New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey: A case study of the alternate route teacher education program
The purpose of this case study was to identify the positive and challenging aspects of the New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey (NPTNJ) Program, an alternate route teacher education preparation program located at the 19 community colleges in the state. The participants in this study included 10 teachers who were in their second or third year of teaching in the K-12 system and had completed their teacher certification program at one community college. Nine administrators who worked with one of the NPTNJ study participants were also included in the study. The major source of information was gathered through participant interviews, teacher observations, document review, and field notes.
The following components of the NPTNJ Program were found to contribute significantly to the teacher participants' preparation for the profession: (1) The summer intensive coursework completed before entering the classroom prepared teachers to skillfully begin the school year; (2) The open discussions held at the beginning of the NPTNJ classes throughout the school year allowed the teachers to receive immediate feedback on how to manage problems and prevent them from continuing; (3) The elements of the NPTNJ curriculum components that most prepared the teachers were course assignments that focused on real-life classroom situations, lesson planning, and assessment methods; (4) The teacher participants identified the Program Coordinator as the significant connection between the theory of the NPTNJ curriculum and the real-life situations in the classroom.
The following components of the NPTNJ Program were found to be the challenges faced by the NPTNJ teachers: (1) The summer observations required of the NPTNJ Program were lacking in quality and difficult to find; (2) The NPTNJ teachers were overwhelmed by the quantity of students with IEPs and 504s and felt they were unable to accommodate these students successfully; (3) The teachers were challenged by excessive behavioral problems; (4) Several teachers struggled to develop appropriate grade-level curricula.
0530: Teacher education