Pedagogical Challenges

Often because of their backgrounds, second career preservice teachers can sometimes challenge the writing methods course (WMC) instructor in a variety of ways, particularly at the intersection of computers and writing instruction. There appears to be a dichotomy of views on how adaptable second career teachers are to changes within the classroom and specifically within emerging multimodal writing classrooms. For instance, Jenne (1996) argues that some second career teachers are "well entrenched and less amenable to change than those of first career teachers" within their courses and out in the field (19). Therefore, the methods course instructor may face some resistance from these students when confronted with multimodal instruction.

However, I have found in my own experiences with non-traditional students that quite the opposite is true, and these students are often more open to change than traditional-age students. Chambers confirms this finding arguing, "in their efforts to connect the classroom with the larger world, these teachers are willing to adopt new and sometimes uncomfortable strategies, to teach in alternative programs, and to design exciting new curricula" (216). This excitement often extends to use of technology to enhance writing instruction in the classroom. While second career teachers often have some unique technological challenges (see "Technological Challenges" section for more explanation) they often are very willing to take the time to learn why, say, electronic portfolios might offer benefits traditional portfolios cannot. Many are also enthused about the process of learning how to use a variety of technological tools along with their high school students such as Instant Messenger and Facebook in addition to online course delivery software such as Blackboard. On my own campus, because many of these students had graduate assistant appointments they were able to attend faculty workshops that taught how to use these tools and several took full advantage of this free tutoring despite already crammed schedules because the desire was to learn was there. Like traditional students, they find multimodal composing "engaging" and "they commonly respond to multimodal texts with excitement" as Takayoshi and Selfe argue (4). Both Terry and Sally explain how learning multimodal composing as a non-traditional student actually enhances the teacher training experience:












Terry (55 seconds)



Sally (2:22)