Doctor of Education
Date of Defense
Kathleen Brown, Ph.D.
Saul, E. Wendy
Comprehensive improvement of America’s schools cannot occur without a dedicated, resourceful, and skillfully prepared pool of teachers. The growing emphasis on high-stakes testing and standards-based curriculum has resulted in unprecedented levels of scrutiny on schools, students, and especially teachers. Classroom teachers, once tasked primarily with educating students in core subject areas and rules of modern decorum and democracy, have now assumed a position of much greater consequence. Teachers often have to fulfill additional roles such as counselor, nurse, behavioral therapist, and social worker but are not adequately prepared for these responsibilities. This results in poorly supported students who are unable to undertake the academic demands and fail to meet educational expectations; teachers are left feeling incompetent and frustrated with the demands of the profession. While preschool through grade twelve (P-12) school systems cannot rectify the societal challenges that impact student needs such as poverty, trauma, and mental health, schools can improve their likelihood of positive student outcomes by seeking to actively employ classroom teachers who are skilled and practiced at supporting high-need students emotionally and academically. Similarly, teachers who are thoroughly prepared for the challenges of classroom instruction in today’s schools through a clinically-based preparation program will experience a greater level of professional satisfaction and commitment. This represents a shift from traditional teacher preparation programs that emphasize coursework and study of theory to redesigned programs rich in applied practice; teacher candidates must spend less time reading about the practice of teaching and more time engaged in actual P-12 school communities. Higher education programs responsible for teacher preparation and certification must respond to the changing needs of P-12 students by restructuring to include careful recruitment and retention of appropriate candidates and extensive clinical experience opportunities embedded throughout all stages of preparation.
Smith Sodey, Julie Elizabeth, "Improving Teacher Education in Missouri: Expanding Clinical Experiences to Broader Contextual Experiences" (2016). Dissertations. 95.