Multi-Semester Community Building in Higher Education: Examining the Impact on Teacher Education Candidates' Development and Teaching Self-Efficacy

Multi-Semester Community Building in Higher Education: Examining the Impact on Teacher Education Candidates' Development and Teaching Self-Efficacy

S. Michael Putman (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA) and Laura K. Handler (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0204-3.ch017
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Within the current educational context, teacher preparation programs are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their effectiveness in producing teachers that impact P-12 student learning. As a result, programs must investigate organizational features that are powerful for preparing preservice candidates to enter the classroom. This research examined how the practice of having one teacher educator instruct courses over multiple semesters to the same group of students can be used to support the development of teacher candidates. This descriptive analysis presents the findings from one university teacher preparation program and what was learned about the potential for the partnership to be a powerful way to structure teacher learning. Implications are discussed as considerations for how this alternate form of organization can facilitate relationship-building, impact theory to practice connections and improve efficacy for teaching and learning.
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There is little doubt that attention toward preparing teaching candidates to enter today’s schools has grown over the last few years. Given that university-based programs enroll 88% of candidates in teacher preparation programs (United States Department of Education, 2013), the mounting criticism that asserts such programs lack of evidence of their effectiveness has drawn the attention of educators, researchers, and policy makers alike (Hanushek & Rivkin, 2012). In the United States, there has been a significant focus on teacher quality and researchers have attempted to draw conclusions regarding the influence and impact of the teacher (and teacher preparation program) on student achievement and educational outcomes (Hanushek & Rivkin, 2012; Henry, Kershaw, Zulli, & Smith, 2012). This idea of outcomes-based accountability, as it has been referred to, may be a reflection of a societal shift regarding the skills necessary to compete in a globalized society. Cochran-Smith and Villegas (2015) note that the shifts in perceived needs and related demands to produce individuals that are able to think critically, solve problems, and work collaboratively have been influential and that traditional conceptions of teaching and teacher preparation have been viewed as being insufficient to meet these demands.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cooperating Teacher: Individual, typically a classroom teacher, that is the instructor of record in the context where a teacher education candidate is placed. The cooperating teacher provides oversight and mentoring for the candidate.

Cohort: A group that has something in common. In teacher education, it is a group of teacher education candidates who work toward a degree together, participating in the same courses and experiences at the same time.

Preservice Candidate: An individual that is enrolled in, but has not completed, an initial teacher licensure program.

School-Based Settings: Locations that are utilized within teacher preparation, e.g., clinical experiences, that are within a school building or locale.

Teacher Self-Efficacy: A teacher’s beliefs regarding his or her perceived capability to enact the behaviors necessary to impact student outcomes.

Looping: Multiyear teaching or multiyear placement. Typically occurs within elementary school and is characterized by a teacher remaining with his or her students within their promotion to the next grade level.

Community Of Practice: A group of people who share a common interest or profession, e.g., teaching, that engage in information sharing and participatory activities that lead toward the development of the knowledge or skills pertinent to the interest or profession.

Field Experience: Activities completed by students who are enrolled in teacher preparation program that occur outside the university classroom. They are intended to extend information presented in coursework within controlled contexts and include candidate actions such as observing instruction. Also referred to as clinical experience.

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