A tale of two pathways : the perceptions of newly graduated traditional and in place special education teacher candidates on their teacher preparation experiences

Oshita, Linda M. Y. O.
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
The special education teacher shortage prompted school districts to hire unlicensed teachers on the condition they earn their credentials on-the-job (in place). Although the benefits of traditional student teaching is well documented, little is known about how in place arrangements prepare individuals for teaching special education. Given that large numbers of unlicensed teacher candidates are hired to teach children with disabilities annually, it is important to investigate how the in place student teaching arrangement prepares individuals to teach children with disabilities. This qualitative study explored the perceptions of ethnically diverse, recently graduated traditional and in place candidates on how their student teaching arrangements prepared them to teach special education. Four research questions guided this study: (a) What are the perceptions of recently graduated in place/traditional special education teacher candidates on their student teaching experiences? (b) To what extent do teacher candidates believe student teaching experiences contributed to their success/challenges in the classroom? (c) Are there any significant differences in the perceptions of former traditional and in place candidates regarding their special education teacher preparation program? (d) What are the perceptions of experienced field supervisors regarding the traditional and in place student teaching experiences? Qualitative grounded theory methodology was used to analyze data and generate theory based on interviews with recently graduated teacher candidates and their university field supervisors from the Master of Education in Special Education Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Findings suggest the following: (a) traditional teacher candidates felt well prepared teach special education but unprepared for care coordination duties; (b) in place candidates reported feeling well prepared for both the teaching and care coordination responsibilities; and (c) field supervisors resoundingly supported traditional placements for all teacher candidates but also recognized the viability of in place teaching arrangements in preparing select candidates for special education.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
special education
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