Impact of Pre-Service Student Teaching Experience on Urban School Teachers

Article excerpt

A total of 204 K- 12 teachers were surveyed for the purpose of investigating the effect of pre-service student teaching on teachers' career goals, affective measures and classroom teaching. The study also explored whether different levels of supervision of student teaching may have had different effects on teachers" personal and professional aspects of their job, and in what areas the pre-service student teaching experience was helpful in their teaching. Among new teachers, those who had student teaching experience had a significantly higher level of job- satisfaction than those who did not have student teaching experience. Teachers who had student teaching tended to show a higher level of confidence in their ability to change student learning in positive ways. Teachers indicated that making a positive impact on students was the most important job factor in their decision to remain in teaching. Among those who had student teaching, the amount of direct supervision they received during student teaching was significantly associated with teachers" desires to remain in teaching. Teachers indicated lesson planning as the most helpful area and building professional relationships as the least helpful area in which they received help from student teaching.

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Chapman and Green (2001) in their study on teacher credentialing program graduates identified attrition as being linked to teacher's pre-service experience. Traditionally, student teaching is a component of pre-service training. Many alternative teacher preparation programs, such as university and school district intern programs, allow candidates for permanent certification to begin regular contracted teaching assignments before they complete their supervised student teaching. Further, student teaching experience is often very different from what teachers may face during their first year in the classroom. Using data from a study of teachers by the Northwestern State University (Louisiana), Marlow and Inman (1994) found that more than one-third of teachers found their first year in the classroom to be "a disappointment or surprise, and not what they had expected" (p.282).

This leads to the question of the effectiveness of pre-service student teaching: How do pre-service student teaching experiences influence teachers' career goals and teacher efficacy? And how does it help prepare pre-service teachers for their classroom teaching?

Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study was to investigate whether teachers with pre-service teaching experience (student teaching) have different career goals or sense of efficacy than those without the student teaching experience; and whether they were more likely to stay in the teaching profession than their counterparts who did not do student teaching prior to entering the classroom, particularly for new teachers with five or less years of teaching experience. The study also explored whether different levels of supervision of student teaching may have had different effects on teachers' personal and professional aspects of their job, and in what areas the pre-service student teaching experience was helpful in their teaching.

Research Questions

The research questions are as follows:

1. Was having had student teaching experience related to the credentialing status of new teachers (teachers with five or less years of teaching)?

2. Did pre-service student teaching experience influence teacher efficacy, job-satisfaction, enjoyment in classroom teaching, and confidence level in their ability to impact student learning in positive ways?

3. Did student teaching and the amount of direct supervision during student teaching have any long-term impact on new teachers' goal to remain in classroom teaching or stay in the teaching profession?

4. Were there differences in personal/ professional aspects of teaching based on the level of supervision they received during student teaching? …