Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

A Phenomenological Study in Supporting New Teachers Working with Adolescent Readers
Colleen Walsh

The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the factors that impact the teaching of reading among first-year teachers participating in an alternative certification teacher education program, and focused on what factors could lead to their success teaching reading to their adolescent students. The central research question that guided this study was: How can teacher educator’s best support new teachers in teaching adolescent readers? Questions that supported the central question that emerged from preliminary research were: (a) What do new teachers believe they need to successfully teach reading to adolescent students? and (b) How do new teachers feel about teaching reading? Data collection methods included a survey, individual interviews and a focus group. Data analysis methods included triangulation, bracketing, establishing categorical patterns and themes, and describing the essence of participants’ experiences. Findings yielded the emergence of three themes: (a)Fears of new teachers in terms of their past perceptions of who they were as readers and their current perceptions of what knowledge is needed about adolescents to successfully teach them to read; (b)New teachers desire a knowledge of what an adolescent is physiologically, what is happening during this time period, and how it manifests cognitively, emotionally and behaviorally; and(c)Providing teachers with specific knowledge about adolescents and successful reading strategies leads to an intrinsic motivation for teachers to teach reading.This study offers insight into the current trends in teacher education, and provides a voice to statistics showing a nationwide reading crisis among adolescents and how teachers may play a pivotal role in changing this.

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