Expressive Language Limitations and Impact: Amelioration of Deficiencies for Future Teachers
Problems encountered in preservice teachers’ expressive language abilities range from minor to fairly significant in junior level courses at The University of Southern Mississippi and more specifically in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education. In addition to substandard writing skills, students’ oral communication skills are also viewed as substandard. Students enter the first block of teacher preparation courses having had twelve years of English with an additional twelve hours of college English credit. When faced with writing requirements, many students are unable to provide support for their ideas, have little organizational direction in their writing, and complain they are caught off guard with essay formats due to conditioned short answer tests formats. Similar complaints are lodged with regard to communication skills promoted throughout the program’s duration. Preservice teachers will be provided coaching through writing and speaking workshops and mini lessons during class which focus on specific weaknesses displayed during clinical opportunities where the preservice teachers were working with local school students. Students will be directed and instructed through table top discussions which will occur at least three times a week as well as weekly responsive writing/thinking prompts for completion. Students will receive additional practice with these two expressive language areas via teaching peer mediation focusing on conflict resolution and how to talk to parents. The practice sessions, though mock, are designed to allow students to deal with expected and unexpected behaviors and to think deliberately as well as instinctively through responsible behaviors. The results of this study will be reported and documentation provided as to specific instructional formats designed to promote the expressive language areas.
Keywords: Teacher Education, Expressive Language Enhancement
Dr. Dana Thames
Director, Center for Literacy and Assessment, Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, The University of Southern Mississippi
Dr. Marilyn Foxworth
Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, The University of Southern Mississippi