Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Education

First Advisor

Abby Reisman

Abstract

This dissertation is motivated by the urgent uncertainty of teacher education pedagogy. The work is urgent because students and schools need teachers to be proficient, equitable, and self-sufficient from the moment they take the helm of the classroom, and it is uncertain because teacher education research has struggled to definitively articulate how most teacher educators teach and whether it affects teachers’ beliefs or practices in the long term. This uncertainty reflects the complexity of teaching and learning as well as the limitations of prior research on teacher education pedagogy, which has historically relied on small-scale self-studies in which teacher educators describe the workings of their own classrooms. Difficult to aggregate, disseminate, or evaluate, these studies often struggle to shed light on the broader field. In this dissertation, I compare the enacted practices of six secondary social studies and English Language Arts teacher educators at three institutions representing a range of pedagogical perspectives, and investigate the implications of those practices for teacher candidate learning. Data collection combined observations of teacher education coursework in six methods classes, with interviews with both teacher educators and candidates, as well as videos of teacher candidates’ teaching in the field. Analysis investigates three questions: How do teacher educators prompt candidates to engage in reflection about instructional practices? How does the discourse about practice construct images of students? And how do candidates take up teacher educators’ pedagogical content knowledge? The findings reveal that each methods course created its own imagined classroom, a projected space where novices and teacher educators constructed projections of teachers and students. The imagined classroom affords teacher educators substantial latitude to curate discussions of teaching, student learning, and the disciplines. Engaging in these projected spaces, novices appeared to internalize some elements of their instructors’ vision while retaining some of their own perspectives on teaching. Contrary to canards about education schools’ lack of rigor, this dissertation finds teacher educators and candidates engaged in nuanced reflective work. Further exploring the complexities of teacher learning and the challenges facing teacher educators will continue to support the systems responsible for developing future teachers.

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