Source: The Teacher Educator, Volume 44, Issue 3 (July 2009) , pages 188 – 203.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study describes a paid field experience designed to investigate teacher candidates' willingness to teach in urban schools. First, it sought to identify factors that occurred before this experience (number of hours and satisfaction with prior field experiences) that influenced their willingness. Second, its purpose was to determine if their willingness was influenced by this experience and/or their satisfaction with it. Finally, it investigated whether their willingness was influenced by their ethnic group, socioeconomic status, or type of P-12 schooling they received.
73 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a teacher preparation program at a private religiously affiliated college in an urban area in the Northeast were recruited for participation in the SITC program. Each teacher candidate provided approximately 90 hours of tutoring and participated in 12 hours of training. Participants in this study volunteered for this paid field experience and are considered to be a sample of convenience; no comparison group was available for additional analyses.
Out of the 73 participants, 62 were female and 11 were male. When asked to identify the characteristics and the settings of their own P-12 schooling, candidates were able to identify more than one descriptor: 44 attended public schools, 15 attended private schools, 16 attended parochial schools, and 1 indicated “Other.” Ten participants attended urban schools whereas 44 attended suburban schools, 7 attended rural schools, and 1 indicated “Other.” In describing their certification areas, some participants identified multiple certification areas: 14 participants were seeking special education certification, 45 were seeking childhood (Grades 1-6), 10 were seeking early childhood (birth-2), 30 were seeking adolescence certification, 1 was seeking physical education certification, and 11 indicated “Other".
Candidates completed a survey before the program began and at the completion of the internship. In addition to gathering data on demographics, P-12 schooling, number of field experience hours completed, and satisfaction with previous urban field practica, the posttest focused on their willingness to teach in an urban setting as a result of the internship. Journal entries throughout the program provided additional data to better demonstrate participants' own schooling experiences and their reactions to the urban schools and students as well as helping to critique the program so that changes could be made in subsequent years.
Data from pre and post surveys indicated no significant difference as the number of previous field hours increased, from the beginning to the conclusion of field experience, on ratings of field experience and willingness, and between ethnic and SES groups. Significant differences (p < .05) were found on willingness based on ratings of previous urban field experiences, and between candidates who had and had not attended urban schools (p < .05). Implications of these findings for teacher preparation programs are discussed and suggestions for future research are shared