10-second review: “Berliner (2001) has argued that not until their fifth year of experience do teachers become ‘proficient’ enough to let their knowledge and intuition guide their teaching….”
Title: “A Longitudinal Study of Consequential Transitions in the Teaching of Literature.” GE Newell, L Tallman and M Letcher. Research in the Teaching of English (August 2009), 89-126. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Summary: This article deals with new teachers and the sometimes conflicting forces that cause them to be shaped as a teacher. Education courses, student teaching, cooperating teachers, English department policy, school policy, “expert” teachers, AP program requirements, etc. all bend them in sometimes different directions.
In literature, this teacher came from her education courses believing in encouraging students’ developing and defending their own interpretations and encountered a focus on common interpretations and correct answers.
This article and research show the forces with which she had to contend. Aside from the complexity of these forces and their effects on the new teacher, the article is not much help in showing the new teacher how to deal with the forces and yet retain and work toward achieving her own goals.
Comment: I suggest that new teachers follow the prevailing practice and then begin small experiments that deviate from the prevailing practice and take steps toward applying their own ideas and put together a program that combines both the prevailing practice and the teacher's own ideas.
My experience with elementary teachers’ using the basal readers showed me that following the basals’ directions helped teachers learn how to teach reading in a systematic manner, but teachers began to deviate from the basal practice as they gained experience from working with it. RayS.