Experienced and Preservice Teacher Beliefs About How Best to Teach Beginning Reading

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April D. Nauman
Arlene C. Borthwick
Terry Stirling


Q methodology was used to explore inservice and preservice teachers'
beliefs about how to best teach beginning reading. Two separate studies
and analyses were done; and the Q sorts from two P sets were subjected
to second-order factor analysis. In study 1, 36 undergraduate and
graduate education students at a Chicago-area university performed a Q
sort of 39 cards describing common literacy activities. Q statistical
analysis identified six factors, two consisting almost entirely of
inservice teachers and four consisting mainly of preservice teachers. In
study 2, 56 participants sorted the Q deck of literacy activities.
This study population included teachers from many regions of Illinois
with more varied academic backgrounds that the original sample. Q
analysis identified five factors, one consisting only of experienced
teachers, two consisting mainly of novices, and two split between
inservice and preservice teachers. Second-order factor analysis revealed
substantial concordance between the Study 1 and Study 2 solutions.
Clear contrasts in beliefs about good reading instruction were noted
between the expert and novice groups. In general, experienced teachers
shared a similar perspective, despite the fact that their teaching
environments and student populations varied greatly. The expert
perspective was characterized by a view that reading is a multifaceted
process; an emphasis on internal motivation; an emphasis on parent and
teacher modeling of reading to enhance children's motivation and skill;
knowledge of recent research, especially on balanced literacy approaches
and the role of prior knowledge in comprehension; the importance of
keeping young children engaged in learning and preserving their
self-esteem; and rejection of older teaching techniques that seem
developmentally inappropriate, autocratic, or dull. Conversely, the
novice perspective heavily emphasized traditional phonics instructions
and displayed a lack of knowledge of educational terminology,
instructional practices and concepts, and young children. Implications
are discussed.

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How to Cite
Nauman, A. D. ., Borthwick, A. C., & Stirling, T. (2004). Experienced and Preservice Teacher Beliefs About How Best to Teach Beginning Reading. Operant Subjectivity, 27(2). Retrieved from https://ojs.library.okstate.edu/osu/index.php/osub/article/view/8887