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Talking Into the Profession: Problem-Based and Evidence-Driven Conversations Between Preservice Teachers
Unformatted Document Text:  AACTE Proposal: 2006 Section I: ContentA. Statement of the IssueToday, teachers are seen as the major force behind the goals of improving students’ learning, meeting standards, improving test performance, and closing the achievement gap (NCTAF, 1996, 1997, 2003). The best defense, say scholars and practitioners, against students’ academic failure is excellent instruction from an exemplary teacher. Because of the public nature of these priorities, increasing attention is being paid to the efficacy of preservice teacher education models, structures, and strategies and the role they play in the professional development of beginning teachers. In teacher preparation programs across the country, preservice teachers are asked to develop a unified conception of teaching through their education courses, school-based field experiences and readings in a relatively short amount of time (Arends & Winitzky, 1996; Cochran-Smith, 1991; Wilson, Floden, & Ferrini-Mundy, 2001). The goal of learning to teach so students learn comes with a need to sufficiently address several intertwining strands about teaching and learning. These strands include gaining a sufficient understanding of instructional strategies and subject matter, an understanding of how to address students' individual differences, the knowledge of formative and summative assessment practices that guide students' learning over time, and a comprehension of the ways ongoing collaborations with teaching colleagues, school administrators, and parents can provide the necessary supports for students, particularly those who are not succeeding (Darling-Hammond & Youngs, 2002; Hill, 2000; McDiarmid, 1990; Walsh, 2001). The need to understand these interlocking strands of teacher knowledge creates a complex arena for teacher candidates to learn how to teach. This is a cognitively challenging task and makes learning to teach a difficult process that will likely raise many problems and dissonances for teacher candidates. This interactive presentation will feature data and analysis from a longitudinal study of thirty-four graduate-level pre-service teachers who engaged in problem-and-evidence based conversations in about their instruction and students’ learning over a one-year period. The focus of the study was to examine the interactions between pre-service teacher groups as they worked to approach the self-identified problems that surfaced during their initial practicum and student teaching experiences. Participants in the study brought a self-identified problem, a teaching videotape, and accompanying artifacts (teacher lesson plans and student work) to support these conversations. A central goal of the study was to examine the discourse processes that supported pre-service teachers’ engagement in such problem-based conversations. The analysis of the data explored the following questions: (1) Given their limited experience, how do pre-service teachers negotiate their problems through evidence-based conversations? How do they talk about subject matter, pedagogy, assessment, classroom management, student work, and other aspects of teaching and learning? (2) What kinds of knowledge about teachers’ instruction and decision-making emerge and are voiced through these problem-based conversations? (3) What kinds of knowledge about student learning emerge and are voiced during such conversations?, and (4) What factors support or constrain the participants’ sense-making through these problem-based conversations? B. Literature Review

Authors: Miller, Matthew.
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AACTE Proposal: 2006
Section I: Content
A. Statement of the Issue
Today, teachers are seen as the major force behind the goals of improving students’ learning,
meeting standards, improving test performance, and closing the achievement gap (NCTAF,
1996, 1997, 2003). The best defense, say scholars and practitioners, against students’ academic
failure is excellent instruction from an exemplary teacher. Because of the public nature of these
priorities, increasing attention is being paid to the efficacy of preservice teacher education
models, structures, and strategies and the role they play in the professional development of
beginning teachers.
In teacher preparation programs across the country, preservice teachers are asked to develop a
unified conception of teaching through their education courses, school-based field experiences
and readings in a relatively short amount of time (Arends & Winitzky, 1996; Cochran-Smith,
1991; Wilson, Floden, & Ferrini-Mundy, 2001). The goal of learning to teach so students learn
comes with a need to sufficiently address several intertwining strands about teaching and
learning. These strands include gaining a sufficient understanding of instructional strategies and
subject matter, an understanding of how to address students' individual differences, the
knowledge of formative and summative assessment practices that guide students' learning over
time, and a comprehension of the ways ongoing collaborations with teaching colleagues, school
administrators, and parents can provide the necessary supports for students, particularly those
who are not succeeding (Darling-Hammond & Youngs, 2002; Hill, 2000; McDiarmid, 1990;
Walsh, 2001). The need to understand these interlocking strands of teacher knowledge creates a
complex arena for teacher candidates to learn how to teach. This is a cognitively challenging task
and makes learning to teach a difficult process that will likely raise many problems and
dissonances for teacher candidates.
This interactive presentation will feature data and analysis from a longitudinal study of thirty-
four graduate-level pre-service teachers who engaged in problem-and-evidence based
conversations in about their instruction and students’ learning over a one-year period. The focus
of the study was to examine the interactions between pre-service teacher groups as they worked
to approach the self-identified problems that surfaced during their initial practicum and student
teaching experiences. Participants in the study brought a self-identified problem, a teaching
videotape, and accompanying artifacts (teacher lesson plans and student work) to support these
conversations.
A central goal of the study was to examine the discourse processes that supported pre-service
teachers’ engagement in such problem-based conversations. The analysis of the data explored the
following questions: (1) Given their limited experience, how do pre-service teachers negotiate
their problems through evidence-based conversations? How do they talk about subject matter,
pedagogy, assessment, classroom management, student work, and other aspects of teaching and
learning? (2) What kinds of knowledge about teachers’ instruction and decision-making emerge
and are voiced through these problem-based conversations? (3) What kinds of knowledge about
student learning emerge and are voiced during such conversations?, and (4) What factors support
or constrain the participants’ sense-making through these problem-based conversations?
B. Literature Review


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