Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Teaching and Learning
Linda G. Fielding
Research about preservice teachers' beliefs indicates that the educational beliefs they have developed over time will have an impact on not only how they respond to the various experiences they have while enrolled in a teacher education program, but also their receptiveness to future professional development opportunities. I investigated the developing and emerging beliefs regarding reading and its instruction of four preservice elementary teachers during their participation in two university reading methods courses and the accompanying field-based experiences in the elementary teacher education program that was the site of my study. Two purposes framed the qualitative, longitudinal design of my study. One purpose was to examine the participants' prior, university-, and field-based experiences with reading and its instruction and the meaning they attached to these experiences. The second purpose was to learn how the participants incorporated into their developing belief systems as teachers of reading the various conceptions regarding reading development and its instruction they brought to and encountered during their university coursework and field experiences. Data sources included interviews, archival documents from the courses (reading philosophies, belief survey and autobiographical reading histories), reading expert surveys, reflexive philosophies and personal pedagogies. Results, presented in portraits for each participant, indicated that the participants created fictive images of the teachers they wanted to be that served as the lenses through which they interpreted both their university- and field-based experiences that were the focus of my study. When discussing their action agendas for teaching reading in the future, each participant relied on the fictive image she had created of herself as a teacher of reading. Consistent with existing research in this area, prior and field-based experiences with reading and its instruction seemed more influential in the development of these preservice teachers' beliefs than were the reading "methods of teaching" courses or instructors. A key implication, consistent with the National Commission on Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation for Reading Instruction (2003, 2007) recommendations, is for teacher educators to operate from and enact a clear vision of what reading instruction consists of across the elementary grade levels and content areas.
Copyright 2009 Deanna Mariea Floy Stoube