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What Do Associate Teachers Do Anyway? A Comparison of Theoretical Conceptualizations in the Literature and Observed Practices in the Field

by Marion Sanders, Martin Dowson & Catherine Sinclair - 2005

The degree of convergence (or divergence) between what associate teachers are said to do in the practicum literature and what they actually do during practicum formed the focus of the present research. This focus is important, in part, because divergence between the literature and actual practice may inhibit the ability of the literature to contribute to the enhancement of supervisory practices. The present research uses case study methodology to investigate associate (supervising) teachers' perceptions of their multiple roles during practicum. Four associate teachers and their preservice teaching students were observed for a total of 87 hr and interviewed for 4 hr. Results of the study indicated that the roles pursued by associate teachers (e.g., Planner, Evaluator, Modeler, Counselor), while not completely divergent from roles described in the literature, are nevertheless sufficiently divergent from these descriptions to indicate that modifications to the literature may be warranted. This applies to both the degree to which associate teachers pursued particular roles and the structure of these roles themselves. The research also found that coordinating multiple roles was a challenging experience for associate teachers and implied the need for more substantial support for associate teachers if they are to successfully coordinate these multiple roles.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 4, 2005, p. 706-738
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11817, Date Accessed: 9/19/2020 11:58:32 AM

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About the Author
  • Marion Sanders
    Bethlehem Institute of Education
    MARION SANDERS is a past teacher and school principal and is currently Lecturer and Practicum Coordinator in Primary Education at Bethlehem Institute of Education in Tauranga, New Zealand. Her research interests focus on how students learn to become teachers, with particular focus on associate teacher/preservice teacher interactions and relationships. Her recent publications include a presentation of a previous version of this article at the 2003 AERA annual meeting in Chicago.
  • Martin Dowson
    University of Western Sydney
    E-mail Author
    MARTIN DOWSON is an associate professor and a consulting research psychologist currently working in the Self-Concept Enhancement and Learning Facilitation Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney. His current research interests include student motivation and cognition, psychometrics and research methodologies. His recent publications include “What Do Students Say About Their Motivational goals? Towards a More Complex and Dynamic Perspective on Student Motivation” (with D. M. McInerney, Contemporary Educational Psychology, 2003) and “The Development and Validation of the Goal Orientation and Learning Strategies Survey (GOALS-S)” (with D. M. McInerney, Educational and Psychological Measurement, in press).
  • Catherine Sinclair
    University of Western Sydney
    CATHERINE SINCLAIR is Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. She is recent winner of the university’s Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Award in Teaching for her work in developing and coordinating Integrated Practicum programs for primary education students and educators. Her recent publications include “Mentoring Online about Mentoring: Possibilities and Practice” (Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 2003) and “From Practicum Improvement to School Improvement: A Developing Partnership” (with L. Perre, in R. Ravid & M. G. Handler (Eds.), The Many Faces of School/University Collaboration, 2001).
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