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      • "We're Not Alone": An Analysis of the Relationship Between Program Design and Teacher Candidate Interaction and Support in a Teacher Education Program Employing a Cohort System

"We're Not Alone": An Analysis of the Relationship Between Program Design and Teacher Candidate Interaction and Support in a Teacher Education Program Employing a Cohort System

Levin, Jason
Degree Supervisor:
Danielle Harlow and Jason Raley
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Education, Teacher Training
Peer support
Teacher education
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012

There is very little evidence regarding the specifics of how teacher candidates in preservice teacher education programs employing a cohort system interact and support one another. Similarly, there have been calls for more evidence of the specifics of the socialization process of teacher candidates, especially as it relates to the relationship between program design and peer interaction and support within a cohort. Utilizing a situated learning perspective and ethnographic tools (Green, Dixon & Zaharlick, 2002), observations and interviews were conducted of teacher candidates and their instructors and supervisors, both at the university and in the partner schools, over the course of a full academic year.

Using the full year of field experience as a lens for the analysis, a recursive relationship between teacher education program design, peer interaction and support and the socialization process was found. The willingness and ability of the teacher candidates to support and learn from one another was facilitated by certain elements of program design. First, the number and variety of cross-disciplinary, mini-cohorts the program placed them in over the course of the year put them in close proximity to a large number of their peers, exposing them to a wide range of expertise. Second, the safe spaces created for them by clinical faculty at the partner schools and by program administration and faculty at the university enabled them to discuss, reflect, and problem-solve openly. Finally, the program design gave teacher candidates multiple support options throughout the year, rather than just one cooperating teacher, and the evidence showed that the teacher candidates explored those multiple options.

The findings point to the cohort system as a design that can facilitate peer interaction and support. For programs that do not employ a cohort system, the findings indicate that peer interaction and support is likely to result from encouraging collaboration and communication across disciplines. The need for teacher candidates to be socialized into school cultures by mentors familiar with the particulars of the school and placed in mini-cohorts to share their experiences is also a finding that cuts across all teacher education programs.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (307 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Jason Levin
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