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A Longitudinal Study of Teacher Candidate Perceptions Regarding Their Preparation to Teach Diverse Learners in P-12 Schools
Unformatted Document Text:  A Longitudinal Study of Teacher Candidate Perceptions Regarding Their Preparation to Teach Diverse Learners in P-12 Schools Section I: Content A. Statement of the issue In 1999 the California Legislature adopted SB2042, an act requiring the most radical changes in teacher preparation since the initiation of the Ryan Act in the early 1970s. Although addressed in the previous teacher preparation program Ryan standards, SB 2042, or the Standards of Quality and Effectiveness for Professional Teacher Preparation (CCTC, 2001), stressed the importance of emphasizing student diversity including ethnicity, socio-economic differences, students with special needs and English language learners. An Institution of Higher Education was free to design a program combining these components with standard methodology and student teaching experiences in any appropriate way; the only stipulation was that the program could not take longer than one calendar year to complete. Further, Standard 13 of the document specifically addressed linguistically diverse students, currently labeled in California as “English Learners.” The standard mandates extensive preparation including that all candidates must have multiple systematic opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities to deliver comprehensive instruction to English learners, to learn about state and federal legal requirements for the placement and instruction of English learners, to demonstrate knowledge and application of pedagogical theories, principles and practices for English Language Development leading to comprehensive literacy in English, and for the development of academic language, comprehension and knowledge in the subjects of the core curriculum. Standard 14 specifically addressed students with special needs. It mandates "through planned prerequisite and/or professional preparation, each candidate learns to select and use appropriate instructional materials and technologies, including assistive technologies, and differentiated teaching strategies to meet the needs of special populations in the general education classroom." (CCTC, 2001, p.26) In addition candidates were to become acquainted with laws regarding the rights of students with special needs and the requirements for implementing Individual Education Programs (IEPs). Schools of education have responded to these mandates through extensive curricular revision while adhering to the mandatory one-year program completion stipulation. Teacher candidates complete intensive and extensive coursework and fieldwork in preparation to attain the career goal of credentialed teacher. Transcripts are printed and credentials are granted, but how do the teacher candidates themselves view their preparation for meeting the needs of diverse learners? Do teacher candidates feel prepared to teach today’s P-12 students? Do these perceptions change over time? This presentation will share the findings of a longitudinal study of teacher candidate perceptions regarding the instruction of students, including typically performing students, students with special needs, and English learners. A forty-item instrument was developed probing teacher candidates’ perceptions of their level of preparation for working with special populations in the general education classroom. Teacher candidates were surveyed at the end of three phases of teacher preparation (I. foundational coursework, II. methods coursework and an introduction to student teaching, III. fulltime student teaching and advanced methodology) using the Flashlight tool

Authors: Anderson Smith, Beth. and Herner, Leah.
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A Longitudinal Study of Teacher Candidate Perceptions Regarding Their Preparation to
Teach Diverse Learners in P-12 Schools
Section I: Content
A. Statement of the issue
In 1999 the California Legislature adopted SB2042, an act requiring the most radical
changes in teacher preparation since the initiation of the Ryan Act in the early 1970s. Although
addressed in the previous teacher preparation program Ryan standards, SB 2042, or the
Standards of Quality and Effectiveness for Professional Teacher Preparation (CCTC, 2001),
stressed the importance of emphasizing student diversity including ethnicity, socio-economic
differences, students with special needs and English language learners. An Institution of
Higher Education was free to design a program combining these components with standard
methodology and student teaching experiences in any appropriate way; the only stipulation
was that the program could not take longer than one calendar year to complete.
Further, Standard 13 of the document specifically addressed linguistically diverse
students, currently labeled in California as “English Learners.” The standard mandates
extensive preparation including that all candidates must have multiple systematic opportunities
to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities to deliver comprehensive instruction to English
learners, to learn about state and federal legal requirements for the placement and instruction
of English learners, to demonstrate knowledge and application of pedagogical theories,
principles and practices for English Language Development leading to comprehensive literacy
in English, and for the development of academic language, comprehension and knowledge in
the subjects of the core curriculum.
Standard 14 specifically addressed students with special needs. It mandates "through
planned prerequisite and/or professional preparation, each candidate learns to select and use
appropriate instructional materials and technologies, including assistive technologies, and
differentiated teaching strategies to meet the needs of special populations in the general
education classroom." (CCTC, 2001, p.26) In addition candidates were to become acquainted
with laws regarding the rights of students with special needs and the requirements for
implementing Individual Education Programs (IEPs).
Schools of education have responded to these mandates through extensive curricular
revision while adhering to the mandatory one-year program completion stipulation. Teacher
candidates complete intensive and extensive coursework and fieldwork in preparation to attain the
career goal of credentialed teacher. Transcripts are printed and credentials are granted, but how do
the teacher candidates themselves view their preparation for meeting the needs of diverse learners?
Do teacher candidates feel prepared to teach today’s P-12 students? Do these perceptions change
over time?
This presentation will share the findings of a longitudinal study of teacher candidate
perceptions regarding the instruction of students, including typically performing students, students
with special needs, and English learners. A forty-item instrument was developed probing teacher
candidates’ perceptions of their level of preparation for working with special populations in the
general education classroom. Teacher candidates were surveyed at the end of three phases of
teacher preparation (I. foundational coursework, II. methods coursework and an introduction to
student teaching, III. fulltime student teaching and advanced methodology) using the Flashlight tool


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