Source: The Teacher Educator, Volume 45, Issue 3, (July 2010) , pages 202 – 215.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This qualitative study is the continuation of a prior study of partner placements—placing pairs of preservice teachers in an early childhood urban practicum course that includes 100 field hours.
In this study, the authors sought to understand
(a) how their preservice teachers, who paired together in a pre-student teaching placement, experience and perceive the value of collaboration with a peer and cooperating teacher and
(b) what facilitates or inhibits collaboration.
Six preservice teachers were participated in the study. The preservice teachers were informed that they would be placed in pairs. Placements were based on preservice teachers’ grade-level preferences. Cooperating teachers from two Midwestern public elementary schools volunteered to host two preservice teachers. There were a total of three peer placements.
Data collection included observation and field notes; preservice teachers’ reflective journals, lesson plans, and unit plans; surveys; individual interviews with preservice teachers; and informal interviews with cooperating teachers.
Results from two successful and one less than successful placement indicate that mutuality, scaffolding, and the appropriation of skills and resources facilitate productive collaboration and promote professional learning. However, participants revealed that partner placements are temporary scaffolding, which prepares one to become a teacher, but does not represent the ‘‘real world’’ of teaching.
In conclusion, the authors make the following recommendations:
- Explicate preservice teachers and cooperating teachers how peer collaboration distributes risk and intellect, and supports the implementation of more creative and engaging lessons.
- Communicate the range of collaborative teaching roles that peers can undertake, such as
co-teaching, lead and back up, and solo. Hence, preservice teachers and cooperating teachers have shared language and a variety of ways of working together.
- Provide suggested options to cooperating teachers for how to give individualized feedback.
- To support successful collaborations, discuss the necessity of frequent, honest, and critical communication.
- Provide ongoing support throughout the placement: assist cooperating teachers in their mentoring, and guide preservice teachers as they build, maintain, and (possibly) repair relationships. Help them engage in teaching, learning, and developing their professional practice.