A Teacher Educator Writes and Shares: Student Perceptions of a Publicly Literate Life

Jun. 10, 2009

Source: Journal of Teacher Education, V. 60 No. 3, p. 338-350 (May/June 2009). (Reviewed by the Portal Team)

A literature review reveals limited information regarding the modeling of authentic writing practices by teacher educators for their students. This study examines the effect of the author’s modeling processes as evidenced by education students’ assessments of his courses. The author addresses the particular question, what benefits do his students perceive receiving from his personal literacy practices in class?

Participants and Settings

To examine his particular question, he collected data from 75 preservice and in-service teachers enrolled in four different courses. Their racial makeup was as follows: 60 European American (80%), 7 African American (9.3%), 4 Asian American (5.3%), and 4 Latino/Latina (5.3%).

The first three courses were undergraduate methods courses on the teaching of reading, writing, and/or language arts in elementary schools. The students were juniors or seniors who were taking the courses prior to student teaching (Ns = 18, 24, and 20, respectively).
The fourth course was a graduate-level course on the teaching of writing, taken by both in-service teachers who were working on advanced degrees and preservice students who had completed student teaching and were now moving into year-long masters’ internships in public schools (N = 13).

The author analyzed data using a grounded approach to document their perceptions of the benefits of his in-class writing and sharing of literacy work. Responses revealed perceptions of five primary benefits, underscoring both academic and affective components. Perceived academic benefits included the learning of skills, strategies, and methods that influence a teacher’s ability to address intellectual or technical aspects of classroom life. Perceived affective benefits included the enhancement of student motivation and the creation of a respectful, caring, and trustworthy learning community.

Reflection and Discussion

The comments of the respondents, particularly their more expansive focus on both the academic and affective influences of the author's modeling, suggest that they had begun to identify a more complex social Discourse in regard to those engaged in literate activities.


Updated: Oct. 20, 2009