Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Jane H. Applegate

Keywords

Classroom Literacy, Experience, Reading, Story, Teacher Education, Transaction

Abstract

Situated in a transactional paradigm, connections between the constructs of meaning and experience in both teacher education and reading in English education guided my construction of a theoretical framework called Classroom Literacy. This framework extends Rosenblatt's Transactional Theory of Reading (1978, 1994, 2005), broadens the concept of text to include the verbal and non-verbal communicative signs related to the context of the classroom, and positions teachers as "readers" of their classrooms as texts. The Classroom Literacy theoretical framework guided my thinking as I re-conceptualized three persistent problems in learning to teach (Hammerness, Darling-Hammond, Bransford, Berliner, Cochran-Smith, McDonald, & Zeichner, 2005)--an apprenticeship of observation (Lortie, 1975), complexity (Jackson, 1968, 1990), and enactment (Kennedy, 1999; Simon, 1980)--in light of research on literacy and Rosenblatt's Transactional Theory of Reading in order to understand how two beginning English teachers made meaning from classroom events and how I, the researcher, made meaning from research events. To address research questions, I collected the stories participants lived and told about their second-year (2010-2011) teaching experiences through interviews, documented participant-researcher conversations, participants' writings, classroom observations, and field notes. To contextualize these field texts, I considered archival data from the stories participants lived and told during their university coursework and full-time teaching internships (January 2008-May 2009).

The research story I present in this study was constructed as I moved through six phases of data analysis. It focuses on the connections between the participants' and the researcher's meaning-making and demonstrates that: 1)story connected a narrative mode of reasoning (Bruner, 1986) to a transactional paradigm (Dewey & Bentley, 1949; Rosenblatt, 1978, 1994, 2005) and created a space in which each made meaning from experiences; 2) making connections through stories reflected and aided an understanding of self, others, and professional milieus; 3) stories demonstrated how meaning-making was guided by an individual's reservoir of prior experiences, knowledge, and language; 4) stories revealed how each meaning-maker referred to prior meanings made from "touchstone" events to guide her decision-making, ongoing meaning-making of experiences, and sense of self; and 5)stories demonstrated that as each meaning-maker read, she attended to both efferent and aesthetic meanings, yet each read, interpreted, and composed experiences as texts from her dominant stance or orientation toward those experiences. Meaning-making was a continuous construction of a conceptual text, simultaneously read and composed in situational context, guided by an individual's reservoir of knowledge, experiences, and language, and used for both framing a point of reference from which additional understanding was sought and a point of departure through which exploration and discovery was initiated.

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