Date of Award

5-2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Jerry G. Gebhard, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Bennett A. Rafoth, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Nancy M. Hayward, Ph.D.

Abstract

This qualitative case study was implemented to describe, interpret, and document preservice EFL teachers’ learning processes through collaborative journaling and gained awareness for all participants (including myself as a participant-observer). Four preservice EFL teachers in Japan (two males and two females) participated in the study. At the time of the investigation, they were all undergraduate students studying in an EFL teacher education program at a Japanese university. To investigate their learning processes, a prime focus was placed on the participants’ beliefs about language learning and teaching. Thus, this study was to understand what it meant for the participants to learn how to teach through collaborative journaling in the setting studied and what it possibly meant for them to change (or not to change) their beliefs during the term of the investigation. The data collection was done over a nine-month period that covered the participants’ practicum. This study consisted of three research phases: pre-practicum phase, mid-practicum phase, and post-practicum phase. In the pre-practicum phase, I entered the participants’ community and asked the participants to form a collaborative-learning group and keep a collaborative journal. As a participant-observer, I kept the journal together and discussed what we had written in bi-weekly meetings. I used the collaborative journal for two purposes: (a) to collect the main qualitative data; and (b) to assist in the development of the participants as professionals. I applied multiple modes of inquiry and triangulation. I employed five data-collection methods: a questionnaire, observations, interviews, journals, and documents. Using the various types of qualitative data, I conducted within- and cross-case analyses to look for salient, recurring themes regarding all participants’ beliefs about language learning and teaching. The research findings revealed the transformative nature of the participants’ beliefs and the uniqueness of the participants’ learning processes in the setting studied. It is particularly worth noting that the participants’ belief (re-)construction was observed at two different levels: individual and group levels. Drawing upon the insights into preservice teachers’ beliefs and development processes, this study offers implications for further studies on the same, or similar research agenda, as well as for ESL/EFL teacher development.

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