Date of Award

8-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Switzer, Deborah M.

Committee Member

Green , Robert P.

Committee Member

Medford , Lienne F.

Committee Member

Switzer , Fred S.

Abstract

What are the experiences of career-changing pre-service middle school teachers undergoing a group-based activity as part of their training? This series of studies explored two aspects of answering this question. In the first manuscript, a methodology of a novel virtual phenomenology interview technique attempts to determine the influence of a virtual world interviewer compared to a traditional face-to-face setting. While syntactical and other significant differences were found, there was no significant difference found comparing meaning units derived from both settings. In the second manuscript, these meaning units were analyzed to create an essence of the experience for the study's participants, using a modified version of Moustakas' (1994) phenomenology technique viewed through the lens of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (Engeström, 1987). The transcripts of participants were analyzed using this phenomenological technique yielded five meaning themes: Teamwork Function, Grade Orientation, Assignment Structure Conflict, Theory versus Practice Divergence, and Tool for Future Practice. Tensions within the elements of the activity system were identified from the interview transcripts and examined. These findings were used to create a composite textural description, a composite structural description, explained using a graphic depiction of knotworking (Engeström, 1999), and a narrative essence of the experience. A conclusion of both studies, noting a summary of the findings, implications for teacher education, limitations of the studies, and recommendations for future research is also presented.

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