Teacher education for effective literacy teaching

Year: 2006

Author: Bainbridge, Joyce

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Literacy educators have many challenges to face as a result of changing values, competing media, the changing family structure and diversification of culture. Former taken-for-granted notions about literacy and literacy education are no longer stable, and changing populations and a proliferation of new literacy technologies are challenging teachers to account for unprecedented rapid changes in language itself (Luke, 1995; New London Group, 1996). In the past two decades, broader and more complex approaches to literacy teaching have been developed which have the potential to result in increased student engagement, greater depth of literacy learning, improved literacy abilities in reallife settings, and continued literacy participation and learning in later life. Social constructivist tenets under-gird many of these approaches to literacy teaching, but the shift they necessitate in teacher education are not occurring without debate. The changing world of literacy teaching creates considerable controversy over how student teachers should be prepared to meet the needs and challenges of literacy education. Increasing the effectiveness of literacy teaching remains a central issue in elementary schools and in teacher education programs.

In this paper, I explore how a selection of student teachers responded to various approaches to literacy teaching in their teacher education programs. I also explore the impact of social constructivist teaching and the impact of their practicum experiences on student teachers’ understandings of the theories and practices of literacy teaching.