Finding my way: Teaching methods courses from a sociocultural perspective




Samaras, Anastasia P.

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Caddo Gap Press


As teacher educators we are asked little about our teaching and offer little to others about ourselves (Bullough, 1994; Cole, 1995; Lanier & Little, 1986; McIntyre, 1980). This fear of self has been observed in both developed and developing countries (Raina, 1995). There is a definite disrobing in publishing self-study where one is immediately exposed to public view. There is support for the notion that professors of education can refine programs of education through their own self study and that of their students (Bullough & Gitlin, 1995; Knowles & Cole with Presswood, 1994). Listening to other self-study educators who seemed absorbed in introspection validated my position on wanting more than just my story; more than a narcissistic analysis of my pedagogy and theoretical orientation. I do view my life experiences and research as very connected to my teaching and seek the linkages between my own experiences and what I try to understand, but I need to know what in actuality my students are learning (see Richardson, 1990). What contribution does my self-study have to others? I see possibilities for innovation in teacher preparation, particularly in the methods courses I teach, because I am beginning to see myself and my students more clearly. I am coming to know the possibilities of those innovations because I have searched for them through self study' and with the support of others. I want my students to begin to embrace this developmental reflection of constructive knowing (see Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1986), to recognize the object of their search, and to make choices on dilemmas through reflection and action. Action research allows reflections of self to take shape, facilitate change, and connect the theoretical with the practical (Ashburn, 1995; Erdman, 1990) According to Kenneth Zeichner (1995), most academicians involved in teacher research pay little homage to the process of action research in studying their own university-based teaching practices or in school-based inquiry as a form of knowledge production. In this chapter, I share insights gained through ongoing self study of my pedagogical efforts in guiding preservice teachers' self study through a collaborative process. Framed within teacher education reform efforts of reflection in practice and the influence of teaching methods courses on preservice teachers' development and socialization into teaching, I will describe: (1) the provocation of my search, rooted in my years of teaching and research; (2) my work context; (3) my theoretical perspective; (4) a description of my pedagogical formats using the Vygotskian approach; (5) my self study and research (i.e., appraising preservice teachers' perspectives of the process); and (6) implications of my search for a teacher education curriculum.



Teaching, Self-study


Samaras, A. P. (1998). Finding my way: Teaching methods courses from a sociocultural perspective. In A. L. Cole, R. Elijah, & J. G. Knowles (Eds.), The heart of the matter: Teacher educators and teacher education reform (pp. 55 – 79). San Francisco, CA: Caddo Gap Press.