was a qualitative study in which seven data sources from preservice
teachers were collected over a nine-month period. These included
videotaped teaching episodes, informal and formal interviews, conversations
in weekly seminars, significant others in training interviews, journals,
and statements of teaching philosophy. Based on the emergent themes
that this data generated, a theoretical model of preservice teacher
development was constructed. Confidence, fear, caution and competence
are the four stages identified in A Model for Preservice Teacher
Development. Sixteen opportunities for preservice teacher learning
in a PDS environment were described. The researcher's daily presence
at the PDS accounted for the richness of the data. Implications
were made for further research and practice. Recommendations for
teacher education reform using PDS models were delineated.
In recent years, educational reformers have emphasized that future teachers must participate early and continuously during their pre-service training in the school arena in which they will eventually be employed (Darling-Hammond, 1996; Darling-Hammond, 1994; Darling-Hammond & Cobb, 1995; Gehrke, 1991; Rust, 1994; NCES, 1993; NEA, 1992; Seidel, 1997; Sykes, 1985; Veenman, 1984; Zepeda & Ponticell, 1996). Nationwide, school districts and universities are forming collaborations that provide insight into and experience in the culture of the teaching profession for the pre-service teacher. These collaborations, called Professional Development Schools (PDSs), offered opportunities for veteran teachers to share their expertise and experiences with upcoming generations of teachers as well as retool their own skills.
partnership between universities and schools provide a pathway that
allows the pre-service teacher to mature and become socialized into
the profession more quickly than in traditional student teaching preparation
(Collins, 1995; Darling-Hammond, 1994; Ellsworth, & Albers, 1995;
Goodlad, 1995; Kennedy, 1992; Lancy, 1997; Lieberman, 1992; Petrie,
1995; Selke & Kueter, 1995; Slick, 1995; Stallings, 1995; Stoddart,
1995; Wilder, 1995; Zeichner, 1997).
1990, the Holmes Group called for the creation of PDSs to serve as
catalysts for the reform of education, teaching, teacher development
and schools (Holmes Group, 1990). The mandate was clear: teacher education
faculty must become active participants with their school-based colleagues
in the facilitation of more meaningful learning for all students.
The PDS initiative seemed to be (a) a responding comprehensive response
to the educational reform activities supporting site-based, co-constructivist
inquiry into teaching and teacher development; (b) forming partnerships
between school and university faculties for training purposes; (c)
envisioning schools as the center of educational change; and (d) fostering
teacher and community empowerment (Levine, 1992; Lieberman, 1992;
Lyons, 1997; Neufeld, 1992; Pechman, 1992; Levine & Tractman,
1997, Zimpher, 1990).
The following sections are as follows: (a) background to the problem, (b) statement of the problem, (c) purpose of the study, and (d) significance of the study. The following sections explained both the need and importance of this research effort.
The number of students with ED has increased between the years 1987-1997 (IDEA, 1997). According to estimates prepared by a multidisciplinary group convened by Health and Human Services' Center for Health Services an estimated 4-5 million children have ED. As a result, their functioning at home, in school or in the community is impaired (Children's Defense Fund, 1997). Fewer than one in four receive the necessary treatment and schooling (Children's Defense Fund, 1997). There is an acute shortage of qualified teachers to teach these students (King-Sears, 1992; USDOE, 1990). In 1995, the Professions in Special Education National Clearinghouse reported projections of the need for special education teachers made by the Department of Labor Statistics.
report cited a minimum of 57,000 ED teachers, a projected need for
additional 17,000 ED teachers, for the year 2005. In 1989, a Coalition
that represented the National Association of State Directors of
Special Education (NASDE), the Council for Exceptional Children
(CEC), American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), Higher Education
Council for Special Education (HECSE), Teacher Education Division
of CEC (TED), and the Council of Administrators in Special Education
(CASE), presented a report to Congress with recommendations for
the re-authorization of PL 94-142 (currently PL 101-976) highlighting
the severity and implications of the continuing personnel shortages
in the field of special education generally. In addition there are
many researchers who document the profound need for well-trained
educators of students with emotional disturbance (Darling-Hammond,
1991; Epstein, Foley & Cullinan, 1992; Epstein & Patton,
1992; Hughes-Booker, 1994; MacDonald, 1991; Rizzo & Zabel; 1988;
Smith & Luckasson, 1992; Steinberg, 1991; Update, 1991).
Not only are there not enough teachers of students with ED, but also those that are trained in the field are leaving the profession in great numbers. Teachers of students with ED leave the field more often than other regular and special education teachers (Fimian, 1988; McIntyre, 1989; Page, Page, & Milton, 1983; Schmid et. al., 1991; Sweeney, Warren, & Kemis, 1991; Veenman, 1984; Westling & Whitten, 1996). The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDE) have identified teacher attrition as the foremost issue confronting special education in the next decade (NASDE, 1990). Boe (1991) found that the attrition rate for special educators was 7.3% compared to that of 5.3% for regular educators.
attrition rates were the highest in teaching areas for emotionally
disturbed and multi-categorical resource (McKaub, 1983; George,
George, and Groesnick, 1992; Metzke, 1988). Because a high proportion
of teachers of students with ED leave the field of teaching, it
is imperative to understand the nature of their concerns during
the training process. To understand their concerns may allow teacher
educators to meet the developmental needs of those training in the
field of special education. The research also examined the PDS environment
as to determine the opportunities that it afforded a pre-service
teacher of students with ED in a one-year full time internship.
The next section describes the statement of the problem.
The nature and needs of this challenging population requires that their teachers understand, endure and therapeutically respond to personal threats (Grimmett, 1994; Murphy, 1995; Neufield, 1994; Woods, 1994). Pre-service teachers must be prepared to face the myriad of professional responsibilities that will confront them during the first year of teaching (Beare, 1991; Epstein, Foley, & Cullinan, 1992; Jones, 1992; Morse, 1996). Preservice teacher preparation affords the opportunity for teacher educators of teachers for students with ED to develop preservice teachers' insights and skills about the reality demands of working with this population. The result is likely to be increased retention in the field. Understanding the developmental process of pre-service teachers in a PDS for students with ED will assist university teacher educators to better respond to individual instructional and emotional needs of the teachers in training raising the probability that as special educators, graduated pre-service teachers will effectively respond to students' needs. This study described the stages of pre-service development in a professional development school for teachers of students with ED.
The purposes of this study are to determine how pre-service teachers for students with emotional disturbance (ED) in a one-year full time PDS progress through a series of developmental stages and what opportunities contribute to the learning of the pre-service teacher of students with ED in a PDS.
A review of the literature revealed no studies to date that focus on the developmental process of pre-service teachers in(a) special education, (b)special education of students with ED, (c) in a PDS environment, or (d) during a one year full time internship. This study will fill this gap. The findings of this study will begin the development of a theory about pre-service teacher developmental stages of teachers training to work with ED students upon which future studies can be derived. The findings will also describe the opportunities for learning afforded to the pre-service teacher of students with ED in a PDS.
The following is a list of literature headings that were searched: (1) pre-service teacher, (2) special education, (3) development, (4) emotional disturbance, (5) professional development school, (6) teacher education, (7) teacher training, (8) internship, (9) educational reform, (10) school reform, (11) teacher development, (12) professional development, (13) teacher preparation, (14) student teaching, (15) burn-out, (16) effects of ED students, (17) mentor, (18) stages of concern, (19) beginning teachers, (20) feedback, (21) teacher perspective, (22) student teacher supervisor, (23) role perception, (24) videotape, (25) teaching philosophy (26) attitudes, (27) beliefs, (28) stress, (29) cognitive development, (30) emotional development, (31) social-emotional development. This extensive search led to the conclusion that there is scant, if any, published information about the area under investigation in this study. There is a gap in the literature surrounding the issues of pre-service teacher of students with ED development in a one-year full time internship at a PDS and the opportunities for learning afforded to the pre-service teacher of students with ED in a PDS. This research study will examine these neglected areas.
Typically a child with serious emotional disturbance is either under-socialized or negatively socialized and acts out toward self and others or inward in self-destructive ways. The teacher of students with ED must be prepared to manage a wide range of students' behaviors. The child with emotional disturbance uses a host of defense mechanisms by which to deal with the world. The teacher must be intra/interpersonally insightful in order to not perpetuate those behaviors in students. The teacher must be knowledgeable about the complex nature and needs of this population. The child with serious emotional disturbance is under-socialized or negatively socialized and acts out toward self and others or inward in self-destructive ways. The teacher must be prepared to manage a wide range of behaviors. The child with emotional disturbance uses a host of defense mechanisms by which to deal with the world. This requires that the teacher is intra/interpersonally insightful in order not to perpetuate those behaviors in students. The teacher must be knowledgeable about the complex nature and needs of this population. The child with ED requires specifically designed academic and programmatic support. The teacher must be prepared to respond to the diversity and complexity of the academic needs of students with emotional disturbance.
the vast range of student needs and continual demands upon the
teacher, it is hypothesized that a pre-service teacher training
for one year full time in a PDS that is specific to the preparation
of teachers for students with ED will be better prepared professionally
to meet these for the challenges in the first year as a special
educator. Special educators trained this way are immersed in
the daily activities of the school. In this context, pre-service
teachers can, among other things, experiment with teaching strategies,
develop a repertoire of behavior management interventions, interact
with interdisciplinary professionals, make theory meaningful
through practice and become socialized to the profession. The
effects of this particular kind of training need further investigation.
The need for special educators specifically trained in the field
of emotional disturbance, who are prepared to effectively teach
this population, is well documented (Billingsley & Cross,
1991; Epstein, Patton, 1992; Epstein, 1993; Fredericks, 1994;
Gable, 1992; Kauffman, 1986; Lewis, 1991; Lowenthal, 1996; Nelson
& Person, 1991; Rizzo & Zabel, 1988; Smith & Luckasson,
1992; Steinberg, 1991). Training requires a sophisticated integration
among the theories germane to development and psychological
functioning; pedagogy; and preservice teachers' willingness
to reflect and introspect. The significance of this study is
to enable teacher educators to train special educators to work
with students with ED by responding more sensitively and precisely
to preservice teachers' developmental stages.
study investigated how does a preservice teacher for students
with serious emotional disturbance in a one-year full time PDS
progress through a series of developmental stages.
a pre-service teacher in a PDS develops is unknown although
there is a call to conduct research about the process (Hamlin,
1997; Kroll, 1997; Millwater, 1997; Cambone, 1996; Cifuentes,
1996; Hayes, 1996; Meyers, 1996; Paul, 1996; Renick, 1996; Scannell,
1996; Smith, 1996; Steffel, 1996; Telese, 1996). The literature
search revealed an absence of research about the stages through
which a preservice teacher for students with SED progresses
during a yearlong internship in a PDS. Understanding how the
development occurred required understanding the context of the
PDS learning environment. Using grounded theory I learned about
the preservice teachers and their development over time. The
unit of analysis is the individual. Looking at the individual,
the effort is to understand the entirety.
one male and five females,
the study the names of the subjects were changed to maintain
anonymity. The six graduate students who comprised the sample
for the purposes of this study were those working full time
as preservice teachers at the Pathways/Hyattsville School. The
preservice teachers were fully immersed in the daily operation
of the site. Over the course of the year their responsibilities
proceeded accordingly: (1) initial observation of and interaction
with students at PH; (2) planning and implementation of lessons;
(3) decision making about behavior management and instruction;
(4) interventions; and (5) conducting an intensive internship,
during which the preservice teacher team articulates the entire
day of classroom and related activities without the presence
of the training teacher (Belknap & Mosca, 1998).
methodology is suitable for five reasons: (a) to understand
the meaning of preservice teachers' development, (b) to understand
the particular context within which participants act and the
influence that this context has on their development, (c) to
identify unanticipated phenomena and influences that may occur
that would effect their developmental process, (d) to understand
the process by which events and actions take place during the
graduate internship experience and (e) to develop causal explanations
of the preservice teachers' development (Maxwell, 1996). This
study of the stages of preservice development in a PDS for teachers
of students with ED involved an investigation of each of these
elements. To facilitate this effort, the grounded theory approach
to analyzing data was employed for this study.
theory methods were used to analyze the data (Chamaz, 1983;
1990; Glaser, 1978; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss, 1987;
Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The grounded theory methods that
were used included: (1) examining the interviews and other data
for differences in development, (2) studying interviews and
written accounts for themes, (3) building analytical categories
from preservice teachers' definitions of and perceptions of
their situational concerns; (4) conducting further interviews
to redefine the categories, (5) re-reading the personal accounts
in order to gain perspective. The process in the identification
of major themes served to integrate the analysis. The constant
comparative method of analysis was used and its coding procedures
were used. The constant comparative method required that I first
compare items in each category, then draw up categories and,
finally, compare categories. As the Research Associate based
on-site at P/H, I was a participant observer. The researcher's
position and activities related to that position as on-site
Research Associate at the Pathways/Hyattsville positively enhanced
the study because in order to gain trust with the subjects it
was necessary to have an insider's role in the system.
Preservice teachers for students with ED in a one-year full
time internship within a PDS do engage in a developmental process.
following are delimitations the study:
literature revealed that students training to be effective teachers
do progress through a series of developmental stages (Adams,
1982; Bolin, 1977; Cain, 1994; Caruso, 1977; Evan & Tribble,
1986; Floden & Feinman, 1981; Fuller, 1969; Fuller &
Bown, 1975; George, 1978; Gregorson, 1994; Hall & Rutherford,
1976; Iannaccone, 1963; Katz, 1972; Reeves & Kazelskis ,
1985; Ryan, 1996; Saks & Harrington, 1982; Sitter &
Lanier, 1982; Unruh & Turner, 1970). It is necessary to
identify and characterize these stages. The literature revealed
that a gap existed in the reporting of developmental process
of preservice teachers of students with ED in a one-year full
time internship in a PDS. The literature also showed a gap regarding
the opportunities for learning afforded to the preservice teacher
of students with ED in a PDS. The findings of this study will
begin the development of a theory about preservice teacher development
stages of teachers training to work with students with ED upon
which further studies can be derived. Teacher educators need
reliable data to guide them in determining appropriate preservice
teacher training in general. Training for teachers of students
with ED needs to be more supportive of preservice teachers'
needs so that the retention rate of those trained will increase.
The answers to the research questions asked by this investigation
may be one way to assist in the development of preservice training
for teachers of students with ED. Therefore this study was designed
to identify and describe the nature of the developmental stages
of a preservice teacher enrolled in a one year full time graduate
program at a PDS training to work with students with ED.
To answer the research question, the findings will be presented in bi-monthly time epochs. The epochs are as follows: September/October, November/December, January/February, and March/April. In each section, I first provide the context for what was happening during that time frame. Then I will explain each theme with example from preservice teachers' comments. Within each epoch, five of the most common themes are discussed and illustrated. Emergent themes are representative of the intersection of voices of the participants in the study. As a result of between-case analysis, strong themes are identified and presented (Miles and Huberman, 1994). These themes are interesting between case themes that resonate in all of the case studies (Miles and Huberman, 1994) (see Table 4).
Theme 1: Student Behavior
Preservice teachers were most preoccupied with the behavior of their students during the September/October period. Preservice teachers wondered how to manage the behavior of the children specifically. Preservice teachers believed that students would want to behave properly in an effort to win the approval of their new teachers. This however was not the case. One preservice teacher remarked to me during an informal interview,
"...I used to think that if the students liked me and know that I cared about them, then they would behave properly in order to please me. However that is not the case with our homeroom, I am trying to discover ways that will allow me to manage our homeroom when I begin teaching. For right now it looks like a hard time."
Another preservice teacher recognized the importance of having the lesson well planned and prepared. When the teacher was teaching, the students were engaged and as a result behavior problems were minimal. The preservice teacher recognized that children need to understand what is expected of them so that they can rise to that level of expectation. A preservice teacher offered,
"...It really makes a difference to have everything prepared and ready for [the students] right from the beginning and it also helped a lot that my [preservice teacher] partner and I are able to agree in everything before we're confronted with a class full of kids who are waiting to test us. I am still being tested by some of my students but I am feeling more comfortable with giving them circles and checks on their point sheets. I was letting them know that cussing wasn't okay but I was not backing up what I was saying until the third warning. I just have to make sure that the students know what to expect if they do the behavior."
Through the use of videotape, each preservice teacher had the opportunity to review his or her teaching performance. In this example, the preservice teacher honestly reflects on his behavior management technique in the September/October timeframe. He shares,
"....Tonight I will watch my videotape and like the team who loses the game they weren't supposed to lose, I'll figure out where I made the mistakes or how to improve on my delivery and overall performance on guiding the students through the lesson. I want to be the conductor (maestro) of the orchestra playing a beautiful symphony of harmonious melodies. My assessment is that I was more like a jazz improvisationalist! The various behaviors and histrionic outbursts were enough to drive me crazy, however I understand that I need to learn how to help these very students manage their experiences in the classroom in a nurturing and compassionate manner, I wonder though, how do you attack the behavior without attacking the individual?"
Theme 2: Relationship with students
Overall the second area of concern in the September/October period was that of relationship with students. During this time, preservice teachers were focused on initiating and maintaining relationships with their students. Often preservice teachers were most concerned with seeking approval and recognition from the students. One preservice teacher wrote in her journal,
"I feel like the typical first year teacher. It's not so much that I care if the students like me, than it is that I don't want to appear mean."
When asked in an informal interview, another said,
"I remember a time during my internship this past month that I felt positive about. It was when I felt most proud and most recognized. About a week ago right in the middle of my lesson, someone came and knocked at the door and asked if Mr. Hart could be invited over to the lower group's classroom for a while. They wanted to me to watch their presentation. They had worked on a social studies lesson and were allowed to invite one guest to hear their presentation. This is my math group and of everyone in the entire school they chose me and I felt really proud of that. It makes me feel great."
One preservice teacher discovered that in establishing a relationship with the student, she was allowed to then set limits on his interfering behavior in the classroom. She explained the importance of establishing a trusting relationship with her student Mondell. By earning the child's trust the preservice teacher increased her chance to effect and influence the child. The preservice teacher had spent time with the boy. She listened to, remained consistent, and had shown care and compassion for him. She maintained a structured learning environment that provided him with safety and security. Trust developed. Through committing to develop a relationship with her student, the preservice teacher was able to make gains with him. She told me in an interview,
"I am working hard to build trust with my students, especially Mondell. He is very difficult to get close to, but I feel that I have made progress. However, we are at a point where he is really testing me, and I had fallen right into it. I would tell him to stop doing something over and over again but I was not comfortable with [setting limits on him] The other thing that happens with Mondell is that it is easy to get into a power struggle with him. I talked with my training teacher about it and it helped a lot. [She told me that] Mondell gets almost no nurturing at home, and his relationship with his grandmother and mother consists of a lot of yelling and screaming at each other. [She suggested that] when I talk to Mondell I need to make sure that I am always gentle and caring with my tone of voice and body language, so that he doesn't see me as an authority he has to fight against. I've been doing it and it makes a big difference As far as feeling comfortable with redirecting him now, I am now backing up what I tell him, I'm now using the point sheet and that too makes a difference. He comes over and sits next to me a lot, so I am feeling more comfortable interacting with him because I am beginning to feel more confident in my ability to help him."
third primary concern that emerged from the data during the
September/October period, was that of relationship with staff.
The preservice teachers were thinking about their association
with the PDS site staff. They realized their place within the
hierarchy. As newcomers, the preservice teachers learned that
they would have to slowly interface with the existing establishment.
Roles and responsibilities of preservice teachers were delineated
to the returning paid staff members and the preservice teachers
learned that they were first expected to observe the policies
and procedures of the system. One preservice teacher who was
used to working in a school setting contributed in a discussion,
"I am used to being involved and I am used to everyone working from the same corner but it seems as though here you cannot just jump in."
Another expressed his frustration. He was hopeful that after he had been at the site for an extended period, his opinion would be valued. Having worked in a school environment, this preservice teacher understood the expectations in a staff meeting. Based on his prior experience of being actively involved, he readily volunteered to participate in after-school meetings. Within days of the first week of school he informed me,
"I guess they are not going to listen to me. I wonder if after I have been here for a while if they will start. It seems like the preservice teachers could greatly offer a new perspective to the discussions but for now I guess I'll try to keep my mouth closed and observe."
Theme 4: Role identification
During the September/October period, the fourth theme of concern was role identification. Many of the teachers in training wondered what it would be like to be in charge. It was during these early months, where most of them were observing the training teachers handle and teach the children, that they began to idealize how the perfect teacher might behave. In the classrooms each day, they began to clarify and define roles and responsibilities of a teacher. Resting on limited professional experience, the preservice teachers expressed their intentions if the classroom were their own. One said,
"I look at my training teacher and wonder why she does the things she does. If I were the teacher I would be nicer to the children and give them more choices. She seems so controlling. I would not use these point sheets to control behavior if this was my classroom. I would teach from a strength-based perspective and drop this controlling and coercive system of point sheets and punishment."
of the younger preservice teachers suggested that the teacher
be more flexible. She commented during seminar,
"It is so beautiful outside, why doesn't the teacher teach outside? I would take these children outside and rest under tree and teach there-- if I was in charge."
After spending only a few weeks as an observer in the classroom, one of the preservice teachers concluded that the training teacher was not instructing the students in a way that met the instructional needs of the children. In an informal interview, the preservice teacher offered this suggestion:
"If I were the teacher I would teach the students material about topics that were relevant to their lives. Teaching from this basal reader provides little context and I do not think the students are motivated as a result. How does a little black boy from the ghetto understand about corporate business technology? This teacher does not understand what these children need. I do."
Role 5: Balance
The fifth major theme in September/October was that of balance. The preservice teachers had taken several graduate courses in the previous summer including analysis of teaching and methodology courses. As the students advanced educationally it seemed that their attitudes and beliefs tended to become increasingly more liberal and progressive. However, the impact of the graduate education didactic courses faded as a result of the teaching experience. One of their overarching struggles was that of blending the philosophical set of the University with that of the on-site PDS. Theoretically, not all struggles translated into practice. For example, the preservice teachers had learned how to establish a therapeutic milieu. Experts, such as Long and Morse (1996) consider this to be best practice. However in the PDS, training teachers were not always of the same mindset as the preservice teachers, often their philosophies were different. One preservice teacher said,
"It does not seem as though I share the philosophy of the school. I want the children to live in an environment where their needs are met first. In this graduate program, we are taught to ask ourselves, 'Whose needs are being met?' The answer is always supposed to be "The children's!" I find that this is not always the case here at the site. Maybe when folks are on the front lines for a while they tire. It seems like their needs are being met first, especially when we are talking about transition planning for some of the kids."
The preservice teachers realized that they would have to find a balance that they would feel comfortable with in terms of juggling differing philosophies. One preservice teacher summed up the situation when she wrote about the challenges of teaching math to her students as a result of conflicting philosophical strategies,
"I have one concern and it's how the teaching philosophy of the University clashes with that of my training teacher. I am not a training teacher myself so I am influenced and respectful of my training teacher's decisions. But she acts in discordance with that of the messages I am getting from the faculty and staff of the college. I am trying to be able to discern what is good. I have to be able to discern what is going to work? What is best for me? What is best for the student at this point? Should I continue to follow the lead of my teacher and incorporate the methodologies in which she uses or else should I continue with the way that GW has taught me? The philosophies seem to be competing. I know GW teaches best practices but its me who has to be in the class with that teacher. I think she might accuse me of being oppositional if I don't follow her directives I think its best for the students to follow the teaching tradition of GW but for now I am scared of changing from her."
next section will define and illustrate emergent themes of the
November/December time period extracted from the data collected
for this research study.
November/December the preservice teachers continued to assume
more responsibility at the PDS. They continued to plan and implement
lessons and were included in the decision making process about
behavior management and instruction. Continuing in the role
of assistant teachers, the preservice teachers supported the
classroom teachers when required. During this time period, most
preservice teachers were teaching two subject areas a day to
small groups of children. Most taught one large group lesson
at least three times a week. In addition to assuming these responsibilities,
the preservice teachers were experiencing changes within the
Pathways organization. Two of the three training teachers resigned
at the end of this time interval. These training teachers reported
that the responsibilities of the position of training teacher
interfered with their outside personal responsibilities and
obligations. During this time in their lives, they felt that
they did not have the necessary time required to accomplish
their obligations to the site, the preservice teachers or their
students with ED.
emergent themes, surfacing during November/December, were (a)
how to mange student behavior; (b) how to plan effective lessons
of instruction; (c) initiating and maintaining student relationships;
and (d) initiating and maintaining relationships with staff; (e)
positively strengthening relationships with training teachers.
Splinter themes in the November/December term included (a) how
to involve and engage students in their learning; (b) how to identify,
locate and gather needed material; (c) how to maintain a working
relationship with the preservice teacher partner; (d) how to devise
and deliver effective instructional strategies. Emergent Themes
Theme 1: Student behavior
overriding theme that emerged in the November/December period
again was student behavior. Students often acted in defiant
or oppositional manners and preservice teachers wondered how
to intervene effectively. "When Marcellus threw the chair,
I did not know what to do. I felt powerless," said a preservice
teacher. Another wrote, "When Aiden knocked over the hamster
cage, and it flew into the air and banged Sammy in the head,
I thought, "Oh my! What do I do first? Find the mouse?
See if Tommy is ok? Confront Aiden?"
all the children were like Aiden. Other children were more passive
and reserved. Some withdrew. One preservice teacher noticed,
"I saw Pauly looking into outer space. His eyes were glazed
over for some time. I did not know how to get his attention."
And another shared, "He hides all the time. I usually find
him in his usual hiding spot. He crawls under the study carrel
and sleeps. He's in seventh grade and he cannot read. I know
he used to skip school a lot." Other children acted out
sexually. One preservice teacher confessed, "I am frightened
and threatened at the things Wally says that he wants to do
to, for and with me. Sexually. Thugs on the street saying provocative
things to me on the street do not even bother me like this child
The preservice teachers were beginning to recognize the severity of the children's disabilities and started to appreciate that they needed more strategies in which to deal with the children's interfering behaviors. One preservice teacher, recognizing her inability to curb the children's competing behaviors clarified,
"This has been a difficult week for me. Charlemaine has really gotten on my nerves with her verbal abuse, physical contact and setting up [behaviors]. She has been calling me 'horse', 'dog' and other names that the class has picked up on. Its like I have nine Charlemaines attacking me. The therapists have all spoken to me trying to determine strategies for correcting this behavior . I have been very consistent with Charlemaine and she has only gotten worse On top of everything going on with Charlemaine, I have problems with inappropriate sexual comments from several of the boys For once in my life, I feel powerless around children. I had no idea how to handle the problem I hope that was the last of it because if not I will dread coming here."
Another preservice teacher tried to justify her own feelings of hopelessness as a result of working with these, as she said, "bothered" children. She wrote,
"On Friday, Felicia was so upset. She was so upset that she pulled a chunk of her own hair from her own head. I was horrified. Her head started to bleed and everything! I was so repulsed that I could not react. Sheer shock. How am I supposed to handle a situation of that magnitude and what on Earth am I supposed to do now? I mean, I don't really want to go near that child. I feel so uncomfortable around her. Who knows what she will do next? These children are bothered! They make me feel this way. I am serious."
Other preservice teachers defined strategies they had used in order to restore order in their chaotic classrooms. One shared in an interview,
"I really feel confident that I am making progress in doing so. My lessons have been a lot better this week since I have been clearly stating my objectives and behavior rules."
Another mentioned the importance of establishing expectations, involving students in the lesson and establishing meaningful relationships as behavior management techniques. She said to me during a formal interview,
"I just feel like I have control over the kids when they think their lesson is interesting and I knew exactly what they were learning. This is a little-- no actually a lot different than in months passed. I plan for them based on the objective highlighted and as a result they are learning. I realize that I am now teaching material. Definitely. I got them interested in the lessons and I just thought that it was terrific. I realize that when the lesson is good enough, captures their attention, then I don't spend nearly the time telling them to 'stay on task' or 'do this' or 'do that'. Teaching does demand central issues clarity. I have to remember that the tighter I have the lesson planned the better the students will behave. Its like the credo, 'Learning is a function of task analysis and the depth of the interpersonal relationship."
Theme 2: Planning
The second main theme that emerged in the November/December time span was that of planning. Preservice teachers were mostly concerned with how exactly to plan a lesson. They worked on writing educational objectives that were observable and measurable. They then worked on task analyzing the concept that needed to be taught. They then developed activities in which to carry out the objective. Writing the lesson plan was difficult for them at this time. One asked, "What should I write down on the lesson plan for the relevancy to real life application section?" They struggled to make the lessons meaningful. Another asked, "What could be a motivating lesson to tempt their interest for my lesson?" The mechanics of writing the lesson proved to be challenging for them. "Can't I just teach them about batteries? Why do I have to plan it out so detailed?" The pre-service teachers accepted that instructional practice required a great amount of time planning. One preservice teacher shared,
"I am spending an extraordinary amount of time planning for my lessons. Sometimes it seems as though for a lesson do go off well it requires five times the amount of planning as it takes to deliver it."
Several of the preservice teachers planned for their lesson but were not successful in predicting the necessary amount of time needed to cover the material. One preservice teacher learned,
"I wish there were more free-time activities. Free time makes me nervous. I was thinking that I need to make some adapted card or board games that will help the students to review past concepts. I really have to structure those last few minutes for them that the lesson is over. Otherwise if they are playing the koosh ball basketball, they could get in fights and argue and their great academic period might end because I didn't put enough structure down for them. I was thinking of making a go fish game of planets. It's just hard to know what to do after the lesson you have planned is over. It's like this open vacuum of a space that I am not sure what to do."
teachers addressed the fact that planning a lesson required
the teacher to be cognizant of their motivations and actions.
This planning effort attributed to their conscious performances.
One preservice teacher defined this when she said,
"It's like driving a car. These days I just get in the car and drive. I do not think about putting my foot on the accelerator. Now I am being asked to go back and think about each time I put my foot on the pedal. It's a very thoughtful and somewhat tense experience but I appreciate it because I know that my practice- and overall the children- are benefiting."
Preservice teachers discovered that planning takes effort and creativity. But they are fueled with inspiration once they realize that the planning pays off when they deliver the lesson. A preservice teacher explained in her weekly journal why:
"I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to make my lesson plans more personal and relevant for my students. I have started reading teacher magazines in search for help. [My partner] and I just sent away for a subscription for a magazine called Instructor. Also I feel that we are working hard to provide our math group with as much hands on activities as possible. I ordered a catalogue that sells manipulative to enhance our teaching of algebra; I am very excited about this because I believe our math group is learning a lot. I was apprehensive about teaching math, but now I am beginning to gain confidence. I realize that the more energy I put into planning before I teach, the better my students grasp the materials. It takes so much time but in the long run, the planning insures success in the presentation of the lesson."
Theme 3: Relationship with students
third strongest message that emerged during the November/December
period included the preservice teachers' preoccupation for building
positive relationships with students. Preservice teachers were
concerned with forming allegiances with their children. They
expressed a desire to affiliate with the children in a way that
would allow for kinship and alliance. Many of the students with
ED in the preservice teachers' classes had documented difficulties
of initiating and maintaining relationships with peers and adults.
The students with ED often struggled with interpersonal relationships
and resisted getting to know new adults. The preservice teachers
put a lot of energy toward trying to gain students' approval.
This preservice teacher who wrote in her journal illustrated
their need for connection,
"At the Thanksgiving dinner, the school choir sang, I played the drums, and it felt great. When the students finished singing I received and gave hugs to several of the children. I thought this was especially important to do since some of the parents were not there who did perform. During my short practice sessions with the choir, they diagnosed me as "cool." Oh it feels really good to connect."
Several of the preservice teachers continued to want to be validated by their students. One preservice teacher in particular identified more so with the students and focused on gaining approval and acceptance from them. She was not yet able to focus on raising their self-concepts. Instead she expected them to do that for her. In this example, the preservice teacher was continuing to have her own needs met through her students. She shared during an informal interview,
"I have been having such difficulty stepping up to the plate disciplining the students and now I am trying to do that more. Like Angel for example. I had to redirect her yesterday and she ended up crying and had to be sent down to the crisis room because she had become so very unraveled. She was shouting, 'I hate you. You are the meanest teacher. I never want to see your ugly face again.' I hate it when she is mad at me. I work so hard for her. It's like she doesn't even care Well I was so surprised when she came up to me in homeroom this morning and presented me with a tape that she had made for me last night. There were songs and stories she told on the tape and she gave it to me and since she gave me the tape I knew she liked me again."
A preservice teacher shared with me during an informal interview her desire to work through issues of racism with a student so that she could establish a relationship with him. This preservice teacher was biracial and she told me how difficult it was for one of her students, named Mondell, to accept her completely. She also was shorter than the student was, so to him he thought they could be peers. Mondell, was soft spoken and avoided much interaction with people, but he began to connect with this preservice teacher. Through this experience with Mondell she came to believe that teaching was dependent on the depth of the interpersonal relationship. She said,
"Mondell often has trouble in how he should perceive me. Sometimes he sees me as a teacher and sometimes he sees me as a peer. Sometimes I'm a good guy and sometimes I'm someone who he can depend on. Sometimes he sees me as a white person and sometimes he sees me as a black person, which he is always asking me about. Race is a big issue for him and he mentions it often to students and other adults . He asked me are you white or are you black? I told him, 'Well, that depends on which parent you ask. My father is white and my mother is black."
Although he seem satisfied at the time with that answer, there are other times when the whole conversational issue resurfaces ."I set a limit on Mondell for being disrespectful and he shouted out, "White bitch!" That hurt my feelings. He has been raised in an environment where he never really got to know anyone white. So it's -- I'm-- confusing to him. Once I heard him say, I only like the black part of her I hope in time he will continue to trust me enough to open up and see that I care about him."
Theme 4: Relationship with staff
fourth greatest concern that came out of the data during the
November/December period was the preservice teachers' relationship
with staff members. They wanted to know where they fit in the
framework of the organization. They concentrated on communication
with the staff, understanding the pecking order at the site,
and with their feelings as a result of their position on staff.
One preservice teacher admitted,
"I feel so uncomfortable when I have to address concerns with other adults. I feel uncomfortable because I usually avoid this. I think. Therefore I am not really good at this. Maybe it's because I personally become defensive and analyze myself when I am confronted. Plus I know that other preservice teachers have confrontations and then project their anger on the message deliverer. If I am the deliverer then I have to be able to take what that person gives off and lets it roll-off or give back another response. I guess I have never mastered the ability to debate. As long as I can remember, I avoided them, I don't like the way they feel. I know that since I am working with people, I must somehow develop some comfortable way for me to confront people, address concerns and deal with or work through responses. I also feel that it is so necessary to have an outlet. Especially when I am frustrated. I experienced frustration this week with the staff. I resorted to crying in an area alone. I later regrouped and carried on. My frustration is from my current status of being a preservice teacher. I am still trying to find out how to teach in particular. I feel like I must be patient with myself as I learn . Sometimes I feel like the staff expects me to be at a certain point with my teaching and yet other times I don't think they want to hear from me at all. Its like I am in the middle and I am not sure which way is up. I am trying to figure out where I fit in this hierarchy".
Theme 5: Relationship with training teachers
November/December relationships with the training teachers were
discussed. Two of the training teachers were leaving, so four
of the preservice teachers were especially concerned with what
the future might hold for them in the areas of training. How
would the children be effected by this change of staff? Who
would take their places? Other preservice teachers were focused
on understanding the relationship between the training teacher
and the preservice teacher specifically. Communication, power,
boundaries and task distribution were areas of concern. Overall
the preservice teachers expressed a need to be directed and
coached. They looked up to their training teachers as role models
and tried to solicit their acceptance, approval and appreciation.
A preservice teacher shared in her journal her need and desire
to be mentored,
"Each day, I feel more and more comfortable with my training teacher. She is so positive and supportive and I really need that. I am learning a lot from her. She really promotes the children's self esteem. I watch her when she teaches with intent and interest. I would like to copy her manner as best as I can. I listen to the words she chooses and the techniques that she tries. I admire how she has the ability to interact with children proactively. I think I can learn a great deal from her. I feel as though I have a good working relationship with her as well as a strong friendship."
A second preservice teacher revealed her thoughts on the division of power in her classroom. She stated,
"And in the classroom I still do not feel like I am in charge. I think that [the training teacher not being flexible] has a lot to do with it. She is not open to suggestion from us and I feel like she does not give us as much hands on experience, as let's say, other preservice teachers in other rooms. I think she doesn't want to give up the control."
A third shared her angst about the upcoming changes in personnel. In her journal she wrote,
The main concern that I have been thinking about is what kind of training teacher will we get? Who will we get for a training teacher? And what kind of classes would he or she use? And how-how my role is going to change in the classroom?
During the months of November and December, preservice teachers recognized the importance of their training teachers. Once they began to assume a bit of responsibility in the classroom, the preservice teachers recognized that the job of teacher was not as simplistic as they once had predicted. They looked now to their training teachers for role models. They valued training teachers who were "skilled," "positive" and "available."
should be noted that when the preservice teachers returned from
the holiday break in January, the site principal at Pathways/Hyattsville
had been replaced. To replace the teachers, who had resigned,
the organization hired two new teachers. One of the new teachers
joined the staff in January and the other joined in late February.
Emergent themes that surfaced during January/February included
(a) planning, (b) materials, (c) organizational changes, (d)
student behavior, and (e) relationships with training teacher.
The process of task analyzing the lesson took a tremendous amount of time. One of the preservice teachers explained to me, in an informal interview, why her lesson was problematic:
"At first I did not understand why I could not get the students invested in my math lesson. I was teaching a unit on dividing decimals and I figured that I had a well-planned lesson. Well it was well planned. But it did not meet their needs. As a matter of fact, it turned out to be quite frustrating for them. I realized that I was teaching over their heads and I expected them to get it. Instead I should have backed up a little and broken it down more for them. I had not task analyzed it nearly enough. Also I should have assessed the children myself to see actually what their strengths and abilities were. I frustrated them. Planning involves so much more than I thought."
preservice teacher described out why she believed it was necessary
to make time for planning. After we watching her videotape together,
the preservice teacher said,
"I do not have enough time to plan adequately for my lessons. Otherwise, it's not like I can go into math class with a group of little eight year old kids without a thoughtful lesson and many pre-prepared[sic]hand on activities that will hold their interests. I am not just going to baby-sit them. I need to teach them something and in order to teach, I need time to prepare I am very exhausted [because I do not have a permanent training teacher or a preservice teacher partner at this time] and I worry that my student are not receiving the best that I have to offer, because I feel like I am spreading myself out too thin. I do not doubt that I will make it through the program, but as I become weaker, my energy lessens."
third preservice teacher accounted for the extraordinary amount
of time it took her to plan. She said in seminar,
preservice teacher was teaching a unit on food groups and thought
she could teach them from her personal perspective. She figured
out that it was first necessary to research, investigate and
inquire about the subject. Another remarked,
"I feel like I have a better understanding of the basic material that I am teaching the students. I still spend hours of my free time on the weekends learning the information myself so that I can teach my students. Teaching is not telling. I have to know the material- the ins and outs of the subject. Social studies is hardest. I have to learn so much about history so I can have a handle on it. If the students ask questions I need to be grounded in the content myself. My undergraduate experience did not include a lot of history courses so I am finding that I must do a lot of the background work on my own. I cannot just teach from the book. And we really are not given great amounts of teaching materials at this school. The curriculum guides here are old and outdated. Even the maps and globes are dated. I am finding that the responsibilities of gathering recent and relevant materials that are enticing and on their grade level is a challenge but it is fun for me to learn at the same time. I am spending more time now on learning the subject matter than I am on planning. I was just thinking over the weekend how I am now able to plan a lesson in twenty minutes and it used to take me two hours so that's great. I feel comfortable with what I have learned how to teach and how to write lesson plans so far. Like I said my energy is now focusing on the learning of the subject area."
Another preservice teacher made public her struggle with finding teaching materials. She stated,
"I am struggling to find materials that I can use in the classroom. I mean I have been teaching from the book but now I want to use the book as a guide. I want to include props, like posters, toys, games and things to help my children visualize social studies. I think I should find related games and projects and workbooks for them to use. Should I buy them, make them or ask someone to get them for me?"
preservice teacher added a series of questions about where to
3: Organizational changes.
miss my training teacher. So do the children," said
one preservice teacher in an informal interview. The preservice
teachers were not the only ones effected by or responding to
the changes taking place in the system. One revealed in seminar
(crying), "I think the social workers blame us for all
of these people leaving. The teachers, they think, left because
of the burden of having us preservice teachers. I am trying
so hard to be a good teacher. I hate to think that I am a burden."
Another, in seminar, told the group, "We are not
wanted here. We are not appreciated here (crying). I
know the staff misses the people who left and are angry at them
for leaving but we are getting dumped on."
Changes in staff upset the school. Patterns of "familiarity," said one preservice teacher, were disturbed and the preservice teachers were left to handle the discordance. One frustrated preservice teacher declared,
"The sub is not helping! During sixth period it was total chaos. Delonte got punched and his mouth was all bloody. It all happened so quickly. The sub looked at me as if I was supposed to handle the situation all by myself. I just can't perform 150%! I am trying to do the best I can do but I feel like I am sinking."
a new principal, the preservice teachers had to learn about
her expectations and style of management. Preservice teachers
had to get to know the new administrator and had to develop
an appreciation for her perspective. One preservice teacher
summed up her dissatisfaction with the organizational changes
during January/February in her journal.
"Change is so hard for me. Nothing here is like it used to be. The laws of governance are new and I am not sure where I fit in any more. I finally figured out this place and now it's all different. The walls of familiarity are crumbling down on top of me. New teachers, new principal, new University supervisor. I want it to go back to the way it used to be. The rules are changing too. It is so hard to switch gears."
January/February proved to be a time filled with great stress. Preservice teachers talked about being bewildered and distraught. With the added teaching responsibilities, the intensity of the University coursework, the daily demands of the troubled children, and having the realignment with the new organizational structure, many of the preservice teachers were overwhelmed. One preservice teacher revealed in her journal,
"This week I've experienced a feeling of despair. I feel like I have so much to do and so little time. I am wondering, thinking, how am I going to plan lessons, be a good teacher, take on more responsibility in this classroom, and anything else during the same timeframe. I still have not figured out a regular routine to get my planning and studying done. I am thinking about what to do and when to do it. I really appreciate this experience yet I have no idea how I am going to make it through."
Theme 4: Student behavior.
Student behavior was a topic of concern for the preservice teacher cohort through the January/February months. The preservice teachers graduate preservice teachers continued to be interested in their students' behavior however they started to shift the focus of their attention. Managing behavior was no longer their central concern. Instead they were beginning to recognize the difference between behavior management and behavior change. Preservice teachers agreed that in order to promote positive classroom behavior the classroom had to be structured and supportive. As teachers, they had to be calm, consistent and capable to be effective. One preservice teacher said,
"After my lesson this week in math, I have thought a lot about my behavior management system and how I can improve it. I agree that I need to be more consistent and I am struggling with a way to do that. I think that if I am consistent my students will feel safer. I believe that in my homeroom class I have established my expectations and boundaries clearly. My students appear to know what they can and can not do and rarely do they stray. However with my math class, it is a different dynamic group, with different needs. I am working on how to best teach them and manage them but I feel that it is a hard thing to do."
teachers were available at this time to test new techniques
in order to promote positive student behavior and behavior change.
One preservice teacher shared,
"At this point I am trying different techniques, the ones that haven't worked and try to reevaluate them and define them so that maybe they can be practical and effective for them to work. Recently I devised a ladder chart. The children have target behaviors and depending if they achieve certain obstacles during the lesson they move down the ladder. If the children are successful throughout the period their name eventually drops into the paper sack that is hooked onto the ladder. Those children whose names are in the sack are rewarded with a prize. I am pleased to say that the ladder continues to be motivating. I feel good that I have hooked them into the lesson."
were several preservice teachers however who were continuing
to wonder about behavior management. These preservice teachers
were the preservice teachers who had not yet been delegated
much authority in the classroom and as a result had limited
opportunity to test various strategies to reinforce children's
do I get a child to stop the behavior that is distracting and
get him back on task? What do I say? How should I redirect him?
I don't want to do anything wrong. I am afraid to jump in and
redirect the kids. I'd rather someone else do that. I can always
call for backup. It's especially intimidating when a child who
is big- tall and strong- gets threatening or violent."
themes that appeared through March and April included (a) perfecting
the planning and organizing for instructional lessons, (b) identifying
and executing effective teaching strategies, (c) intervening
with inappropriate student behavior to create positive change,
(d) initiating and maintaining working relationships with staff
members on site, and (e) initiating and maintaining positive
relationship with students.
Emergent ThemesTheme1: Planning.
Preservice teachers drew the connection between having well planned units of instruction and effective instructional delivery. This point was illustrated when one preservice teacher said,
"My unit is going so well. The planning is well worth it and as a result the students- and me- we know what to do, what to expect and where we are going. It is like we are taking a road-trip and we're being guided by our roadmap."
Another agreed, offering,
"At first I was very apprehensive taking on the study skills class of third and fourth graders. But it is actually turning out to be a very good experience. I find that they need a lot of structure and I'm planning my lessons in very structured ways and it's really helping. So the kids are learning a lot and I am seeing changing."
2: Teaching Strategies.
"Having varied activities during the lesson and really not depending on worksheets is better. It is just so simple to hand someone a worksheet. Trying to play games and do different things and having activities keeps it interesting and keeps the students engaged. What I mean by a game is a learning game, any simple game such as taking turns with answering reading questions and then moving a checker on the checkerboard. It doesn't have to be a board game really it can be any silly thing like tossing a beanbag when a child answered correctly, something different, something so that its just not a paper and pencil task. The key is to keep the motivational level high throughout the instructional period. It's reinforcing to what they've learned. The teacher can blend in a social skills lesson when they're playing a game so it is really like a dual purpose."
A second preservice teacher expressed a concern of hers about teaching strategies. She said,
"In the classroom I have become more diverse. By that I mean I used to just lecture, lecture, lecture a lot. I now use more manipulatives, and I've done a lot of group work so I've become diverse as a teacher."
A third preservice teacher shared during an interview,
"Right now my concern is how well I'm doing teaching reading, because I really, really want to be a good reading teacher. And there are so many different strategies and methods. I'm not sure which one works for me and which one will be most successful with my kids. So just trying everything and trying to find the one that I feel most comfortable with and really helping my kids to be better readers."
final preservice teacher revealed what had encouraged her effective
practice in March and April. She reported,
3: Student behavior.
"I am more successful now because I am definitely clearly stating my expectations. What works for me is having a few classroom goals and then really knowing my students, their individual goals trying to really individualize the behavior management system."
Another reported her experience:
"I've learned that it is absolutely necessary to explain in detail all directions and expectations. I can never assume that a student remembers something from the day before. I've learned that if I've clearly communicated my expectations to each student it makes the situations that may arise much more matter of fact. If a consequence has been explained and used constantly there is little room for a student to argue."
of the preservice teachers recognized that like teaching academic
material, expected positive behavior should also be taught.
She shared her experience:
"Before the directions would go in one ear and out the other but now the directions are being followed. Using repetition and modeling as strategies for intervention has greatly enhanced my practice. I am doing a lot of teaching and modeling behaviors that I really didn't think about but now I see the importance of modeling what you want the kids to do. For example, I am trying to teach them how to respect one another. I have had to break down the construct and teach them through role-play and guided imagery. I am teaching them in social skills about the construct 'friendship.' We practice friendship skills. They have to be taught what sharing is. I hope that if they continue to practice these skills then they will translate them to the playground. "
preservice teacher confessed her difficulty working with a student
named Anthony. She told about the encounter that changed her
perspective. As a result she was able to more effectively interact
with the student. She wrote,
"What [the guest speaker] said last night [in class] left a big impression on me. I had told her about my inability on some days to have empathy for troubled children like Anthony and she said something that changed my opinion on the situation. She said, 'Imagine this, imagine a child holding a large tray full of glasses. Now imagine that same child running down the street holding that large tray of glasses. Now imagine that that child has fallen and becomes badly injured. He is all cut up.' Then she asked me what would I do? I answered that I would run over to the child and smother him. I told her I would get band-aides and try to help him stop bleeding. [The speaker] shouted, 'Exactly! And now that is how I want you to respond to little Anthony. He is so troubled that it is as though he is injured. Run to him and treat him with the love that you would with the bleeding child. Anthony is indeed bleeding all over the place.' Consequently, I am now able to let Anthony in. I do not think, 'Oh he is upsetting me.' I think now, 'How can I help him?' This change of perspective makes it all different now for me. "
4: Relationship with Staff.
I feel as though they want my opinion in staff meetings and other
times I hear them when they do not. I have learned to be more
of a spectator than a participant at their table but somehow I
wish it could be different. I know that next year a new group
of preservice teachers will come in here and we will be gone so
I sort of understand, its just that sometimes I believe I might
have a relevant fact or impression to contribute. I still struggle
with all of that."
'I think I would have divided the group into three groups and have them do group projects rather than teach the whole group in one large lesson like [the training teacher] is doing. Then I could group the children in terms of abilities. "
A preservice teacher told me how thrilled she was to gain more responsibility in the classroom. She said,
"My training teacher has assigned the health class to me and I am extremely excited. Although I have never taught the fourth and fifth graders before, I am looking forward to the chance to work with them. We can make things out of clay and sing songs and role play. I think I can involve them a lot more actively in the lessons. I have been used to working with teenage boys who don't want to be active so this will be a fun change for me! "
Another preservice teacher, during a formal interview in April, expressed,
"My relationships and the teaching are going wonderful[ly]. I can actually see and feel my relationship with students growing. When I think back to the first weeks of school, I was so scared of the kids and timid in my actions with them. As I develop I am becoming more and more confident in my interactions. I used to stick to my lesson plan like it was a manuscript. I would plan out what I would say during the lesson the night before. I'm feeling more confident now that I can stray away a little if the situation calls for it. I'm trying very much to pick up on the psychodynamic information available and make accommodations to meet the kids' needs. It's not always easy though."
each of these examples the preservice teachers had a goal and
felt confident in obtaining that goal but had not engaged in
it. Preservice teachers advance to other stages when they admit
to themselves that they are prepared to take the challenge of
accomplishing a new goal. Setting the objective for themselves
enables them to experience another stage.
"On the tape I noticed I became red in the face. There were red splotches on my neck. It was sheer panic. I felt so unsettled and unsure of my abilities. I just knew that I did not want to fail. I remember thinking, 'I don't know what to do. I just stood there. The kids were running all over the classroom and I couldn't even open my mouth."
second preservice teacher remembered an interaction. She told
me in an interview,
"What if they don't listen to me? I do not even know what to do! Sometimes, I feel like they have the power of giants. When Terrell says, I am not going to do my math and I am not even going to come over to the table to be with the group and you can't make me' I wonder in my head, 'oh God, he is right. I can't make him. For one thing he is taller than I am and bigger and stronger than me and for another what am I going to do? Pull him across the room by his arm? What would the other kids think? And what if he lashed out at me for touching him? you know, it's not that I am that I scared of him, so I leave him alone. If he wants to pull his hood over his head and sleep then I have no choice but let him."
third felt panicked about unfamiliar subject matter. She reported,
"I have to teach polynomials. I do not think I ever got a grip on those myself when I was in school. I have the worst case of cold feet every time I sit down to plan for that class. I do not even know where to start! "
preservice teacher shared with me during an informal interview,
"I was standing there in front of the group. My lesson was planned but I was too scared to react in a timely way. I held my reading book in front of me. I followed my scripted plan word for word. I was trying to stay on target, was watching the clock, checking off items on my agenda, but I did not hold their attention"
confessed although she thought she was adequately prepared,
she did not convey that message when her university supervisor
observed her in the classroom. During an informal interview,
"I knew what I wanted to say but my supervisor was seated in the room taking notes about how I was teaching. That she was there watching me stayed in the forefront of my mind. I knew what I wanted to say to the kids. The exchange was going on in my head. But I could not explain what was happening. Stuck in verbal and active quicksand, I could not speak or move. It was like I became paralyzed. It was a crippling experience for me."
preservice teachers advanced to the next stage when they engaged
the task that once immobilized them. The next stage in the model
is the stage referred to as caution.
"I feel more comfortable taking the risk now. I have decided that I might actually have the ability to get it right so I am going to try. I noticed that today I have started to turn the corner in setting limits on my disrupting students. On the videotape we just watched, I could see myself walking over to Christopher who was flexing his arms threatening to punch JR. I gave them a warning and let them know what the consequence would be if they did not follow my directions. "
were two directions the preservice teachers took after engaging
in the task that they had identified. When successful in taking
the risk, preservice teachers advanced to the next stage. Preservice
teachers had the chance to experience success immediately and
their confidence increased and the preservice teachers thrived.
However if the preservice teacher proved to be unsuccessful
after taking the risk, insecurities and uncertainties built.
The unsuccessful preservice teacher at this point was immobilized
returning to the fear stage.
"I feel pretty comfortable now when my lesson is over before the end of the period. I have established more routines for the children in terms of what we will do in a given period. I used to stop when the lesson was over and the objective had been met. Months ago I was not able to rehearse how long an activity might take because I was so new at this teaching thing but now I can better predict how long something will take. There are times though when we covered all the material I had thought we should and instead of freezing, I continued on and either reviewed or extended the directed practice. Teaching really requires you to make a thousand tiny decisions in every hour. I never thought about that, but it's true. Every move requires a thoughtful decision. This dilemma is now considered for me to be just one more [decision] along the way. I am thinking now about how I could foster a strengthened sense of community between the children here at this school. I am thinking of suggesting to my principal ideas that I have."
After achieving the goal they set out to accomplish, the preservice
teachers are energized by their confidence. This positive state
of mind of having achieved a goal encouraged the preservice
teachers to achieve additional objectives. The preservice teachers
identified new aims re-entering Stage I: Confidence. With these
new goals, progression through the stages is repeated.
for further research
1: When a preservice teacher of students with ED participates
in a one-year full time internship in a PDS, the preservice
teacher engaged a series of developmental stages. The stages
that the preservice teacher will progress through include confidence,
fear, caution, and competence.
2: When a preservice teacher of students with ED participates
in a one-year full time internship in a PDS identifies a goal
to try to obtain, the preservice teacher becomes confident.
3: When preservice teachers of students with ED participate
in a one-year full time internship in a PDS realizes the magnitude
of their identified goal, fear sets in.
4: When preservice teachers of students with ED participate
in a one-year full time internship in a PDS confront their fears
about their ability to reach a specified goal, the preservice
teacher advances to a place where they are able to react cautiously.
These data suggest:
Proposition 5: When preservice teachers of students with ED in a one-year full time PDS, gain insight, skill and practice, they become open to take on further responsibility.
research suggests that the preservice teachers for students
with ED in a one-year full time PDS program are concerned with
various matters throughout their graduate study. For example
preservice teachers in this study were primarily concerned with
behavior management, relationships, and teaching strategies.
were splinter themes that seemed to be robust for several preservice
teachers but not for the whole group. Examples of splinter themes
that surfaced were boundary issues, counter aggression, and
teaching strategies. Specifically, one preservice teacher was
concerned with the nature and needs of this population of students.
In the future further in-depth look at splinter themes would
be necessary. An example follows:
"I learned a great deal by the psychiatrist who spoke at the case conference today. He spoke about Delonte in a way that I could better understand the nature of his disability. Understanding the circumstances of Delonte's past enables me to have a more compassionate view of his present. The DSM IV's classification and label of his disability did not seem to match what I felt was wrong with the child. The diagnosis stated that the child was oppositional-defiant and I figured he was depressed. The doctor agreed. The presentation and the discussion that followed were of interest."
summary, this section presented six propositions that were suggested
based on the findings of the research study conducted and areas
for further in-depth case studies. Each of these areas would
benefit from some further in-depth exploratory research. In
addition we need to examine the mechanism that promote stage
change. Also there needs to be more understanding of the process
by which individuals move from stage to stage. These six propositions
and the splinter themes indicate implications for further research
efforts. In the next section I examine implications for future
for practice for teacher educators
Teacher educators need to attend to both the intra and interpersonal
dynamics of their university students. Preservice teachers'
behavior is directly related to their feelings of confidence,
fear, caution and competence.
Teacher educators must be more directly involved, on a regular
basis, to attend to the socialization of the preservice teacher
to the field. While the PDS presents a rich opportunity for
preservice teacher socialization, teacher educators need to
be present on site so that preservice teachers' interactions
are purposeful, productive and reflective.
Teacher educators must understand and appreciate that the PDS
environment permits preservice teachers to make mistakes. It
is within this context that preservice teachers can experiment
and refine their practice. Teacher educators can support preservice
teachers throughout this developmental process.
Teacher educators have the rich opportunity to conduct clinical
intervention and supervision with their preservice teachers
at the PDS. During this clinical intervention, teacher educators
must capitalize on the opportunities to (a) help the preservice
teachers tie theory to practice, (b) provide suggestions for
improved teaching practice, (c) encourage preservice teachers
to behave in a professional manner.
Teacher educators at a PDS must provide the opportunity to facilitate
preservice teachers' reflective practice.
Teacher educators must be more directly involved on a regular
basis with the preservice teachers at the PDS so that they can
maximize the opportunities for professional influence.
applicable for the PDS reform movement
about the effectiveness of training in a PDS is scant. This
study identified the opportunities that existed for training
preservice teachers because of the full time involvement in
a PDS. Teacher reform movements (Chapter 2) typically are short
lived and their effects unsubstantiated through research. Recommendations
from this study include informing the nation about PDS teacher
education reform with further inquiry in both general and special
education by further investigation into each of the sixteen
opportunities identified in this study.
is recommended that these opportunities be paired and correlated
to determine if some are more important them others. This would
assist the establishment of PDS by identifying those conditions
more essential for quality training in PDS. The purpose of this
close scrutiny is to promote a long lasting framework to enhance
teacher education. Further, these sixteen opportunities for
learning discussed in Chapter 4 of this study need to be analyzed
in terms of their relationship with the recently developed draft
PDS standards (Levine, 1997). Finally, it is recommended that
as PDSs become recognized as the vehicle for teacher training,
this model, A Model of Stages of Preservice Teacher Development,
will be essential for teacher educators to train effective practitioners.
K. D. (1982). A look at changes in teacher perceptions
and behavior across time. Journal of Teacher
Education, 33(4), 40-43.
L. L. (1978, April). A large-scale evaluation
of preservice teacher education programs (Vols
I-II). Paper presented at the annual meeting
of the American Educational Research Association,
San Francisco, CA.
R. D. (1982, March). Teacher development: A
look at changes in teacher perceptions and behavior
across time. Paper presented at the meeting
of the American Educational Research Association,
L. (1986). Chairman's summary. The national
governors' association: A time for results.
Washington, DC: National Governors' Association.
D. L. (1996). Qualitative media analysis. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.
K. S, & Bahner, J. (1993). Clinical supervision:
coaching for higher performance. Lancaster,
J. W. (1996). Teaching from the heart. Malabar,
FL: Krieger Publishing Company.
T. (1982). A study of factors influencing the
burnout syndrome as perceived by North Dakota
Public School classroom teachers. (Doctoral
dissertation, University of North Dakota, 1981).
Dissertation Abstracts International, 42 (University
Microfilms No. DA 8207354)
S. B. (1990). Education reform: Making sense
of it all. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
J. (1995, March). Team oriented mentoring to
promote professional development and staff retention.
A paper presented at the Conference Proceedings
of the American Council on Rural Special Education,
Las Vegas, NV.
D. (1992). Procedures in the withdrawal from
the practicum in teacher education. Monographs
of Saskatchewan University Saskatoon College
of Education, No.11.
R. (1992, November/December). Linking teaching
and research: A critical inquiry. The Journal
of Higher Education, 63, 619-636.
J. (1988, March). Teacher performance self-appraisal
for physical educators. Strategies, 1(4), 19-22.
C. L. (1958). Detachment and the writing of
history; Essays and letters of Carl L. Becker.
Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
J. (1995, March). Team oriented mentoring to
promote professional development and staff retention.
In Reaching to the future: Boldly facing challenges
in rural communities. Conference proceedings
of the American Council on Rural Special Education
(ACRSE), Las Vegas, NV.
M. F. (1986). Women's ways of knowing: The development
of self, voice, and mind. New York, NY: Basic
N., & Mosca, F. (1997). Programs for teachers
of students with serious emotional disturbance.
Unpublished program description.
S. W. (1963). The doctor and his patient; A
sociological interpretation. New York: Russell
F. S. (1988, March/April). Helping student teachers
think about teaching. Journal of Teacher Education,
E. L. (1983). High school. New York: Harper
B. (1993, September/October). Helping teachers
educate for democracy: Teacher programs and
institutes. The Social Studies, 84, 202-206.
F. G. (1973). The professional concerns of first
year secondary teachers in selected Michigan
public schools: A pilot study (Doctoral dissertation,
Michigan State University, 1972). Dissertation
Abstracts International, 33, 4786A.
J. W., & Case, C. W. (1994). Becoming a
reflective educator: How to build a culture
of inquiry in the schools. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Corwin Press, Inc.
P., & Taylor, B. (1993). Making school reform
happen. Boston MA: Allyn and Bacon.
K. (Ed.). (1995). Managing the interactive classroom:
A collection of articles. K-12.
P. (1987). Teacher Development. New York: Falmer.
G. M. (1982). The Mathematics Student Q-Sort.
Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.
(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 220
J. K. (1984, April). Review of the book Measurement,
technology, and individuality in education.
Educational Technology, 24, 50-52.
R. F. & Cremin, L. A. (1953). A history
of education in American culture. New York:
P. S. (1994). A comparative study of the effect
of entry level skills of preservice teachers
on their passage through development stages.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, West Virginia
J., & Gates, P. (1993). Conceptualizing
reflection in teacher development. London: Flamer
Cambone, J. (1996, April). Are they learning as we expected them to learn? An evaluation of the preparation of special education teachers using a professional development school model. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.
Forum on Education and the Economy. (1986).
A nation prepared: Teachers for the 21st century.
Report of the Task Force on Teaching as a Profession.
E. (1991). The effects of severe behavior problems
in children on the teaching behavior of adults.
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24(3),
J. J. (1977). Phases in student teaching. Young
Children, 33(1), 57-63.
A. (1991). Lost in familiar places: Creating
new connections between the individual and society.
New Haven: Yale University Press.
M. E. (1996). Confirming a professional identity
with a philosophy for practice. Research and
Training in Developmental Education, 12(2),
A. (1992). Internships and perspectives on experiential
learning: A guide to internship management for
educators and professionals. Malabar, FL: Kreiger
M. (1991). Teacher development: A comparative
study of early childhood teachers in their first
year of teaching. Paper presented at the meeting
of the Australian Association for research in
Education, Queensland, Australia.
Board Educational Equity Project. (1983). Academic
preparation for college: What students need
to know and be able to do. New York.
J. L. (1995). Listening but not hearing: Patterns
of communication in an urban school-university
partnership. In H. Petrie (Ed.), Professional
partnership, and power: Building professional
development schools. New York: State University
of New York.
for Economic Development. (1987). Children in
need: Investment srategies for the educationally
disadvantaged. Washington, D.C.
Budget Office. (1987). Educational Achievement:
Explanations and implications of recent trends.
J. M. E., & Leffingwell, R. J. (1982). Stressors
and remediation techniques for special educators.
Exceptional Children, 49, 54-59.
M. (1990, April). Identifying and evaluating
teacher competencies in a special education
setting. Paper presented at the annual convention
of the Council for exceptional Children, Toronto,
S. J., & Iwanicki, E. F. (1986). Perceived
role conflict, role ambiguity, and burnout among
special education teachers. Remedial and Special
Education, 7, 24-31.
T., Chen, C., & Kelly, G. J. (1997, Summer).
Creating authentic opportunities for presenting
science: The influence of audience on student
talk. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 32,
J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research
design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
D. R. (1996). Preparing America's teachers.
Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappan Association.
P. (1996, May/June). Helping beginning teachers
link theory to practice: An interactive multimedia
environment for mathematics and science teacher
preparation. Journal of Teacher Education, 47(3),
L. (1991). For today's students: Better and
more accountable schools. Youth Policy 13, 19-43.
L. (1992). Beyond standardization: State standards
and school improvements. Elementary School Journal,
L. (1996). The changing context of teacher education.
In F. Murray (Ed.), The teacher educator's handbook:
Building a knowledge base for the preparation
of teachers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
L., & Cobb, V. (1995). Teacher preparation
and professional development in APEC members:
A comparative study. Washington, DC: United
States Department of Education.
N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (1994).
Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
J. (1933). How we think: A restatement of the
relation of reflective thinking to the educative
process. Boston: Heath.
J. (1938). Experience in education. New York:
W. (1980). Classroom management. West Lafayette,
IN: Kappa Delta Pi.
Commission of the States Task Force on Education
for Economic Growth. (1983). Action for excellence.
Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States.
R. (1956). Normal Schools in the United States.
In Lectures and proceeding. Washington, D.C.:
National Teachers Association.
E. W. (1991). The Enlightened Eye: Qualitative
Inquiry and the Enhancement of Educational Practice.
New York: Macmillan.
R. K., & Hess, C. A. (1992). Effects of
videotaping on pre-service teacher performance.
Cleveland, OH: Sage Publications Inc.
J. D., & Backe, K. A. (1995). Using video
to evoke reflection on science teaching. Interim
report of NSF-Supported Project: Teacher development
modules for elementary school science. Colorado
Springs, CO: Biological Sciences Curriculum.