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ERIC Number: ED557833
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 214
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3037-9996-9
Professional Development Experiences of Alternatively Certified Career and Technical Education Teachers in North Carolina
Welfare, Rhonda Marie
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, North Carolina State University
In an effort to increase the quantity and quality of available teachers, states have begun to offer alternate methods of teacher certification. This means that in addition to traditional teacher training, which involves graduation from an accredited teacher-education institution, states provide alternate routes to enable teachers to transition to the classroom in high-need fields. Exactly how alternate certification is defined and what standards are required vary from state-to-state. Providing professional development to turn these individuals, many of them successful professionals, into successful classroom teachers is a massive task. This qualitative analysis investigated the role of professional development in helping alternatively certified teachers transition from their careers in business and industry to new positions as Career and Technical Education teachers in fields related to information technology and computers. The participants reported the greatest benefit of the professional development activities in which they took part was in the development of relationships and the potential for networking provided by the activity. The downside was the cost, both financial and in terms of time away from their classrooms. They also reported the training is sometimes duplicative and of inconsistent quality depending on the resources available and specific personnel involved. Although alternatively certified teachers often bring skills they acquired in their previous jobs to their second careers as educators, the teachers reported the one-size-fits-all required training did not address gaps in their knowledge but instead required the same of everyone. Because each alternatively certified teacher comes to the classroom via a different path, each brings different specific expertise to the job. The teacher-participants talked about the skills they learned in their previous careers and complained that these were not taken into account. In addition, teachers with experience in adult learning as trainers also expressed concern about the design of specific professional development opportunities, which often seemed to be based on concepts of pedagogy, principles that guide the learning of children, as contrasted with andragogy, principles that guide the learning of adults. Although there is value in modeling pedagogical skills the teacher should use in the classroom, as adult learners the teacher-participants said they were sometimes frustrated by these experiences. They also said an opportunity to spend time in a classroom as a sort of paid intern prior to actually stepping into a teaching role would be helpful. Those who had experience as long-term substitutes or teacher assistants said the informal learning from that experience helped prepare them for the transition to teaching, and those who did not have that opportunity seemed to recognize an unmet need. However, none of them could suggest a way to operationalize this suggestion that would make it attractive to school districts, which are short on funding and in many cases desperately in need of a teacher starting yesterday. The teachers discussed the intrinsic rewards in teaching at length. Although for the most part they said they enjoyed their previous work, they said it did not compare with having the opportunity to help young people prepare for their successful futures. However, almost all of them mentioned low salaries for beginning teachers and lack of respect for Career and Technical Education teachers and teachers with alternate-route certification as elements that negatively affect teacher retention and quality. This study suggests a number of topics for further research both within education and within HRD, including taking a closer look at how subject matter experts transition to training and development, a topic which is informed by the current study. The study also recommends further study of how alternatively certified teachers are trained, including developing a mechanism to identify required teacher competencies and assess teachers' proficiency on each competency, then allowing teachers to choose from a buffet of professional development options that would meet their needs for learning styles, finances, time considerations and other factors; improving the use of alternatively certified teachers' prior experiences into training activities; and better using best practices from HRD in the design and implementation of teacher professional development. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina