Principals are often faced with the task of motivating teachers who feel frustrated about whether they can meet all of their student needs. The insecurities arise because new teachers have no idea about how many of their students would live in situations which would interfere with their ability to teach them. In addition, many teachers express that they experience a variety of frustrations from not having adequate training or support needed to perform many of the tasks they face on the job as teachers. While many new teacher induction programs offer support to teachers once they enter their first positions, the inadequacies they feel could still stem from their teacher education programs and the confidence, or their lack thereof, to handle the complex situations present in today’s classrooms.
Statement of the Problem
This study will explore teachers’ perceptions on the adequacy of their initial and alternative teacher training programs in preparing them to perform the tasks they currently have as teachers. It will compare perceptions of teachers with varying years of teaching experience to see if there is a significant difference as teachers gain more experience in their chosen profession.
General Research Questions
The purpose of this study will be to evaluate teachers’ perceptions of their undergraduate initial teacher training or alternative teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now face on their jobs as teachers. This research will study similarities and differences in teachers’ perception of their skills and how their training has prepared them for the job of teaching. It will compare perceptions of teachers one to two years of teaching experience, three to five years of teaching experience, and teachers with more than five years of teaching experience. The following are a list of variables which will be analyzed as part of this study.
- RQ1: Will teachers with one to two years of teaching experience perceive their initial teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ2: Will teachers with three to five years of teaching experience perceive their initial teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ3: Will teachers with more than five years of teaching experience perceive their initial teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ$: Will teachers with one to two years of teaching experience perceive their alternative teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ5: Will teachers with three to five years of teaching experience perceive their alternative teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ6: Will teachers with more than five years of teaching experience perceive their alternative teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
Rationale for Study
Educational reform is a major issue for our nation today, teacher quality for public schools is a top priority in these efforts. This study will evaluate whether there is a need for reform within initial teacher training and alternative teacher training programs. This study will seek to identify specific areas teachers may or may not feel they have the necessary training to meet student needs and other job responsibilities. The study has potential to identify ways to improve teacher training and support in order to improve instruction which would result in increased student achievement.
Definition of Terms
- Alternative teacher training –Teacher Training derived from alternative sources other than university undergraduate courses that lead the individual taking it towards teacher certification.
- Initial/Traditional teacher training – Traditional teacher training requiring coursework from college or university degrees in Education.
- Teaching experience – actual, first-hand experience of teaching in a classroom with real students entailing all the tasks of the teaching profession.
- Teachers’ perceptions – what teachers think and feel of something. In the case of this study, it is their own preparedness and competence as a teacher.
It is assumed that teachers who have obtained university degrees are more knowledgeable and skilled in terms of teaching as compared to teachers who have obtained a certification through alternative routes of teacher preparation. However, the quality of program undergone by both kinds of training will determine the kind of teaching skills displayed by the products of such trainings. Programs that are more comprehensive and reflect a better representation of how teaching really is in the real world would yield good teachers who will be capable in handling the diverse needs of students.
It is also assumed that teachers coming from a high quality teacher education program, whether it be from traditional university-based learning or from alternative teacher preparation programs will nurture better perceptions about their own teaching competencies.
This study’s review of literature will cover a good number of constructs related to teacher preparation and perception of their teaching competencies, however, the methodology itself will be limited to getting the perceptions of how teachers’ initial/ traditional training or alternative training affects their performance as a teacher.
It will target a random sample of teachers hoping it will be able to tap teachers who have been trained the traditional way as well as teachers trained in alternative routes by completing a questionnaire specially designed for this study.
Support for Study
In theory, ineffective teachers are often blamed for graduating students’ lack of ability to be successful citizens of the United States of America. Society feels that quality teachers are the answer for future citizens having the ability to complete a high school education and attain/retain jobs. Teachers are expected to “Leave No Child Behind” when it comes to learning, completing high school, and creating life long learners as future citizens of this nation. All teachers are expected to possess these abilities and be highly qualified with the completion of an initial teacher training program or an alternative teacher training program. These ideals make it extremely important to identify whether teachers actually feel adequately trained and highly qualified to undertake tasks of this magnitude.
Louisiana State University has been conducting an on going study called Value Added Assessments of Teacher Preparation in Louisiana since 2005. The purpose of the study is to “examine the degree to which the educational attainment of students taught by recent graduates of specific teacher preparation programs either met, failed to meet, or exceeded expectations based on prior achievement and demographic factors as compared to experienced teachers.” The most recent results of the study found “that alternative teacher preparation programs have more positive results than the undergraduate programs.” The study also found that teachers who were not content certified were less effective than content area certified teachers (Gansle, Knox, Noell, & Schafer, 2010).
In 2005, Torf and Sessions conducted a study on what principals perceive to be the cause of teacher ineffectiveness. This study sought to identify whether principals felt teacher ineffectiveness was caused more by lack of pedagogical or content knowledge. Principals believe that a teachers’ lack of pedagogical knowledge reflects that the teacher is ineffective more than lack of content knowledge.
Mowrer-Reynolds conducted a study in 2008 to identify if the perception of students participating in teacher training programs has the attributes of what they consider to be an exemplary teacher. This study identified the qualities the students felt exemplary teachers possess. The study also investigated differences in perception between genders and if this factor played any influence on the students’ choice to be a teacher (Mowrer-Reynolds, 2008).
Significance of the Study
The current teacher shortage experienced in various locations in the country has called for the emergence of alternative teacher preparation programs. This study is especially significant in evaluating the effectiveness of such programs which have hastened the process of obtaining teacher certification with less coursework.
Its significance is also the realization that people from various backgrounds who have a heart for teaching children but not the means to earn a university degree in Education are now given opportunities to follow their dream to be teachers via the alternative teacher preparation programs.
Another significance of the study is learning that there are several factors that determine if a beginning teacher remains in her initial post or leaves the position altogether after a short span of time. Several teachers may feel disillusioned when they begin their career. The remuneration may not meet their expectation, student behaviors may be challenging and inability to participate in decision-making may leave them feeling useless. Aside from that, new teachers always seem to lack time for the multiple tasks they have to accomplish. This often leads to stress and burnout even on their first few years on the job. Thus, nearly 50% of all teachers resign from their post within the first five years due to these aforementioned issues (Scherff, Ollie & Rosencrans, 2006).
This implies that new teachers may feel overwhelmed with their initial teaching practice because they were not adequately prepared for it. Undergrad training may have focused much on theoretical knowledge but did not provide enough psychological preparation regarding the expectations and realities of teaching. This study may contribute to the literature by identifying what teachers may perceive to be adequate or lacking in their teaching career preparation in order for them to perform their teaching tasks efficiently. In doing so, measures may be taken to improve on teacher preparation programs so that future teachers may be more ready to face the challenges of teaching in the real world with real pupils, outside the four walls of their training classrooms.
Nature of the Study
This study will survey new teachers having less than five years of teaching experience as compared to teachers with more than five years of teaching experience. The researcher will identify previously used exit surveys for undergraduate initial teacher training and alternative teacher training programs as a design to gather data for this study. The researcher will contact a variety of randomly selected school districts and request permission to have their teachers complete the survey for this study. The researcher will also attend a few area teacher conferences asking teachers in attendance to volunteer to complete the survey for this study.
Review of Literature
Being an effective teacher encompasses a wide spectrum of responsibilities – from designing an environment conducive to learning, to planning appropriate lessons for students and implementing them with effective educational strategies to being able to manage the class well and instilling discipline in the students, to involving parents and coordinating with others regarding the provision of quality education for the students (Schacter & Thum, 2005). It may take a Herculean effort to be able to manage all these skills at the same time, hence professional training with experience is required.
In New Zealand, the Framework of Professional Teaching Standards (NSW Institute of Teachers, 2004) documents in detail everything a teacher needs to do and strive for excellence in. It delineates expectations at different stages of a teacher’s professional experience from being a new teacher to a practicing one, to being an accomplished one all the way to being a leader in the field. It specifies three domains of teachers’ work as professional knowledge, professional practice and professional commitment. Encompassing these domains are elements teachers need to adhere to such as knowledge of subject matter and how to teach it to their students; knowing how their students learn; planning assessing and reporting for effective learning; communicating effectively with their students; managing their classrooms to maintain safe and challenging learning environments; continually improving their professional expertise; and being a contributing member in society as an educator. Being able to balance all these tasks, and being efficient at each one at that can be very challenging.
In the United States of America, as well as in all parts of the world, the need for high quality teachers is resounded throughout the country in hopes that the educational system will prepare children to be competitive in the future.
The Effective, High Quality Teacher
In order to know what to expect of effective and high quality teachers that teacher preparation programs aim to produce, it is worthwhile to know what an effective teacher is. It is like seeing the end that justifies the means. The following qualities and skills of high quality teachers should be aimed in teacher preparation.
An effective teacher is a good planner. She knows what to anticipate in her classroom. Thus, it is essential that she comes up with a thorough classroom management system (Schacter & Thum, 2005).
Crosser (2002) contends that classroom management and discipline are very important aspects of being an effective teacher. Being caring and supportive to students likewise motivates them to learn and push for success. Another important trait of teachers is being anticipatory of possible issues that may arise in her classroom. She should know how to plan for these situations to prevent untoward incidences to make the environment more conducive to learning (Lander, 2009).
A critical component of classroom management is designing of a learning environment suitable for the students (Duncan, 2010). Brewer (2001) reports the conclusion of a particular research that when the quality of the physical environment declines, negative consequences follow such as the increase in teacher restriction and control, less friendly behavior of teachers, less interest and involvement of students, more classroom rules and more conflict among children ensues. Brewer also observed that children’s behavior and levels of learning are directly influenced by their learning environment. Since the physical environment reflects the goals and expectations of the teacher, it is designed to somehow guide the children on how they should behave in the classroom (Brewer, 2001).
A good teacher thoroughly plans her classroom management system. It does not only involve the management of student behavior but everything and anything that goes on in the classroom. This includes the preparations done for the day, the events that transpire during the day and even what happens when the students have gone home. Usually, it is when the students have gone that teachers take care of the details of designing the physical environment to make it conducive in maximizing the learning of the students (Crosser, 2002). Of course, a teacher can only do this if she is adept in developing a program developmentally suited for the age and grade level of her students.
Classroom management does not begin and end in the classroom with the teacher teaching her class. It encompasses the totality of how a teacher prepares for her class – how she arranges her physical environment, how she plans her students’ activities and groupings, how she budgets the time for all the planned activities and discussions, how she prepares the teaching and learning materials, how she uses transitions to glide from one activity to the next, how she encourages cooperative learning among her students and how harmony and productivity is sustained in an ambience of active learning (Tedick, 2009). “An efficiently organized and managed classroom eliminates many potential behavior and learning problems and sets the stage for a productive year” (Shalaway, 1998, p.12). Effective teaching on her part and fulfilling learning on her students’ are likely to take place in a well-managed classroom.
A teacher learns educational strategies in her training. She is equipped with the necessary skills to impart her lessons to her students. However, it is putting those skills to work in reality with her class that tests her mettle as an effective teacher (Zeichner & Conklin, 2005). The Queensland Schools Reform Longitudinal Study (2001) has yielded a model of pedagogy that emphasizes the dimensions of intellectual quality, quality supportive learning environment and connectedness and significance to their lives and valuing of difference. (NSW DET, 2004; Lingard, Hayes & Miller, 2003). Quality teaching is assured if all these dimensions are met and sustained within a class.
A teacher’s clear delivery of a lesson involves checking for understanding, giving simple examples to illustrate her point and suiting the difficulty level to her students. She is able to do this if she is fully aware of how much they already know about the subject matter and how they learn best. It follows that her assessment methods reflect her students’ true skills and capacities (Summers, Childs & Corney, 2005). She catches and maintains their attention with effective teaching strategies she selects depending on what suits the class at a particular time. She also encourages her students to engage in higher order thinking to stretch out their mental capacities. This occurs when students are able to transform the provided information and ideas in ways that become more meaningful to them (Lingard, Hayes and Mills, 2003). They carve their own knowledge from the combination of facts and ideas that they can put together, generalize, communicate to others, hypothesize or arrive at some final decision or conclusion or interpretation. This is contrasted with lower-order thinking which simply involves receiving and regurgitating information. This manner reflects a simple transmission of knowledge or engagement in procedural routines. An effective teacher creates activities or designs environments that provide her students with opportunities to engage in higher-order thinking (Lingard, Hayes and Mills, 2003). She shares the reins of learning with her students and allows them as much as possible to experience learning hands-on. She believes they would find meaning in such experience. Such pedagogy “draws clear connections with students’ prior knowledge and identities, with contexts outside of the classroom, and with multiple ways of knowing or cultural perspectives” (NSW DET, 2004, p. 11). When students construct knowledge, they will refer to their own experiences and background to make it relevant and meaningful to them. Shalaway (1998) states that the teacher’s role must change from being primarily a source of information to someone who guides students through discovery and exploration.
Wisdom in grouping her students in accordance to their abilities is one strength of an effective teacher. “Ability grouping refers to the process of teaching students in groups that are stratified by achievement, skill, or ability levels.” (McCoach, O’connell & Levitt, 2006, p. 339) It is used as a pedagogical instrument to promote collaborative learning, active engagement with material, critical thinking and communication as a strategy. It also facilitates focused teaching which increases pupil achievement by reducing the range of ability within a particular group. Knowing this, a teacher uses groupings when she deems them necessary.
Effective teachers encourage students to carve the path of their own learning. She is there to whet their appetite for learning and nudge them to move towards pursuing knowledge. She also finds ways to keep their thirst for learning unquenchable so they develop into life-long learners.
When students are given the power to construct their own learning, it becomes more meaningful to them, hence, there is better retention. It takes a mature teacher to sharing the reins of learning with her students, and eventually passing the responsibility to them. It shows that puts great trust in their ability to learn and confidence in herself that she has trained them well.
The legendary educator, John Dewey (1916) believes that quality education stems from how children are trained to think. Dewey claims that learning must be experienced by the learner if it is to be effectively retained. He does not agree with teaching students via lectures about things children have no direct experience with and reliance on mere textbooks. Dewey advocates active learning to stimulate a student’s thinking on his own. Teachers cannot expect to be the main dispensers of knowledge to their students, but should recognize and respect that children are capable of coming up with their own opinions, and conclusions and ideas.
Allowing students to explore their own ideas gives them more power in the acquisition of learning. With previous knowledge acquired, students can invent their own solutions and experiment with their own conjectures with the support and supervision of their teachers This way, they can indulge in concrete experiences that focus on their interests. The process of searching for information, analysing data and reaching conclusions is considered more important than learning facts.
Effective teachers use authentic assessment strategies in evaluating their students’ learning and progress. Wiggins’ (1991) description of what authentic assessment should be is that it involves “engaging problems and questions of importance and substance in which students must use knowledge (and construct meaning) effectively and creatively (p. 39). In terms of implementation of such methods, students of any age or any educational level will benefit much from authentic approaches to assessment. The case studies of schools that implemented authentic assessment methods discussed in Darling-Hammond et al’s (1995) works highlighted the use of different strategies for customizing instruction, deeply involving students with the subject matter and assessing the assessment support changes in the curriculum, teaching and school organization. The basic premise of the vision of authentic achievement as proposed by Newmann, Secada, and Wehlage (1995) outlines the creation of more interesting yet challenging assessment tools for students. Teachers can encourage students to produce more intellectual work in the form of real world applications, and hence increase their performance. Darling-Hammond et al (1993 a) identified authentic assessment activities that effectively display students’ knowledge and skills as well as prove to be more interesting for students to engage in. Performance-based assessments such as science experiments, oral presentations, essays, video documentations of performances, etc. show evidence of students’ use of various strategies to solve problems rather than merely seeing the right answer asked for on a test (Darling-Hammond et al, 1993 b).
Teachers usually teach a general group of students and address their collective needs. However, they should also know how to adjust to their individual needs because not all of them learn in the same manner and pace. Trafton (1975) suggests that individualization must include “acceptance of each child as an individual worthy of adult respect,” and that to this should be added “an acceptance of the child’s ideas, a provision of opportunities for pupil input in developing and selecting learning experiences, a concern for the quality of the child’s intellectual development, and a willingness to take time to know the child as an individual” ( p. 39).
Baglieri & Knopf (2004) advice that teachers need to create lessons based on their students’ needs rather than what graded or standard measures dictate where they should be. Appropriate objectives in planning what students should learn must be selected and teachers should be clear about their goals and standards and consistently validate with the students if the goals are being achieved (McTighe & Brown, 2005). On the other hand, students themselves need to understand the goals set for them and see them as personally meaningful and relevant so they strive hard to reach them (McTighe & Brown, 2005). Because the students’ individually is given importance, students may find it easier for them to learn the concepts and skills being learned. Strengths are emphasized while weaknesses are being harnessed. Identifying the weaknesses is also important to come up with a coping strategy until the concept is fully mastered. As Dunn (2000) claimed, “Given responsive environments, students attain statistically higher achievement and aptitude test scores in matched, rather than mismatched treatments” (p. 63). With this assurance, students can attain the high standards set.
Ellis, Ellis, Huemann & Stolarik (2007) describe the differentiated instruction method to be able to reach a wide diversity of learners. They teach the employment of strategies such as cooperative learning, multiple intelligence-based lessons and self-chosen assignments for students with differentiated work (Ellis et al, 2007). Although the activity level increases both laterally, in terms of the number of ongoing activities as well as vertically, in terms of level of difficulty, teachers need to be more open and comfortable in allowing their learners to simultaneously work on different assignments, tasks and levels of content in the various lessons provided (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2005). In a differentiated classroom that meets the needs of diverse students, students express their learning through small group activities, learning centers, independent studies, tiered activities, compacting, learning contracts, personalized agendas and choice boards (McTighe & Brown, 2005). Teachers need to be discerning as to the choice of methods that encourage their students to learn as much as possible (Baglieri & Knopf, 2004). They need to evaluate if certain accommodations indeed help students in exhibiting what he can or cannot do (Edgemon et al., 2006). Such reflection entails ongoing assessment to ably guide them if the methods they use are effective (Brimijoin, 2005).
The effective teacher can discern which learning strategy would be most appropriate on a case-to-case basis. Imbedded in her are hidden agendas for making her students reach their optimum learning potentials and in effect, the development of a healthy self-esteem (Clotfelter, Ladd & Vigdor, 2006). She is aware that she is just an instrument in assisting the students to gain knowledge, and not the source of knowledge herself.
In view of the above, teachers should be able to employ strategies appropriate to their learners’ needs, interests and learning styles. The Multiple Intelligence theory proposed by Howard Gardner in the eighties involves all students with varying personalities, learning preferences and styles to actively participate in learning and to achieve success in spite of their differences (Gardner, 2005). Precisely, students are treated as individuals and their talents and interests are taken into account. Hoerr (2000) agree in saying that “An MI approach means developing curriculum and using instruction that taps into students’ interests and talents. Students are given options, different ways to learn, and they share responsibility in their learning” (Hoerr, 2000, p. 12). Ideally, it creates a stimulating learning environment that is conducive to optimal learning and full development of human potential. It takes a sensitive teacher to spot the where the particular intelligences of her students lie and design activities that would tap into these to push their learning even further (Campell and Plevyak, 2008). In effect, when students do activities that are in their area of intelligence, they become excited in their work and display pride in their tasks (Hickey, 2004). Each individual has not just one but two or more developed intelligences while the rest blend into low or medium abilities (Lash, 2004). Gardner’s eight intelligences namely Verbal/Linguistic, Logical mathematical, Musical, Visual/Spatial, Body-kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal and Naturalist intelligences may be incorporated in learning activities through the use of toys and educational materials, learning centers that focus on particular intelligences as work stations (Rettig, 2005). Nolan (2003) contend that when teachers consider students’ needs when planning the lessons and activities, it optimizes the learning of the whole class. It is the teacher’s job to nurture and help the children develop their own intelligences. This does not mean though, that teachers need to prepare eight separate activities to address each intelligence (Moran et al., 2006). Activities may be integrated to allow students to connect with their strengths. Textbooks must be used only as guidelines and the focus should be on providing varied opportunities for learning (Silver, Strong &Perini, 2000).
In a teacher-centered classroom where rules and routines as well as individual drilling are emphasized, students do not have much latitude to meet their needs for autonomy or social belonging within the context of learning (Hannula, 2006). However, in more student-centered classes where teamwork and meaning making are stressed, then they have many opportunities to meet various needs such as autonomy and social interactions (Hannula, 2006). Shaftel, Pass and Schnabel (2005) agree that students are more motivated to learn even difficult through instructional games and simulations rather than traditional classroom instruction. Games have been found to result in improved content retention over time, possibly because of the opportunity for more participation. Trial and error is always encouraged, making them more confident in taking risks (Shaftel, Pass and Schnabel, 2005).
In a study conducted by Douglas, Burton and Reese-Durham (2006), the more traditional methods that involved Direct Instruction (DI) were compared to Multiple Intelligence (MI) teaching methods to see which one is more effective in student achievement in Math. Methods used in Direct instruction were drill and practice, teacher-directed lectures, notes on the overhead and on the board, practice problems from workbooks and teacher-developed worksheets. On the other hand, Multiple Intelligence teaching methods engage students in activities such as completing logic problems, composing rhymes to remember mathematical concepts, building or structuring a model, inventing a board game related to the lesson and performing a class presentation with the use of at least one of the intelligences. The study concluded that MI methods were more effective in considerable increases in post-test scores of students as compared to DI methods. Furner, Yahya & Duffy (2005) have identified best practices in teaching math in middle school using MI-based strategies. They suggest using real and concrete objects to help understand abstract mathematical abstracts better. This would tap the visually and kinesthetically intelligent learners’ area of learning preference. Math problems should also be related to students’ prior knowledge and background so they are able to relate better to it, hence foster greater understanding. Application of math problems to daily life situations such as using restaurant take-out menus to teach multiplication and division help in achieving the goal of generalizing skills learned in class to their practical lives (Furner, Yahya & Duffy, 2005).
For students whose intelligences prefer seeing and hearing math problems instead of being limited to reading it in print, Furner et al (2005) suggest drawing the problem, or thinking aloud in solving the problem. Furner et al (2005) also suggest drawing interdisciplinary connections when learning math. For instance, in studying the differences between metric system and the standard English system in measurement, teachers can simultaneously teach map skills from social studies lessons and letting the children convert distances from one system to another such as miles to kilometers. Furner et al (2005) conclude that the more opportunities students are able to connect new learning with existing knowledge, the better the chances of increasing generalization potentials. Overall, Furner et al (2005) recommend the use of auditory, visual and kinesthetic teaching approaches to reach more students rather than being constrained to traditional direct-instruction methods that use paper and pencil drill and practice forms of instruction.
Campbell and Plevyak (2008) suggest the use of logs and journals, graphic organizers, observational checklists, video samples, rubrics, portfolios, impersonations, dramatizations, creating concept songs and raps, linking music and rhythm with concepts, explaining to or teaching another, autobiographical reporting, and hands-on labs/demonstrations as authentic assessment materials/procedures. Such variety of learning activities and experiences allows students to learn in the mode they learn best, as dictated by their predominant intelligence. The aforementioned assessment measures account for various learning styles rather than expecting all the students to have the same preferences in learning (Lash, 2004)
MI classrooms encourage collaboration among the students (Moran, Kornhaber & Gardner, 2006). Different groupings may be formed to bring together students with compatible profiles (exhibiting the same patterns of strengths and weaknesses) to work together to solidify and build on their strengths as well as students with complementary profiles (in which one student’s weak areas are another student’s strengths) can work together to compensate for one another (Moran, Kornhaber & Gardner, 2006).
Teachers must be discerning enough how to use motivation. Shalaway (1998) explains that motivational processes are “nurtured by drives and needs within ourselves (internal motivation) and sometimes, outside forces direct them (external motivation). Schools give out external motivation in the form of grades and awards. These usually spur a competitive spirit instead of a cooperative one. Students have a tendency to rely on such external motivators, as they are concrete and observable by others. These may be very effective in eliciting desirable student behavior, however, when overused, it can be used as a tool for manipulation (both for student and teacher). “Rewards are most damaging to interest when the task is already intrinsically motivating” (Kohn, 1993). What teachers need to develop in their students eventually is internal motivation. Students who are internally motivated to learn approach learning tasks seriously, do them carefully and expect to benefit from them.
Positive relationships between teachers and students are characterized by open communication and setting high expectations for both parties. Teachers communicate their expectations of their students not only verbally but also non-verbally through gestures, facial expressions, etc (Clotfelter, Ladd & Vigdor, 2006). Teachers need to careful with their actions towards their students, as if they are perceived to have low expectations of their students, it is likely that the student expectations will become self-fulfilling prophecies (Shalaway, 1998). The same goes for students whose teachers have high expectations of them.
Teachers are considered lifelong learners, and are expected to model such quality to inspire their students. Judith Little (1982) recommends teachers to collaborate with each other to come up with more effective instruction. They should engage in frequent, continuous and increasing concrete and precise conferences on their teaching practice and be able to reflect if these practices are working to encourage success in their students. They should be open to feedback and allow frequent observation of their teaching performance. Together, they should plan, design, research, evaluate and prepare teaching materials. They should also support and coach each other on other practices of teaching.
The foregoing is a thorough discussion of exemplary teacher characteristics and skills expected of high quality teachers that teacher preparation programs are expected to produce. It is apparent that skill requirements of teachers are overwhelmingly plenty and competence in each area would take a teacher years to master. The following discussion chronicles a teacher’s development in her career.
Stages of Teacher Development
Studies on the development of teachers throughout their teaching careers have yielded models in the stages of teacher development. Among these are the models of Katz (1972) and Fuller (1965; 1975)
Katz (1972) identified four developmental stages of in-service teachers namely Survival, Consolidation, Renewal and Maturity. These stages correspond to the length of teaching experience, however, each stage is not bound to a particular number of years.
Stroot, et al. (1998) discuss the Katz model as follows:
- Survival Stage: This refers to the beginning years of a teacher’s career when they question their own competence and desire to teach. Suddenly they are faced with the reality of the theories they have learned from their training and ask themselves questions such as “Can I really do this work day after day?”. Survivors are focused on themselves and their own needs that they have yet to see and understand their own students’ needs. They have difficulty establishing clear rules and routines in the classroom and are challenged in managing student behavior. Survivors are more reactive than preventive when it comes to conflict resolution and tend to blame others when things go wrong (Stroot, et al., 1998).
The teaching style predominant in Survivors is the teacher-directed method which offers little interaction with or contribution from students. Control of the lesson is with the teacher, and the survivor tries her best to stick with her lesson plan no matter what. She goes through the lesson as if it is a script that cannot be changed despite opposing student reactions to it. For the survivor, a more student-centered approach is more difficult since power and control is shared with the students and she is afraid to show incompetence in case her students will come up with something she has no idea of.
In terms of growth, survival teachers need specific suggestions to be done in certain situations they are experiencing at the moment. Culling knowledge from their training or listening to the advise of a colleague will not work unless it is directly related to their concerns at that time (Stroot et al, 1998).
According to the Public Agenda and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality’s survey, first-year teachers admit that their teacher preparation lacked in two areas namely dealing with a culturally-diverse class and accommodating students with special needs. Except for those two areas, they generally reported satisfaction in how they were prepared for the realities of teaching (Preparation Gap for First-Year Teachers, 2008). The survey also reported that teachers experienced more familiarity in handling cases that involve children’s cognitive, emotional and psychological development and classroom management and discipline as learned from their teacher preparation programs and appreciate its usefulness in the classroom (Preparation Gap for First-Year Teachers, 2008).
Teacher’s awareness of each child’s learning style in his or her class make it easier to think of teaching strategies that will surely make an impact on the students. Understanding learners as unique individuals with different learning styles and intelligences would require a lot of considerations. Foremost is the teacher’s understanding and knowledge of each child’s strengths and weaknesses in class. Constructing a learner’s profile must be done first with the help of the student themselves (Silver, F., Strong, W., and Perini, M., 2000).
Learner diversity is becoming predominant in schools as embracing diversity and inclusion is encouraged. Booth and Ainscow (2000) summarize what inclusion in education entails. It values all students and staff equally no matter what their skill and ability levels are as well as their family and cultural backgrounds. It increases the participation of students in classrooms and reduces their exclusion from the cultures curricula and communities of local schools policies and practices in schools. Inclusion also reduces the barriers to the learning and participation and this is not restricted to students with special education needs.
Another kind of diversity is cultural. Teachers need to be equipped with skills in accommodating and adjusting to the needs of children from various cultures. Global education is defined as “education that develops the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are the basis for decision making and participation in a world characterized by cultural pluralism, interconnectedness and international economic competition” (Merryfield as cited in Willard-Holt, 2000, p.1). In view of this, on a much more specific level, culturally relevant teaching must be learned by teachers. It takes into consideration the cultural background of the students at all times. It also keeps in mind cultural aspects in all interactions with students on both personal and educational levels. (Edwards & Kuhlman, 2007). Students’ cultures, languages and experiences need to be acknowledged, valued and used as important sources of their education because they deserve the best that society can give them.
- Consolidation Stage: By around the second year of teaching, the self-absorption of the survival stage has lessened and the teacher has begun to focus more on teaching instruction and students’ individual needs. Children with unique problems and special needs are given more attention and the teacher is concerned with issues such as “How can I deal with a child with a specific problem?” (Stroot et al., 1998). Teachers in the consolidation stage may still be struggling in their teaching practice but are now more open to seek opportunities for growth and development. They are eager to share their feelings, ideas and feedback with other teachers in the same stage of development and require a wider range of resources to use in meeting specific needs of their students (Stroot et al., 1998).
- Renewal Stage: Having gained more competence from their teaching practice, teachers in this stage may feel bored with the same patterns and routines they have been implementing in their beginning years. Although these patterns of teaching may have been proven to be effective, teachers in the renewal stage actively seek new ideas to provide variety in their teaching. Teachers in this stage have mastered some management strategies that they have either learned from their training or have explored on their own. Even if they have gained enough competence already, they are willing to learn new methods to improve their performance in their jobs. They ask questions such as “What are some new materials, techniques, approaches, ideas, etc. that I can try in my classroom? (Stroot et al, 1998).
- Maturity: By this stage, teachers have mastered several teaching strategies that work with their classes. They sustain their interest in learning new ideas and resources, but they now become more reflective, asking questions of themselves and their teaching focusing on deeper issues, perspectives and beliefs about teaching and children in terms of leaving an impact on their lives. They are concerned with questions like “How will schools change society?” or “What is my role to assist change?” (Stroot et al., 1998).
Fuller’s Model on the Stages of Teacher Development (Fuller, 1965; Fuller & Brown, 1975) explains that teachers’ development undergo three phases of concerns namely concerns about self-survival, concerns about the tasks of teaching and concerns about their impact on their students.
Marso & Pigge (1994) explain the Fuller model in detail.
- Concerns about self-survival phase: During teachers’ preservice teacher preparation, Fuller describes future teachers as being more concerned about their own survival as students rather than being concerned about teaching and understanding the nature of their future students. As they move on to their later preservice training and into their first year as an in-service teacher, their concerns about self-survival in the profession becomes stronger as they question their own performance in the tasks of teaching (Marso & Pigge, 1994).
- Concerns about the tasks of teaching phase: Even with teachers who were rated as outstanding, their concerns about the task of teaching begin as relatively low when they begin training but increase as they begin their actual teaching practice. This may commence due to the realization that there are multiple tasks to be done as a teacher and that being overly concerned with self survival may just take up too much of their time and energy (Marso & Pigge, 1994).
- Concerns about making an impact: Later in the teachers’ in-service training and experiences, the mature teachers in Katz’ stage of Maturity, is assumed to have overcome the issues and concerns of the self-survival stage and the tasks of teaching stage that they now begin to address their concerns in establishing and maintaining meaningful and significant impact on their students. They become concerned with leaving a legacy in their teaching (Marso & Pigge, 1994).
The Preservice Teachers’ Stages of Concern survey by (Rogan, Borich and Taylor, 1992 and Borich, 1992) was based on Fuller’s Model. Rogan, Borich and Taylor (1992) added the following findings on the instrument as they checked for its validity and reliability:
- There exist qualitative differences between teachers who find their courses relevant such as the older teachers who have prior experience working with children) and those who do not.
- The stages of concerns by Fuller (1965) that preservice students go through were still observed even after they have completed the survey of preservice preparation. This implies that such teachers were then in the self stage.
- Cronbach coefficients showed that instrument demonstrated high reliability.
- Preservice teachers were not categorized based on their scores on the task and impact dimensions of the scale but a distinction was made among and between groups based on scores on the self dimension.
There may be environmental or contextual events that may influence the concerns of the preservice teachers while completing the survey.
Teachers’ Perceptions According To Stage Development
Throughout the various stages of teacher development, teachers hold changing perceptions of their own competencies. This implies how teaching experience becomes a factor in the development and strengthening of teacher’s confidence in their own teaching. Burden (1981) extracted a chronological analysis of teacher perceptions throughout their teaching careers in a thoroughly conducted focus group interview with teachers having a range of teaching experiences. The revelations are as follows:
In the first year of teaching, they were yet unaware of the complexity of their job as teachers. Having limited knowledge and skills, they resort to teaching what they know best from their teacher preparation, the subject matter instead of concentrating on teaching the child. Consistent with the stages of development of Katz (1972) and Fuller (1965), the first-year teachers were more concerned about themselves in relation to their professional responsibilities. Specifically, they were concerned about their level of adequacy in maintaining classroom control, teaching the subject matter and improving their basic teacher skills such as lesson planning, grading and assessment, organizing and budgeting units to be taught and the materials and resources to be used (Burden, 1981). Many teachers perceive the first year of teaching as a trial period. They evaluate their future plans based on the quality of experiences they have in their early teaching years.
Burden’s (1981) focus group members revealed that in their first year, they perceived themselves as having limited knowledge of teaching activities and of the teaching environment. They also conformed to an image they held of teachers. They had limited professional insight and perception and their curriculum and instruction were limited to subject-centered approaches instead of being able to integrate knowledge from different disciplines. They suffered from feelings of uncertainty, confusion and insecurity regarding their teaching competencies. They were also not willing to experiment with new teaching methods (Burden, 1981).
The teachers in the focus group also agreed that in their second, third and fourth teaching years, they gained more confidence in themselves as they moved out of their concerns for survival. Knowing how to deal with children better came with understanding their wide range of needs and these teachers sought more and better teaching techniques that agreed with the children’s learning styles. Being more open and genuine with their students, they were able to express more of themselves in their teaching. Specifically, they perceived themselves as having an increased knowledge of teaching activities and the teaching environment. They were slowly letting go of the image of a teacher they originally had. Their curriculum and instruction design were now geared more towards the child as a person. Confidence, security and maturity came with their experiences as a teacher and in those years, they became more open to experimenting with new teaching techniques (Burden, 1981).
The teachers in their fifth year of teaching and beyond epitomizes Katz’ (1972) teachers in the Maturity stage. They perceived themselves as more in command of their teaching activities and the teaching environment. They already mastered which strategies work for them but are still on the look out for new horizons in terms of their teaching methodology. Being more perceptive, they recognized children’s changing and complex needs and adopted a more student-centered philosophy. They have totally abandoned the image of the teacher they originally were very faithful to embody. These mature teachers perceived themselves as having enough knowledge of teaching activities and of the teaching environment. They continue to develop a more professional insight and perspective of teaching and are open to more opportunities for professional and personal growth (Burden, 1981).
Darling-Hammond et al. (2002) also interviewed a number of teachers regarding their perception of their own teaching competencies and found that teachers prepared through the traditional way of earning an Education degree felt better able and prepared to face the challenges of teaching than their colleagues who were trained in an alternative route. It was then concluded that a sense of preparedness positively correlated with self-efficacy and decisions to remain in the teaching profession. This now brings up a very important and controversial topic which is the main concern of this paper.
Pathways of Teacher Preparation
Traditionally, teacher preparation required going through an Education degree with the requisite coursework and student teaching experience and being state-certified as a professional teacher before one can commence a career as a teacher. Nowadays, the lack of teachers to field in various posts throughout the country necessitated the creation of alternative routes to certification such as California’s Intern Program (Mitchell & Romano, 2010). In this state, close to one third of all new teachers joined the teaching profession through the intern-based alternative certification route, echoing what 49 other states offer.
Opposing camps have been created with regards to pathways of teacher preparation programs. Advocates of alternative certification claim that alternative, non-degree programs are superior to traditional teacher preparation degrees and stand for a better approach to filling the country’s classrooms by breaking down barriers that keep qualified individuals from entering the profession because of their lack of an education degree (Feistritzer, 2007; Haberman, 2004; Alternative Routes to Teaching, 2001; Chin, Young and Floyd, 2004; US Department of Education, 2004). Feistritzer (Alternative Routes to Teaching, 2001) report that “People coming in to teaching through alternative routes tend to be older, people of color, more men, have academic degrees other than education, and have experiences in other occupations” (p. 3). Dai, et al. (2007) identify specific alternative certification programs that attract distinct populations such Teach for America which welcome recent graduates from non-teaching degrees, Pathways to Teaching, which attracts paraprofessionals, Troops to Teachers which encourage military retirees and other alternative route programs that embrace racial or ethnic minorities into the profession. Each population brings with them their own strengths as well as shortcomings to the programs (Dai, et al., 2007). These individuals may not afford unpaid student teaching especially if they have family and home ownership responsibilities. However, they have the drive and qualities that teaching demands. Proponents criticize university teacher preparation as not offering enough practical content and prospective teachers need more field-based training. Haberman (2004) argues, “The best way to learn to teach is by actually teaching and having access to a mentor, other teachers and online resources” (p. 3). Mitchell & Romero (2010) observe that alternative pathways to teacher certification vary in structure, duration, intensity, curriculum, participant characteristics and the targeted market. They may be operated by universities, school districts, county offices of education and a variety of private entrepreneurial enterprises. Mitchell and Romero (2010) conclude that an alternative certification program is the quicker and less expensive pathway to a teaching career that provides superior and more practical training to future teachers of this nation.
On the other hand, educators who have great faith in traditional university degrees as the best pathway for teachers believe that alternative certification is a diluted version of a university teacher preparation program and entrusts teachers who are ill-prepared and under-qualified to lead America’s classrooms (Darling-Hammond, Chung, & Frelow, 2002; Darling-Hammond, Holtzman, Gatlin, & Heilig, 2005; Darling-Hammond & Youngs, 2002; Lasko-Kerr & Berliner, 2003; Public Advocates, 2007; Rosenhall, 2007; Rubin, 2007). Obviously, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) posts a strong stand against alternative teacher education programs questioning its efficacy and point out that superior teachers with background training in handling complex, multicultural, fast-paced 21st century classrooms are what are needed instead of alternative-trained individuals who come without skills and rely on learning on the job (AACTE, 2009b). This organisation urges resistance to policies that welcome alternative certification as a solution to teacher shortage problems because according to them, it circumvents high standards of preparation just so it attempts to resolve the problem of teacher shortage (AACTE, 2009a)
Darling-Hammond (2006), a strong advocate of traditional teacher preparation through university education degrees, argues that for teacher training to be effective, tight coherence and integration across the courses offered in teacher preparation programs and linking course work with practical experience are necessary. It should also provide substantial, intensely supervised clinical work that make use of teaching philosophy and strategies that link theory and practice. A final component necessary in teacher preparation programs is close working relationships with schools serving diverse learners effectively to serve as good models in high quality teaching. She claims that all these components are present in traditional teacher preparation programs and alternative teacher preparation programs are lacking such elements, making it less efficient routes to training future teachers (Mitchell & Romano, 2010).
Understanding How Adults Learn
While it is essential to know about various pathways of teacher preparation for prospective teachers, it is also important to understand how these adults learn, as they undergo Andragogy or adult education which is differentiated from Pedagogy which is childhood education.
Generally, education is defined as “an activity undertaken or initiated by one or more agents that is designed to effect changes in the knowledge, skill, and attitudes of individuals, groups, or communities. The term emphasizes the educator or teacher trainor is, “the agent of change who presents stimuli and reinforcement for learning and designs activities to induce change” (Knowles, Holton & Swanson, 2007, p. 13). This definition gives a more communal flavor to the definition of learning, as it indicates that the learner adapts to the knowledge, skill and attitudes of the group he belongs to.
Change is evident in learning. The agent of change is the educator or teacher, who is responsible in stimulating learning to effect that change in his learner. The more person-centered thinkers like Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow and Malcolm Knowles share a humanistic view of education, and are specifically concerned with adults who are taking their second chance at it.
In the humanistic view, adult learners are assumed to be motivated to learn as they are more conscious of its benefits. They experience needs and interests that learning satisfies. Their orientation to learning is practical and centered on their own lives. Adults value experience as the richest resource of learning, that is why they have no hesitations learning something while they are engaged in a new experience. “Nearly all adult education is voluntary. Educational activities must meet the needs of as adult learners in order to survive”( Ellias & Merriam, 1980, p.135).
Stoll, Fink & Earl (2003) contend that the most effective way to motivate a learner in pursuing more knowledge and acquire more skills is to have an interplay of the four kinds of reinforcement. These are intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, social reinforcement and achievement. Intrinsic motivation is the inner drive to learn. This drive leads to one’s feeling of fulfilment. Extrinsic motivation is external reward like high grades or a prize for good performance. Social reinforcement is the approval of others – praise from significant persons in one’s life. Achievement is the attainment of the learning goal.
Adult learners have a deep need to direct their own learning, possessing a pride and learning style that suits their own personalities. Individual differences increase as people mature. Accepting these assumptions of how adults learn, Carl Rogers (1969), a humanistic psychologist further details the process of humanistic learning. He claims that the learner is personally involved in a holistic way. His or her feelings and cognitive aspects are deep into the learning experience. Learning continues to come from within even if there is an external stimulus because of possessed sense of discovery. Learning creates a difference in behavior, attitudes and personality of the learner (Rogers, 1969). This is consistent with the definition of learning presented earlier. The learner knows if his learning meets his needs and leads him towards what he wants to find out. Meaning is the essence of learning. When learning takes place, meaning is seen as part of the learning experience.. Ellias and Merriman (1980) concur, “the truly humanistic teacher respects and utilizes the experiences and potentialities of students”(p. 125). He gets his cues from his students in order for his class to be more productive.
An adult instructor dealing with adult students can hardly ignore the wealth and variety of individual experiences as a foundation for facilitating learning” (Ellias & Merriman, 1980, p 125). This implies that the adult educator should always consider that adult learners bring with them their own worlds of past experiences, knowledge and skills, along with personalities they have formed all throughout their lives. These should not be threatening to an adult educator’s competence and knowledge, but rather, he or she must take the opportunity to maximize the learners’ backgrounds to introduce further and deeper learning.
Focusing on the person and how he perceives the learning experience is the heart of the humanistic view of adult education. More than the concepts or skills he acquires through the activities designed around how he learns, “the emphasis of the humanistic educator, however, is not upon the works of the past and the values these possess, but on the freedom and dignity of the individual person that is highlighted in this tradition” (Ellias & Merriman, 1980, p. 109).
Being an adult learner, such as a potential teacher taking up teacher preparation classes, entails engaging in higher-order skills. A person engages in certain habits of thinking when faced with a certain problem. Costa & Kallick (2007) define a problem as any stimulus, question, task, phenomenon or discrepancy for which an explanation is not known immediately. That means, a certain amount of knowledge should be on hand to help him out or else, such knowledge must be available to him soon so as to be able to solve his problem. Costa and Kallick term certain behaviors or dispositions for such problem-solving as “habits of mind”. A habit of mind is being aware that one does not have answers to questions but maintains a positive disposition. The individual behaves intelligently even if he is clueless on what to do or what the answer is. Drawing from one’s habits of mind reaps more powerful results for an individual. Such results are of higher quality and greater significance than if he does not utilize such habits of mind.
Wright (2007) came up with a personal knowledge management plan for adult learners consisting of four interrelated dimensions – analytical, information, social and learning. The competencies under the Analytical dimension of Knowledge management are the abilities to interpret and make sense of problems encountered, envision solutions, apply techniques and models to understand and address problems, create new options to redefine issues and contextualize system elements and complexity of problems. This information dimension includes competencies such as knowing how to source high quality information and assessing its value as useful to the individual or not. It also includes organizing information and making it accessible for future use, synthesizing information gathered and communicating it to others effectively (Wright, 2007). In sum, it comprises how one finds information and makes it useful in his life.
It also includes organizing information and making it accessible for future use, synthesizing information gathered and communicating it to others effectively (Wright, 2007). In sum, it comprises how one finds information and makes it useful in his life.
Social dimension of knowledge management include finding people who can help an individual address problems and collaborate with him in searching for information and/or solutions. Developing and maintaining trust within certain networks formed in the pursuit of knowledge is essential. To do so, one needs to develop skills in asking the right questions as well as sharing knowledge with others (Wright, 2007).
Knowledge management is always linked to a learning dimension. This includes having the ability to sense patterns in things and situations, reflect on information and decisions, develop new knowledge, improve oneself and extend support to others by sharing knowledge (Wright, 2007)
Recent research has expanded the perspective on adult learning. Merriam (2008) contends that there is now a shift in understanding adult learning from the individual learner’s perspective to one considering the learner’s context. Such linkage of the learning process to one’s learning context has made understanding of adult learning richer and more holistic.
Economic and Practical Analysis of Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs
Dai et al. (2007) have managed to economically analyze the need to formulate alternative teacher certification programs. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act encouraged this solution to the problem of teacher shortages by attracting people who could not or chose not to take the traditional formal education path to teaching.
High-poverty urban and rural schools are the most in need of teachers since turnover far exceeds that in wealthier schools (Ingersoll, 2001). Smith & Ingersoll (2004) identify that if poor pre-service training was the culprit, it could be alleviated if not eliminated by good induction and mentoring programs. Ingersoll (2001, 2003) contend that although new teachers produced by universities and colleges may be able to meet the demands of schools, attrition remains high due to unfavorable working conditions.
Still, the annual supply of new teachers should be able to address the issue of shortages, but the more important concern is designing teacher preparation programs aimed at particular populations of teacher candidates.
Alternative teacher certification candidates who do not have an undergrad training in education but have experience working with children and schools have “job-specific human capital”. Dai et al. (2007) argue that the more job-specific human capital an individual possesses during training, the more possibility they have to succeed in their future teaching careers. Another advantage is “location-specific human capital” which means a candidate resides within the location of the community where the school is. This is especially significant in hard-to staff schools (Dai et al., 2007).
Candidates with strong human capital become more productive in their jobs. In the case of teaching, these individuals have shown more teacher effectiveness after the first few years due to the further accumulation of specific human capital (Hanushek, Kain & Rivkin, 1998). To better support these new teachers with high human capital, it is essential to provide well-planned induction programs to not only ease them into the challenge of classroom teaching but also to provide them with enough opportunities to master teaching skills (Dai et al., 2007).
Gimbert et al (2007) have found studies that conclude that alternative teacher preparation programs yield highly qualified teachers who can relieve immediate teacher shortages in core academic subjects such as mathematics, science, special education and English as a second language (Chin, Young & Floyd, 2004a; Gimbert, Cristol, Wallace & Sene, 2005). Studies have also supported the conclusion that teacher characteristics of teachers from alternative routes reflect that they are more disposed to teach in high-need urban schools due to the teachers’ life and background experiences. They can relate better to the students due to their wide and varied backgrounds (Chin, Young & Floyd, 2004b, 2006). Similarly, these teachers are more willing to work with urban students and expected more from students of color (Fox, 1984; Haberman, 1990, 1999). Alternative programs also admitted more teachers from minority groups than their traditional teacher preparation counterparts. Such teachers with diverse educational and ethnic backgrounds are more easily posted in hard-to-staff school systems (Chin et al, 2004a; Gimbert et al., 2005). Lastly, most of the teachers who graduated from alternative preparation programs have career-switched from a different area of expertise to education (Koneci et al., 2002).
Finally, alternative teacher preparation programs must be organized to predict and maximize cost effectiveness. Attrition of new teachers trained in this system should be kept low, as cost effectiveness is reflected when these teachers remain in their teaching careers. Again, Dai, et al. (2007) advocate induction and mentorship to substantially contribute to these teachers’ skills as they eventually gain more human capital value through the years.
School-University Partnerships in Professional Development Schools
Despite the realities of the existence of opposing camps in teacher preparation programs, some compromise has been met with school-university partnerships in preparing programs for professional development schools (Gimbert, et al., 2007). In Virginia, a school system-university’s nontraditional teacher preparation partnership was organized and funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Transition To Teaching (TTT) 5-year grant. This is in attempt to meet the need for highly qualified teachers as called for by the NCLB act (2001) in the subjects of Math and Science in schools that are known to be difficult to staff. Like other alternative route programs, it targets varied populations of individuals who have a desire to teach but do not have an Educational university degree.
Holmes Group (1986) describe the mechanics of TTT as such: it is a partnership between a high-need local educational agency and a local university or school for higher learning that aims to recruit and prepare highly qualified teachers trained in alternative teacher preparation programs offered by the partnership to obtain their teaching license from the Virginia Licensure Regulations for School Personnel (Virginia Department of Education, 1998). Then, upon acceptance in the high need school, the new teachers are provided with follow-up support with a mentor and aided teaching experience for the first three years. This is presumed to be enough to develop them into highly effective teachers in the long run (Gimbert et al, 2007). Haberman (1991) identifies the five standards of excellence for alternative certification programs that the TTT met as follows:
- “a highly selective approach for the participants’ acceptance was applied [to this Transition To Teaching program];
- the program recruited the best faculty to teach the candidates;
- training to implement meaningful curriculum content was afforded to these prospective teachers;
- effective teaching methods that focus on pedagogy were included in the training; and
- evaluation of the program’s effectiveness, or otherwise, was conducted.” (Gimbert et al, 2007, p. 255)
The TTT is described by Gimbert et al (2005) as an intensive training program with the following content:
- curriculum and instruction
- course content related to the Virginia Standards of Learning
- differentiation of instruction
- classroom behavior management
- human growth and development
The foregoing content approximates the content in traditional university training.
Teachers attending university-based alternative teacher preparation courses may report to specific areas in the university campus and they may be taught by university faculty. Some courses may be accessed online. In addition to course instructors, supervisors who come to observe the “interns” in the classroom are also provided to see the application of what has been learned in the course (Mitchell & Romero, 2010).
Impact of Teacher Preparation on Students
In Ferguson, et al’s (2002) celebrated study on achievement gap it was reported that when students were asked about the primary reasons that motivate them to work really hard in school, the lower-achieving students identified teacher encouragement as their motivator. Having a dedicated teacher who inspires and motivates them to learn and maintains positive interactions with them helps students to achieve more (Harris & Sass, 2008). Students value teacher encouragement and motivation so much that it is greatly influential in somehow closing achievement gaps between the high and the low achievers.
Cervantes (2007) explains that the perception of students regarding the adeptness of their teachers to positively deal with them makes them feel more at ease in approaching such teachers for help. This perceived approachability is one motivation for students to attend school regularly with a greater desire to learn.
On the other hand, some student-teacher relationships go to the other extreme. Fowler, Banks, Anhalt, Der and Kalis (2008) conducted a study that concluded that low academic performance of students resulted from poor student-teacher relationships. Students openly expressed their complaints in having teachers who overwork them without even giving a valid explanation of the material (Fowler et al., 2008). There are teachers who were reported to verbally abuse their students, causing the students to be humiliated and feel utter discomfort in being in the classroom. Such negative experiences demotivate students to perform well and complete their assignments (Cervantes, 2007). This is why Wubbels & Brekelmans (2005) advise beginning teachers to learn nonverbal behaviour that express positive messages to establish good relationships with their students. The more the teachers disagree with students on their perception one’s verbal and non-verbal behavior, the more the students see them in a negative light. Such perceptions bring about counterproductive behaviors that negatively affect their cognitive and affective outcomes (Wubbels & Brekelmans, 2005).
However, when the factor of teachers’ training background is added to the equation, there seems to be a deeper concern other than the teachers’ ability to motivate students. More than personal characteristics, professional qualification of teachers is identified as a force that may directly affect student achievement. Boyd et al. (2006) conducted a study on the effect of teacher training background on student achievement. Specifically, he questioned if students taught by teachers trained in the alternative preparation programs with reduced coursework requirements and limited professional teaching experiences differ in achievement from those taught by teachers trained in the traditional university undergrad training. Findings revealed that there are no significant differences in achievement in elementary Mathematics and English/ Language Arts of the students especially when the non-traditionally trained teachers were already in their third year of teaching.
With middle school mathematics students of a certain alternative training pathway, Teaching Fellows, out-performed students of teachers who went through an Education degree when their teachers were in their 2nd and 3rd years of teaching. Despite this impressive finding, all teachers who have been through alternative training programs in New York City including the NYC Fellows, Teach for America and other similar programs, are required to complete full certification requirements within their first three years of teaching (Gimbert et al., 2007).
In another comparative study by Goldhabeer and Brewer (2000), they compared students’ performance in 12th grade mathematics and science and teacher certification. The relationships found in the study revealed that students of teachers holding a degree in Mathematics or certification specialized in Mathematics achieved better than their counterparts taught by teachers without specialized preparation in the subject matter. When the teacher held a professional or full state certification, her students scored higher than students with teachers certified in another subject or held private school certification. Another relationship found was that students taught by teachers with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in mathematics outperformed students taught by teachers who did not have the same high qualifications (Ellis et al, 2007). In science, students taught by uncertified Science teachers and did not possess credentials in the science field scored lower. Finally, no significant differences in terms of measurement of student achievement growth were found between both Math and Science test scores for students taught by teachers with traditional training and teachers trained in alternative certification programs.
The state of Louisiana is known to be a leader in building longitudinal data systems that study and compare how their new teachers impact the development of their students (Duncan, 2010). This state will use information yielded by this data system to identify and evaluate effective and ineffective teacher training programs and university-based teacher education programs. This is such a monumental thing for Louisiana since it is the first and only sate that has made advances in tracking down the effectiveness of its various teacher preparation programs on a long-term basis.
The literature casts more controversial information on the differences in the impact of traditional and alternative teacher training and much research is necessary in yielding more conclusive and generalized data.
In sum, Boyd et al. (2006) conclude that studies on the impact of teacher preparation, whether traditional or alternative on student performance have come up with the following findings:
- Teachers coming from alternative or non-traditional teacher preparation have increased, and have changed the composition of teacher profiles specifically in high-poverty urban schools where most of them are needed.
- Non-traditional pathways to teaching certification have been found to offer solid academic training and teacher preparation as evidenced by their graduates’ good performance in teacher certification exams.
- The effect on student achievement of teacher preparation may be studied with students’ test-score data.
- Robust research is called for to investigate further the effects of teacher preparation programs on teacher quality since studies on this area are sparse. Research will help in structuring teacher preparation programs better, be they traditional or alternative.
Teacher Education Reform
Ellison & Jazzer (2007) and King (2006) recognize that one of the most significant concerns in the American educational system is having highly qualified teachers in every classroom. This stems from the No Child left Behind (NCLB, 2001) legislation which pushes for teacher education reform expecting improvements in the preparation, training and recruiting teachers excellent enough to effect improved student success. With funds from the NCLB legislation, school districts have the support and flexibility necessary to improve educational achievement through such initiatives as providing excellent training for teachers based on methodical research (Bush, 2001). In return, states will be held accountable for improving the quality of their educators (Bush, 2001).
Duncan (2010) argues that states, districts and the federal government are to blame for the persistence of ineffective teacher preparation programs. Most states have become complacent in approving proposed teacher education programs and licensing requirements and exams. These licensure examinations supposedly measure the teachers’ basic teaching skills and their knowledge of subject matter content. However, these exams are useless without real-world assessment of classroom readiness. Also, local mentoring programs for new teachers are not funded nor organized well, reflecting how some districts do not give much priority to it (Duncan, 2010).
Levine (2006), a former president of Teachers College, Columbia University lamented on the state of education in the US:
The task before us is to redesign teacher education for a new era—to produce a greater number of high quality teachers with the skills and knowledge necessary to raise student achievement to the highest levels in history. Unfortunately, educators and policy makers disagree fundamentally about how to accomplish the task at hand. There are conflicting and competing beliefs on issues as basic as when and where teachers should be educated, who should educate teachers and what education is most effective in preparing teachers. These differences undermine successful teacher education reform. (Levine, 2006, p.12)
In addition, Levine offers some guidance in what teacher education programs should be able to do for its teacher participants.
What excellent teacher education programs can and should do is prepare teachers for the realities of today’s classrooms. They should educate teachers for a world in which the only measure of success is student achievement. They should educate teachers for subject matter mastery, pedagogical consequence and understanding of the learning and development of the children they teach. (p. 104)
Dai et al. (2007) report that better teacher preparation programs significantly reduce the risk of losing teachers on their first years of teaching. Regardless of the nature of preparation routes taken by teachers, it is compulsory to adhere to rigorous standards in order to produce promising teachers.
Hess (2001) and Walsh (2001) determine that highly capable potential teachers are turned off by teacher preparation programs that lack rigor in its courses. These researchers agree that an individual’s verbal ability and mastery of content rather than pedagogical training are better predictors of how good a teacher will be. Thus, well-constructed teacher training programs that produce highly qualified, high quality teachers who elicit positive effects on their students academic performance are called for (Humphrey & Wechler, 2007).
Supporting Teacher Development
In answering the call for teacher education reform, several school districts have adopted ways and means to support their new teachers with induction programs with mentoring. One example is the North Carolina Beginning Teachers Support Program that starts with a two week teacher-preparation seminar including classroom management, lesson planning, a synopsis of examinations, assessments, identifying student disabilities, classroom organization, instructional feedback that reflects on the lessons taught, and a host of other essential matters (NC General Assembly, 2007).
Induction programs, primarily in North Carolina, have intentions to fulfill requirements of the NCLB Act 2001 by providing skills that will help retain newcomers. According to the State Board of Education, Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools coordinate induction activities that give a framework to carry out teacher licensure programs. In the induction program, exemplary mentors meet on a weekly basis with first and second year teachers. The mentees and mentors are matched according to subject expertise, and meet for two hours before, during, or following class. This project has shown dramatic changes when implemented and “only 5% of participants in the project have left the teaching profession after 14 years” (NC General Assembly. 2007, p. 12).
New teachers who are in Katz’s (1972) and in Fuller’s(1965) initial stage of survival may be suffering from decrease in confidence when fielded in an actual classroom and their attrition is greatest especially if no basic induction program is provided to support them. Gimbert et al. (2007) advocate that induction benefits all new teachers regardless of the kind of teacher preparation program they have undergone.
The Education Commission of the States (ECS, 1999) defines teacher mentoring as: “a formalized relationship between a beginning teacher and a master teacher (mentor) that provides support and assesses teaching skills. Duties of the mentor may include advising about instructional content and strategies, demonstrating classroom instruction, observing the beginning teacher’s instruction, consulting about lesson plans and objectives, advising about school/district resources and student and parent relations, and informing the new teacher about the expectations of the school, the district, and the state,” (p. I)
Mentoring is acknowledged as an important component in education that can resolve attrition problems of beginning teachers. Absence of mentoring meant absence of guidance from a more experienced educator making the new teacher feel inadequate to perform her job as teacher.
Fresh graduates of Education degrees or alternative teacher preparation programs are usually raring to get their hands on actual classrooms to apply everything they have learned. Mathias (2005) proposed that these newly qualified teachers may be more ready to do so had universities and alternative teacher programs included a mentorship programs from the time these teachers were still acquiring their degree. Mentors could have exposed these young future teachers early in the practice by actually immersing them in the classroom environment with their able supervision. However, what some universities do is sending new lecturers on teacher development courses to share their experiences with the Education students. Mathias argues that this has only a marginal impact on the future teachers’ intrinsic values and culture in relation to teaching.
Gold (1996) contends that organized mentoring programs greatly help newly-graduated teachers and make them more effective in the transition from being a student to being a professional. This information has convinced the government to authorize grants to fund teacher mentoring programs to local educational agencies (Jones & Pauley, 2003).
Hay (1995) differentiates three levels of learning in a mentoring relationship namely traditional learning, transitional learning and transformational learning. The first level is traditional learning, which is the usual coaching and teaching about how to do things properly. An example is a teacher giving extra time to tutor a student on a particularly difficult concept.
Next comes transitional learning or making appropriate transitions of how things are done or carried out. In becoming better aware of their goals and objectives, students make the necessary transitions in order to achieve their goals using a different approach (Duncan, 2010). To be able to do this requires constant reflection of what they do to check if they are still on the right track.
Learning to learn is considered to be the deepest level of learning. This is where transformational learning ensues. At this point, the learner has acquired skills of deep awareness and analysis of his motives and actions. It is crucial that the teacher collaborates with him in furthering his learning. Both student and teacher should be aware that it is the process of learning which must take precedence over skills and techniques.
Deep learning is something that more experienced learners become aware of. It entails “having a grasp of the structure of a discipline, seeing how things are related, using the ideas in novel situations and evaluating, even challenging the knowledge claims embedded in the discipline” (Stoll, L., Fink, D. & Earl, L., 2003, p. 15). This is far different from rote learning most children are exposed to – memorizing facts, formulas, etc., which is more of surface learning that goes with an unreflective attitude. Deep learning is the result of activities that create sense. These activities are made up of conscious attention, organizing and reorganizing ideas. It also encourages the assimilating or accommodating of new ideas and the constant reshuffling and reorganizing of such in an effort to connect ideas to coherent patterns.
Millinger (2004) has come up with a useful and meaningful acronym to describe the conditions where effective mentorship takes place. It is COPE, short for Codevelopment and Collaboration, Observation and Feedback, Policies and Systems, and Encouragement and Support.
- Codevelopment & Collaboration. Mentees or new teachers may feel overwhelmed with all the new things they need to learn and do, so they would need their mentors to guide them in certain things. Team teaching with their mentor is one alternative which encourages new teachers to experiment with various educational strategies without fear of serious consequences. They get to see how their more experienced mentors organize their classes and pick up lessons they can use for their own practice. On the other hand, veteran teachers get the opportunity to carefully reexamine their own practice which may have become automatic already for them, and find some things that do not work anymore with the current batch of students.
- Observation and Feedback. It can be daunting for a new teacher to conduct a lesson while being meticulously observed by a veteran teacher. A mentor can instead invite the mentee to observe in her class. Beforehand, the mentor may assign the mentee something specific to observe in her class such as how she throws questions to the students, or how she moves around the classroom while delivering her lesson. Afterwards, they convene and give feedback on what has been observed. The mentee gets to learn that observation is research in the classroom which can help a teacher improve on some weaknesses. When it is their turn to be observed, they will have more understanding in the value of other people’s observation and feedback of their teaching.
- Policies and Systems. New teachers can be at a loss with policies or very simple school rules such as where to let the children line up during special events. It can save a teacher a great deal of time to learn systems endorsed by the school if mentors already brief them about it.
- Encouragement and Support. Sharing one’s moments of frustrations and disappointments and later replaced by moments of joy in one’s teaching experiences gives much encouragement to mentees to go on especially when their mettle is challenged. Mentors showing they have been in such a situation and have come out of it well become inspiring models to struggling new teachers.
Mentors recruited to guide new teachers must have the necessary qualifications and experience to draw their mentoring from. Veteran teachers are usually encouraged to be mentors, as it allows them an opportunity to espouse their teaching philosophy, promote collaboration, and being exposed to current educational trends and issues (Jones & Pauley, 2003). Mentors help foster personal and professional growth of their mentees by encouraging them to join professional organizations, reading educational journals, books and computer networks.
Mentoring commences with the introduction phase when rapport between the mentor and the new teacher or mentee foster the relationship through the sharing of ideas, personal philosophies and other personal information. Next comes a discussion and clarification of the purpose, desired outcomes, expected roles of both parties as well as the framework of the mentoring process. When this is cleared up, the pair goes into a unity phase when they partner up in the preparation of classroom experiences and activities. They collaborate on materials and classroom layout preparation, discuss instructional environment and classroom management and other school issues. Such close interaction builds a stronger mentor-mentee relationship comprised of trust, honesty, respect and high levels of communication that lead them to go into the next phase (Jones & Pauley, 2003).
The application phase is when the mentees try out their wings with the mentors propping them up. This is when the mentees face actual students, try out the teaching strategies they have learned with them, develop their confidence in classroom teaching while learning to make quick decisions on their feet. The mentors serve as assistants while they observe their mentees and give their feedback later. The final phase is critical reflection of one’s practice. This is a continuous process that must be sustained all throughout their professional growth. Both mentor and mentee need to be objective, respectful, encouraging and honest in their critical reflections if their goal is to truly improve (Jones & Pauley, 2003).
Van Petegem et al. (2008) add that being a reflective practitioner is another trait of an effective teacher. Engaging in self-reflection provides insight and improvement to the teacher’s personal and professional lives. It is important that teachers not only reflect on the activity recently completed. Lourdusamy and Khine (2001) observed that teachers usually reflect only on a lesson recently delivered – how it went, how the students responded and if it was a success. However, it is rare that teachers evaluate their own interpersonal behavior with their students. Such interpersonal relationships with students should be given more value than the delivery of a well-planned lesson. Hence, this are need to be given more time for reflection. Arends (2001) contended that “effective teaching requires careful and reflective thought about what a teacher is doing and the effect of his or her action on students’ social and academic learning” (p. 18).
According to Osterman (1990), “reflection is the essential part of the learning process because it results in making sense of or extracting meaning from the experience”. Reflective teaching can be both beneficial and disastrous. On the positive side, it promotes professional growth and development when the reflection succeeds in leading the teacher to greater self-awareness, a wider perspective in understanding problems and gaining and developing new knowledge (Osterman, 1990). On the downside, it is a time-consuming process that may be painful for the teacher because it involves questioning of one’s motivations and philosophy. The teacher should be open to an examination of her own beliefs, values and feelings (Curtis & Carter, 2008).
Wade (1997, p.95) claims that reflection is essential for good practice as it proven that we remember 80% of what we have learnt through real life experiences and through reflection. Reflection helps students with problem solving skills and develops a mindset to be able to create change (Wade, 1997, p. 96). Therefore it seems reflective practice is an important valuable tool for teachers, who are required to infuse not only the curriculum but also a vast amount of knowledge among students (Ellison & Jazzar, 2007).
In the past the teacher’s role was about sharing knowledge in one particular way. In the 1970’s, teaching was simply about making students acquire knowledge and be more attentive in their work. The role of the teacher was simply to observe students instead of interacting and participating themselves in the classroom (Tedick, 2009). There seemed to be no consideration about the reflection of the pupil’s learning experience, leaving a lot of misconceptions on how knowledge and information were received by the students, as taught and guided by their teachers (Curtis & Cater, 2008). It was though at the time the pupils were not learning due to their social, cultural and environmental circumstances (Dewey, 2007). However through acknowledging and admitting that there were flaws in the education system and a need for a more reflective approach in the classroom, a number of teaching methods and models started to develop (Vann Mann, 1999, p.35). An emphasis on the importance of reflection on the part of teachers was raised. Dewey (1995) cited in Van Mann (1999, p.34) stressed the need in teachers for some basic traits and characters such as sincerity, involvement and responsibility to be developed and strengthened. This opened floodgates to making several challenges in teaching methods and models. Dewey’s action plan for the need of a more reflective approach may be considered as the beginning of the movement for reflective practice (Van Mann, 1995, p.34). Thus, the idea of teaching has become a kind of double way flow i.e. that teaching is learning too, led a transformation in the pedagogy of teaching. There seemed to be a shift in focus, the teaching profession began to change as there was a realisation that teaching involved reflection and is not simply lecturing (Loughhran 1996, p.6).
This study intends to evaluate teachers’ perceptions of their undergraduate initial teacher training or alternative teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now face on their jobs as teachers. Specifically, this research will study similarities and differences in teachers’ perception of their skills and how their training has prepared them for the job of teaching. It will compare perceptions of teachers one to two years of teaching experience, three to five years of teaching experience, and teachers with more than five years of teaching experience. The following research questions will be addressed in this study:
- RQ1: Will teachers with one to two years of teaching experience perceive their initial teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ2: Will teachers with three to five years of teaching experience perceive their initial teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ3: Will teachers with more than five years of teaching experience perceive their initial teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ4: Will teachers with one to two years of teaching experience perceive their alternative teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ5: Will teachers with three to five years of teaching experience perceive their alternative teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
- RQ6: Will teachers with more than five years of teaching experience perceive their alternative teacher training as adequate preparation for the tasks they now perform as teachers?
In exploring teachers’ perceptions of the adequacy of their preparation for teaching, the use of questionnaires as a means of collecting data from teachers with various years of teaching experience has been selected for this particular research. It is essential that first- hand information is gathered from the teachers themselves. Campbell, McNamara & Gilroy (2004) described questionnaires as “a very versatile data-gathering method; they are cheap, easy to administer, whether it be to three people or 300, and can be used to gather a great variety of data of both quantitative and qualitative nature” (p. 146). Cohen Manion & Morrison (2000) also find questionnaires very efficient because it allows the researcher to gather a significant amount of information from the participants at one time. In terms of the use of time, it is a quicker way to do research as opposed to conducting interviews with various participants over a period of time, not to mention the time spent for transcribing it for analysis. Gillham (2000) also pointed out that it was efficient for the respondents to complete questionnaires because they can do it at a time convenient for them. There is no particular requirement to match the schedules of the researcher and the respondent in order to conduct the research. Cohen et al. (2000) and Gillham (2000) also emphasized the usefulness of questionnaires for ensuring participant anonymity. There are cases when confidentiality is requested, such as in this study because of the sensitive and controversial nature of the material being investigated. Knowing that they will remain anonymous, respondents may be more willing to express their opinions on the matter. They can write about issues and opinions more openly than they would in a face-to-face situation. It could be argued then that questionnaires are more likely than interviews to generate truthful answers as there is no personal contact with the interviewer.
However, with objective questionnaires with a range of answers to choose from, the disadvantage is that the only data collected is a variety of tick boxes and brief responses, which means the data tends to have more breadth than depth (Oppenheim, 1992). This outcome results from the lack of an interviewer to prompt for further information or more detail in the answers. In the absence of the researcher or facilitator, the questionnaire or survey cannot interpret questions for participants who may be unclear about what is being asked. Each participant is independently left to decipher what is being asked. Participants may resort to their own subjective understanding of the questions (Oppenheim, 1992).
The instrument used in this study is an adaptation of the Teacher Concerns Checklist developed by Fuller and Borich (1995). The original checklist studied teachers’ three major concerns. These concerns move from concerns for self to concerns for teaching tasks to concerns for impact on students (Fuller & Borich, 1995). Buhendwa (1996) reports that the reliability of the original instrument was relatively high with reliability coefficients of.91,.84 and.94 for concerns for self, task and impact respectively.
Teacher development in the original instrument was assumed to follow Fuller’s (1965) Stages of Concern. Teacher growth gradually changes from overemphasis in concerns about self (survival stage) to concerns about the task on hand (task stage) and finally, concerns about how the self and the tasks impact students (impact stage). (Borich & Tombari, 1995).
Since the original instrument on Stages of Concerns seemed to enjoy positive reviews, this study adopts it but the researcher revised the items to suit the purpose of getting teachers’ perceptions of what their respective training has prepared them for in their teaching careers. It was designed to reflect at which stage of concern (survival, task or impact) the respondents are and how their training (traditional or alternative) has affected their performance as teachers with the length of experience they have in teaching.
From the original 45 items, this current instrument entitled Teachers’ Perception of Preparedness To Teach As Attributed to Teacher Preparation Programs has removed two redundant items leaving it only with 43 items. Each item begins with the phrase “My training….” So that the participants will be led to think about what their particular teacher training preparation programs have contributed to them.
What follows is the copy of the revised instrument.
Teachers’ Perception of Preparedness To Teach As Attributed to Teacher Preparation Programs Scale (adapted from Fuller & Borich, 1995)
Please indicate your training as a teacher (Check what is applicable):
______Teaching Degree earned from College or University
______Alternative Route (You do not have a Teaching Degree but have
obtained training from specialized Teacher Preparation Programs)
Please indicate your actual teaching experience (Check what is applicable):
______one to two years teaching experience
______three to five years teaching experience
______five and more years teaching experience
Please indicate the degree to which you agree or disagree with the statements in this section by checking under the appropriate number. Your choices will be among the five options:
- Strongly Agree
- Neither Agree or Disagree
- Strongly Disagree
Should you want to add some remarks regarding your answer, please fill up the blank provided for it.
|1. My training has prepared me for having several students in a class|
|2. My training has given me an ability to maintain the appropriate degree of class control.|
|3. My training has taught me what factors motivate a student to study.|
|4. My training has given me the perception that I should be preoccupied with doing well when the supervisor is present.|
|5. My training has taught me my ability to work with disruptive students.|
|6. My training has provided me the ability to take control over the curriculum.|
|7. My training has taught me ways to encourage proper student behavior.|
|8. My training has taught me ways to increase students’ feeling of accomplishment.|
|9. My training has given me the confidence to obtain a favorable evaluation of my teaching.|
|10. My training has given me the disposition to remain in the teaching profession.|
|11. My training has taught me to survive with very little clerical help.|
|12. My training has given me skills in handling the non-instructional duties that come with a teaching career.|
|13. My training has prepared me for being able to meet the needs of different kinds of students.|
|14. My training has prepared me to cope with troublemakers.|
|15. My training has prepared me to be a teacher worthy of students’ respect.|
|16. My training has taught me skills in recognizing the emotional and social needs of the students.|
|17. My training has taught me the computer skills I need in my job as a teacher.|
|18. My training has taught me how to manage noise level in my class.|
|19. My training has taught me where to access adequate assistance from specialized teachers, if necessary.|
|20. My training has prepared me to make the most of what I have in cases where lack of resources is a concern.|
|21. My training has prepared me to meet the numerous standards and regulations set for teachers and that worries me.|
|22. My training has prepared me to diagnose students with learning problems.|
|23. My training has prepared me against thinking that my peers may think I am not doing a good job.|
|24. My training has taught me skills in handling embarrassing situations that may occur in places where I teach.|
|25. My training has prepared me for whatever instructional outline schools furnish me with.|
|26. My training has prepared me to work around curriculum if it is just provided by the school, to still include activities I believe my students will benefit from.|
|27. My training has provided me with enough confidence to deal with my inadequacies that may be known by other teachers.|
|28. My training has prepared me for hard work and still be able to have enough time for both rest and class preparation.|
|29. My training has taught me ways to seek and find alternative ways to ensure that my students are learning the subject matter I am teaching.|
|30. My training has taught me ways to challenge unmotivated students.|
|31. My training has prepared me to face whatever my peers will think of me with some of the things I do with students in my class.|
|32. My training has prepared me to I help students value learning.|
|33. My training has prepared me to ensure that all students in my class is reaching their potential.|
|34. My training has prepared me to manage my time effectively.|
|35. My training has prepared me to adapt to the special/individual needs of so many different students.|
|36. My training has taught me ways on how my students can apply what they learn in my classes.|
|37. My training has prepared me for a wide range of student’s achievement in my class.|
|38. My training has equipped me with skills to think and plan despite the huge amount of work I have.|
|39. My training has taught me how to improve testing and grading procedures.|
|40. My training has taught me to understand ways in which health and nutrition might affect learning in my classes.|
|41. My training has taught me skills in guiding students towards intellectual and moral growth.|
|42. My training has taught me ways to understand why certain students make slow progress.|
|43. My training has predisposed me to seek opportunities for professional growth and guidance for my career.|
The researcher will contact a variety of randomly selected school districts and request permission to have their teachers complete the survey for this study. Five hundred questionnaires will be randomly disseminated in the hopes of at least 300 to be returned and fully completed. The teachers are to indicate the kind of teacher preparation program they have undergone and how many years of teaching they already have by checking the appropriate choice. It shall also be explained that there is a space for remarks for each item in case they want to elaborate on their choice.
Upon collection of the questionnaires, the researcher shall then sort the completed questionnaires according to the kind of teacher training preparation the respondents had and their years of teaching experience: One group for teachers with 1-2 years teaching experience, another group for teachers with 3-5 years teaching experience and still another group for teachers with 5 years and more teaching experience. The responses will be analyzed with the appropriate statistical method and qualitative analysis accordingly.
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