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Knowing, doing and becoming : pre-service and in-service teachers' beliefs about grammar, teacher knowledge and teacher identity

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Short, Megan Mary (2010) Knowing, doing and becoming : pre-service and in-service teachers' beliefs about grammar, teacher knowledge and teacher identity. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This thesis presents an examination of the beliefs held by pre-service and in-service
teachers in relation to teaching grammar and their construct of teacher
knowledge and explores how their beliefs about grammar and knowledge might
impact upon their identities as teachers. This study is located within current debates
about literacy education which has recently included discussion on: standards of
literacy education in Australia; the most appropriate pedagogical approach for the
teaching of grammar; community concern regarding the need for a 'back to basics'
approach for literacy education and the quality of teacher knowledge and practice.
Applications for practice for both pre-service and in-service teachers are considered.
The study utilised a mixed methods approach, gathering both qualitative and
quantitative data from two separate cohorts. Qualitative data was gained from
electronic bulletin board responses (pre-service teacher cohort) and from semi-structured
interviews (in-service teacher cohort). Quantitative data for both pre-service
and in-service teacher cohorts was from a nearly identical 38 item Likert-style
questionnaire. Analysis of the qualitative data proceeded from a constructivist
approach utilising grounded theory coding strategies, critical discourse analysis and
thematic analysis. The quantitative data was analysed using the computerised
statistical analysis package SPSS in order to develop frequency distributions, which
were subsequently discussed.
In this study, beliefs are considered to be the filter through which experience is
understood, reflected upon and transformed into teaching practice. An exploration of
the teachers' personal and pedagogical beliefs about grammar led to subsequent
investigations into their beliefs about teacher knowledge and the process of becoming
a teacher. Findings indicate that there are differences between pre-service and inservice
teachers' belief systems. Pre-service teachers' beliefs about grammar tend to
be informed by their own schooling experiences of grammar and a belief that
grammar is characterised by prescriptive rules. As many of the pre-service teachers
recalled little explicit grammar teaching, the prospect of teaching grammar induces
anxiety and trepidation at the prospect of including grammar in their own teaching
practice. Findings suggest that in-service teachers have both knowledge of grammar
from their own schooling experience and substantial teaching experience to draw
upon. Their belief systems, therefore, tend to be shaped by the existence of
foundational primary beliefs that serve as organising principles for their grammar
teaching. In exploring the beliefs that both pre-service and in-service teachers have of
grammar teaching, links between teachers' beliefs and teaching practice were
identified. The findings also suggest that there are complex linkages between teacher
belief, teacher knowledge and the construction of a teacher's professional identity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Grammar, Literacy, Student teachers, Teachers
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2010 the Author

Additional Information:

Available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2015 03:21
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:53
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