On going learning for literacy english teacher educators examining four spheres of knowledge
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On-going Learning for Literacy/English Teacher Educators: Examining Four Spheres of Knowledge. Clare Kosnik, Pooja Dharamshi , Cathy Miyata, Lydia Menna , and Yiola Cleovoulou University of Toronto. Literacy Teacher Educators: Their Backgrounds, Visions, and Practices.

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On-going Learning for Literacy/English Teacher Educators: Examining Four Spheres of Knowledge

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On-going Learning for Literacy/English Teacher Educators: Examining Four Spheres of Knowledge

Clare Kosnik, PoojaDharamshi, Cathy Miyata,

Lydia Menna, and YiolaCleovoulou

University of Toronto

Literacy Teacher Educators: Their Backgrounds, Visions, and Practices

  • to study in depth a group of literacy/English teacher educators, with attention to their backgrounds, knowledge, research activities, identity, view of current government initiatives, pedagogy, and course goals.


  • 28 literacy/English teacher educators

  • Canada

  • US

  • UK

  • Australia

  • 1-5 years = 7

  • 6 -10 years = 10

  • 11-15 years = 2

  • 16 -20 years= 5

  • 21+ years = 4

  • New: 0 - 5 years experience;

  • Mid-career: 6 - 10 years experience

  • Later-career: 10 + years experience


  • Interviews

  • Course-related materials

  • Nvivo for data analysis

Goodwin (2008)

Boyd and Harris (2010) content area must be considered separately because each discipline places different demands on teacher educators.

five types of knowledge:






4 spheres of knowledge

Knowledge of pedagogy in higher education

  • LTEs endorsed a pedagogy of teacher education (Loughran, 2008) – a deep understanding about the skills required for teaching about teaching

  • Most were in a perpetual state of revising and improving their teaching.

Evolving Pedagogy: Trial and error approach; Different approaches to feedback; Collaborating with teacher educators

Building on Prior Experiences: Former classroom teaching experience; Remained connected to doctoral supervisors

Trial and error approach

I was overly optimistic in the first year about how much I would be able to do. And was kind disappointed with student learning … In the second year after reflecting on my practice I backed off in some of the content and reading. And I found that they took up the ideas of the course more quickly which allowed us to move forward. Heather

Knowledge of literacy and literacy teaching

Our understanding of “literacy” is undergoing dramatic changes- communication channels have extended the boundaries of communication (Kress, 2010).

  • In order to respond to the changing nature of literacy and extend their knowledge, LTEs engaged in all three forms of PD. They were able to accomplish this by:

  • Cultivating networks in their university

  • Working on International research teams

  • Fostering school-based partnerships

  • Participating in teacher associations

  • Participating in literacy conferences

  • Reading journals

Working on International Research Teams

It is really important that I'm involved in an international research collaboration … Those research connections beyond Australian’s perspective are really important for me because Australia is quite isolated…but it also helps me reach beyond the local to the global, and that's an important perspective to have, especially in literacy education when we are thinking about techno literacies, global literacies. CHRISTINE (Pseudonym)

Knowledge of research

  • LTEs unanimously felt a positive disposition towards conducting and using research was essential

  • developed PD mainly through their own initiative, using all three forms of PD

Forms of PD

  • Building on doctoral research

  • Studying one’s own practice

  • Engaging in scholarly endeavors

  • Being part of a research team

one needs to develop the professional and intellectual resources to be able to engage. Bob

Knowledge of current school district and government initiatives

  • LTEs main difficulty was remaining current with school and government initiatives

  • PD predominantly a self-directed “informal process within a situated, socio-political practice” (Hardy, 2012, p. 1).

Strategies to Remain Current

  • Drawing on personal networks

  • Capitalizing on school-based activities

  • Juggling personal vision of education with government initiatives

  • I have experienced 4 or possibly 5 different versions of the national curriculum in the UK, so preparing them for the version that currently exists isn’t doing them any favors, they need to prepare, not only for this version… but also for the other ones that will come along. Justin

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