Minding the Gap: Mentor and Pre-service Teachers’ Ability Perceptions of Content Area Literacy Instruction

Treavor Bogard, Mary-Kate Sableski, Jackie Arnold, Connie Bowman


This mixed method study compared how student teachers rated their ability in implementing components of content area literacy compared to their clinical educators’ perceptions of the  student teachers’ actual performance. The researchers collaborated with K-12 clinical educators to develop a scaled survey to rate level of skill in four components of content literacy instruction. 112 clinical educators (CEs) and 183 student teachers (STs) representing five teacher licensure programs completed the survey. A two-way multivariate analysis of variance measured the effect of Role (CE and ST) and Teacher Licensure Program on ability perception. Results indicated that Role and Program each significantly affected ratings of the four content literacy component skills measured, but the effect of Role did not significantly differ based on Program. Participants’ written explanations of their ability ratings revealed how their mental models of content literacy accounted for differences in ability perception by Role. Implications are provided for enhancing pre-service teachers’ perceptual and qualitative awareness of the practices that underlie highly effective content-area literacy instruction. 


Teacher education; Content literacy; expert-novice differences; mental models; ability perception; mentor teachers; clinical experiences

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v17i4.21885

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ISSN 1527-9316