The Desired Cooperator: Preservice Preferences and Role Confusion During the Teaching Practicum
Teacher educators lament the lack of innovation in new teacher practice, and often attribute it to cooperating teachers role confusion. Few consider the contributions of student teachers. This study examined possible origins of practicum role confusion among preservice candidates who described desirable qualities of a cooperating teacher and preferred type of pedagogical interaction. Preservice preferences for pedagogical interaction were found to be a potential source of confusion. Important differences were found based on intended certification level. Preservice teachers most desired a cooperator who possesses professional knowledge about teaching, and they anticipated some imitation, more guidance, but less scaffolded interaction. Discussion focuses on the utility of using anticipated interaction as a frame for explicitly examining conflicting perceptions of roles.