Literacy at the secondary level : pre-service teachers' perceptions of characteristics and effective practices of exceptional educators / by Natalie Watkins.
Watkins, Natalie Bianca
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This study, Literacy at the Secondary Level: Characteristics and Effective Practices of Exceptional Educators, uses a mixed methods (concurrent nested strategy) approach to data collection through the use of a survey instrument to address the research question; “What are intermediate / senior teacher-candidates’ current views and perceptions of what qualities, characteristics, and strategies combine to make an exceptional educator of adolescent literacy?” A survey was completed by 110 participants from a Faculty of Education of a mid-sized university in Northern Ontario. Four major themes emerged from the data of this study. These themes were the teacher-candidates’ dissatisfaction with the Faculty’s mode of instruction/presentation of literacy information; their uncertainty with the Ontario Ministry of Education’s expectations through curriculum documents; their feelings of uncertainty with what resources were available to them with regards to literacy education; and the wide range of overall comprehension of literacy issues between their education at the Faculty and their practical teacher placement. The findings reflect an overall agreement that the approach to future literacy education, both policy and practice, should be altered to better support not just the students but the educators themselves. Some of the teacher-candidates believed that their time at the Faculty was largely wasted, while others were able to accumulate and practically apply much of the information gathered during their two terms. Current literacy methods and strategies were discussed from a number of perspectives, but a deeper understanding of their value and practical use was desired, as the pre-service teachers were exceptional at providing activities and methods but were lacking an in-depth discussion of their practical use.