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  • Guiding Preservice Teachers to Critically Reflect:

    Toward a Renewed Sense about English Learners by

    Amy Michele Markos

    A Dissertation in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree

    Doctor of Philosophy

    Approved April 2011 by the Graduate Supervisory Committee:

    M. Beatriz Arias, Chair Christian Faltis Sarah Hudelson Terrence Wiley

    ARIZONA STATE UNIVIERSITY

    May 2011

  • ii

    ABSTRACT

    The purpose of this practitioner inquiry was to explore the use of Guided

    Critical Reflection (GCR) in preparing preservice teachers for English learners (ELs).

    As a teacher researcher, I documented, analyzed, and discussed the ways in which

    students in my course used the process of GCR to transform their passively held

    understandings about ELs. Specifically, the research questions were: 1) What are

    preservice teachers common sense about teaching and learning related to ELs? 2)

    How does GCR transform preservice teachers common sense about ELs? 3) What

    is my role as an educator in creating opportunities for GCR?

    I utilized methods for data collection that fit my teaching practices. Data

    sources included three types of observations (self-reflective field notes, audio

    recordings of each class, and notes documented by an outside observer), student-

    work artifacts, and my audio reflection journal. I analyzed data inductively and

    deductively using a modified analytic induction approach.

    Building on previous research concerning the use of reflection in teacher

    preparation, I define GCR as the process in which I guided preservice teachers to

    acknowledge and examine their common sense about ELs, reframe what they know

    in light of course learning, and transform their understandings. Five major findings

    emerged from this study. First, preservice teachers entered the course with common

    sense notions about ELs rooted in their educational and life experiences. Students

    felt comfortable sharing what they knew about ELs, but needed to be scaffolded to

    examine how their life experiences shaped their common sense. Within the course,

    preservice teachers framed and reframed their common sense in different ways.

  • iii

    Through the process of GCR, students evidenced a renewed sense about ELs.

    Finally, my role as a teacher involved establishing a comfortable learning

    environment, valuing my students common sense as the catalyst for course learning,

    and guiding students through their reflective work. Ultimately, I was able to create

    opportunities for GCR because I too was reflecting on my practices, just as I was

    asking my students to reflect on their common sense about ELs.

  • iv

    To Tony,

    For your endless encouragement, patience, and support. You are my best friend. I love you.

    To Olivia and Max,

    For enduring the many hours I spent away from home, yet still showering me with hugs and kisses each time I arrived or left.

    To my parents,

    For your love and care. Because who I am and what I am passionate about started long ago.

    To my students,

    For your vulnerability to share your learning with me, while at the same time teaching me about my own. Thank you for your willingness to join me on this

    journey, to live in the gray, and to get tangled in your thinking.

  • v

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    Get over your hill and see what you find there Mumford and Sons

    Getting over the hill of this dissertation was a challenging journey, one that I

    could not have traveled on my own. I was fortunate to be supported by many who

    facilitated my journey, who walked ahead of me, and who walked beside me.

    First, I want to thank my husband, Tony, an amazing husband, father, and

    friend. Your support and kindness knew no bounds. Like always, you made meals,

    grocery shopped, played with the kids, maintained the house, and handled the bills.

    In addition, you listened to my ideas, fears, and celebrations. You inquired about my

    progress and encouraged me to move forward. You allowed me time away for

    writing, even days at a time. You made financial sacrifices so that this dream could

    be a reality. This journey was hard for me, but it was hard for you too. Thank you

    for sustaining me and keeping our relationship and our family intact. To Olivia and

    Max, a thousand sorries in advance for any scars my time at work has left on your

    young hearts.

    I want to acknowledge my family. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for always

    asking about my work and empathizing with my process. Thank you to my sister,

    Lindsey, for your hours of babysitting and being available at the drop of a hat.

    Thank you to my mother-in-law, Angie, for vacationing at our home for weeks at a

    time to take over my motherly roles and responsibilities. You allowed me to sneak

    away to work guilt-free knowing my kids were having a blast with their grandma. To

    everyone else in my family and in my OB family, thank you for your words of

    encouragement and praise.

  • vi

    Thank you to those who have guided me from ahead, my advisor, Beatriz

    Arias, and committee members, Christian Faltis, Sarah Hudelson, and Terrence

    Wiley. Beatriz, thank you for being my mentor, my teacher, my friend. Thank you

    for fueling my passion for reflection and preparing teachers for ELs; for bringing me

    alongside your work while for making a space for mine; and for modeling how to

    juggle being a wife, a mother, and a scholar. Chris, ten years ago you were one of the

    first teachers to show me that learning does not have to be routine, and in fact, is

    more powerful when it is not. Sarah, you taught me that teaching and learning are

    about relationships; recently you showed me how to learn from those relationships

    to better my teaching and my students learning. Chris and Sarah, I am blessed to

    have two of my undergraduate professors on my committee; thank you for sticking

    with me for so long. Terry, thank you for teaching me that in order to move

    forward, one must see the realities of a situation while maintaining a sense of humor.

    Thank you to the fellow graduate students who walked by my side: Melissa,

    my fellow rock star, thank you for always having a song to share; Jayne, thanks for

    your willingness to make the final push together, for moving us Onward!; and

    Silvia, thanks for making me laugh and amazing us all with your brilliance. Susanna,

    while I gained many things from this process, our friendship was the best,

    unexpected outcome. Thank you for helping me to become a better writer, to stay

    hopeful, to believe in myself. I look forward to furthering our friendship as this

    journey ends and another begins.

    I am also grateful to the graduate college for the fellowship and financial

    resources supporting this research.

  • vii

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Page

    LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................... xv

    LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................... xvi

    INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................... 1

    Vignette: I love ELs ...................................................................................................... 1

    Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 3

    Rationale .............................................................................................................................. 5

    Arizona Context. ........................................................................................................... 6

    Arizonas Curriculum in Comparison to the Literature. ......................................... 7

    My Study ........................................................................................................................... 10

    LITERATURE, THEORY, AND FRAME.................................................................... 12

    Overview of Chapter Two ............................................................................................. 12

    Literature on Preparing All Teachers for ELs ................................................................. 13

    Experience with Language Diversity ............................................................................ 14

    A Positive Attitude Towards Linguistic Diversity ...................................................... 14

    Knowledge Related to ELs............................................................................................. 16

    Knowledge of the Connections Between Language, Culture, and Identity. ...... 16

    Knowledge of EL Students, Families, and Communities. .................................... 17

    Knowledge Related to Second Language Acquisition ................................................ 18

    Differences and Similarities Between L1 and L2 Acquisition. ............................. 18

  • viii

    Page

    The Role of L1 in Developing L2. ........................................................................... 19

    Skills for Simultaneously Promoting Content and Language Learning ...

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