Publication details [#5231]

Goldstein, Lisa S. 2005. Becoming a teacher as a hero's journey: Using metaphor in preservice teacher education. Research of Chinese Literature 32 (1) : 7–24. 18 pp.
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Article in journal
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Becoming a teacher is hard work. A sizable body of research indicates that student teaching internships or other field-based practica are a particularly difficult part of this process. Many preservice teachers have misconceptions about the work of teachers and teaching (Cole & Knowles, 1993); when they begin their field placements they often feel disillusioned by the contrast between their idealized images and the realities of the profession. As they experience the myriad challenges of classroom life, preservice teachers often call into question the ideas and skills they were taught in their university coursework (Zeichner & Tabachnick, 1981). Further, the numerous Stressors linked with student teaching - expectations, role clarification, conformity, time, evaluation, assignments, peer discussions, feedback (MacDonald, 1993) - contribute to making field experiences arduous and overwhelming. One of our tasks as teacher educators is to create educational contexts and opportunities that support and sustain our students as they navigate these difficult times. One successful strategy toward this end is the use of metaphor (Bullough, 1991; Bullough & Stokes, 1994; Carter, 1990; Connelly & Clandinin, 1988; Dickmeyer, 1989; Marshall, 1990; Provenzo, McCloskey, Kottkamp & Cohn, 1989; Stofflett, 1996; among others). In this article, I share the results of a recent study that explored the ways in which the hero's journey metaphor offered support to a cohort of preservice elementary school teachers during their first field placement experience. Because "the hero is a universal ideal that helps people think about their lives in a more profound and creative way" (Noble, 1994, p. 30) and because the hero's journey's emphasizes transformation and growth, the hero's journey is an appropriate and potentially powerful metaphor for nascent teachers. (Lisa S. Goldstein)