Voices Less Silenced: What Do Veteran Teachers Value in School–University Partnerships and Initial Teacher Preparation?

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Oct. 11, 2009

Source: The Teacher Educator, 44(4), p. 248–267, 2009.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this article is to describe how veteran teachers understand and experience the development of a Professional Development School (PDS) partnership. Furthermore, the article describes how they participate in initial teacher preparation program reform.
The author presents a case, which examines the voices and participation of veteran teachers in developing a PDS in depth.

Research Questions

The research questions address to what do veteran teachers value in initial teacher preparation? what do they focus on in school–university partnerships? and how do they negotiate tensions in initial teacher preparation reform?

The Context: Bayview Elementary School

The PDS Core Team consisted of 14 elementary faculty members and the principal of Bayview Elementary School, and one university faculty member. This team began meeting in December 2006 to discuss the potential for a PDS partnership and what partners could offer to the improvement of teacher preparation in the area.

The Professional Year consisted of two main blocks of field experiences. The first block required prospective teachers—interns—to spend 250 hours in the school, which amounted to 3 days per week at this school site. The interns often spent the other 2 days and some evenings in courses required before a student teaching semester. The PDS team insisted interviewing interns was imperative for ensuring clear communication and understanding of expectations. All of the interns would attend opening day activities for the school district and remain in the school for the entire semester, following the school calendar rather than the university’s calendar.

The school accepted six interns, along with several early elementary field placement students. These interns were working with nine mentor teachers. The principal was also an active member of the PDS team.


Methodology

This study used qualitative measures to collect and analyze data. Data collection began in December 2006 and continued through May 2008. There were monthly focus group interviews with the nine veteran teachers, principal, and the author who was the interviewer and university liaison. There was also Participant observation (Merriam, 1998) consisted of taking field notes during discussions where participants shared experiences developing a PDS and reforming initial teacher preparation.
 

Findings

Three key themes involve the character of mentor teachers, based in professionalism: an emphasis on structure and the practical nature of teacher preparation; and the development of multiple collaborative relationships toward professional growth.

 

Reference

Merriam, S. B. (1998) Qualitative research and case study applications in education. Jossey-Bass. , San Francisco, CA

Updated: Oct. 26, 2009
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