Transactional Reading: Preservice Teachers' Evolutions in Thinking About the Roles of Literature in the Classroom
Reader Response Theory
AdvisorShort, Kathy G.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis research focuses on the ways in which preservice teachers evolve in their beliefs and understandings of literature while they are enrolled in a semester-long course, TLS 480, Children’s Literature in the Classroom. I was the instructor of the course and served as a teacher researcher using qualitative research and Louise Rosenblatt’s transactional theory as a framework to explore: 1) How do understandings of the roles of children’s literature in the lives of readers evolve over the semester? 2) How do preservice teachers’ understandings of integrating literature into the curriculum change during the semester? Primary sources of data included initial conferences with each student, reflections, and discussions. Follow-up individual interviews with four case study preservice teachers representing the diversity of the class were also used. A group interview with the same four preservice teachers additionally served as primary sources of data. Reader response engagements, personal notes, and project reflections served as secondary sources of data. Member checking, peer debriefing, and triangulation along with my long-term field immersion of teaching the course for three semesters ensured trustworthiness. Findings of this study revealed that transactional experiences provide opportunities for new beliefs and understandings regarding the purposes of literature in readers’ lives to include aesthetic connections, increases in critical thinking, and richer interpretations. Most preservice teachers found many ways that literature enhances lives with new understandings of ourselves, others, and our world, and they grew to value the social aspects of literature. Understandings of literature’s role in curriculum evolved from a view that literature in elementary classrooms is supplemental material to a view that literature offers possibilities to create critical understandings. Many preservice teachers came to see literature as curriculum. Contributing factors to those changes were: choice, reflection, discussion, appreciation of aesthetic qualities of literature, and reader response engagements with literature. Implications of these findings include: 1) Transactional methods of instruction and learning provide preservice teachers with new appreciations and understandings of literature’s roles in classrooms while also increasing critical thinking. 2) Reflection in literature courses is a valuable means for preservice teachers to understand their personal connections with literature. 3) Implementing literature discussions in children’s literature courses is an advantageous way for preservice teachers to expand upon their personal connections and gain new understandings of others and our world. 4) A transactional framework for analysis of data relating to understanding of literature reveals to researchers which aspects of instruction are producing the outcomes from their instruction.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture