social construction of preservice teachers’ instructional strategies for reading

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Washington State University Libraries ]On: 12 October 2014, At: 01:39Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T3JH, UK

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    Social construction ofpreservice teachersinstructional strategies forreadingCatherine O'Callaghan aa Curriculum and Teaching , Fordham Universityand St. Joseph's College , New YorkPublished online: 20 Jan 2010.

    To cite this article: Catherine O'Callaghan (2001) Social construction of preserviceteachers instructional strategies for reading, The Teacher Educator, 36:4, 265-281,DOI: 10.1080/08878730109555271

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08878730109555271

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  • SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF PRESERVICETEACHERS' INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES

    FOR READING

    Catherine O'CallaghanCurriculum and Teaching

    Fordham University and St. Joseph's College, New York

    AbstractThis multiple case study investigated the social construction of four

    female preservice teachers' instructional strategies for reading using sixvignettes of primary grade reading problems. Miles and Huberman's(1994) data reduction techniques were utilized.

    Cross-case analysis indicated that all participants engaged in increasedlevels of reflective thinking and procedural reasoning. In addition, twoparticipants also engaged in reflective thinking while teaching (Schon,1983). A skills orientation to reading was the predominant approach toinstruction. Only one participant shifted her theoretical orientation fromphonics to skills-based instruction.

    It was determined that all four participants' instructional strategies forreading were rooted in their own literacy histories. Finally, it washypothesized that engaging in narrative inquiry, coupled withinstructional problem solving, generated cognitive conflict amongparticipants. Increased cognitive conflict resulted in changes in preserviceteachers' reflection and procedural reasoning.

    As we begin a new century, teacher education is rapidly losing itsmomentum to respond to the paradigm of inquiry-based teaching(Sarason, 1993). This new paradigm calls for a reconceptualization ofteaching as a cognitive, reflective activity in which educators generatetheir own knowledge through problem solving and reflection inaction (Cochran, DeReuter, & King, 1993; Schon, 1987; Shulman,1986). Typically, preservice students' reflections relate to how theywere taught.

    In fact, literature shows that preservice teachers have internalizedimplicit theories about teaching "before" they began theirprofessional coursework (Holt-Reynolds, 1992; La Bosky, 1993;Zeichner &Tabachnick, 1981). Implicit theories regarding teachingand learning remain rooted in the preservice teachers pedagogicalknowledge base and may be elicited through narrative inquiry(Goodman, 1988; Johnson, 1988).

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  • Narrative inquiry provides the teacher educator with a windowinto the preservice teachers' life history (Bullough, 1992; Connelly &Clandinin, 1990). These life histories provide the conceptualframework preservice teachers have constructed along with thesociocultural context in which they are embedded (Provenzo,McCloskey, Kottkamp, & Cohn, 1989). The reflection anddiscussion that accompanies narrative inquiry including metaphorsalso empower the preservice teachers to analyze the life-forces thatshaped their pedagogical knowledge base (Bullough & Stokes, 1994).

    Specifically, reflective inquiry with narratives and teachingmetaphors enables preservice teachers to examine their implicittheories regarding pedagogy. In fact, examination of implicit theoriesaids in the solving of instructional situations (Johnson, 1988;Zeichner & Tabachnick, 1981). Because inquiry-based teaching isfocused on teaching defined as non-linear and ill-structured, itdemands a prerequisite, creative problem-solving demonstration innarrative inquiry and the use of metaphors in the teaching of reading(Leinhardt & Greeno, 1986). Narrative inquiry and teachingmetaphors empower the preservice teacher to analyze the ways theirpersonal life histories have affected their reading instructionalstrategies and their problem solving (Elbaz, 1981; Hollingsworth,1989; Knowles & Holt-Reynolds, 1991).

    Preservice teachers' early experiences with literacy shaped theirimplicit theories regarding reading instruction (Clay, 1992). Harste,Woodward, and Burke (1984) stated that the only way to changeteacher behavior is to change beliefs. Power (1991) ascertained thatpreservice teachers who experienced a skills-based theoreticalorientation as students may also espouse this approach in theirinstruction. Prior research determined that reflective inquiryfacilitated the analysis of preservice teachers' prior beliefs regardingreading instruction (Hynd & Guzzetti, 1993).

    In summary, reflective inquiry enables preservice teachers togenerate their own pedagogical knowledge base and to undertake ajourney into the self (Kagan, 1992). This reflection upon actionempowers preservice teachers to widen their repertoire ofinstructional strategies and thus affects their choices of novelsolutions for field problems in teaching reading.

    PurposeThe purpose of this investigation was to determine the following:

    (a) How does narrative inquiry elicit the implicit literacy theories and

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  • teaching metaphors of preservice teachers? and (b) What is the effectof narrative inquiry upon preservice teachers' instructional strategiesfor reading?

    Method

    ParticipantsFour seniors in a teacher education program at a small liberal arts

    college agreed to participate in this study. The participants wererandomly selected from the accessible population of 27 studentteachers, which consisted of only females. Their selection wasdesigned to reflect diversity in ethnicity, academic index, and age.Each preservice teacher is described below with a short biography aswell as her unique characteristics. Pseudonyms have been used toprotect the participants' privacy.

    Carmen. Carmen was a 49-year-old immigrant from Guyanawith a GPA of 3.5. She enrolled in college after raising two boys andone girl who played a major role in their mother's education. Due toher culture, Carmen was deprived of an education and was illiterateuntil her mid-20s when she began to teach herself to read bystudying her children's reading workbooks. Her own experiences withilliteracy have motivated Carmen to pursue her bachelor's degree andbecome a teacher.

    Rosa. Rosa was a 22-year-old Hispanic American with a GPA of2.8. She transferred to the college after obtaining an associate's degreein early childhood education at a nearby community college. Raisedby her mother, who worked as a nurse, Rosa experienced a warm,nurturing early childhood. Rosa decided to become a teacher afterworking part time in a nursery program.

    Debbie. Debbie was a 22-year-old Jewish American with a GPAof 3.4 who also transferred to the college after obtaining an associate'sdegree in early childhood education. She became motivated to teachafter experiencing the death of an 8-year-old girl she tutored. Herclose relationship with this girl fostered Debbie's love of teaching andprompted her to continue her education.

    Linda. The final participant, Linda was a 21-year-old ItalianAmerican with a GPA of 3.8. She graduated with departmentalhonors and was immediately employed by her local school district.Linda has l

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