The PDSA Overhaul: Approaching Reform in Teacher Candidate Support

The PDSA Overhaul: Approaching Reform in Teacher Candidate Support

Joy N. Stapleton (Winthrop University, USA), Kristen C. Cuthrell (East Carolina University, USA), Christina M. Tschida (East Carolina University, USA) and Elizabeth A. Fogarty (University of Minnesota, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3068-8.ch006


This chapter describes how faculty in a large, rural teacher preparation program adopted a model for change built upon the tenets of improvement science and the PDSA cycle. Using PDSA in teacher preparation allows programs to pilot the innovations and test refinements quickly. Data are collected and analyzed as the innovations are implemented so changes can be made on an ongoing basis and the innovations can become increasingly effective. A case study surrounding critical reform areas for teacher preparation will be described to show how elementary education faculty moved through multiple PDSA cycles while reforming teacher candidate support in the year-long student teaching experience. The considerations, challenges, and opportunities for using the PDSA cycle in teacher preparation programs will also be presented. This case study can serve as a model for other teacher preparation programs looking to use disciplined inquiry to drive program improvement.
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Improvement Science In Teacher Preparation Programs

Given such a context with varying external factors to reform and transform, it can be difficult for programs to get started with program reform. Research is happening, but changes in teacher preparation occur slowly. Expectations for teacher preparation programs are outpacing the changes (Bryk, 2015), and the gap keeps expanding. Traditional, isolated research completed by individual faculty members does not always lead to the comprehensive change needed. In the past, the roles of researcher and practitioner have been very separate. Now, more than ever, it is important for faculty members to be both practitioners and researchers. At the very least, the two groups should work together to build a research and development infrastructure as “improvers” (Bryk, 2015).

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