Disentangling Preservice Teachers from the Webs of Idle Talk: A Grounded Theory for Generative Teacher Education

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Title: Disentangling Preservice Teachers from the Webs of Idle Talk: A Grounded Theory for Generative Teacher Education
Author: Burke, Julie Machlin
Advisors: Anna V. Wilson, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to understand the possibilities for helping preservice teachers develop cynicism and joy dialectically so that they might engage in critique and develop hopefulness. A sustained dialectic of cynicism and joy in teacher education enables preservice teachers and other educators perceive injustices and inequities and to remain hopeful about the possibilities for liberatory education. Thus, it is possible to sustain conviction, resist oppression and act creatively. I analyzed 161 preservice teachers' philosophy papers produced over three semesters in seven sections of Introduction to Teaching course I taught at a major research university in the South. I used grounded theory methods to develop a generative theory for teacher education. Three major conceptual constructs developed from my analysis: reality, fun and passion. Using these as a framework, theory was developed to understand preservice teachers' attitudes against critique and towards naïve optimism. Using the constructs reality, fun and passion I discovered deep roots that bound preservice teachers to stereotypes of good teachers and appropriate pedagogies. Cultural, historical and social structures kept preservice teachers from recognizing the possibilities for thinking critically without giving up hope. These deeply embedded structures interfered with preservice teachers' ability to engage in conversations and struggle with the meanings of good teaching beyond management and control. Most preservice teachers in this study had not engaged in critical analysis of common sense discourses about teaching. Most entered a state of denial when pressed to question inequitable, unjust and disproportionate institutions in education. Denial limited the possibilities for moving past despair and into hope and action. Preservice teachers in denial survive by maintaining the status quo. They do not experience joy which is a force for social action because they do not engage in critique. When teachers are in denial imagination, energy and faith are severely limited. Questions my research centered on the value of integrating spirituality into critical teacher education, the necessity of social foundations, and the validity of interdisciplinary research in teacher education.
Date: 2003-10-23
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Educational Research and Policy Analysis
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/4971

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