Proceedings of The 6th International Academic Conference on Teaching, Learning and Education
Collaboration 101- An Immersive Teacher Education Experience and Its Impact on Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions of Title I Schools
Cheryl B. McCarthy
It is incumbent on teacher education programs to better equip our candidates with the knowledge and skills they will need in contemporary classrooms to better serve students with diverse learning needs. Yet, teacher preparation candidates are likely to have vastly different beliefs, knowledge and skill sets, based upon their own schooling and personal experiences. For that reason, early field experiences were implemented in which pre-service teachers worked directly with students having disabilities and from low-income families through a college- level introduction course in a community-based Title I school. The purpose of this study was to investigate pre-service teachers’ perceptions of Title I schools prior to and following a 12-week field experience in the school. Pre-field survey responses indicate that about half of the pre-service education candidates had some understanding of how schools are designated as Title I. Home life and behavior were the most common challenges identified by the candidates. A majority indicated that student behavioral issues were a common occurrence in weekly observations and stated the desire for more behavioral support in their program to meet the needs of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Nearly all pre-service teachers had a favorable outlook on the likelihood of accepting a position in a similar school. They reported the need for additional administrative support and resources in working with children in Title I schools. Findings suggest that implementing early field experiences fosters a deeper understanding of the need for qualified teachers, administrative support and the desire to impact students’ lives.
keywords: early field experiences, high-poverty schools, beliefs, partnerships, behavioral issues