The Impact of Cooperating Teachers' Task Statements on Student Teachers' Pedagogical Behaviors

By Coulon, Stephen C. | College Student Journal, June 2000 | Go to article overview

The Impact of Cooperating Teachers' Task Statements on Student Teachers' Pedagogical Behaviors


Coulon, Stephen C., College Student Journal


The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of cooperating teachers' post teaching conference task statements on student teachers' pedagogical behaviors. Two female elementary cooperating teachers and two male student teachers volunteered to take part in this study. Both cooperating teachers were asked to: (a) observe a targeted class; (b) conference with the student teacher at the conclusion of the targeted class; (c) observe a second targeted class in which the lesson was retaught. All post lesson conferences were audiotaped. Cooperating teacher I provided 29 task statements across eight post-lesson conferences with the greatest emphasis being in the categories of instruction and feedback. Student teacher I achieved 15 of the 29 task statements identified. The main focus of the 36 statements made by cooperating teacher 2 during nine post-lesson conferences was instruction, management and organization. Student teacher 2 integrated 24 of the tasks into his retaught lesson. Subject matter knowledge, number of tasks identified by each cooperating teacher, student teacher readiness, recall and consequences are identified as factors that may have had a direct effect on each student teachers' ability to change their pedagogical behaviors.

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A major goal of most undergraduate physical education teacher education programs is to develop future teachers who can demonstrate effective teaching behaviors. Appropriate demonstration of these learned behaviors in varying instructional environments involves a combination of self-reflection and effective supervision. The systematic development of these teaching behaviors should be done via practical fieldwork (i.e., early field experiences) which involves a sequence of teaching experiences beginning with peer teaching and culminating with student teaching (Lawson, 1986; Siedentop, 1991).

Student teaching has been identified as one of the most widely accepted components of teacher education programs by a consensus of state and national groups (Arnold, 1995; Carnegie Forum's Task Force, 1986; Murry, 1986). However, student teaching has been criticized for failing to have evolved much beyond the apprenticeship model and for lacking a sound theoretical base (Guyton & McIntyre, 1990; Jones & Figley, 1993; McIntyre, 1983).

Reaching the full potential of the student teaching experience hinges on the selection of a cooperating teacher (CT) who can demonstrate effective supervisory behaviors. Although the CT is only one member of the student teaching triad (student teacher, university supervisor, cooperating teacher), it is generally agreed that the CT has the most influence on the student teacher (ST) (Copeland, 1980; Karmos & Jacko, 1977). Unfortunately, this influence is sometimes viewed as negative by university faculty because of reported deficiencies in the CT's ability to supervise effectively (Grimmett & Ratzlaff, 1986).

The study of ST/CT conferences indicates that STs' instructional behaviors are seldom the focus of conference discussions. Most frequently, the thrust of the verbal interaction between the CT and ST revolves around management, planning and non instructional tasks (Koehler, 1986; Tannehill & Zakrajsek, 1988). When teaching behaviors were discussed, the CT's feedback was described as being general, deferred, vague, implicit, or negative (Brunelle, Tousignant, & Pieron, 1981; Hawkins, Wiegand, & Landin, 1985).

Rikard and Veal (1996) studied the supervisory behaviors of 23 physical education CTs. They found that about half of the subjects provided very little feedback in total for only feedback that was positive. Additionally, most of the CTs used a supervisory style which encouraged the STs to "do it your way". Few CTs' systematically collected data, provided constructive criticism and modeled effective teaching behaviors.

Effective CTs' are more likely to offer STs feedback about their teaching performance, ask their students questions and provide greater verbal acceptance and praise (Coulon & Byra, 1997; Killian & McIntyre; 1986). …

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