Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Bush

Second Advisor

Dr. Karen Vocke

Third Advisor

Dr. Janet Alsup

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ellen Brinkley


My research entails examining and interrogating the literacy narratives written by six preservice secondary English teachers before their first semester of teaching. After writing their literacy narratives, these teachers worked together in two focus groups to consider, celebrate, and interrogate their memories they recorded in their narratives. They shared conversations which focused on their reflections, their teaching strategies, and the ideas they embraced as newly forming teachers.

This study considers claims made by Dewey (1933), Lortie (1975), Schulman (1986), and others, who emphasize the importance of learning through observation and the intuitive nature of reflective learning and teaching. It emphasizes the indelible impressions gained through preservice teachers' years of learning as students first, long before they began to see themselves as teachers. It considers how age and experience add to one's knowledge of teaching, and how conversations surrounding teachers' memories can enhance a person's perceptions of what ideas and practices might work best in his or her future secondary English classroom. It also examines the thoughtful consideration of the ideas and practices which might better be left behind.

This project offers an inside look at how the experiences preservice teachers first have as student impact their memories and ultimately, affect their teaching beliefs and practices. Finally, it informs teacher educators about how using literacy narratives in their methods classrooms and then creating learning communities comprised of preservice teachers to interrogate those narratives, can have a positive impact on the shaping and training of English Language Arts educators.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access