Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

8-2012

Type of Culminating Activity

Dissertation

Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Jennifer Snow, Ph.D.

Abstract

This phenomenological case study describes the perceived impact by teacher candidates of specific supervision experiences focused on critical reflection. Within this study, critical reflection is defined as examining one’s teaching practice to consider the effects of one’s choices on others relevant to social and political context. The purpose of the study was to understand and describe the experience of specific supervision practices through the perceptions of teacher candidates practicing teaching during their professional year at assigned elementary schools. Data from this study focused on two main questions, “What specific supervision experiences do teacher candidates consider helpful to their teacher development?” and “How are the supervision experiences that teacher candidates find helpful manifested in their instructional thoughts, discussions, and behaviors?” This dissertation is written to inform teachers, teacher educators, and educational researchers.

The settings for the dissertation were three elementary schools where a state university placed teacher candidates for practice teaching. All the teacher candidates at the three schools were invited to participate. Data was collected over the period of one semester (from August, 2011 through December, 2011) and included multiple types of writing prompts, seminar transcripts, lesson observations and debriefings, teacher candidate journals, and field notes.

Specific supervision practices began with six seminars focused individually upon (1) analyzing teaching beliefs, where they come from and how they affect one’s current teaching practices, (2) types of and purposes for reflection in teaching, (3) ways to develop dialogue and learning communities, (4) considerations for providing equity in teaching, (5) modeling of what reflective teaching can look like, and (6) post reflections and video depictions of the reflection modeling.

Findings indicate the unanimous perception of teacher candidates that the seminar and handouts related to dialogue and learning communities were the most helpful aspects of supervision experiences. As teacher candidates developed and used recommendations for building dialogue and a learning community in the classroom, their critical reflection abilities and that of their students seemed to be enhanced.

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