“Facebook Me”: The Potential of Student Teachers’ Online Communities of Practice in Learning to Teach

Belinda S. Zimmerman, Sharon D. Kruse, Tricia Niesz, William Kist, Melanie K. Kidder-Brown, Elham Nikbakht

Abstract


This study examined the ways in which early childhood pre-service student teachers (PSTs) used an online community for discussions related to teaching. Using the lenses of communities of practice, our goal was to understand what happens when the PSTs begin to share new learnings about teaching through ongoing practice in online communities. We investigated characteristics of the conversations of PSTs and their professors when using Facebook. This study was based on the postings of seven early childhood PSTs and five university faculty members. PSTs were interviewed at the conclusion of the semester to share their experiences from posting on Facebook. Two categories from the data include PSTs’ views of the viability of Facebook and the kinds of talk that surfaced within the Facebook group conversations. Findings suggested that Facebook has the potential to sustain informal dialogues. However, PSTs require strong faculty support to solve issues related to complexities of practice.

Keywords


Communities of Practice, Methods Course Instruction, Online Teaching, Professional Learning Network

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.8n.2p.62

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