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Acts of Attention: An Exploration of Teacher Candidates’ Attention to Educational Encounters, and How It Relates to Task Formulation


This study begins with the belief that the ways in which teachers see and attend to educational encounters matter for their actions in classrooms. Using microethnography as a framework, this dissertation explores the relationship between teacher candidate attention, problem formulation, and action. Through analysis of the M.Ed. inquiry reports of teacher candidates in a boutique teacher education program, this study answers the following questions: 1) What do teacher candidates’ M.Ed. inquiry questions reveal about their attention and problem formulation? 2) How do these questions indicate possibilities for attention and action in a classroom? 3) How does candidates’ attention change over the course of a year in the context of the M.Ed. investigation they complete in a teacher education program? 4) What do candidates’ attention, problem formulations and actions as revealed in their M.Ed. reports indicate about the relationship between attention, problem formulation, and action?

The findings of the analysis reveal the ways in which teacher candidates are attending to the problems of their classrooms and how that attention might shift through the course of inquiry. As teacher candidates’ attention shifts, it broadens possibilities for problem formulation and the actions a teacher might take in a classroom. In its conclusion, this paper ultimately argues that the object of teacher education be to educate teacher candidates’ attention.

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