First year pre-service teachers' views about literacy: Exploring the breadth and depth of their pedagogical needs

Abstract

This study investigated first year pre-service teachers' self-reported views about literacy teaching and learning, and their own personal literacy and communication skills required for teaching English. It responds to the increasing pressure on today's educators to demonstrate their own English proficiency and to be able to ensure children's effective literacy learning, particularly in learning to read. Sixty-seven pre-service teachers from one large literacy foundation course completed a survey of their views on literacy.

The findings showed that in spite of most participants being first year pre-service teachers the majority believed they had sufficient knowledge of the English language to teach literacy. In raising the importance of knowing how to explicitly teach literacy and engage the learner, participants emphasised the importance of lecturers providing ongoing feedback, encouragement and real-life demonstrations of explicit literacy teaching. Compared with those who entered the program with post-school qualifications, a greater proportion of the group that entered directly from school rated themselves as less confident to teach literacy and held less positive perceptions of their communication skills for teaching.

Findings also highlighted that pre-service literacy teacher education courses need to identify and incorporate students' use of English language and literacy skills for specific pedagogical purposes, including teaching talk and multi-mediated teaching and learning.

Authors

Shirley O'Neill
Leadership Research International, Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD

Deborah Geoghegan
Leadership Research International (LRI), Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD

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Keywords

pre-service teacher education; literacy for pedagogical purposes; beginning teachers; literacy pedagogy; teachers' literacy needs

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