ERIC Number: ED392787
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov
The Influence of Program Structure and Learner Characteristics on Teacher Training Outcomes.
Kelly, Susan Mansfield; Dietrich, Amy P.
This paper reports on research developed from a more comprehensive study of five teacher training programs at a large urban Southern university. During the initial study characteristics were observed in special education and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) cohorts which differed from those of students in the three traditional programs. The present study compared the perceptions of students in two preparation programs with similar configurations but differing learner characteristics to determine which factors had the greatest impact on teacher preparation outcomes. Included in the study were 17 undergraduate special education majors, whose curriculum featured a tight cohort structure during the junior year "block" experience, and 9 secondary MAT students in a 14-month accelerated program which included a 10-month internship conducted concurrently with coursework. Study findings indicated that common elements in the configuration of both programs included student cohorts, prescribed class sequences, specialized courses, and a dedicated core of faculty, resulting in a strong group identity which remained for several years beyond graduation and helped build confidence as students began their professional careers. Both groups also reported the positive impact of specialized courses in assessment and planning prior to their field experiences. Differences in student perceptions appeared to be the result of entry level skills and student maturity levels rather than program components. Data indicated that both groups demonstrated significant pre-post gains in the areas of planning, evaluation, instructional strategies, and professional development. MAT interns but not special education students showed significant gains in classroom management, while the converse was true for use of instructional materials. Cooperating teachers appeared to contribute significantly to the success of both groups, providing a positive, supportive environment which encouraged interns/student teachers to try new ideas and take risks. The results indicated that, although learner characteristics differed, the configuration of the program provided academic and emotional support for students which was manifested in a sense of empowerment. Tables of study data are included. (ND)
Descriptors: Classroom Techniques, Cooperating Teachers, Educational Strategies, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation Criteria, Evaluation Methods, Graduate Students, Higher Education, Learning Strategies, Masters Programs, Outcomes of Education, Preservice Teacher Education, Special Education, Student Attitudes, Student Characteristics, Student Teachers, Teacher Education Programs, Teacher Interns, Undergraduate Students
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association (Biloxi, MS, November 8-10, 1995).