Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Whitmore, Kathryn F

First Committee Member

Fielding, Linda G

Second Committee Member

Herman, Ellen

Third Committee Member

Williams, Rachel

Fourth Committee Member

Carrillo Rowe, Aimee


This longitudinal qualitative study examined how four preservice elementary teachers used language to construct professional identities, learn within relationships, and take risks in the classroom during their final three semesters in teacher education coursework and field experiences. My female participants were former students of mine in the same section of Methods of Elementary School Reading and Language Arts. We developed rapport and established relationships with each other that revolved around our class experiences, including many critical discussions about teachers, teaching, and literacy. I employed feminist methods to maintain our established relationships by participating in conversations, meeting with small groups of participants, and developing shared meanings of teaching. An over arching question explored in conversations was how preservice teachers negotiated Discourses of teaching when coursework and field experiences offered new and often conflicting examples of teaching and teachers.

The primary data source was conversation transcripts. Secondary data sources included participant generated documents and researcher generated documents for triangulation purposes. Analysis was multi-layered and included content analysis using N*6 computer software and Discourse Analysis questions. Analysis yielded five overarching codes: Nonteacher Identities, Teacher Identities, Relationships with Others, Discourses of Teachers, and Discourses of Teaching. Further analysis included locating I-statements and we-statements to link language with identities and relationships, respectively. Agency Tracing was introduced to historically trace agency in longitudinal language data. These four preservice teachers negotiated nonteacher and teacher identities to construct productive professional identities, learned to become teachers while embedded in relationships during their teacher education coursework and field experiences, and took risks during their culminating field experiences. This study reconceptualized agency to include five elements of rehearsals: hours of talk, supportive listeners, frustration, awareness of educational contexts, and appropriate timing to implement actions.


agency, discourse, identity, language, preservice teacher, relationships


2, ix, 220 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 214-220).


Copyright 2010 Anne Swenson Ticknor