Can Preservice Teacher Education Really Help Me Grow as a Literacy Teacher?: Examining Preservice Teachers' Perceptions of Multimedia Case-Based Instuction

Article excerpt

Since the 1980s, when studies indicated that inservice teachers perceived that their preservice preparation was inadequate (Feiman-Nemser & Buchmann, 1985; Lyon, Vaasen, & Toomey, 1989), teacher education programs have made significant efforts to provide meaningful preparation (Imig & Switzer, 1996). One such effort includes the use of multimedia case-based instruction (M-CBI). The purpose of this article is three-fold: (a) to describe findings from studies that examine various issues related to using M-CBI to improve teacher education for literacy teachers, (b) describe Children as Literacy Kases (ChALK), which is an example of M-CBI being used in teacher education for literacy teachers, and (c) describe a study which examined preservice teachers' perceptions of their growth as literacy teachers after participating in a M-CBI/ChALK course. Findings indicate that preservice literacy teachers can perceive that teacher education helps them grow professionally, that M-CBI may be a useful tool in providing meaningful experiences to preservice teachers, and that M-CBI may enhance the meaningfulness of field experiences.

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In the 1980s, studies indicated that teachers overwhelmingly perceived that their preservice education did not adequately prepare them to be teachers. Since that time, teacher education programs have made purposeful strides toward improving preservice teacher education. For example, there are improved admissions standards, cohort groupings, refashioned foundations courses, and greater attention to pedagogy (Imig & Switzer, 1996).

With regard to pedagogy, some are attempting to improve teacher education by using case-based instruction (CBI) (Lundeberg, Levin, & Harrington, 1999; Merseth, 1997; Shulman, 1992; Silverman & Welty, 1992). Baker and Wedman (2000) referred to CBI as a pedagogy in which students examine ...

   ... data and a story from a professional situation. For example,
   business cases may be stories which include data about how GE or IBM
   were created and how they have developed. Medical cases may be about
   patients and the results of various tests and interviews. Students in
   professional schools then analyze and discuss these cases to
   determine what content they need to learn and what decisions they
   would make if they were involved in the case. (p. 122)

Baker and Wedman described three types of CBI being used in teacher education: anecdotal, text-based, and multimedia. Each type is used for a variety of reasons and offer users access to different types of data.

The purpose of this article is three-fold: (a) to describe findings from studies that examine various issues related to using M-CBI to improve teacher education for literacy teachers, (b) describe Children as Literacy Kases (ChALK), which is an example of M-CBI being used in teacher education for literacy teachers, and (c) describe a study which examined preservice teachers' perceptions of their growth as literacy teachers after participating in a M-CBI/ChALK course. Findings contribute to the growing bodies of research that investigate teacher education reform, CBI, and uses of multimedia to improve teacher education.

USING M-CBI TO IMPROVE TEACHER EDUCATION FOR LITERACY TEACHERS

Several studies have evaluated various effects of M-CBI on preservice and inservice literacy teachers. Risko, Yount, and McAllister (1992) found that literacy teachers who examined multimedia cases during class asked more questions and more higher level questions than students in similar courses that did not use cases. They also found that the students enrolled in M-CBI courses developed the ability to take multiple perspectives on various teaching issues and problems much earlier than their peers enrolled in similar non-CBI courses. In another study, Risko, Peter, & McAllister (1996) found that M-CBI had an impact on the preservice teachers' abilities to think flexibly in related field experiences and discussions in other courses. …