Third and fourth year elementary teachers: Impact of the pre -service preparation, induction programs, and professional development opportunities on teaching practice
The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' perceptions of the factors in their preparation during the first three or four years of teaching that influence teaching. Knowing what the relationships are that exist among university preparation, induction, and professional development, and where teachers see themselves in terms of their stages of teacher development can better assist practicing teachers, district supervision, and state and national decision makers.
Graduates were chosen from Hofstra University because they participated in a similar preparation experience and this university's graduation requirements levels the playing field in this study. The volunteer sample represents 67.8% of the population of teachers who responded to the original inquiry and who meet the criteria stated above.
A questionnaire was used to collect information. The questions on the instrument were based on a common set of teacher expectations set forth by Hofstra University as goals for graduating teacher candidates. It was also framed with the “Model Standards for Beginning Teacher Licensing and Development Standards” published by The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium in 1992.
Most teachers feel that they are at least competent to proficient in many of the INTASC Principle areas. More than half of the teachers see student teaching as having a higher impact on their teaching, with methods classes having a medium impact.
Many teachers had an induction experience, and that experience was more than a one time only experience for those teachers. Most of the teachers took professional development classes voluntarily.
Professional development was rated by the self reports as having the most influence in all of the INTASC Principle areas investigated. Professional development impacted teaching in more that half of the INTASC Principle areas.
This study underscores the importance of continuing support for teachers as they progress in their careers. It emphasizes the necessity of professional development as an outgrowth of university preparation as it dovetails with induction and subsequent professional development. Implications from this study indicate that professional development needs to be investigated using a common language. Teachers' choices of professional development need to be studied to understand the interplay among those choices and their stages of teacher development.
0524: Elementary education
0530: Teacher education