Developing Beliefs about Literacy Instruction: A Cross-Case Analysis of Preservice Teachers in Traditional and Field Based Settings

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1999


This paper reports the results of three similar case studies of preservice teachers enrolled in literacy methods courses. In each study, preservice teachers beliefs about literacy were described through the use of multiple data sources before, during, and after the course. The settings of the studies included: a university based course with no field experience, a university‐based course with unsupervised field experience, and a field‐based course. Preservice teachers in each program experienced change. Factors contributing to the changes common to all programs were instructor modeling, course assignments/readings, cognitive dissonance, and reflection. Only students participating in the field‐based program, however, described a greater variety of dissonance factors impacting their beliefs about literacy instruction. Factors unique to the field‐based course include: cultural dissonance, emotional dissonance, experiential dissonance, and political dissonance. Implications support a field‐based model of teacher education for development of a complex view of the process of literacy teaching.

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