In this article, the authors describe how they used Twitter to provide opportunities for reflection and collaboration during methods courses in two English education programs.
Retrieved from https:// English teacher education programs often look for ways to help preservice teachers engage in critical reflection, participate in communities of practice, and write for authentic audiences in order to be able to teach in the 21st century.
Specifically, we focus on the ways in which Twitter provided preservice teachers with opportunities to reflect on their own teaching, engage with communities of practice, and write for an authentic audience.
These reflections may provide blueprints for implementing a similar assignment and provide a rationale for Twitter’s usefulness as a tool to integrate into teacher education.
This self-study describes the attempts of authors Susanna Benko and Megan Guise as English educators working to integrate Twitter into their methods courses and investigates different opportunities that Twitter provided for preservice teachers.
We describe these attempts from multiple perspectives—both from English educators (Susanna and Megan) and preservice teachers enrolled in teacher preparation courses (third and fourth authors Casey Earl and Witny Gill).Reflecting, Connecting, and Writing Through Tweeting The Essentials of Twitter Twitter, an online social networking platform, was created in 2006 in San Francisco, California.When joining Twitter, users are asked to create a username, follow other users, and have other users follow them.Connecting to Other Teachers Another important part of teacher education is the notion that learning is socially situated.In the seminal text, , Lave and Wenger (1991) advanced a notion of situated learning as learning that takes place by being engaged in a “community of practice.” Referring to one’s engagement in a social practice that results in learning as “legitimate peripheral participation” (p.Tweeting also includes its own set of symbols and language.For example, hashtags (#) are a way to group together tweets by topic, and “@username” is used to mention a specific person on Twitter or to reply directly to a person on Twitter.By creating a Twitter handle, tweeting, and following key people and organizations in education, teachers begin to form a professional online social network that has the potential to enhance their daily teaching by staying up to date on innovations and engaging in conversations about teaching, learning, and educational reform (Forte et al., 2012).Reflecting and Connecting Through Writing A long-held belief in English education—especially with organizations such as the National Writing Project—holds that teachers of writing need to be writers themselves (Gillespie, 1991).In his argument for reflection as a critical part of quality instruction, Amboi (2006) called reflection “a quintessential element that breathes life to high quality teaching” (p. Dewey (1933) wrote about reflective thinking—thinking that is grounded in a problem, a question, or unknown, which leads to “an act of searching, hunting, inquiring to find material that will resolve the doubt, settle and dispose of the perplexity” (p. In teacher education, preservice teachers often bring many questions—and plenty of doubt—to their coursework and student teaching.By promoting reflective thinking in teacher preparation programs, teacher educators can help their preservice teachers become active, careful thinkers who make deliberate, purposeful choices.