Date of Award

1-24-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Andrew Whitehead, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Bob Millward, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Doug Lare, Ed.D.

Abstract

An integral part of teacher preparation programs are field experiences that allow pre-service teachers to make the connection between the theory and practice. This study examined the experiences of pre-service teachers as they participated in the early field experience component of the teacher preparation program at a small suburban college in northeastern Pennsylvania. The overarching goal of this study was to investigate the experiences of the pre-service teachers that participated in both a traditional early field experience (TEFE) or an early field experience with a virtual component (VEFE) and their interactions with the college professor and cooperating teacher to determine whether this field experience meets the criteria of an exemplary field experience. This phenomenological case study approach utilized content analysis to analyze data. Data was gathered from pre-service teachers participating in the VEFE, cooperating teachers, and the college professor through individual interviews. And data from pre-service teachers participating in the TEFE was gathered through focus group interviews. The data gathered through the examination of the triad of individuals involved in this experience show that there is clearly a perceptual misunderstanding about what the common and clear vision of good teaching is that is being taught in the college classroom versus what is being supported in the field. Pre-Service teachers from both experiences and cooperating teachers report their understanding to be more task orientated based on the requirements of the experience versus the college which is focused on good teaching behaviors and exemplary lessons. The data also reports that the pre-service teachers from both experiences are not intensely supervised by the college, but pre-service teachers that participated in the VEFE experience reported an increased level of support from the college professor. Lastly, the data shows that cooperating teachers provided a higher degree of support to the pre-service teachers in the VEFE, but this support was mostly superficial in nature and may be attributed to the cooperating teachers' interest with the technology. Based on the findings, it can be determined that neither the VEFE nor TEFE early field experience meet the criteria of an exemplary field experience.

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