Qualitative Research Report TQP Research Academy Urban Education Option Cohort I: Perspectives of Graduating Interns & their Collaborating Teachers
Based on the detailed analysis of the interview data from six UE interns and their respective CTs, six major concluding points are evident: 1) The participating UE interns developed dispositions, knowledge and skills necessary for teaching diverse students in urban schools, particularly in the following areas: a) enhanced understanding of urban schools and the needs of diverse students through their extensive interactions with the students, collaborating teachers and the school community; b) implementation of curriculum and instruction that is student-centered and responsive to students‘ cultural, social, and economic backgrounds; c) integration of instructional technology in curriculum, instruction, and assessment to inform and engage students in learning; d) strengthened confidence in interns‘ choice of teaching in urban schools and strong appreciation of the UE option in providing: (d.1) a more relevant real-world experience than available through a traditional teacher preparation program; and, (d.2) a solid foundation for interns to become urban education teachers. 2) Participating UE interns and their respective CTs reported that interns exerted a positive impact on students in their respective classrooms, particularly by applying culturally responsive pedagogy, connecting with their students, and building relationships with students. 3) Collaborating teachers and interns considered the amount and the quality of the field experience in this option as the most important component that contributed to their profession growth as a future teacher and one that separated the UE option at KSU from other teacher preparations programs. The ―over 500 hours of field experience‖ enabled them to make connections between theory and practice, familiarize themselves extensively with their teaching contexts, and establish relationships with students, collaborating teachers, and the community. 4) Participating interns and their respective CTs found their collegial relationship to be of great value. The interns especially appreciated the support, guidance, and mentoring that their CTs provided in their internship. 5) Intern and CT participants considered the UE option highly beneficial in preparing the UE interns to be competent future teachers, even that it should be a program ―for all preservice teachers so that we can [institute] equal opportunity for all learners.‖ 6) Intern and CT participants provided valuable insights and suggestions regarding areas needing improvement and refinement in the UE option. Included in these insights and suggestions were (a) a lack of internship experiences with SWDs and ELLs; (b) overrepresentation of internship placement in Advanced Content Classes in the middle school; (c) engaging the family of UE students; (d) challenges in classroom management, in differentiated instruction for multiple levels of students based on assessment data, and in effective implementation of the co-teaching model.