How Do Selected Novice Middle School Teachers from Various Certification Pathways Perceive the Effectiveness of Their Teacher Preparation?
AuthorHesson, Nicole Lee
AdvisorGross, Steven Jay
Committee memberShapiro, Joan Poliner
Boyer, Jean A.
DuCette, Joseph P.
Middle School Education
Middle Level Education
Middle Level Teacher Preparation
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/1429
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AbstractThis dissertation study compared the three most common pathways of traditional preparation for novice middle level teachers (elementary, middle level, and secondary) and attempted to answer the central question of which group felt best prepared for middle level teaching. Selected novice teachers from each of the three pathways were interviewed and asked to reflect on their preparation program. All participants were graduates of the same large, urban, public university. Data were collected using an interpretivism paradigm and analyzed using the constant comparative method. The state has recently redesigned its certification structure and teacher education institutions have redesigned their programs to reflect these changes. This study sought to discover if the restructuring resulted in greater feelings of preparedness among novice teachers. This study was exploratory, but initial findings indicate that there was very little difference in feelings of preparedness among the three pathways for teaching at the middle level with respect to program components and understanding of the needs of middle level adolescents. There was limited difference among the three pathways with respect to content preparation. This poses an interesting policy question: If the state’s intent in restructuring the certification tiers was to ensure more prepared teachers for the middle level and this exploratory study shows little difference in feelings of preparation, was the decision to restructure teacher certification a worthwhile endeavor? The study offers possible programmatic changes to increase feelings of preparedness as well as ideas for further research around this topic.
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AN EXAMINATION OF THE VALIDITY OF TEACHER RATINGS OF STUDENT INTERNALIZING SYMPTOMS: THE ROLE OF TEACHER STRESSPendergast, Laura L.; Gilmour, Allison; Sandilos, Lia; Laurence, Janice H. (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)The current study examined the structural validity of a common universal screening assessment for student emotional and behavioral symptoms, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ; Goodman, 1997, 2001), with the goal of identifying whether this universal screening assessment was invariant across high and low stress teacher groups. Further, teacher stress was examined as a predictor of ratings on the universal screening assessment and mean group differences were examined between school-related variables, teacher stress and ratings on the universal screening assessment. Data were collected from 1,860 teachers in the state of Pennsylvania, who were sampled online in fall 2019. The baseline model of the SDQ was tested, then the model was tested across configural, metric and scalar levels to determine whether the model was invariant as constraints were applied. Data indicated that the universal screening assessment, the SDQ, demonstrated adequate model fit that improved as measurement invariance testing continued. This suggests that the SDQ identified student internalizing and externalizing risk comparably across high and low stress teachers and may be appropriate to use to assess risk in settings where teachers are highly stressed. Additional analyses found that high stress teachers rated more behavioral and emotional symptoms overall than low stress teachers, with a small effect size. Additionally, high stress teachers rated fewer positive behaviors than low stress teachers in this study. However, this should be studied further in future research which includes nesting to account for district and school variables which may affect teacher stress. Implications regarding using findings to support teachers are discussed.
Teachers' Perspectives of Teacher Supervision Policies & Practices in Charter Schools in PennsylvaniaCaldwell, Corrinne A.; Shapiro, Joan Poliner; Partlow, Michelle Chaplin; Mahar, Robert J.; Jordan, Will J. (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)The purpose of this qualitative case study is to discover how teachers view the teacher supervision practices that are in place in two selected charter schools in Southeast urban Pennsylvania by developing an in-depth perspective and understanding of teachers’ perceptions of the efficacy and impact on the current system. Data will be gathered on nine teachers and two teacher supervisors through a series of in-depth interviews, structured observations and document examination at each of the two selected charter schools. There are no experiments being conducted, nor is there any controlling factors in this qualitative study. Instead observations and interviews will be conducted that will allow the voices of the respondents to be heard. The goal is to hear what teachers’ persona perspectives are of the supervision process within their respective schools. This study moves beyond typical supervisory efficacy studies. First because of the setting in charter schools and secondly by examining the teachers’ perspectives of the supervision practices and policies within their schools. In order to gain a better understanding of the context for this study, it is necessary to look at the history of the charter school movement as well as the impact charter schools are having on traditional public schools as a result of the Educational Reform Movement. The current education reform standards found within the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) has brought about a renewed focus on the systems being used to critique teacher efficacy. It is the system that is used to assess teacher quality, through teacher supervision practices and policies that this case study will address. Linda Darling-Hammond (2007) who writes extensively on teacher quality, proposes creating a “high-quality teacher-performance assessment that measures actual teaching skill.” (p. 48). One that can be used for “determining teachers’ competence.” (p. 48). The need for this kind of assessment for teacher efficacy is important since “there does not appear any specific credential or characteristic that is a silver- bullet predicator of quality.” (Goldhaber, 2006, p.1). This qualitative case study will show the reading what systems currently exist within the teacher supervision practices and policies in these two selected charter schools in Southeast urban Pennsylvania. What drives this study will be the revelations of the teachers working in these charter schools who will share their personal point of view of the teacher supervision process based on their own experiences, through document and field observations. The study in itself will not examine any quantitative links with student achievement but is nevertheless based on the idea that good teacher supervision improves teaching that ultimately impacts student achievement levels. “Educational research convincingly shows that teacher quality is the most important schooling factor influencing student achievement.” (Goldhaber, 2006, p.1). Therefore it can be argued that teacher supervision can potentially improve teacher quality that in turn is directly linked to student achievement. While this study will focus on the exploration of teachers’ perspectives of the teacher supervision process that exists within charter schools, the outlying factors such as teacher education, hiring and teacher retention are instrumental in student achievement cannot be ignored, however this study will concentrate only on teacher supervision practices. The significance of this study is that it may provide additional insight on teacher supervision practices, which include a broad range of approaches from instructional, collegial, peer, clinical and self-directed. This study will provide information that will answer the overarching research question, what is the state of teacher supervision in two selected charter schools in Southeastern urban Pennsylvania? Little research has been published specifically on teacher perceptions of teacher supervision practices in urban charter schools. Teacher supervision and teacher evaluation “the process by which teachers are assessed professionally” (Goldrick, 2002, p.2) in urban charter schools have not previously been the subject of rigorous examination. Out of 664 dissertations that addressed the topic of charter schools, teacher supervision practices, teacher perceptions of teacher supervision practices and the impact teacher supervision has on student achievement, only 12 studies (less than 1%) focused on these areas of research. This paucity illustrates the need to increase studies in the area of teacher supervision practices to determine if they are impacting student achievement. The significance of this study comes from learning about a previously unexplored phenomenon in the increasingly influential charter school. Although this study could extend beyond the boundaries of teachers’ perspectives and potentially draw conclusions on the efficacy of teacher supervision practices based on the outcome of student achievement levels, that is not the focus or the reason for this study. The primary focus will remain on teacher's perceptions of the teacher supervisory practices in these two charter schools.
EXPLORING ELEMENTARY GENERAL MUSIC TEACHERS’ REFLECTIVE STRATEGIES WITHIN A TEACHER COLLABORATION GROUP: AN INSTRUMENTAL CASE STUDYReynolds, Alison M.; Parker, Elizabeth C.; Hattikudur, Shanta; Kreinberg, Steven (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)The purpose of this instrumental case study was to describe the ways two elementary general music teachers participating in a teacher collaboration group (TCG) used reflective strategies in their classrooms. The following questions initially framed the case: When these two teachers engaged in reflective strategies, (1) What did they notice about their students’ performance and their own teaching practices? (2) What did they describe as the benefits and challenges of incorporating reflective strategies? and (3) What insights did they articulate as a result of their participation in a TCG? I (student investigator) invited two purposefully sampled elementary general music teachers to participate in a TCG focused on incorporating reflective strategies. In my interactions with the two teachers, I served three roles: researcher, facilitator, and colleague. The theoretical lens for this research was professional learning through collaboration. As researcher, I embraced the required tasks for this research, including studying existing literature, obtaining the necessary approvals, devising data collection tools, analyzing the data and drawing conclusions based on the data. Since I chose to conduct the research in the school district where I currently teach, I needed to be mindful of my professional relationships with all 10 of my elementary general music teacher colleagues, since the two of my elementary general music teacher colleagues participated in the TCG. Throughout the study I strove to maintain balance between my roles of researcher, facilitator and colleague as I drew on my review of research and practice literature on reflective strategies to make decisions throughout this research. To reduce over rapport during the study, I continually examined my motives for all choices, and sought to be mindful of how each choice affected research design, TCG agendas, and my colleagues’ professional responsibilities. I strove to identify sources of tensions relative to each of my roles, and remain as neutral as possible to each role during data analysis. The two teachers engaged in member checks, and I invited a critical friend with experience in qualitative research to serve as an auditor of the data. Based on my research on reflective strategies, I offered participants four reflective strategies, from which they chose one, to incorporate with a fourth grade general music class of their choice. Over seven months, the participants documented in their professional reflective journals what they noticed about their students and themselves while engaged in reflective strategies. The participants studied reflective practice independently and collaboratively. The participants completed two solo interviews and attended five group meetings. Data sources for this study were transcripts of TCG meetings and interviews, researcher’s field notes, participants’ professional reflective journals, and artifacts of student work shared with parent consent and student assent: video recorded teaching examples and students’ written classwork, both of which participants shared during TCG meetings. I studied the transcripts and professional reflective journals for emerging patterns and themes. Three themes emerged: Noticings About Students and Self, Learning About Students and Self, and Changing Attitudes and Beliefs about Teaching and Learning. The overarching theme, Sharing Experiences, served as the catalyst for participant noticing, learning, and changing. The participants reported that the use of reflective strategies designed for their elementary general music students informed their instruction and decision-making processes, and provided insights to their students’ levels of understanding. Additionally, the participants reported learning the value of reflection, both for themselves and for their students. The participants also reported that participating in the TCG as a form of collaborative professional development alleviated feelings of isolation and provided an opportunity for teachers to learn from one another in a professional environment. The research presented in this study has implications for teachers and administrators. Because of the benefits associated with engaging students in reflective strategies, teachers should consider how to include reflective opportunities appropriately as part of their instruction. Further, administrators should consider providing collaborative professional development opportunities for teachers of any subject area or grade level. The two elementary general music teachers in this research described gaining valuable insights regarding music teaching and learning by incorporating reflective strategies. Further, they valued the professional development in the form of the TCG, which developed over time and offered them an opportunity to reflect as partners who generated collective knowledge with each other as supportive peers, all while individually growing as teachers. Suggestions for future research include researching a curricular approach to implementing reflective strategies with PreKindergarten through 5th grade elementary general music students, reflective strategies elementary musical ensembles, investigating how reflective strategies relate to different approaches for teaching elementary general music, and exploring teacher collaboration groups consisting of music teachers from various grade levels or music teaching disciplines.