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Pre-service teachers and media: Past experiences and present practices
Prickett, Robert G.
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Today's students are incessantly "plugged in" to media such as film, television, and the Internet. Despite media's starring role, youth in the U.S. are not necessarily experts in critically viewing media nor is media literacy a standard part of the curriculum. Some advocates propose extending the definition of "literacy" beyond simply reading and writing (see Eisner, 1991; Friere & Macedo, 1987; Hobbs, 1997; Messaris, 1997; Reinking, 1998). However, the current lack of U.S. recognition of "media literacy" in education opens the possibility that pre-service teachers graduate from teacher preparation programs without the competencies or disposition to integrate media into the classroom. The purpose of this study was to describe and to understand more fully the rationale that a secondary pre-service teacher uses to plan and implement "media" during his/her student teaching experience. To better understand this, I studied how pre-service teachers define and conceptualize media, as well as the reasons that influence their teaching decisions regarding inclusion or exclusion of media in support of their teaching. Two pre-service teachers at the same high school, in different content areas (one in English; one in social studies), from the same university teacher preparation program, were the participants. This case study drew from and contributes to the literature in three areas: (a) "media education," (b) "pre-service teachers" and (c) "secondary teacher education" literature. Data collection consisted of 6 structured interviews, 13 observations, and extensive document review. Data were then processed through constant comparative analysis. Findings describe more fully this particular case, investigating the pre-service teachers' past experiences with media and present media utilization in the classroom. Two threads of discussion were provided. First, the participants' definitions of media and selection of media were largely based on media preferences and usage in their personal lives. Second, media, itself, was primarily described as a means to entertain and to engage students, not necessarily as a way to effectively reach the content learning objectives or for purposes of media literacy. Media was perceived as a useful tool by the pre-service teachers as they continued to develop pedagogical content knowledge as beginning teachers. Finally, personal and professional recommendations were drawn from the findings.
- Doctoral Dissertations