Transformation of Preservice and New Teacher Literacy Identity: Three Transactional Dimensions
Author(s)Spitler, Ellen J.
Keywordscontent area literacy
teacher literacy identity
teacher professional development
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AbstractAdolescent literacy is currently viewed as in crisis. Moore (2002) argues that a focus on adolescent literate identity seems to be a key consideration when designing literacy instruction for secondary classrooms. This dissertation argues that in order for adolescents to develop a literate identity, their teachers should possess a literate identity.This phenomenological case study investigates the transformational paths nine developing teachers traversed as they "authored" their teacher literacy identity through a university content area literacy course, student teaching, and/or the induction period. "Authoring" includes both how the teachers represent their literacy identities in their writing and speaking, and how teachers do their literacy identities when enacting or performing (Moje, 2004) literacy instruction.Six instructional engagements completed by participants when they were students in a university content area literacy course comprise one data set. During student teaching and/or during their first or second year of teaching, three types of data were gathered: the Seidman (1998) three-interview series; a content area literacy lesson planning session; and an observation of each planned lesson. A phenomenological analysis (Merriam, 1998) guided the initial examination of the data. The data sets were analyzed using the constant comparative method (Bogdan & Biklen, 2007; Merriam, 1998).Teacher literacy identity is a previously unexplored construct. Based on a literature review and the voices of the participants, the following definition took shape: teacher literacy identity is a confident view of self as responsible for and in control of improving the literacy learning of self and the competency to enact engagements to guide the literacy learning of students. Teacher literacy identity consists of three transactional dimensions: the construct of literacy, the construct of literacy in practice, and the quality of the literacy enactment. Six major categories emerged to illustrate the phenomenon: identity, learning communities, personal agency, design of practice, literacy theories, and sources of dissonance.Implications of this exploration suggest that the investigation and documentation of developing teachers' literacy learning trajectories are worthy areas of further study. Moreover, a critical re-evaluation of teacher education and professional development in the support of teacher literacy identity deserves close attention.
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