Campus

Gainesville

Publication date

2017

Publisher

Online Journal of New Horizons in Education

Keywords

academic language, teacher preparation, content literacy, vocabulary, technology, edTPA

Abstract

This qualitative exploratory research examined the processes student-teachers used to address academic language in lessons generated for middle school instruction. Undergraduate student-teachers were provided access to ReadAhead, a technological platform designed to scaffold students’ content literacy skills. The studentteachers were serving year-long internships in four content areas and preparing to complete their edTPA teacher certification portfolios. They planned and implemented lessons within diverse middle school settings. They were subsequently interviewed concerning their thought processes in creating and implementing the lessons, and a document analysis was conducted. The findings indicated that the student-teachers approached the lessons with different purposes in mind, and those divergent purposes influenced other critical aspects of the lessons. They also showed a lack of metacognitive awareness concerning the integration of academic language, though they unconsciously addressed it in ways consistent with the literature and the edTPA’s expectations. Ultimately, academic language instruction is essential to learning in all content areas, yet the definitions and application of it may still be unclear to aspiring educators in teacher preparation programs. Considering that the incorporation of academic language instruction will be vital to the licensure process and subsequent practice, it becomes imperative that teacher education programs methodically address the issue.

Author Biography

Josh Cuevas is a professor and educational psychologist at the University of North Georgia.

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An exploration of the use of technology to address academic language learning in teacher education in preparation for the edTPA.

This qualitative exploratory research examined the processes student-teachers used to address academic language in lessons generated for middle school instruction. Undergraduate student-teachers were provided access to ReadAhead, a technological platform designed to scaffold students’ content literacy skills. The studentteachers were serving year-long internships in four content areas and preparing to complete their edTPA teacher certification portfolios. They planned and implemented lessons within diverse middle school settings. They were subsequently interviewed concerning their thought processes in creating and implementing the lessons, and a document analysis was conducted. The findings indicated that the student-teachers approached the lessons with different purposes in mind, and those divergent purposes influenced other critical aspects of the lessons. They also showed a lack of metacognitive awareness concerning the integration of academic language, though they unconsciously addressed it in ways consistent with the literature and the edTPA’s expectations. Ultimately, academic language instruction is essential to learning in all content areas, yet the definitions and application of it may still be unclear to aspiring educators in teacher preparation programs. Considering that the incorporation of academic language instruction will be vital to the licensure process and subsequent practice, it becomes imperative that teacher education programs methodically address the issue.