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ERIC Number: EJ1212763
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1536-3031
Changing EPP Curriculum: An Ethnographic Study of Preservice English Teachers and Writing Feedback Methodology
Langeberg, Melinda Ellen
Issues in Teacher Education, v28 n1 p36-51 Spr 2019
Teaching writing requires explicit pedagogical training. Often pre-service English teachers are not only unprepared to teach writing, but they are also unprepared to provide effective writing feedback. Effective writing feedback: (1) prepares young writers to make sound and thorough writing choices; (2) positively impacts learning; and (3) encourages students to craft writing that others are willing and eager to read. Writing untangles thoughts, shares a world view, and reveals a human experience, and teachers are the way writers learn to do this. In Education Preparation Programs (EPPs), not only are teacher candidates struggling with providing effective feedback, but so are professional English teachers as well. The author points out that it is because the teachers who are charged with apprenticing teacher candidates do not know how to provide meaningful writing feedback themselves. Because professional English teachers have limited writing experience and writing instruction, they are uncertain about providing meaningful evaluative feedback. and therefore, English teachers focus on grammar mistakes instead of focusing on clarifying ideas or expanding thinking. Thus, many English teachers also equate grammar instruction as writing instruction, and may focus on structured formulas and conventions but not on developing ideas and sharing or expanding thoughts (Johnson, Smagorinsky,Thompson, & Fry, 2003). Emphasizing formulaic writing boils writing down to an equation and restricts critical thinking and reflection (Gallagher, 2011). The problem of formulaic writing pedagogy is a problem because it builds writing fear. EPPs do not provide enough feedback pedagogy; thus, pre-service teachers fear teaching writing activities as well as evaluating writing. Nauman, Stirling, and Borthwick (2011) reported that because practicing teachers do not understand what constitutes good writing, they are reluctant to assign and evaluate it. The implication is that if a teacher is uncertain about writing, the student will be uncertain also. This uncertain relationship between student writer and teacher-evaluator breaks down trust and creates a learning barrier. This study found that participants knew what they should do regarding writing pedagogy and providing feedback but when it came time to put theory to practice, a gap was exposed. To study this gap, two questions evolved: (1) What does participant language reveal about their knowledge related to writing theory and to writing practice; and (2) What does this change reveal about their pedagogical understanding? Spanning two years, the researcher collected data assignment reflections, journal entries, and classroom discussion observations. First, participants provided feedback on eighth grade student essays. Next, participants reflected on this experience in journal entries. Finally, during class discussion, teacher candidates shared their evaluative feedback experience. Observations notes were made in a field journal during this discussion. Results of this research project imply that EPPs do not provide enough experience for teacher candidates' declarative knowledge to mature into procedural and/or conceptual knowing. Thus, when charged with providing meaningful writing feedback, they become frustrated and revert back to formulaic and/or prescriptive writing instruction and evaluation. The research suggested that (1) Professional teachers view writing feedback as tedious and time consuming; (2) These professionals perpetuate this negative viewpoint during field experience and student teaching sessions; (3) Although they may not intend to communicate such feelings, professional teachers see "grading papers as a chore and not a way to help students clarify learning or clarify thinking. Fear impacts learning. To reduce this fear, EPP programs might consider including a graphic organizer like the one listed in the appendix of this article. Graphic organizers blend visual and verbal learning (Sousa, 2017). This blending builds comprehension and helps teacher candidates develop positive evaluative processes.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment)