Preservice teacher beliefs about teaching language arts and literacy
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Preservice Teacher Beliefs about Teaching Language and Literacy describes the findings of a qualitative study conducted with a Junior/Intermediate language arts methods course in a Faculty of Education at a University in Northern Ontario. The study was conducted in two phases. The participants in the first phase consisted of one cohort of 39 preservice teachers; the second phase consisted of eight participants drawn from phase one. Data sources included personal history accounts, term reports, reflection papers, lesson plans, learning journals and transcribed focus group interviews. The data were emergent and a constant comparitive method was used for analysis. Phase One findings are presented holistically while Phase Two findings are presented as three case studies. The findings indicated that preservice teachers have multiple assumptions and beliefs about literacy teaching and learning when entering the teacher education program and that these are informed by a variety of influences, prior to their admission to and during their studies in the Bachelor of Education program. Findings also indicate that preservice teachers can identify their entering beliefs when given opportunities to do so and that those beliefs are amenable to change in linear as well as cyclical ways as a result of in-course and across course learnings and experiences and field components of the program as well as through opportunities for reflection.