Title

FIELDWORK IN ALIGNMENT: DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE? COMPARING PRE-SERVICE TEACHER CANDIDATES’ KNOWLEDGE OF AND CONFIDENCE IN INSTRUCTING ENGLISH LEARNERS

Introduction

Given the large achievement gap between English Learners (ELs) and Native English speakers (Gándara, et al., 2003), there has long been a focus on how to best instruct English Learners, students who speak a native language other than English and are not yet proficient in English. However, there has been much less attention on the effectiveness of pre-service teacher candidates’ training in working with ELs (Coady, Harper, & de Jong, 2011). Although teacher candidates are introduced and exposed to instructional strategies for teaching ELs and the theories/research that support them in their university coursework, such knowledge is likely much less potent in the absence of implementing such strategies in real contexts. Thus, it seems reasonable to suggest that instructing teacher candidates on how to teach ELs would be strengthened if their accompanying fieldwork was aligned so that they engaged in the instructional strategies they were concomitantly learning about in their coursework.

Purpose

This study compares two groups of teacher candidates on their self-reported and actual knowledge of instruction of ELs. Both groups completed a course on How to Teach English Learners and engaged in fieldwork in a classroom in which they were instructed to observe how their cooperating teacher engaged in EL strategies. However, only one of the groups participated in additional fieldwork where each teacher candidate worked directly with ELs on a weekly basis engaging in the strategies that were being taught in their coursework. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the self-reported and actual demonstrated knowledge of EL instruction differs between these two groups of teacher candidates.

Method

Two measures were given to all teacher candidates (see below for description). We will use multivariate regression analyses to regress self-reported and actual knowledge of EL strategies on the two groups of students. Self-Evaluation of Knowledge of EL instruction and theory: This is a multiple-choice survey in which teacher candidates rated themselves on a 5-point likert scale on the key strategies taught in their coursework. Knowledge of EL instruction and theory: Students responded to 10 open-ended questions regarding their knowledge of EL strategies and theories. These items are coded on a 3-point likert scale.

Results

We currently have generated some descriptives that suggest that the two groups of students differ in their self-reported knowledge.

Significance

On the heels of a major shift in education with the impending Common Core State Standards and the newly released English Language Development Standards we can no longer leave behind a trail of ELs who fail. This study is a small effort to identify effective practices for instructing pre-service teachers who will enter the field equipped with the tools they need to teach ELs.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Stockton campus, University of the Pacific

Format

Poster Presentation

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FIELDWORK IN ALIGNMENT: DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE? COMPARING PRE-SERVICE TEACHER CANDIDATES’ KNOWLEDGE OF AND CONFIDENCE IN INSTRUCTING ENGLISH LEARNERS

DeRosa University Center, Stockton campus, University of the Pacific

Given the large achievement gap between English Learners (ELs) and Native English speakers (Gándara, et al., 2003), there has long been a focus on how to best instruct English Learners, students who speak a native language other than English and are not yet proficient in English. However, there has been much less attention on the effectiveness of pre-service teacher candidates’ training in working with ELs (Coady, Harper, & de Jong, 2011). Although teacher candidates are introduced and exposed to instructional strategies for teaching ELs and the theories/research that support them in their university coursework, such knowledge is likely much less potent in the absence of implementing such strategies in real contexts. Thus, it seems reasonable to suggest that instructing teacher candidates on how to teach ELs would be strengthened if their accompanying fieldwork was aligned so that they engaged in the instructional strategies they were concomitantly learning about in their coursework.