Fostering Preservice Teachers’ Development: Engagement in Practice and Learning


  • Sarah K McMahan Texas Woman's University
  • Ruben Garza Texas State University


field experiences, teacher growth and development, pedagogical knowledge


Given the benefits associated with authentic field experiences (Edwards, 1996; McMahan, Malone, Fredrickson, & Dunlap, 2015; Siwatu, 2011 ), it is not uncommon to include early field experiences prior to student teaching as a way to engage university students with teaching diverse students in an authentic school setting. This study explored preservice teachers perceptions of their pedagogical growth and development as an aspiring teacher in a structured field experience placement prior to student teaching. Data was analyzed using qualitative techniques and revealed three main themes. The following themes reflected preservice teachers perceptions of their growth: viewing through a prescriptive lens, valuing the collaborative experience, and fostering self-awareness. While preservice teachers valued the collaborative experience, they expressed a superficial level of pedagogical learning and their thinking reflected a narrow scope from a prescriptive lens. Our findings suggest a need for teacher educators to help preservice teachers develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics of teaching during their initial experiences of learning to teach in authentic settings. 



Author Biographies

Sarah K McMahan, Texas Woman's University


Sarah McMahan, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Texas Womans University. Her research focus is in the area of school/university partnerships and reservice/novice teacher induction and mentoring.

Ruben Garza, Texas State University

Rubén Garza, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of C&I at Texas State University. His research interests include mentoring, pre-service teacher education, culturally responsive pedagogy, and Latino education. 




How to Cite

McMahan, S. K., & Garza, R. (2017). Fostering Preservice Teachers’ Development: Engagement in Practice and Learning. Current Issues in Education, 19(3). Retrieved from




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