Cultural influence and learning to teach: Beginning teachers' perceptions of teacher preparation programs and school support systems

Sharon Denise Scruggs-Williams, Florida International University

Abstract

Beginning teachers in the field of English Language Arts and Reading are responsible for providing literacy instruction to students. Teachers need a broad background in teaching reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing, as well as critical thinking. In secondary schools in particular, beginning English Language Arts and Reading teachers are also faced with the challenge of preparing students to be proficient enough readers and writers to meet required State standards. Beginning teachers must navigate compelling challenges that exist during the first years of teaching. The school support systems available to new teachers are an integral part of their educational development. ^ This qualitative study was conceptualized as an in-depth examination of the experiences and perceptions of eight beginning teachers. They represented different racial/ethnic groups, attended different teacher preparation programs, and taught in different school cultures. The data were collected through formal and informal interviews and classroom observations. A qualitative system of data analysis was used to examine the patterns relating to the interrelationship between teacher preparation programs and school support systems. ^ The experiences of the beginning teachers in this study indicated that teacher education programs should provide preservice teachers with a critical knowledge base for teaching literature, language, and composition. A liberal arts background in English, followed by an extensive program focusing on pedagogy, seems to provide a thorough level of curriculum and instructional practices needed for teaching in 21st century classrooms. The data further suggested that a school support system should pair beginning teachers with mentor teachers and provide a caring, professional environment that seeks to nurture the teacher as she/he develops during the first years of teaching. ^

Subject Area

Education, Teacher Training

Recommended Citation

Scruggs-Williams, Sharon Denise, "Cultural influence and learning to teach: Beginning teachers' perceptions of teacher preparation programs and school support systems" (2003). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3085822.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3085822

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