Teacher Candidates' Perceptions of Grade Level Organization and Its Influence on Their Professional Development
Keywords:departmentalization, elementary, teacher education
Teacher candidates consistently indicate field experiences are the most impactful aspect of their preparation for teaching. In this study we explored elementary teacher candidates’ perceptions of elementary K-6 grade level organization (departmentalized or self-contained) during their teacher preparation field experiences at two universities in the southeastern region of the United States. Findings suggest teacher candidates vary in terms of their attitudes towards grade level organizational structures and how their preparation in these contexts impacted their professional development. Because field experiences occur at critical developmental junctures for teacher candidates, teacher educators must understand the impact of grade level organizational structures on teacher candidates’ professional development so as to appropriately scaffold and guide these experiences.
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