Beyond knowledge: Changes in self-perception by pre-service teachers

Beyond knowledge: Changes in self-perception by pre-service teachers

First Author: Kathleen Biddle -- Juniata College Education Department
Additional authors/chairs: 
Katharine Donnelly Adams; Kathryn Westcott
Keywords: Pre-service teachers, Knowledge of language structure, Reading disability, Teacher education, Self-Efficacy
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose

Scientific studies indicate systematic direct instruction in reading by well-informed teachers results in positive outcomes for students, especially struggling readers. However, teacher preparation programs may not provide pre-service teachers with sufficient knowledge to implement successful reading instruction (Washburn, Joshi, & Cantrell, 2010). We describe a teacher preparation program in reading science which included instruction in the neural basis of reading and language, language development, and multiple supervised practica in assessment and instruction.

Method

Data (n=59) were collected across five semesters in an upper-level reading assessment and intervention course and practicum. Participants’ knowledge of basic language skills and understanding of language terms and concepts were assessed pre- and post-course. Participants rated their perceived level of preparedness to teach and assess aspects of language and literacy using a 26-item self-report measure. Paired-samples t-tests were used to examine pre- to post- differences in knowledge of basic language skills and perception of preparedness to teach and assess literacy skills.

Results
Analysis revealed significant changes in multiple dimensions of student perceptions in preparedness to teach and assess children with reading difficulties pre- to post-course.

Conclusions

Studies have indicated the need for more scientifically-based and rigorous teacher preparation programs. In this study we included mastery of reading and language concepts with specific practical and mentoring experiences designed to increase pre-service teachers' confidence in their knowledge of these concepts and ability to apply that knowledge. This is a valuable contribution, as teachers must not only implement but advocate for what their students need.