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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Cheryl Henderson Almeda
Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Composing Ourselves: Utilizing Literacy Narratives to Promote Knowledge and Reflection in Preservice Secondary English Teachers
Dr. Jonathan Bush, Chair
Dr. Karen Vocke
Dr. Ellen Brinkley
Dr. Janet Alsup
Date: Friday, November 5, 2010 10:00 a.m. to Noon
2033 Brown Hall
This research entails examining and interrogating the literacy narratives written by six preservice secondary English teachers before their first semester of teaching. After writing their literacy narratives, these teachers worked together in two focus groups to consider, celebrate, and interrogate their memories they recorded in their narratives. They shared conversations which focused on their reflections, their teaching strategies, and the ideas they embraced as newly forming teachers.
This study considers claims made by Dewey (1933), Lortie (1975), Schulman (1986), and others, who emphasize the importance of learning through observation and the intuitive nature of reflective learning and teaching. This project examines and interrogates the indelible impressions gained through preservice teachers’ years of learning as students first, long before they began to see themselves as teachers. This study considers how age and experience add to one’s knowledge of teaching, and how conversations surrounding teachers’ memories can enhance a person’s perceptions of what ideas and practices might work best in his or her future secondary English classroom. The research also examines the thoughtful consideration of the ideas and practices which might better be left behind.
This project offers an inside look at how the experiences preservice teachers first have as students impact their memories and, ultimately, affect their teaching beliefs and practices. Finally, this study informs teacher educators about how using literacy narratives in their methods classrooms and then creating learning communities comprised of preservice teachers to interrogate those narratives can have a positive impact on the shaping and training of English Language Arts educators.