Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Jennifer Jacobs, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Danielle Dennis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diane Yendol-Hoppey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara VanIngen, Ph.D.


teacher education, critical literacy, practitioner inquiry


As demographics change, our school populations are ever changing. Preservice teachers (PSTs) need to be aware of how to meet the needs of all of their future students. Teacher education programs have been charged with the duty of preparing these PSTs for the diverse school population they will encounter. This qualitative multiple case study focused on the influence of specific work with PSTs in the inquiry process within a learning community to make sense of critical literacy. The following research questions guided this study: (1) How do elementary PSTs engaged in practitioner inquiry make meaning of critical literacy instruction within a facilitated learning community? (2) How do PSTs enact critical literacy instruction in the field experience elementary classroom while engaged in practitioner inquiry in a facilitated learning community? (a) What facilitates PSTs as they enact critical literacy instruction in the elementary field experience classroom? (b) What inhibits PSTs as they enact critical literacy instruction in the elementary field experience classroom?

Participants included six PSTs from a cohort in a two-day a week field experience. A sample of three cases was selected to analyze in more detail and for a cross-case analysis. Data sources included transcriptions of learning community meetings, PST written reflections at the end of each learning community meeting, two interviews with each participant, a researcher’s journal, video-recorded literacy lesson and lesson plan, critical literacy concept maps, literacy belief platforms, and plans for learning community sessions.

The findings for each case are detailed in chapters four, five, and six. These findings were analyzed to develop assertions in a cross-case analysis. These assertions included: (1) The three preservice teachers’ sensemaking and/or enactment of critical literacy was impacted as they “saw” examples of critical literacy, (2) Making meaning of critical literacy and critical literacy enactment are an interwoven process that inform each other, (3) As these PSTs engaged in the PLC, their sensemaking and enactment of critical literacy evolved, (4) All PSTs faced similar inhibitors to critical literacy enactment, however, Jodi and Tira were able to negotiate many of these inhibitors to enact critical literacy.