Source: Action in Teacher Education, Volume 36, Issue 5-6, p. 465–479, 2014.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this study was to identify and explore the challenges that new secondary teachers experienced in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
The study also investigated specific approaches that teacher education programs can apply in making valuable changes in their curriculum and instruction that inform and support new K–12 teachers as they begin to teach using the CCSS in their own classrooms.
This study used a qualitative approach.
A survey was conducted three graduate courses in secondary curriculum development at a university located in the southwestern United States.
The participants were seventeen new teachers pursuing their master’s degree and/or license.
The findings included new teachers’ perspectives about their lack of preparedness and their challenges in understanding the CCSS language, content, and student learning.
For example, six of the 17 new teachers reported challenges in applying the CCSS to their curricular content and teaching practices.
Specifically, they described challenges in understanding the language of the standards.
They reported that the CCSS seem to be vague and isolated.
In addition to the challenges in content knowledge, teachers also reported challenges in integrating the CCSS into their teaching while remaining mindful of their students.
The CCSS require that teachers enhance student learning that fosters creativity and inquisitiveness.
Teachers’ lack of content and pedagogical content knowledge may affect their abilities to be competent with this requirement.
New teachers identified the lack of curriculum resources that help them implement the CCSS and the inconsistencies between the CCSS and the existing curriculum resources. Additionally, new teachers urgently need the consistent curriculum materials.
The teachers also reported difficulties in working with veteran teachers.
This study found that experienced teachers were more resistant with the CCSS than new teachers. The experienced teachers did not want to change their practices whereas new teachers were more willing to adapt to the CCSS.
Without understanding the foundations for the change and without sufficient preparation, some experienced teachers become resistant to such a major change.
Many of them feel highly insecure because they have been prepared to teach in ways that may no longer be considered effective with the CCSS.
As a result, the experienced teachers’ negative attitudes create difficulties in organizing collaborative activities among new and experienced teachers if they cannot positively influence new teachers’ attitudes, behaviors, and values.
The new teachers in this study reported that the negative attitudes toward the CCSS, and the resistance created difficulties in the collaboration among new teachers and experienced teachers in planning, teaching, and assessment.
Furthermore, nine out of the 17 new teachers stated that collaboration among teachers is the key to a learning community.
Several types of collaboration were identified including collaboration through peer learning; collaboration across content areas, programs, and schools; collaboration among school administration and teachers, professional development workshops, and online collaboration.
The principal’s leadership is critical to the success of curriculum implementation.
Principals significantly influence the organizational climate by fostering enthusiasm and creating an atmosphere where collaborative working relationships are encouraged among teachers and between teachers and support staff.
Six teachers in this study explained important roles that online collaboration should play in professional communities.
A website for new teachers’ learning to teach CCSS would offer an effective method of collaboration.
The six new teachers believed that through the website teachers could share ideas and discuss problems; they could describe teaching and learning materials and post lesson plans. The online learning community should provide resources that allow effective and innovative ideas to be posted from classrooms that are succeeding in teaching specific CCSS.
In addition, two teachers discussed ways that professional development workshops may help create professional learning communities for teachers.
They expressed their need for understanding the instructional strategies for CCSS.
In summary, new teachers reported the need to understand the language of the CCSS, the time to digest the standards, strategies for translating the standards into the lesson objectives and activities, and more experience in teaching the CCSS.
These findings indicate that professional development for new teachers should address these issues and provide opportunities for them to better understand the CCSS through training and teaching practice.
This study investigated issues reported by new teachers in their implementation of the CCSS.
The challenges include lack of preparedness for teaching CCSS, needs for understanding the CCSS language, the content in the standards, student learning, and the lack of resources.
New teachers also reported challenges in collaboration with veteran teachers.
They suggested that a collaborative learning community help them implement CCSS effectively.
The collaboration should involve collaborative activities through peers, among school administration and teachers, online collaboration, and training workshops.