Learning to Teach: A Self-study of a New Teacher Educator's Introductory Education Course

Nov. 10, 2010

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Volume 6, Issue 3, November 2010 , pages 227 – 234.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This self-study addresses the author's experiences as a new teacher educator learning to teach in an introductory foundations course.

The author was interested in exploring elemental questions with which many educators struggle daily:
How and what can I learn from the complexity of my own early teaching?
How can I learn from my students?
What are my assumptions and goals regarding how beginning students of teaching learn best?

The author wanted to encourage her students to recognize and grapple with the complexities and dilemmas of educational ideas.

Shaping Practice through Transformational Teaching and Learning

The author used Freirian orientation to transformational learning.
Freire (1972) used the term transformation to describe the personal changes that occur in a problem-posing approach to education. In problem-posing education, learning is the continuous process centered on the dialogue between teacher and pupils. The teacher is also a student and the students are also teachers.

Research Method
More than 100 college students participated in this two-year self-study.

Data sources related to course development included course materials such as the author's written reflections and summaries of class sessions, changes in syllabi, assignments and activities, and student feedback on course evaluations.
Data sources related to student outcomes included course assignments such as students' reflective journals, papers, and critical incident reports, as well as the author's comments on students' journals and papers.

Using a transformational framework (Freire, 1972, 1998), two key themes emerged: developing voice, and the tension between accountability and authenticity.

Learning about Intention and Action: Struggling to balance accountability and authenticity

One of the author's intentions was to help her students develop as learners in an authentic way that grappled with the complexity of the educational process. However, the author was required to adhere to course content, preparation for state teacher testing, and coherence within the program. Accountability issues challenged her ability to teach authentically.

What Have I Learned?

The author concludes the lessons she learned.
The author recognizes the implications of her modeling reflective practice for the students.

Furthermore, the author also learned that the process of developing voice has implications beyond modeling for students. An important part of developing her own voice required to speak up and express her ideas, even if she has to confront her colleagues in order advocate for beneficial program change.

Freire, P. Reed, R. and Johnson, T. (eds) (1972) Pedagogy of the oppressed. Philosophical documents in education. pp. 188-198. 2nd ed., Longman , New York.
Freire, P. (1998) Teachers as cultural workers: Letters to those who dare to teach. Westview Press , Boulder, CO.

Updated: Feb. 06, 2011