Assistant Professor Margaret Vaughn
Margaret Vaughn: Literacy Education
Margaret Vaughn teaches undergraduate courses in literacy methods and works with pre-service and in-service teachers to explore and generate ideas and practices meaningful to literacy instruction. Her research interests include adaptive teaching, issues of agency and pre-service teacher education.
Margaret examines the intersection between the classroom structures teachers and students co-create to promote literacy identities across the curriculum. In addition to experiencing the primary context of literacy, students also negotiate and co-construct their literacy identities through their participation in activities across the curriculum. Through this process, students negotiate their sense of what literacy is, who they are within the world of schooling, and whether literacy is for them.
Of interest are the ways in which educators develop a vision for their teaching and adapt their instruction to meet the needs of their students. Understanding teacher visioning and the ways it may relate to adaptive instructional actions may uncover patterns of teacher thinking that may be essential in preparing pre-service teachers. Although curriculum mandates and standardized testing pressures often limit teachers’ sense of autonomy and freedom in their classrooms, teachers who possess and enact their visions may be more likely to overcome such obstacles.
Margaret is currently involved in a variety of studies that revolve around adaptive teaching and issues of agency in the community. She has begun a longitudinal study with the University of Idaho pre-service teachers to examine the visions these teachers conceptualize, their obstacles to enacting their visions, and the particular negotiations they enact in order to teach according to their visions.
Additionally, she is currently working with local elementary schools to develop a teacher action research group focused on literacy instruction, where teachers interested in pursuing a topic of concern meet to discuss their ideas and generate action. She will study these teachers’ decisions and the patterns of social interaction such as discourse, organizational practices, and sanctioned activities and routines that will help foster shared understandings about meanings, forms, and uses of literacy.
Dr. Vaughn is interested in the social interactions and activities to explain the development of identity, skill, and agency. She examines the spaces within the literacy classroom and the practices shaped by the culture of the classroom (and school and district) and how these determine how literacy is defined, instructed, and evaluated.