Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Early Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

Kathryn Laframboise, Ph.D.

Keywords

Preservice teacher education, Writing teachers, Belief development, Case study, Writing apprehension

Abstract

My study examined the belief development of three preservice teachers as they learned to teach writing in a one-semester elementary writing methods course. I also sought to identify significant episodes that contributed to the preservice teachers' belief development. Two questions guided my inquiry: How do preservice teachers' beliefs about writing and the teaching of writing develop while enrolled in an elementary writing methods course? and What episodes do preservice teachers, who are enrolled in an elementary writing methods course, view as significant in helping them negotiate their beliefs about writing and writing instruction? I collected survey data, conducted a series of in-depth interviews, and completed 12 classroom observations.I employed stratified purposeful sampling strategy to select three case study participants with varied orientations toward writing instruction: Skylar, Natasha, and Samantha. I developed three case study descriptions and conducted

cross-case analysis.The belief development of all three case study participants moved toward a process-orientation of writing instruction by the end of the semester, which was the observed orientation of the instructor in the writing methods course. The three preservice teachers identified learning experiences that required the application of information from readings and class meetings as significant in their belief development: shared writing assignment and in-class writing time and creation of an original publishable piece of writing.The case study participants varied in their application of author's craft language that matched their emerging process-oriented beliefs. The experiences of these three preservice teachers suggest that preservice teachers acquire the ability to recognize teacher behaviors the match their beliefs about writing instruction before their ability to apply the language to accompany emerging beliefs develops. The acquisition of professional discourse matchin

g emerging beliefs varied depending on the readiness level of the individual.Teacher educators should consider intentionally designing writing methods courses to include assignments and experiences that involve the application of presented information and developing understandings as a means to foster belief development. Teacher educators might create situations that allow preservice teachers to apply author's craft language so that they grow in their ability to talk the talk of a writing teacher. The development of professional discourse is a marker of membership in any community of practice. As preservice teachers work to gain entry into the teaching profession, it should be expected that their ability to apply language of that community develop along a continuum.

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