Beyond Prescription: The Student Teacher as Investigator

Authors

  • Jerry G. Gebhard,

    1. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
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      Jerry G. Gebhard (Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University) is Assistant Professor of English in the Graduate Program in Rhetoric and Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA.

  • Sergio Gaitan,

    1. Teachers College, Columbia University
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      Sergio Gaitan (Ed.D. candidate, Teachers College, Columbia University) is head of the Resource Center of Milbank Library at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.

  • Robert Oprandy

    1. Teachers College, Columbia University
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      Robert Oprandy (Ed.D. candidate. Teachers College, Columbia University) is coordinator of the M.A. TESOL Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.


Abstract

ABSTRACT  In preservice foreign/second language teacher preparation programs, prescriptions about how to teach have certain limitations. The most outstanding is that direct transfer of information does not necessarily afford student teachers chances to gain insight into how they can investigate their teaching processes and make decisions about what they can do in classrooms after the teacher preparation program has ended.

In this paper we present a multiple-activities approach to teacher preparation through which student teachers are provided with opportunities to investigate their teaching and to make decisions about what and how to teach. In this approach student teachers experience classroom teaching, observe other teachers, conduct investigative projects of their teaching and its consequences, and discuss teaching in several contexts.

A multiple-activities approach has been shown to provide student teachers with opportunities to develop their decision-making skills. However, communication within these activities is complex and opportunities for student teachers to develop decisionmaking skills can be blocked as well as facilitated through the type of interaction which goes on within and across each activity. Thus, in our discussion we are sensitive to interaction within each activity and to the connections which can be made between them.

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