Preservice teachers' content knowledge and efficacy for teaching reading: A mixed methods study
This mixed methods study examined the effectiveness of a 16-week literacy course/reading center practicum by analyzing the development of preservice teachers' content knowledge and efficacy for teaching reading. Twenty-one elementary preservice teachers were enrolled in the course and thirteen preservice teachers served as a control group. In the quasi-experiment, preservice teachers were compared using a pre- posttest design on three dependent measures. Two instruments, the Content Knowledge for Teaching Reading Survey, CKT-R (Phelps & Schilling, 2003), and the Informal Survey of Linguistic Knowledge (Moats, 1994) were used to measure content knowledge. The Teacher Efficacy Scale for Teaching Reading (TESTR) was used to assess teacher efficacy at three points in the semester. In the qualitative embedded portion of the study a subsample of five of the preservice teachers in the literacy course/reading center practicum were interviewed at three points during the semester to better understand the learning process of preservice teachers as they developed content knowledge and efficacy for teaching reading.
Results indicated that both groups began the semester with moderately high efficacy and relatively low content knowledge. Interview data verified that the efficacy of the preservice teachers enrolled in the literacy course/reading center practicum declined at the beginning of the experience due to the enormity of the task of teaching reading. By the end of the semester statistically significant differences in knowledge and efficacy were found between the experimental and control group, with the experimental group showing more gains in content knowledge and efficacy for teaching reading than the comparative group. Additionally, content knowledge and efficacy were highly correlated at the end of the semester r=.63**, indicating that as preservice teachers gained knowledge they also gained efficacy. Providing opportunities for preservice teachers to make instructional decisions based on students' needs has proven to be very powerful in gaining content knowledge and efficacy.
0535: Reading instruction
0524: Elementary education
0530: Teacher education