Lalonde, Trent L.
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
The purpose of this mixed methods study was to determine the impact on students, teacher candidates, and classroom teachers of applying a co-teaching model to the field experience practica prior to student teaching compared to traditional field experience practica in one secondary teacher preparation program. Participating partner schools were randomized either to receive professional development on co-teaching with a teacher candidate or to the control group. A total of 43 cooperating teachers and 30 teacher candidates participated in the study. The co-teaching treatment group consisted of 18 cooperating teacher-teacher candidate pairs. Quantitative data collection included limited student achievement data from curriculum-based pretests and posttest and teacher candidate self-reported log sheets of time spent in various activities throughout the semester in their field experience practica. Qualitative data focused on the impact of the co-teaching professional development on cooperating teacher perceptions of benefits and challenges of working with a teacher candidate collected from end-of-semester open-ended surveys. Classroom observations also provided qualitative data on the implementation of co-teaching strategies. The co-teaching initiative did not significantly affect the percentage of time teacher candidates spent in the various activities (observation, assisting students, assisting with instruction, assisting with non-instructional tasks, and co-planning). The type of instruction used prevalently in the classrooms, either student-centered or teacher-centered, appears to be a confound variable in this study; teacher candidates placed in student-centered classrooms, regardless of experimental group, appeared to be more actively involved with students and instruction than teacher candidates placed in teacher-centered classrooms. Insufficient student achievement data were available to determine any impact of teacher candidates or co-teaching on secondary student achievement. Co-teaching was observed more often in the treatment classrooms than in the control classrooms. Co-teaching strategies commonly employed included One Teach, One Assist; Station Teaching; and two forms of Team Teaching. Cooperating teacher in the treatment group generally had positive responses to the initiative, were more likely to recognize the instructional and management benefits of hosting a teacher candidate, and recognized the importance of co-planning. Cooperating teacher in the control classrooms commonly expressed frustration with the lack of communication of program expectations by the university for the teacher candidates and were more focused on their own students rather than on the development of their teacher candidate. The co-teaching initiative appears to have potential for improving the quality of field experience practica prior to student teaching for both cooperating teachers and teacher candidates. Questions remain related to the role of the cooperating teacher’s instructional style on teacher candidate experience and related to the effects of co-teaching and teacher candidates on secondary student achievement.
Copyright belongs to the author.