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A New Conceptual Model for Principal Involvement and Professional Collaboration in Teacher Education


by Anita M. Varrati, Mary E. Lavine & Steven L. Turner — 2009

Background/Context: Beginning teachers often identify the school principal as a key figure for support and guidance. Few teacher education conceptual models exist that significantly integrate the building principal into the clinical experiences of teacher candidates. The rationale behind initiating discourse on principal involvement grows out of current policy and reform initiatives that require increased accountability for improved student performance. The call for more deliberate principal involvement in preservice also arises in regard to teacher attrition and retention concerns. Having the principal engage in active mentoring during preservice may positively address these issues by providing a more complete socialization and enculturation process into today’s context of schooling.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The major research questions for this study were: (1) What are the level and types of support that building principals provide for the preparation of new teachers? (2) What are the obstacles that may be preventing principals from becoming more involved with teacher preparation? (3) What are the types of activities that make sense for principal involvement with field experience and student teaching? (4) What are suggestions for more meaningful collaboration between schools and teacher/administrator preparation programs?

Research Design: The study was designed as an interpretive qualitative research project that attempted a measure of self-reporting through in-depth interviews.

Conclusions/Recommendations: M³—A new conceptual model of collaboration (three supports for preservice teacher: mentor, university supervisor, and principal) was presented to include the principal with the preservice teacher, university supervisor, and cooperating teacher in a community of practice for teacher preparation. To build on this research and continue the discourse about the principal’s role, several implications and areas for future study are presented: (1) investigation of teacher preparation programs more in depth to get further information about how principals are involved in teacher education, (2) implementation of the M³ conceptual model in a pilot capacity during field and student teaching experiences to gather more data about collaboration, especially the role of the principal, (3) the collaboration of principal preparation and teacher education programs to address this aspect of supervision in course content and internships, (4) the difference in perceptions of prospective and practicing principals regarding their role with teacher candidates during preservice, and (5) study of professional development schools to see how the principal is involved in a supervisory and instructional leadership capacity with preservice teachers.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 111 Number 2, 2009, p. 480-510
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15222, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 7:52:09 AM

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About the Author
  • Anita M. Varrati
    Kent State University
    E-mail Author
    ANITA M. VARRATI is an assistant professor of educational administration at Kent State University. Her research interests center on the effects of external/internal policy on educational practice, and the characteristics of organizations and leaders who effect change in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to promote and sustain continual educational improvement. Recent publications include “Is NCATE the Answer to Current Criticism of Educational Leadership Preparation Programs?” in AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, with A. Tooms and S. Thomas (2006); and “The ESA: Is It an Effective Link Between Top-Down and Bottom-Up Reform? in Perspectives: A Journal of Research and Opinion About Educational Service Agencies (2005).
  • Mary E. Lavine
    Kent State University
    MARY E. LAVINE is an assistant professor of sport studies and physical education/teacher education at Kent State University. Her research interests center on the socialization of preservice and novice teachers and on mentoring practices for preservice and novice teachers to affect the high attrition rates and to promote and improve continual professional development and lifelong learning. Recent publications include “Development of a Learning Community in Undergraduate Physical Education” in The Physical Educator, with S. Mitchell (2006); and “Physical Activity Patterns of PETE Majors: Do They Walk the Talk?” in The Physical Educator, with C. Ray (2006).
  • Steven L. Turner
    Kent State University
    STEVEN L. TURNER is an assistant professor of middle childhood education at Kent State University. His research interests include the knowledge base on the learning sciences (science of learning) and its influence on how students learn and how teachers teach; methods for preparing teacher candidates to teach effectively in an era of high-stakes-testing; and the retention, support, and professional development of first-year middle and secondary school teachers.
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