Becoming a social studies teacher educator
Ritter, Jason Konrad
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Drawing from my experiences as a former classroom teacher making the transition to teacher education, this study examined the question of what it means to become a social studies teacher educator. The primary goals of this research were to examine how my vision of social studies teacher education developed, how the relationship between my practices and beliefs evolved, and what representations of my development were offered through my methodology of self-study through narrative inquiry. Over the course of my first three years as a graduate teaching assistant, data were collected in the form of written interpretive accounts of my experiences. These field texts included personal journal entries; discussion board interactions written for peers, colleagues, and students; formal observation reports written for student teachers; formal papers written for professors; and conference papers written for the wider community of scholars. Data were analyzed using a categorical-content approach to code typologies of narratives in relation to my research questions. Findings indicated that the development of my vision of social studies teacher education was influenced by completing graduate coursework, engaging in the work of teacher education, interacting or collaborating with peers, and studying my practice as it developed and unfolded. The relationship between my practices and beliefs slowly evolved as I moved from embracing certain default assumptions about education, to rethinking the social studies content, to recognizing that both what and how I taught as a teacher educator held potential significance in the development of pre-service teachers. Finally, this research revealed that becoming a social studies teacher educator represented an ongoing process fraught with competing and constantly changing tensions more so than it did a stage of professional development that was simply achieved. Summarily, this dissertation increased understanding of what it means to become a social studies teacher educator, thereby adding to the sparse body of theory on the initial development of teacher educators. Moreover, by highlighting and examining the challenges involved in this important transition, this research better positioned the educational community at-large to consider how novice teacher educators should be inducted into their new roles.