To do so is to agree to learn the role, to acquire therequisite skills and knowledge necessary to teach, and to become a part of the cultureof teachers, that is, to think and feel and join the world of teachers. As such, onenecessary dimension of teacher socialization is that of occupational learning(Wanous, 1977).
A second component of teacher socialization is that of organizational socialization.In the structure of American society, the educational system is a social institution inwhich people learn through interaction with others (Bassett & Smythe, 1979). Thus,most instruction occurs within the context of schools, which are organizations in theirown right. Van Maanen (1976) has defined organizational socialization as "theprocess by which a person learns the values, norms and required behaviors whichpermit him to participate as a member of the organization" (p. 67). In addition tolearning how to teach, the socialization process also entails an individual becoming amember of the particular organization, becoming a part of the school system in whichhe or she teaches. Organizational socialization involves the new teacher learning both
Ann Q. Staton-Spicer, Department of Speech Communication DL-15, University of Washington,Seattle; Washington 98195, 206-543-4860.Ann L. Darting, Department of Speech Communication, University of WashingtonThe authors wish to thank Dave Games for his conscientious contributions to this study.
COMMUNICATION EDUCATION, Volume 35, July 1986
the culture of the school as well as his or her individual role within the school (Louis,1980).
Teacher socialization must be viewed, then, as complex and multifaceted. Theway one chooses to examine it is inextricably tied to the model of socialization towhich one adheres. Traditionally, teacher socialization has been viewed from afunctionalist perspective, a model in which "socialization fits the individual tosociety" (Lacey, 1977, p. 18), one in which people are considered as empty vessels,and one which takes a deterministic view of the individual in society (Parsons,1951).
In his excellent review of key processes in the socialization of student teachers,Zeichner (1980) identifies seven factors that serve as socializing influences: earlychildhood, peers, persons with evaluative power, pupils, persons in lateral roles,classroom ecology, and teacher subculture and the bureaucratic structure of theschools. Because of the variety of factors identified as important socializing agents inthis body of research, much of it can be viewed as disparate. The unifying thread,however, is that the various influences are seen as acting upon the preservice orbeginning teachers in a linear fashion. For example, a variety of research hasexamined attitudes and predispositions of persons before and after teacher training(Day, 1959; Hoy, 1968; Jacobs, 1968; Kremer & Moore, 1978; Mahan & Lacefield,1978; Muus, 1969), and before and after the early teaching experiences (Kuhlman &Hoy, 1974; McArthur, 1978; McArthur, 1979). When changes are found to occur,they are attributed to the influences Zeichner identified, such as the cooperatingteacher or the school bureaucracy. These functionalist studies have provided insightsabout important socializing influences and changes that may occur, but have not beenas helpful in our understanding of what actually occurs during socialization.
An alternative perspective to that of functionalism is what Lacey (1977) refers toas a conflict model of socialization and Zeichner (1980) terms a dialectical model.Lacey views socialization as going beyond the simple explanations provided by thefunctionalists, and presents it as "a more complex, interactive, negotiated, provi-sional process. The model. . . also stresses the importance of man as a creative force,as a searcher for solutions and as possessing a considerable potential to shape thesociety in which he lives" (p. 22). In this perspective people cannot be viewed aspassive recipients of external socializing forces. As Zeichner states, the "dialecticalmodels of the socialization process focus on the constant interplay between individu-als and the institutions into which they are socialized" (p. 2).
Research on teacher socialization grounded in the dialectical perspective isbeginning to emerge. Friebus (1977), in an interview study of teacher trainees,concluded that preservice teachers are active agents in their own socialization.Tabachnick, Popkewitz, and Zeichner (1980) examined the student internship as aforum for exploring "students' developing beliefs about teaching and about them-selves as teachers" during socialization (p. 12). Gehrke (1981) conducted a five-yearstudy to "generate a grounded theory of the way teachers adapt the teacher role tomeet their own needs (role personalization), while at the same time being socializedto the role demanded by others" (p. 34). More recently, Zeichner and Tabachnick(1984) studied four beginning teachers to understand "the interplay of individualintent and institutional constraint during entry into the teaching role" (p. 5).
The assumptions of our study are congruent with these four studies. We viewteacher socializat