The Importance Of Reading In Teacher Education

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It found that students’ past and present experiences of learn- ing to read and being a reader influenced their perceptions of what reading is and of what it means to teach reading. As a teacher educator, I am not able to give students long experience of seeing children becoming readers, but I am able to give them richer experiences of reading in personally and culturally rele- vant contexts.
Calderhead and Sharrock (1997) identified the tensions they claimed existed then in the world of teacher education. They saw a world full of tensions: the ten- sion between theory and practice, content and process, gatekeeping and facilitating, personal and professional development, survival and reflection, support and chal- lenge and reproduction and innovation.
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This can clearly be related to learning to be a teacher of reading. The reading teacher would know appropriate books to use, know a variety of teaching strategies and approaches, know the stages of development in reading that might be expected, be familiar with the simple view of reading (Gough and Tumner 1986) and thus have the technical knowledge thought to be required to teach reading. ‘Practical’ knowledge could be seen to apply that within a particular context and so use the knowledge to underpin ‘action- oriented knowing’ (Elliott 1987). The teacher of reading who has both technical and practical knowledge knows what is needed to teach and applies that within a particular situation and to particular children.
There is another type of knowledge and that is the emancipatory. I would argue that ‘emancipatory knowledge’ is more than learning the words and becoming part of the established discourse; it is bound up with the teachers’ own personal experi- ences, which makes them the people they are. To teach a child to read, I need to read myself; I need to experience reading – what it is and what it can do – rather than just know procedures, strategies and
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I just read for pure enjoyment.
... related to time and space
Time is an important element, especially for those students on a demanding course, and reading was seen as something for spare moments and for some students lack of time to read for pleasure was a cause of genuine frustration.
Another feature of reading identified by all the students was the role of other peo- ple. For some, reading was perceived as an essentially private activity, for others it was a social event, but for all it was perceived as being
The reading act itself is private and personal
For most of the students, the relationship between reading and other people was to do with talking about books rather than reading to or about them. With one excep- tion, reading aloud was viewed in a very negative light. It was perceived as a test situation and students felt very much on the spot. Reading then was perceived as being related to others in talking about books and recommending books to each other. This is seen as a positive social experience. When the power within the relationship becomes unequal the perception changes and reading aloud in order to demonstrate ability is a strongly negative

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