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Title:"Where will we talk about these things next year, when we're not in this class anymore?": Exploring the role of community in teacher education
Author(s):Gilrane, Colleen Patricia
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bruce, Bertram C.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Sociology of
Education, Teacher Training
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to answer the question, "If students had the opportunity to construct a supportive, sense-making, teaching/learning community during their teacher education program, what would they do with it?" The study was guided by theory and research in the areas of sociolinguistics, cognitive psychology, whole language, discourse analysis, postmodernism, interpretive interactionism, phenomenology, and my own teaching practice.
Eighteen undergraduate students in teacher education and I spent a semester as members of a voluntary teaching/learning community. Audio tapes and transcripts from meetings, hard copies of electronic mail messages, and letters were analyzed using a constant-comparative analysis guided by the theories above.
What the group did, predominantly, was tell stories. The analogy of painting a portrait is useful in understanding the phenomenon of our community. The canvas on which the portrait was painted is that of our student lives, which provided the basis for many of the stories we shared with each other. Storytelling, itself, provides the frame for the picture. The features of the portrait are the things we told stories about, the things we cared about as a community: being good teachers, being connected to each other, and being treated as persons of value. An analysis of these features revealed four patterns that were important to the development of the teaching/learning community: voluntary participation, members supporting each other, multi-stage membership, and the creation of a hybrid personal/professional discourse.
This particular constellation of characteristics encouraged autonomy and self-directedness in members of the group, allowed the opportunity to view teaching situations from different vantage points, and created a space for moving back and forth between personal and professional discourses in order to grapple with important ideas. New questions indicated by this study include how to institutionalize teaching/learning communities without sacrificing their voluntary and supportive natures; how to organize student experiences in ways that manage the tension between the cohesiveness necessary to build support and the diversity necessary to include a variety of experiences; and how to encourage the use of different discourses in predominantly academic settings.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Gilrane, Colleen Patricia
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9503196
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9503196

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