Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Educational Foundations

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Ana María Villegas

Committee Member

Monica Taylor

Committee Member

Kathryn Herr

Subject(s)

Science teachers--Training of, High school teachers--Training of, First year teachers, Urban schools

Abstract

While research suggests that new teachers work to put into practice the pedagogy learned from their preservice preparation programs during their first year of teaching, they often resort to traditional, teacher-centered pedagogies even when prepared to use innovative practices, particularly in urban schools. Relatively little is known, however, about how this process of perpetuating traditional teaching occurs. Using a theoretical framework informed by equity-minded pedagogy and rhizomatics, this study investigates the question, “Given their common experiences of preservice preparation in a hybrid urban teacher education program, how do three first-year teachers negotiate their preprofessional learning within their new environments as they construct their practice?” To examine teaching as complex phenomena, I used methods underscored by postmodern perspectives, blending rhizomatic mapping and situational analysis to construct three case studies.

I found that despite engaging in different micro-level interactions within their respective classrooms and schools, the three teachers featured in this study built their teaching practices through multiple similar, recursive, connected, and contextually situated processes. These included modifying their preservice learning to fit their new school settings and students, negotiating with students for their participation in learning activities, and constructing and enacting teacher-selves. Elements within the teacher herself (e.g., her beliefs and background experiences); the classroom (e.g., students and physical space); the school (e.g., school leadership and particular school norms); and the larger district/state/national contexts (e.g., mandated curriculum and standardized tests) shaped these processes and ultimately, each teacher’s practices. These findings suggest that the relationship between pre-professional learning and classroom teaching is complex and non-linear, especially as the teacher’s preservice learning is only one of many factors influencing her instructional practices. Moreover, the work of teaching is fundamentally relational, meaning that the objects, ideas, people, and spaces with which the teacher connects irrevocably influence her teaching practice. Finally, because enacting equitable teaching practices in urban schools challenges dominant norms and the structures that reinforce them, the process cannot be expected to occur smoothly. However, teachers might pursue lines of flight, or breaks from the status quo, and over time these can contribute to larger changes.

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