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A Portrait of a First Grade Teacher Committed to the Literacy Classroom as a Community: A Teacher Educator's Action Research Collaboration
Clark, Summer Ray
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In this study I examined the vision and practices of a beginning first grade literacy teacher in an urban school district. I used action research methods to collaborate with the teacher in her classroom based on her needs and take action with her in response to themes we generated together. As the teacher used and reflected upon literacy instruction while I worked within her classroom, we both explored how the lessons from her work and our collaboration might inform literacy pedagogy as well as teacher education. My first research question examined how my participant conceptualized and acted upon her conceptualizations of sociocultural models of literacy. My second question explored the action implications of this collaborative inquiry, as it applied to both her classroom and my teacher education work. My research also drew from the tradition of participatory action research (PAR), which involved the teacher's "praxis" (Freire, 1970), reflection and action to affect change. In PAR tradition, together the teacher and I used the data we collected to address issues of relevance to her, through the action components of classroom teaching as well as professional co-presentations for preservice teachers on literacy instruction in urban schools. The overall emerging construct was the concept of literacy teaching as the facilitation of classroom community. The following categories arose beneath this overall construct: community as teacher vision, community as teacher strategy, community as love, and community as challenge. Finally, I used these emerging themes to theorize tentatively on implications for teacher education; I suggested that teacher education should prioritize promoting love and vision as the backbone to support teachers' development strategies and challenges. Overall, my analysis suggested the constructs of literacy pedagogy as "community" and teacher education as "professional accountability."