An exploration of preservice teachers' experiences in an Online Writing Partnership
Daniel Allan Nail, University of Florida, United States
University of Florida . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of four preservice teachers and one practicing teacher in an Online Writing Partnership with high-school students dual-enrolled in a community college, and to examine what these experiences revealed about preservice teachers' beliefs about teaching, writing instruction, and the use of technology for instructional purposes. The following questions guided this study: (1) What kinds of experiences do prospective English teachers preparing for the teaching profession have in a distance, online partnership with secondary writers? (2) What do these experiences reveal about these prospective teachers' views of teaching and specifically teaching writing? (3) What influences on the partnership or on the participants appear to exist from experience with and attitude toward technology? In what way did these attitudes affect the partnership/participants? (4) What contextual threads appeared most salient to these prospective English teachers in the success (or lack thereof) of this online partnership?
For the study, the researcher conducted extensive interviews (both formal and informal), collected documentary data from both the graduate students and their high-school partners, and kept a detailed research journal. The questions of the study are addressed in the results and presented as individual case studies of the five participants; an across-case analysis addresses the questions again, using the contextual threads identified by the participants for question four of the study as a lens for further examination.
Each of the five graduate students experienced the Online Writing Partnership in ways that reflected their individual experiences, beliefs, and attitudes about online technologies, education in general, and writing instruction in particular. Each individual case was unique; however, there were significant similarities across cases, providing for a view of context from which all participants can draw in creating and interpreting meaning. Looking at the individual cases collectively, those aspects of context deemed salient by the participants of the Online Writing Partnership were: their perception of social presence between partners, their understanding of the relationships between teachers and students, their sense of the role and authority of a teacher, and their preconceived expectations of classrooms processes.
Nail, D.A. An exploration of preservice teachers' experiences in an Online Writing Partnership. Ph.D. thesis, University of Florida.
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