Date of Award

5-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Teacher Education and Teacher Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Monica Taylor

Committee Member

Jeremy Price

Committee Member

Kathryn Herr

Subject(s)

Literacy--Study and teaching (Early childhood), Student teachers--Training

Abstract

This qualitative practitioner action research study examines the process of a teacher educator’s attempt to prepare three preservice teachers to be critical literacy educators. Prior to the study, the teacher educator and the three preservice teachers took part in a critical literacy workshop where they unpacked their relationship with literacy and power. The three preservice teachers then worked together to co-construct a Junk Art Club with the teacher educator for kindergarten, first-, and second-graders. Through the co-planning and co-constructing of a Junk Art Club, the study sought to answer the following questions: What happens when I, an early childhood teacher educator, scaffold the teaching of critical literacy with three preservice teachers as we facilitate a Junk Art Club with kindergarten, first-, and second-grade students and what evidence is there, if any, that the critical literacy conceptualizations previously constructed in their critical literacy workshop support their enactment of critical literacy teaching in the Junk Art Club? and: How does providing feedback, instruction, explanations, and questions for the preservice teachers support the enactment of critical literacy teaching as they increasingly facilitate the Junk Art Club (JAC)? The data, which consisted of participants’ journals, the teacher educator’s journal and field notes, artifacts from the workshop and JAC sessions, transcripts of JAC planning meetings, club sessions, and debriefing meetings, was coded using the constant comparative method of analysis (Merriam, 2009). Initially data charts were created with open codes, then common codes, and finally themes. The findings suggest that critically unpacking the teacher educator’s and preservice teacher’s identity was essential in the process of becoming critically literate. During the critical literacy workshop the teacher educator and the preservice teachers utilized emotions as a learning tool and began to heal from the negative impact of literacy messages that had influenced their sense of self and others. The findings also suggested that the lived experience (Dewey, 1938) was integral to the process of the teacher educator’s and preservice teachers’ journey to becoming critical literacy educators. The lived experience of the critically literacy workshop and Junk Art Club provided the teacher educator and the preservice teachers the opportunity to learn through the experience of unpacking their relationship with literacy and power and co-constructing a Junk Art Club. Finally, the findings suggested that the preservice teachers process of becoming critical literacy educators was an individualized process. The implication of the study points to the importance of utilizing a pedagogy of critical vulnerability in preparing preservice teachers to be critical literacy educators. The pedagogy of critical vulnerability theorizes that preparing preservice teachers to be critically literate requires, teacher educator vulnerability, learning through emotions and healing, and utilizing the lived experience as a learn tool through co-planning and constructing critical literacy education for students. The implications reaffirmed the need to embed critical literacy education throughout teacher education programs and conduct future research investigating innovative approaches to prepare preservice teachers to be critical literacy educators.

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