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Tensions in Learning to Teach: Accommodation and the Development of a Teaching Identity.

Peter Smagorinsky, Leslie Susan Cook, Cynthia Moore, A.Y. Jackson, and Pamela G. Fry


This case study focuses on a teacher, Sharon, making the transition from a constructivist teacher education program to a student teaching site that practiced what Sharon characterized as traditional teaching. In particular, the mentor teacher who supervised Sharon (a) believed in the efficacy of basal readers, taught lessons that followed strict routines, provided few opportunities for generative student work, and provided little integration across the curriculum; and (b) used a mentoring style that was mimetic; that is, that required Sharon to imitate her teaching methods with little opportunity for variation or creativity. The study relied on four types of data: observations of language I arts lessons, interviews based on these observations, artifacts such as the teacher's planning book that corroborated other data sources, and a group activity in which, research participants, including Sharon, produced a concept map that represented their understanding of teaching and learning. From the analysis of these data, the most salient issue for Sharon was her continual accommodation to the demands of her mentor teacher and the effects that this accommodation had on the development of her identity as a teacher.

* Journal of Teacher Education, 55(1), 2004.

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