Be(com)ing Language (student) Teachers In A Tesol Practicum

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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images of teaching
language teacher identity
student teacher identity
Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education
Teacher Education and Professional Development
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Lewis, Kristina Beth

During teacher education, student teachers work towards becoming teachers; they are socialized into the ways of talking, acting, and thinking that “teachers” do. The practicum experience represents a unique period when student teachers are both becoming teachers and, in the classrooms where they work, being teachers. This study explored this hybrid process of be(com)ing by examining the interplay between language student teachers’ socialization and identity formation within and across the contexts of a TESOL Practicum semester. I theorized images of language teachers and language teaching as a way of looking at the sets of ideas about what it means to be and act as teachers, and I traced how these emerged in relation to specific activities and in student teachers’ talk across multiple practicum contexts. Drawing on ethnographic, discourse analytic, and collaborative inquiry methods, this study closely examined the experiences of eight focal student teacher participants.I show how student teachers storied their experiences of becoming language teachers by drawing on various past experiences and aligning these with the images of teachers they themselves were trying to be(come). Next, I provide an analysis of three images of language teachers/language teaching that emerged as salient to the student teachers during their practicum, describing how they sought to be creative, to utilize TESOL pedagogical methods, and to be student-centered teachers. I discuss the tensions that student teachers had to negotiate as they made sense of themselves in relation to each of these images. Finally, I demonstrate how talking about the activity of a teaching demonstration surfaced not simply methodological choices, but also questions and transformations of student teachers’ identities. Ultimately, I argue for a practicum—and (language) teacher education program— centered on issues of identity and committed to raising student teachers’ critical awareness of the underlying images of teachers and teaching that drive both their practice and the practice of (language) teacher education.

Nelson Flores
Betsy R. Rymes
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