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SP 028 141 

Feiman-Nemser, Sharon; Buchmann, Margret 
When IS Student Teaching Teacher Education? Research 
Series No. 178. 

Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst, for 
Research on Teaching. 

Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), 
Washington, DC. 
Sep 86 

Institute for Research on Teaching, College of 
Education, Michigan State University, 252 Erickson 
Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824 ($4.00). 
Reports - Research/Technical (143) 

MF01/PC02 Plus Postage. 

Cooperating Teachers; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Higher Education; *Learning Processes; *Preservice 
Teacher Education; *Program Effectiveness; Program 
Improvement; Student Teachers; *Student Teaching; 
Teacher Education Programs; *Teaching Experience 


This paper presents a conceptual framework that 
relates empirical aspects of student teaching (facts about the 
experience) to considerations of value (what student teachers ought 
to learn). First, the report explains what is meant by calling 
student teaching an "occasion for teacher learning." Next, based on 
observational and interview data, two cases of student teaching are 
presented to illustrate how the relative influence of program, 
setting, and participants interact to shape opportunities for teacher 
learning. One teaching episode that elicited considerable pride in 
each student teacher is presented to highlight how and what the 
student teachers learned. The conclusion appraises the lessons 
learned in student teaching in terms of the framework and suggests 
how teacher educators can increase the educative power of the student 
teaching experience. (Author) 

ED 274 €54 








* Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * 

from the original document. * 
******************************** fc*****^^.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 

Research Series No. 178 


Sharon Feiman-Nemser and 
Margret Buchmann 



■■3 )r 

cm irA-r,^.. "83earch and Improvement 
oriflinalinoit " "'('"''"alion 


Research Series No. 178 


Sharon Feiman-Nemser and 
Margret Buchmann 

Published by 

The Institute for Research on Teaching 
252 Erickson Hall 
Michigan State University 
East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1034 

September 1986 

This work is sponsored in part by the Institute for Research on Teaching 
College of Education, Michigan State University. The Institute fo^ Research^ 
on Teaching is funded primarily by the Office of Educational Research and 
Improvement United States Department of Education. The opinions expressed 
in tnis publication do not necessarily reflect the position, policy or 
endorsement of the Office or the Department. (Contract No. 400-81.6oJI) . 

Institute for Research on Tea ching 

... Institute for Research on Teaching wa-; vc^^ved at Michigan State 

Lniversity (MSU) in 1976 by the National Institute oi Education. Following a 
nationwide competition in 1981, the NIE awarded a second five-year contract to 
M5U. Funding is also received from other agencies and foundations for 
individual research projects. 

The IRT conducts major research projects aimed at improving classroom 
teaching, including studies of classroom management strategies, student social- 
ization, the diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties, and teacher 
education. IRT researchers are also examining the teaching of specific school 
subjects such as reading, writing, general mathematics, and science and are 
seeking to understand how factors outside the classroom affect teacher decision 

Researchers from such diverse disciplines as educational psychology 
anthropology, sociology, and philosophy cooperate in conducting IRT research. 
They jom forces with public school teachers who work at the IRT as half-time 
collaborators in research, helping to design and plan studies, collect data, 
analyze and interpret results, and disseminate findings. 

The IRT publishes research reports, occasional papers, conference pro- 
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the IRT mailing list to receive the newsletter, please write to the IRT Editor 
Institute for Research on Teaching, 252 Erickson Hall, Michigan State Univer- 
sity, East Lansing, Michigan *882*-103*. 

Co-Directors: Jere E. Brophy and Andrew C. Porter 
Associate Directors: Judith E. Lanier and Richard S. Prawat 

Editorial Staff 
Editor: Sandra Gross 
Assistant Editor: SalJy B. Pratt 


This paper presents a conceptual framework that relates empirical aspects 
of student teaching (facts about the experience) to considerations of value 
(what student teachers ought to learn). First, the authors explain what they 
mean by calling student teaching an "occasion for teacher learning." Next, 
based on their observational and interview data, the authors present two 
cases of student teaching to illustrate how the relative influence of 
program, setting, and participants interact to shape opportunities for 
teacher learning. One teaching episode that elicited considerable pride in 
each student teacher is presented to highlight how and what the student 
teachers learned. The conclusion appraises the lessons learned in student 
teaching in terms of the framework and suggests how teacher educators can 
increase the educative power of the student teaching experience. 


Sharon Feiman-Nemser and Margret Buchmann^ 

What kind of occasion for teacher learning is student teaching? How do 
interactions among the classroom setting, professional program, and partici- 
pants shape opportunities to learn and learning outcomes? How do the nature 
and timing of student teaching affect what teacher candidates learn and how 
are they impressed by it? Do we. want student teachers to learn the things 
they are learning? What needs to be done to make student teaching teacher 
education ? 

In this paper we consider these questions, in detail, for two prospective 
teachers enrolled in contrasting teacher education programs. Our purpose is 
to describe and analyze what kind of occasion for learning student teaching 
offered these individuals, to appraise the content and significance of the 
lessons they learned, and to discuss what teacher educators and policymakers 
can learn from these cases. To accomplish these goals of description, analy- 
sis, and appraisal, we present a conceptual framework that allows us to re- 
late empirical aspects of student teaching to considerations of value 
(Scheffler, 1985). By empirical aspects we mean certain structural givens, 
such as the placement of student teaching at the end of formal preparation, 
and relevant characteristics of programs, settings, and persons. By 

^A version of this paper was presented under the title "On What Is 
inrof^i" T""^^""^ ^^f Appraising the Experience" at the annual meet- 

ing of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, April 1935. 

. n^^^t^'T Feiman-Nemser is coordinator of the Knowledge "Use in Learning 
to Teach Project and associate professor of teacher education at Michigan 
State University. Margret Buchmann, also an associate professor of teacher 
education at MSU, is a senior researcher on the project and coordinator of 
^^hoS^u^Ti Analytic project. The authors wish to gratefully acknowledge 
Deborah Ball for her helpful comments on earlier drafts. 



considerations of value, we mean what student teachers ought to learn and 
what sort of instruction that requires. We offer a conception of the central 
tasks of teaching and teacher education. 

The paper has three parts. First, we explain what we mean by calling 
student teaching "an occasion for teacher education and learning." Second, 
we present two stories of student teaching that illuminate the relative in- 
fluence of program, setting, and participants in determining opportunities to 
learn and learning outcomes. To preserve the integrity of the case material, 
we present them sequentially. Finally, we discuss the lessons learned in 
terms of our framework and describe how teacher educators can increase the 
educative power of student teaching. 

Structural Givens 

Student teaching holds promise for helping beginners learn because it is 
experiential; that is, it offers a chance to teach under guidance, to watch 
an experienced teacher close up and to find out how he or she thinks about 
teaching, to get to know children and how they think, to discover what it 
"feels like" to be in charge of a class. These possibilities for learning 
derive from the fact that student teaching is an extended, firsthand encount- 
er with teaching in someone else's classroom. Of course, the experiential 
nature of student teaching can also be a source of problems. Student teach- 
ers are not strangers to classrooms. Familiarity with classrooms and 
teachers may prevent beginners from searching beyond what they already know 
and from questioning the practices they see. In teacher preparation, exper- 
ience is a trusted though not always reliable teacher (Feiman-Nemser & 
Buchmann, 1985). 

Student teaching also has salience for prospective teachers and teacher 
educators because it comes at the end of formal preparation, serving as an 

occasion to evaluate whether or not the novice is ready to teach. Less ob- 
vious is the fact that student teaching can be a beginning , that lays founda- 
tions for future learning (FeimanNemser. 1983). Prospective teachers are in 
a position to start learning from teaching, under guidance, and to see that 
some of the knowledge they need is "local": It can only be derived from in- 
teractions with particular students over time. 

The Influence of Persons. Pro grams, and Settin p;., 

Participants, settings, and programs all help shape student teaching as 
an occasion for teacher learning (Zeichner, 1985). Studeat teachers have 
particular understandings and dispositions that influence their approaches to 
the experience and their capacities to learn from it. Social and intel- 
lectual skills, as well as expectations about themselves, influence their 
work. The classrooms in which student teachers work affect the boundaries 
and directions of what can be learned through their characteristic inter- 
actions and curricula. Cooperating teachers set the affective and intel- 
lectual tone and also shape what student teachers learn by the way chey 
conceive and carry out their role as teacher educators. School ethos and 
faculty norms may be sources of influence as well. Finally, professional 
programs aim to teach future teachers knowledge and skills. To identify 
program influences, we must know what was taught and learned in professional 
courses prior to student teaching. We can also look at university 
supervisors as representatives of program commitments during the experience. 

Central Tasks of Teach ing and Teacher Preparation 
What .-distinguishes teaching from other helping professions is a concern 
with helping people learn worthwhile things in the social context of class- 
rooms. Whatever else teachers do, they are supposed to impart knowledge and 



see that pupils learn (Wilson, 1975; Hogan, 1983; Buchraann. 1984). To pro- 
mote learning, teachers must know things worth teaching, consider what is im- 
portant, and find ways to help students acquire understandings. Since teach- 
ers cannot observe learning directly, they must learn to detect signs of 
understanding or confusion, feigned interest or genuine absorption (Dewey, 

Because teachers work with groups of students, they must consider the 
needs of many individuals as they orchestrate the social and intellectual 
sides of classroom life. Good teachers at their best moments manage both 
sides together, whereas novices usually cannot give them equal attention at 
the same time. By concentrating on the interactive side alone, however, stu- 
dent teachers may learn to manage pupils and classrooms without learning what 
it takes to promote learning. Teaching, in sum, requires knowledge of sub- 
ject matter, persons, and pedagogy. It demands principled and strategic 
thinking about ends, means, and their consequences. Most important, it 
requires interactive skills and serious commitment to foster student 

Pedagog ical Thinking and Acting . 

Whereas the lengthy personal experience of schooling provides prospective 
teachers with a repertoire of beliefs and behavior to draw from, this "appren- 
ticeship of observation" (Lortie, 1975) does not prepare them for the central 
tasks of teaching. Looking at teaching from the perspective of a pupil is 
not the same as viewing it from a pedagogical perspective, that is, the per- 
spective of a teacher. Prospective teachers must learn to look beneath the 
familiar, interactive world of schooling and focus on student thinking and 
learning. Perhaps most difficult is learning to shift attention from them- 
selves as teachers or the subjects they are teaching to what others need to 


learn. In The Art of Teaching , Highet (1966) describes what this shift 

You must think, not what you know, but what they do not know- 
not what you find hard, but what they will find\ard then 
after putting yourself inside their ^inds, obstinate 'or ^u^- 

to i;a?n°'(p' 280)'^'^"^" ^'^^ ^^^^^^ "^^^ ^^^^ 

There is a big difference between going through the motions of teach- 
ing-checking seatwork, talking at the board, assigning homework-and connect- 
ing these activities to what pupils should be learning over time. Helping 
prospective teachers recognize that difference and laying the groundwork for 
the orientations and skills of pedagogical thinking and acting are central 
tasks of teacher preparation. 

Introducing the Sfr.iH ent Tp.arhin fr r^c^.. 
The concrete meaning and challenge of these tasks will become clear as we 
report on the experiences of two student teachers enrolled in programs with 
contrasting structures and ideologies, ^.e data are part of a larger study 
concerning what is taught and learned in teacher preparation. ^ susan was a 
student in the Academic Program, which emphasized the importance of theoreti- 
cal and subject matter knowledge and provided limited field experiences prior 
to student teaching. Molly was a student in the Decision-Making Program, 
which emphasized generic methods of teaching and research-based decision 

Between 1982-84, we followed six elementary education students through 
two years of undergraduate teacher education. Jhe students were eJroUed^L 
two contrasting programs that are part of a major effort to reformthi 
w^re'l" • '"^"^ interviewed students about what they 

IZl ^^ f ^'''^ ^^"^^ experiences and how they though 

that would help them in teaching and learning to teach. The interviewf were 
grounded in systematic observation.^ of core courses and field expSencerin 
both programs. During student teaching, each student teacher was paired with 

^eLLr-r^ctivTtLr ' '° s^uL't ' 

.^nS ^ I ^ t'. ^^P*" °^ informal conversations with the 

conf ^ fj^l^"^. their cooperating teachers, and university supervisors and 
conducted formal interviews before and after the experience ^^^^^^^ 


making and offered different kinds of field experiences throughout formal 

The cases which follow have a common format. First, we describe what 
each student teacher expected from student teaching. Then we sketch personal 
qualities in the student teacher and aspects of the program and setting that 
shaped their experiences and the impact. In these stories, we show how stu- 
dent teaching became a particular kind of occasion for teacher learning by 
illustrating how the three factors of person, program, and setting interacted 
over time. Finally, we examine in detail one teaching episode that elicited 
considerable pride in each student teacher. These prideful occasions not 
only highlight what and how these student teachers learned but also streng- 
then our basis for appraising the experiences in terms of the central tasks 
of teaching and teacher preparation. 

The Case of Susan 

Goals and Expectations 

Considered by her instructors one of the strongest students in the 
Academic Program, Susan looked forward to student teaching with eagerness. 
"Finally," she said, "I'll be getting out and something practical." 
Like many teachers, Susan believed that "actual concrete experience" was 
"more valuable than all the reading and discussion and everything that can 
take place on a topic" (p. 37).^ Whereas the Academic Program recommended 
five weeks of full-time responsibility, Susan said, "I want to do it for at 
least seven" (p. 34). At the same time, Susan recognized the need for some- 
one to observe her, to offer guidance, and to stimulate reflection. She 

She numbers refer to pages in the data set for each student. All the 
names are pseudonyms. 



considered student teachine a Vine\ r.f i^i-^^^^u- 

edcnmg a kind of internship, a time to try out ideas 

about good teaching under supervision: 

You can't take someone and have them learn all the aspects of 
?he°m iT^'^'V^'f teach... wtth^ut giving 

fe!dh!?w°^^H "L^'^ '° ^° have someone to give thL 

frretrosp^ct^lp^^slj ^° ^^^^^ ^'^^ atlt 

Susan wanted a chance to plan lessons in all the content areas and to be 
responsible for pupils, learning over time. She recognized that these in- 
structional responsibilities would differ from the experience of planning and 
teaching .-one-shot lessons-, to a reading group, as she had done in conjunc- 
tion With her reading practicum. There she only needed a single objective and 
did not have to worry about where her lesson was leadf. No.-, however, she 



LaH h^'^"y °f what I'm doing and where going 

and of the time that's spent in each of the times, for maybf 
math for reading, for science, that sort of thing ^•vnev;r 
really gone through a day where I teach each of these 
^>^^^&s • . . and I need experlenr e with i-h»i- (p. 29-30) 

Susan was hoping '.to learn by doing." by getting experience. But she 
also saw student teaching as a testing period for herself, as a person, and 
for her choice of a career: 

Just being in the classroom ... is going to be a big I don't 
want to say shock, but that's going to be a bi. part of what 
Lndl'r^^'"'^?! about-to know whether or not you can 
handle those kids, to know whether or not you actually want to 
do this for the rest of your life. (pp. 35.36) 

Susan's entering goals and expectations referred both to the knowledge 
and the interactive dimensions of teaching, and both these elements were 
reflected in her image of a good teacher. According to Susan, a good teacher 
never has to raise her voice. She '.has excellent things going on but there's 
no chaos" (p. 33). Susan described an idealized picture of an orderly class- 
room where pupils were busy and happy learning through "fun" activities and 
where the teacher was liked and respected. She was vague about what she 



meant by good classroom management (not "heavy handed") and innovative 

activities ("not boring seatwork"). Although her ideal included a commitment 

to foster learning, getting respect was very important to her: 

I've always wanted ever since I started the program to be a 
teacher that my students would love, respect, and look back 
on . . . That was the ideal image of a teacher in my mind 
Someone who really taught them a lot, and yet they really 
respected and loved her for the things that she put forth for 
them, and her attitude and actions, that sort of thing (132). 

Program Influenrpg 

Prior to student teaching, Susan had begun to incorporate the major 
themes of the Academic Program into her ways of thinking about teaching. 
Most striking was her belief that she had started to "think like a teacher." 
In describing her work with a reading group (in conjunction with the reading 
practicura) , she revealed concerns and expectations about student thinking and 
learning that her program stressed: 

I'm trying to make the kids connect what they're doing with 
something they should be learning. I don't want them to just 
read and then sit down and close the book without thinking 
about "Why did we read this story? What did I get out of it? 
What s it saying to me? What good has it done me?" --that sort 
of thing, (p. 8) 

Susan seemed to feel that doing schoolwork was not enough. She wanted stu- 
dents to think about the reasons for doing it, what they were learning, and 
what that meant to them as persons . 

Susan credited the reading professor for showing her how to foster these 
attitudes by taking over her reading group and modeling what can be done even 
with the stories in the basal reader. His demonstrations of teaching to 
foster understanding and personal meaniag made a big impression on Susan 
because they provided concrete models of the Academic Program' 3 commitment. 
She said that this professor had really started to "press that into us" and 
she looked forward to working with him during student teaching. The Academic 


Program provided specialists in subject .atter to supervise her. m addition 
to her reading professor. Susan was also supervised by a science educator. 

Susan's notion of learning through" activities captured her interpre- 
tation of another message in the Academic Program: Good teachers do not rely 
on textbooks. She translated this message into a dichotomy between "meaning- 
ful" learning activities, usually created by the teacher, and "boring" seat- 
vork. usually based on workbooks and dittos. Susan wrote in her student 
teaching application that she wanted to "get away from textbooks and learn to 
use the community as a resource" (p. 45). 

Cooperating Tpa^her and ■<!p^^^r,p 

Susan had a cooperating teacher who exemplified many of the commitments 
of the Academic Program. Bob taught science and reading to a combined 
third/fourth-grade class composed largely of children from professional fami- 
lies; he teamed up with the teacher next door for math and social studies. 
Bob involved his students in projects and was especially skillful at giving 
clear explanations, asking challenging questions, and probing students' think- 
ing. His expertise came out in large and small ways. He seemed to know when 
to persist and when to tell a student. "I'll let you think about that" or 
"Let's leave it; we can^t agree today" (p. 49). 

Once, after Susan showed a film on longitude and latitude. Bob stimulated 
a lively exchange by asking the class: "what kinds of workers need to know 
about time zones?" Bob typically asked application questions that could be 
answered in several ways. The children's suggestions - -businessmen, travel 
agents, pilots (p. 82) -showed that they had understood the concepts. Susan 
had never imagined opening up the discussion in such a way and was impressed 
that the students had so many different ideas. 


Although he had never had a student teacher before. Bob chose Susan be- 
cause he liked what she had written in her student teaching application. He 
encouraged her to set aside the basal to teach story elements and he asked 
her to plan a field trip to a local television station. Overall, Bob gave 
Susan a great deal of responsibility, but he did not talk much about his own 
teaching or hers. For example, toward the end of student teaching, Susan and 
Bob each taught a science lesson on rectangular .rids to half the class, but 
they approached the topic in different ways. Whereas Bob presented the rec- 
tangular grid as a "system," a ,->,entral concept in the science curriculum, 
Susan treated the topic of rectangular grids as a follow-up to the unit on 
polar coordinates that had just finished teaching. Having no comprehensive 
view of the science curriculum, Susan was unaware that "system" was a unify- 
ing theme. 

Despite these differences in treatment. Bob and Susan never discussed 
what each did and why. Susan found Bob somewhat aloof, she said he did not 
respect the other teachers at this suburban school even though they held him 
in high regard. 

Susan the Person 

Susan was rather shy. Describing herself before she transferred to the 
university, Susan said: "I was a very nice person, but a very quiet person" 
(p. 140). Over the course of her junior and senior years in college, Susan 
became noticeably more self-confident. She attributed that change to her job 
as a dorm receptionist which gave her "a great big boost": "Now I'm not 
just another person. ... I'm somebody there, I can help. . . . I don't feel 
like an outsider. I feel like I'm one of the insiders now" (p. 2). Susan 
had a strong need to be noticed, to count as someone special. When the 
"guys" in the dorm where her fiance worked as a resident advisor included her 


J 5 

in their thank-you ].c--t:e.- at the end of the year. Susan was touched: "I 
never had that kind of feeling that, you knov;, that I counted as someone, 
that I wasn't just someone in the background . . . that someday, somebody 
would notice me for being the quiet person that I was" (p. 141). Susan con- 
nected Che need to be important to others with her desire to teach and with 
the legacy she wanted to leave behind: "It makes me feel good to be needed 
and maybe that's why I want to teach so much, because I want to be able to 
give help ... I want to be the kind of teacher that the kids will remember" 
(p. 4). 

Despite her growing confidence. Su.^an depended greatly on others for as- 
surance. Flattered that Bob had chosen her as a student teacher, she worried 
about making a good impression on him. Susan, who was accustomed to get- 
ting straight A's. wanted everything to be perfect right from the start. 

The Story and Its Turning Points 

Phase one: Deciding to fre.t tough . At the end of the first week of stu- 
dent teaching. Susan announced: "I'm going to have trouble with discipline." 
She had sized up her cooperating teacher and decided that he might be "good 
at explaining things." but he was not a good model for her in the area of dis- 
cipline. "He's too laissez-faire. He lets the kids talk and move around 
when he's talking, but I want stricter ground rules" (p. 83). Susan knew 
that the students respected Bob even though they sometimes went to the bath- 
room or their lockers and sharpened pencils while he was talking. Still, she 
measured their respect for her by their willingness to listen attentively and 
follow her directions. Throughout student teaching Susan maintained that 
being short, female, and soft-spoken put her at a disadvantage compared to 
Bob who was a tall male. 


J 6 

Taking over a reading group. Susan worked hard to prepare homemade dittos 
which she claimed were "more meaningful" than the regular workbook pages. 
For example, she had students find two- and three -syllable words in a 
newspaper to fill in the blanks of a ditto she had prepared on syllabi- 
fication. But Susan had trouble getting her group of 11 boys to cooperate 
and often confused her inability to pace the lesson or attend to individual 
differences with their unwillingness to comply. Once, after asking everyone 
to wait for instructions, 3 boys completed a ditto before she was finished ex- 
plaining it. Rather than consider the appropriateness of the assignment or 
the need to have additional work on hand, Susan got upset about what she saw 
as the students' lack of respect. 

Another time, after the class had seen a film on different kinds of 
graphs (e.g., bar graphs, line graphs), Susan asked the students to find a 
graph in the newspaper and tell a lit' ' about it. Susan considered this a 
good idea because students would be ag with information they had derived 

from a source other than a textbook. "I thought it would be a great idea, 
use newspapers, no books, actually have them searching for these things and 
interpreting what the graphs meant" (p. 109). The students, however, could 
not make sense of graphs about gold prices or the Dow Jones average. One 
girl burst into tears of frustration. Seeing that the task was too hard for 
fourth graders, Susan changed her strategy when she taught the third graders, 
asking them to make up their own graphs. She was greatly relieved that Bob 
had not been in the classroom to see "the big disaster" (p. 110). 

When her science supervisor came to observe, Susan expected comments on 
her science teaching. Instead, the supervisor focused on her management and 
checked "needs improvement" in all categories of the observation form. Later 
that day, Susan told the interviewer that the science supervisor had 




recommended three studies on classroom management for her to read. Susan 
felt discouraged: "I want to be a miracle teacher. I want to do it right, 
right away" (p. 53). Her discomfort seemed to provide an impetus for 
change. Uith encouragement from her fiance and cooperating teacher, she 
decided "to be tough. No more nice Ms. T. I have to get respect and 
compliance" (p. 52). 

Phase two; — Takinp; charge. Susan took over the class, announcing: "I'm 
going to be your teacher for the next seven weeks, so I want you to listen. 
I'm not going to talk over you" (p. 56). Bob was absent frequently and even 
the substitutes looked to Susan for directions. Now Susan took action more 
quickly. She kept individual students in at recess, turned off the lights, 
stopped a game when there was too much noise, made students put their heads 
down on their desks. Still, she continued to be concerned about getting 
enough respect. 

During this second phase, Susan also tried out various instructional acti- 
vities, succeeding most in areas in which she had some specific pre- tion. 
In science, for example, Susan taught a unit on polar coordinates from . 
SCIS (Science Curriculum Improvement Study) unit because this was the curri- 
culum Bob used and because she wanted "to see what it was like." For ' 
most part, she followeu the suggestions in the teacher's guide. She d ov;- 
ever, transform a pencil-and-paper exercise from the materials into a "con- 
crete" activity by having students go out to the playground and pretend they 
were navigators locating objects at sea. Working with the SCIS materials, 
Susan saw firsthand what her science methods professor meant when he 
criticized the curriculum for being "activity-driven:" 

SCIS I found was basically directed towards doing the activities 
and it was just assumed that the children would understand the 
concept behind it. It was never spelled out or given. 
And although the activities were very enjoyable, I don't think 


o 18 



SCIS in itself ... was sufficient for what I would want to 
teach, (p. 97) 

Because she had a framework for thinking about SCIS, Susan was more aware of 
its strengths and limitations and was better able to adapt it for student 

In her higher ability reading group, Susan followed Bob's suggestion and 
planned a unit on elements of fiction (plot, character, setting, point of 
view). Although she had majored in English, Susan seemed to have a limited 
understanding of these terms. Asked for a definition of plot, she said, 
"It's the action, one thing leads to another" (p. 73). Susan was 
particularly pleased with her strategy for teaching the concept of character 
which she got from her children's literature textbook. Using the format of a 
radio interview, she developed a set of interview questions (e.g.. What is 
your name? Where do you live? What do you do?) The students were supposed 
to fill in the names of the main character in their story and answer the 
questions as the character would. The reading supervisor criticized some of 
her lessons for being "too abstract," meaning that the students were learning 
to apply definitions without using the concepts to get inside their story. 
Susan defended herself by saying that the students were "bored by workbooks 
and basals" and that stie was attempting to challenge them (p. 73). 

Whereas Susan was able to move the class through various lessons, apply- 
ing sanctions when necessary, she rarely probed student responses or made ex- 
plicit connections between the activities students were doing and the con- 
cepts they were supposed to be learning. For example, one day Susan tried a 
mathematics activity called "Mystery Pumpkins," designed to foster logical 
reasoning. Given a series of clues, students were to deduce the answer to a 
puzzle ("Which pumpkin?"). Susan put the problem on the overhead. She read 
each clue and called on students to give the answers. When a student gave a 



wrong answer, she called on someone else. She did not ask students to 
justify their answers, right or wrong, nor did she solicit discussion about 
the thinking entailed in the task. Although Susan felt that she had tav.ght a 
lesson on problem solving, she missed the central point of focusing on 
s tudent s * th inking . 

At midterm. Bob said she was doing fine in every area. His only sugges- 
tion was that she wait a bit longer before plunging into lessons so that the 
students had time to quiet down. Otherwise, he said, she was "well prepared, 
capable, in charge, punctual." Susan felt elated and focused on her 
teacher's positive evaluation rather than on the more critical feedback from 
her university supervisors who had pointed out areas for improvement in 
management and in the teaching of subject matter. 


Phase three: M.rkinp tim^. After receiving this positive midte: 
evaluation from her cooperating teacher. Susan seemed to lose interest in 
student teaching as a source of learning. She had done the things she wanted 
to do and said that if. for some reason, she could not continue, she would 
feel that she had accomplished her goals (p. 72). Her twin sister was about 
to be married and Susan confessed that she took that weekend off without 
taking any of her books, even though she had to go to school on Monday 
morning by 7:30 to prepare. 

Susan also acknowledged that she was relying on dittos and workbooks, 
even though this conflicted with her image of a good teacher. She said it 
would take enormous time and commitment to prepare appropriate exercises for 
all the children (p. 75). And Susan continued to worry about discipline and 
getting respect. 

Furthermore. Susan did not feel she had developed her relationship with 
Bob or increased her capacity to learn from him. At the beginning of student 


o 20 

teaching, the class had gone on a field trip to the planetarium and Susan had 
watched Bob extend the experience through a class project on the Big Dipper. 
At the end of student teaching, Susan planned a field trip to the local 
public television station. At Bob^s suggestion, she even attended an 
inservice workshop on learning to use video equipment. Nevertheless she saw 
the trip as an end in itself and not as an impetus for further learning. 

By contrast, Bob had a lot of ideas about how to use the trip to motivate 
worthwhile classroom work, yet, he did not tell Susan about his ideas. When 
she asked him what to write on the permission form under "Purpose of the 
Trip," he said, "community resources enrichment." After the trip, Bob 
surprised Susan by teaching students how to vise video equipmert so l.hat they 
could film interviews with each other. Watching the interviews, students not 
only saw the importance of lighting but also came to appreciate the challenge 
of interviewing someone who gave one-word answers. Bob planned to have 
students interview each other about their family histories and also videotape 
their tutoring in the kindergarten. Whereas Susan claimed that she had 
learned "how to plan field trips with an educational purpose," she still 
seemed to believe that the destination determined the educative value of a 
trip. She contrasted "educational" field trips to tiie planetarium and 
television studio with a trip to the circus which she had taken as an 
elementary student (p. 81). 

R:.ght up to the end of student teaching Susan was concerned about getting 
enough respect from children. She sought the advice of a friend from home, a 
veteran teacher of 11 years: 

I don't have the respect thaC I think I need. I can say "Stay in 
for recess," but I don't feel that's going to be sufficient be- 
cause it doesn't teach them anything. . . . Even though I don't 
want to be a heavy punisher, there needs to be some kind of remin- 
der or something about what they had done wrong, (p. 120) 


o 21 

The teacher suggested that Susan have students write sentences reminding .he, 
of their misdeeds. When Bob was not around. Susan followed this advice, 
asking students to write "I will not disturb the class" or "I will listen 
when Ms. T. talks" (p. 120). 

While Susan's concerns about getting compliance and respect never abated, 
she did clarify and alter her ideas about what good classroom management 
entails, she used to think that she could simply tell students what to do: 
"1 had no idea when I first started. I assumed I could tell the kids to sit 
down and be quiet and they would, but you can't. Kids aren't like that" 
(p. 112). 

Susan said that being responsible for keeping 25 students occupied showed 

her the importance of having enough activities for students to do and of 

being prepared for those students who finish early: "You can't just have one 

lesson and expect all the kids tc go through it at the same rate" (p. 114). 

Susan connected this insight to a lesson she had learned from babysitting- 

keep_ng children busy is a good way to control them. Susan's thoughts about 

management echoed the one lecture that the Academic Program presented on the 

topic before student teaching. The instructor had emphasized that management 

is a combinacion of many different elements, not simply a matter of being the 

authority. Susan Gummarized the instructor's message: 

It's a combination of having yourself prepared, having all the 
materials you need, being organized, knowing how you're going 

tha^^h^^H'' "n' °f " '"^'"^^ "^^^ ^^"-^ ^avLg things ^ 
^r^Sv V I "^^^"^^^'^ build on something that they 

already know or that build on the lesson itself (p. 114). ^ 

Prideful Occasio n 

Of all the things Susan did during student teaching, she was most proud 
of her book-making project. Susan said the project was worthwhile because it 
was "something out of the ordinary." which to her meant "not related to work 



in basai readers." She thought that having students make their own books 
would also motivate them to write. "We made the books first before we wrote 
the .story," she explained. "That way they saw a need to fill in these 
pages. There were all these blank pages; this beautiful book was all theirs 
•ind they could put anything in it they want" (p. 105). 

Book Making . To initiate the project, Susan had students write letters 
to their parents saying that they would be making books in thnir reading 
class and asking if they could bring a piece of material for che cover. One 
mother volunteered to sew the pages together for all the books. Then, an 
entire school day was devoted to cutting cardboard, ironing the material on 
tc the cover, and putting the books together. Since she had made books twice 
before--in her children's literature class and in her reading practi- 
cum--Susan felt confident about the procedure. Though eager, the children 
spent much time chatting and standing around, waiting for Susan or Bob to 
help them. Afterward Susan admitted, "They should have had another assign- 
ment to do. but they were all pretty excited cutting out their material and 
getting their books together" (p. 108). 

Story Writing . Once the books were made. Susan told the students that 
they could write anything they wanted "as long as it has an idea behind it." 
Without explaining what this requirement meart or giving examples. Susan 
changed the formula, saying: "Every story has a problem and a solution." To 
illustrate this point. Susan tried using a "story starter." Sh« gave the 
class a story title. "The Day I Was a Popsicle". and together they thought up 
problem situations that a popsicle could get into and then figured out solu- 
tions. It was not clear how this technique, which Susan had picked up in her 
children's literature course, fit with her vague advice about story structure 
or her injunction that stories have ideas. 



While Susan was competent in the book-making process, she did not 

structure the writing phase of her project for purposes of student learning 

Students worked on their stories in class and at home without getting 

criticism or advice. There was no discussion about problems and solutions 

the stories or any effort to identify and clarify the students' ideas. 

Spelling was the only standard applied to the final product and even here 

Susan turned the responsibility over to the students: 

I wanted them to work together to check each other's stories 
Again that's something they hadn't done too often, so they ' 
would skim through it and say "OK" and hand it back and there 
were still spelling errors ... but it was a start anyway with 
working together and correcting each other, (p. 106) 

Before all the students had finished their stories, Susan was ready to turn 
the class back to Bob. One day during her last week of student teaching. 
Susan sat at a table in the back of the room writing out the directions for 
making books which the teacher had requested. As far as she was concerned, 
the project was over. 

Bob, however, saw a way to treat the students as authors. He moved to 
the front of the room and told those who had finished to put their books on . 
side table so that others could read them. Meanwhile, he invited one of the 
students to oome sit beside him and read his story aloud. During the 
reading. Bob noticed a misspelling and sent the student to the dictionary 
saying. "This is really great, but can we make it better?" Later Susan 
explained that he had said to her: "Today why don't we take time out and 
just you and I will spend time correcting and reading the kids' books and 
showing them that we're excited and we care" (p. 106). 

Susan had focused on the technique of book making rather than the process 
ot story writing. Though Susan was proud of "doing her own thing," she did 
not seem to recognize the possibilities for important academic learning. 



Only the classroom teacher saw the opportunity to treat students as authors 
who could improve their craft and their stories as pieces of writing that 
others could enjoy. 

The Case of Molly 

Goals and Expectations 

Molly looked forward to student teaching but did so calmly. While the 
experience itself would not be new, there would be more of it. The Decision- 
Making Program had provided her with many and varied classroom experiences, 
which she expected to build on: "I see the learning as a building on what I 
already know. I see it as a practice tire, not as something totally new. 
There will be some stuff that is new, but most of it, I see as building" 
(1-7, pp. 11-12). 5 Molly stressed that she was not worried about handling 
students or relating to a teacher because she had already done these things 
(p. 16). 

In one sense, student teaching seemed like one more hoop to jump 

through. Molly compared it to working in a hotel kitchen before one becomes 

a chef. Still, Molly expected to benefit from the experience: 

My requirements will be more. I'll be in contact for more time 
during the day with the kids, I'll be communicating more with 
the teacher. I'll be expected to follow through on a lot of 
different kinds of things, keep in contact with more of a vari- 
ety of people, such as the principal. . . . I see an expanded 
role. (1-7, p. 11) 

She wanted to find out about the children in her classroom, and "to be their 
friends" for a while. 

Although expanding the scope and amount of her interactions to a larger 
time frame was important to Molly, she had one "knowledge use" goal for 

^I indicates interview ntimbers. 




student teaching. She hoped to bring together all the things she had learned 
in her program from all the different sources -classroom experiences, ideas 
and concepts from courses. To Molly, being able "to put it all together" was 
the test of what she really knew. In this sense, student teaching was a 
culminating experience. 

"Putting things together" had been a goal and personal concern for Molly 
from the start. She knew that she was somewhat slow at that and she devoted 
time between quarters and during the summer to work toward this goal. Molly 
realized that one cannot easily use knowledge wisely. She commented in an 
interview at the beginning of her program: 

all this stuff and you want to use it so desper- 
ately-- I know this thing and I want to use it!" But the thine 
IS. you re not really using it as you should. You' re- -vou' re 
Sf righ"? JL.^rr P° ^5) ^'^'^ Proportion^and at 

In the same interview Molly also explained what she regarded as the crucial 
principle of curriculum and instruction: What is taught should alrer be of 
interest to children and should, in turn, be applicable to the "real 
world. " 

Program Influences 

In Molly's program, the principle of interest and real-world application 
was operationalized as "meaningfulness" and "out-of -school application." 
Both categories appeared on the evaluation forms used throughout the 
program. One form, called "Instructional Discussion Observation and Data 
collection" had the following category for supervisors to check under "Focus 
on Learners": "It [discussion] draws out and integrates students' relevant, 
personal experience in order to reach the goal by way of a route that is 
meaningful to students" (p. 13). Another form, called "Science Inquiry 
Lesson Observation and Data Collection." listed among the categories to be 



ch-.ked under "Lesson Closure": "Where students eight use the learning 
[application/transfer]" (p. 12). 

The Decision-Making Program stressed the importance of planning and 
required regular planning times for student teachers, who were expected to 
use detailed, specific formats to writo lesson plans for different curricular 
areas. Molly simplified these formats for reading and math and used them 
every day. She told an interviewer: 

IJ'ttT \^'''r''f °" P^^"" ^^^P motivate me to look 
at them. I put a book on the form that I use for reading and a 
price tag on the form that I use for math lessons, (p. 70) 

Molly's goals for her own learning were compatible with her program's 
emphasis on "knowledge use" and "teacher decision making." They also fit 
with what Martha, her program director, judged she needed to work on during 
student teaching. In looking at some of Molly's plans, Martha was concerned 
that Molly was not making enough connections in teaching content, especially 
between making what she taught fit into a "larger picture" and identifying 
relationships among the things that she was teaching (p. 93). Whereas Molly 
was observed frequently, she had different supervisors, some newcomers to the 
program staff. Molly thought that "they know what I did but not really l^ow I 
did it" (p. 154). She considered herself and her cooperating teacher as the 
principle sources for evaluation. 

Molly the Person 

Mo. had always written goals for herself, taking pains to figure out 
what she wanted to achieve as well as what she wa. actually learning from a 
class or summer employment, for example. She seemed „ rious and mature, but 
was also vivacious and spontaneous. Molly had a - npacity for becoming 
interested in things and enjoying them. Moreover, she had dramatic talents 
and a knack for working with visual aids. 




In her program. Molly had a reputation for being "creative" and her "own 
person." The program director had hoped that Molly's cooperating teacher 
would support her in these areas of personal strength. During student 
teaching, however, Martha was concerned that what was "different" in Molly 
would be "squashed," and thought, "I hope she lives through this term" 
(p. 94). These worries were underst.-.nda'.le . given the setting in which Molly 
taught . 

Setting and Co operating Teacher 

The halls of Harrison School were light, clean, and cheerfully decorated 
with children's pictures and artifacts. Walking down the halls, one rarely 
heard a sound. Built approximately 20 years ago to allow for teaming and 
flexibility, the school had 34% minority children. The current staff was a 
closely knit group; the newest teacher had been at Harrison for nine years. 
Teachers worked together in teams for grades K- 2 and 3-5. The teachers 
shared expectations about student behavior which they took care to enforce in 
a number of settings (halls, classrooms, libr^^ry) . 

The opening exercises for the lower grades took place in the "addition" 
(a large room used for different purposes) and demonstrate the ethos of the 
school and the camaraderie among the teachers. Four classes gathered each 
morning at 8:40 a.m. for about 20 minutes to take attendance, collect milk 
money, mark the calendar, and say the Pledge of Allegiance. Teachers took 
turns supervising these activities. The children had to sit up straight, 
with their feet on the floor, look at the teacher talking to them--u. Uy 
over a microphone- -refrain from talking or moving about, and enter and leave 
the room in single file. Reprimands were frequent, often personal, and 
sometimes sharp . 



Although she disagreed at times with other teachers, Suzy, Molly's 
cooperating teacher, did not want "to rock the boat." According to Molly. 
Suzy did not like tha playground rules at Harrison: Girls got ropes for 
jumping and boys got balls to play in teams. Girls were told to walk like 
"little ladies" and boys like "little gentlemen" (p. 53). Still, Suzy did 
not want to say something "because of the team; it doesn't seem worth it" 
(p. 79). She expressed her belief that "the kids need tightening up" (p. 29) 
in the formula: "A good listener is someone who sits tall with their feet 
flat on the floor, looking at the person who's talking" (p. 19). 

Regarding the knowledge side of teaching, Suzy tended to follow the maxim 
"one and only one right answer". One day she gave directions for a seatwork 
assignment which involved choosing the right word from the list ("went," 
"want," "where," and "what") and putting it in a blank on a ditto, she 
directed students to read the sentences on the blackboard, trying every word 
until they found the one that made sense. As they moved through choices for 

the sentence, "I to read a book," they came to the word "went." "Do 

you think that's the best choice?" asked the teacher. There was a pause. 
Suzy said, "Probably not," and the children all joined in and said "No" 
(p. 19). 

A skillful manager, Suzy was good at keeping things moving and monitoring 

the class; a look or word from her often quieted the class down. Molly was 

greatly impressed by her ability to anticipate what might happen and her 

ability to step in immediately when things got out of hand: 

One thing that really struck me was that "thinking ahead." I 
think ahead but I'm more slow to act and with her zipping, and 
zipping and bopping, I was like "Oh, wow, I vould have never 
gotten those things ." (p. 187) 



The story: ThP PowPr of th^. s.^^.•n^ ^. n.„.-,. 
Molly's Differeni- Tp^ P.hirnr Pp.r.cnnTT 

Socialization . Molly was a student teacher for 15 weeks- -from the last 
week of August to the first week of December. The goals of her cooperating 
teacher, which fit with the school ethos of control, loomed large in Molly's 
experience. At the beginning of the school year, Suzy gave a lot of 
attention to "grooving" her second graders, expecting them to sit still and 
upright with their eyes on the teacher, to listen attentively. She was 
concerned that children follow directions correctly when given. 

Suzy spent time and effort at the beginning of the day and during 
transition periods to bring children to order and attention. To achieve 
these goals, she talked very slowly in a flat, monotonous voice. Before 
going to the library, for instance, Suzy said to the children, "I want you to 
know that I don't want one single sound." Children were sitting, heads down, 
at their desks. She continued, pointing to several of them, "I want these 
people to show what a nice job you can do standing in line. if i see you 
running, I will lose my patience" (p. 51). In Suzy's classroom, access to 
the toilet, the water fountain, and the pencil sharpener were strictly con- 
trolled, and children who talked more than once during a spelling test got 
"zeros". Curriculum and instruction were highly standardized at the begin- 
ning of the year, based on dittos, drills, and workbooks. Suzy grouped 
children for instruction by the comparative speed with which they completed 
workbook assignments. 

Molly assumed the teacher's goals: "They need this," she said (p. 28). 

"The teacher wants to work on this" (p. 32). When asked during the second 

week of student teaching what she watched when observing Suzy, Molly replied, 

"I'm watching to see how she gets the kids to be good listeners" (p. 28). 

The following week she responded that she was learning a great deal about 

25 ,^ . 



management, which Molly had come to see as her major problem (p. 35). 

Molly rapidly took on an equal share of the classroom routines in math 
drills, spelling tests, and reading skill instruction. In these 
instructional contexts. Molly developed a "teacherish persona." 
Tight-lipped, robot-like, often yawning. Molly seemed bland and 
authoritarian. Because she spoke very slowly, there was little evidence of 
thinking or involvement on her part. At times, an unpleasant note crept into 
what she said. Once, while Molly tried to get the class ready for spelling, 
two boys haggled over an eraser. "This is not the time to settle it." Molly 
insisted, but the boys did not stop even when she repeated herself: 

Friday, yours Is . Daniel, head down. I will not wait that 
long next time; you'll be sitting here with your heads down for 
five minutes during recess, (p. 46) 

Amiable with one another, the two teachers seemed at times to be allied 
against the children. With the class in the library. Molly and Suzy had a 
cozy chat about a play based on "Three Billy Goats Gruff," which one reading 
group had practiced that morning. Suzy remarked to Molly, in the same slow 
and wooden manner that the children had usee Now this play is not going to 
get any better than it is ... so we'll put it on this afternoon" (pp. 51- 
52). Both teachers laughed. They did not realize that the children were 
speaking as they were spoken to. 

Despite this camaraderie. Molly's novice status stood out clearly to the 
students. She had difficulty getting compliance and attending to more than 
one classroom situation at a time. She often told the children to pay atten- 
tion, or said that she would wait, or that they were not doing what they were 
supposed to be doing. Given all her classroom experiences in the Decision- 
Making Program and her specific preparation in management. Molly was 
surprised and aggravated to find that the children were testing her and that 



she had difficulties controlling them. Molly reverted to strategies that 
were discouraged in her program but were customary at Harrison School where 
teachers raised their voices and punished children by giving "time out" from 
instruction. She explained that she was "following the teacher" in 
management technique because what Suzy did was "effective" and the "kids were 
used to it" (p. 185). 

Molly also had difficulties dealing with the knowledge side of teaching. 
T^hen she introduced homemade spelling dittos for "enrichment", her 
explanations were not helpful. Decorated with "word pizzas," these dittos 
were harder than the spelling lesson and their format was confusing. For 
example, one of them required students to unscramble nonsense words like 
"stla," "tna," "eta," and "dnah," and place them into appropriate categories 
according to the "word pizzas". Many children seemed unable to read the word 
"unscramble," figure out what they were supposed to do, or follow Molly's 
repeated directions (pp. 22-23). 

Difficulties of this sort went unnoticed. Suzy observed Molly in 
management and gave her advice in that area. Although she thought it too 
advanced for "these children," Suzy allowed Molly to read Charlotte-., u.h , 
and the class was thrilled by her dramatic, exciting delivery. The teacher 
told Molly that "she had flunked in management." Still, Suzy had confidence 
in her student teacher, thought Molly a wonderful reader, and loved having 
her in the room (p. 46). 

Self-assertion . Six weeks into the school year, classroom work became 
more diverse and interactions more relaxed, even though Suzy's concerns for 
curbing and controlling students never disappeared. Molly improved in class- 
room management. She was learning to monitor the rest of the class while 
working with individual students or a small group. The children continued to 



children were "skilled to death in reading." She did not see why students 
who could read well should continue to have skill instruction and she com- 
pared this to knowing how to ride a bike and then being told, "Now, get off 
the bike, and I'll teach you how to pedal" (p. 71). 

This may explain why Molly's "teacherish persona" persisted in spelling 
tests and reading skill instruction. One typical 20-minute lesson contained 
silent story reading, recall questions, choral reading of unconnected 
sentences, base word recognition, and practice in the "qu" sound (pp. 49- 
51). While Molly followed the teacher's guide and mirrored Suzy, who was 
teaching the same lesson to a second group, she felt exasperated about these 

lessons ; 

They throw in structure, sight, phonetics, it's all thrown in 
First they do prefixes, then there are vowels thrown in. . . . 
It's just like a thousand shots in the hopes that one will 
hit. Where are their minds? (p. 71) 

In her own classroom, Molly said she would first find out what the children 

know, spend "a couple of minutes" on skills, and then go on to comprehension. 

preferably using library books. She would test children to find out what 

kinds of learners they are, then group them accordingly. 

In general, Molly wanted to add "quality": "Think about things more, 

improve, try to make them [children] think more instead of just getting 

through" (p. 71). She tried to do this in mathematics by using chip trading 

to teach place value. Molly acted the part of a friendly banker. Yet when 

laying down the basic rules, she did not make a distinction between those 

bearing on behavior and those bearing on mathematics: "(a) When you have 10 

yellow chips, you get a blue chip. (b) Roll your dice on the board and not 

on the table" (p. 138) . 

When Molly asked questions like, "Why are these chips worth 60, and not 

67," the children gave answers that sounded like a restatement of her 



question: "Because they're worth more" or, "Because it's 60 cents" 
(p. 138). Without probing what the children meant by che answers she 
accepted at face value, Molly could not know whether they had grasped the key 
point that each chip was worth more, in fact, 10 times more. Still, Molly 
"felt comfortable" teaching the concept in this way and thought that the 
children "were real comfortable learning it" (p. 183). Suzy was impressed, 
and Molly proudly told an interviewer that she was teaching Suzy and an aide 
how to do chip trading (p. 70). 

Having participated together in an inservice workshop, Molly and Suzy 
teamed up to introduce a writing program in which teachers acted as 
consultants and children wrote stories on topics that interested them, 
without worrying about spelling and punctuation. There were regular 
conferences in which teachers helped children develop their ideas and acted 
as critics. Students read each other's stories and commented on them. 

Such ideas were new to Suzy, who worried about managing the program 
properly, but this innovation allowed Molly to work in ways that were more 
natural to her. Molly elicited children's ideas and talked to them with 
evident pleasure and ease. Many students showed considerable capacity for 
thought and imagination, and even Suzy was surprised at how much she was 
learning about their ways of thinking (p. 114). 

Counting the days. Molly was "working hard and enjoying it," but at the 
same time she was "counting the days." In October, she announced, "There are 
four more weeks until Thanksgiving, and then it's downhill" (p. 71). 

True to her prediction, Molly went into a holding pattern after Thanks- 
giving. She explained that student teaching had been very long and that she 
was very tired. Almost from the beginning, she had been taking attendance in 



the addition for 85 children each morning, and she wearily recited her daily 
responsibilities : 

Getting them [the class] down to the room, getting them auieted 
writing, transitioning to math . . . explaining directions 
ToTr l '"^'".n^"" '° SettLg them o^t of the' 

ha?i\s I r\^°'" "^'"^'"S them come down from the 

hall as they get back from lunch, making sure they're walking 

tS^ rLm '^"'^ ^""^ afternoon, getting^hem down to 
the room again, getting them to quiet down, ready for reading 
doing their reading strategy lesson with them, getting them^' 
lined up for science or social studies . . . Ld throSg^out 
"^o \ fiS^^i^S things out in my ?ead. 
th"::7"tp'°i7'5'l76)'^'' "^^-^^ ^^^-^^ 

It "required a lot of effort to get mentally up for teaching now," and Molly 
wished "it were all over" (p. 157). 

Suzy felt that classroom management was coming apart and began to 
intervene as she had . . in the early phase of student teaching. During a 
lesson on vowels and co.son.nts, Suzy felt that the children in Molly's group 
were getting "really out of hand." When Suzy questioned Molly wh. :her she 
knew where she was going in tie lesson, Molly responded curtly that she did 
(p. 158). Molly kept saying, "It's so busy; there's so much to do." and Suzy 
wondered whether she should remind Molly that she had only done half of the 
teaching, half of the grading (p. 158). 

Neverthel-ass, her cooperating teacher was extremely enthusiastic about 
Molly's teaching and did not want her to leave student teaching with negative 
feelings. According to Suzy, the director of the Decision-Making Program 
took credit for Molly's many successes, but Suzy concluded, "Molly's a 
natural, a real colleague, and a joy to have around." As a fitting momento. 
all Decision-Making Program student teachers were presented with an engraved 
whistle- -"Harrison School 1984" --by the staff. 



Molly was most herself when teaching an elections unit she had devel- 
oped. She thought that children should know about the presidential elections 
as an important current event. She used social studies to expand their 
vocabulary with "words they would probably be seeing again," "words that they 
probably see in a newspaper or hear people talking about" (p. 125). The unit 
was also important to Molly because, "If I create it, I tend to be more moti- 
vated and directed, and the kids sense this and they meet my expectations" 
(p. 70). 

How Molly planned the project . Molly put time and thought into planning 
her unit. To decide on content, she drew on her everyday knowledge. This is 
illustrated by the vocabulary words and definitions which she created "out of 
her own head" (pp. 123-124). For instance, she defined "power" as "when you 
can do things your way"; "voting" as "giving your support"; "opinion" as 
"what you yourself believe" (p. 79). She assumed that children would be 
interested in the fact that the president must be a U.S. citizen, be at least 
35 years old, that he earned $200,000 a year, and could do, as Molly put it, 
"whatever he wanted." She also thought that children ought to know about 
"gimmicks" for swaying opinions, such as television commercials, buttons, 

signs, and radio announcements. 

Aiming for a tangible outcome to give her a sense of completion and to 

help the children remember what they had studied, Molly decided to have the 

children make a book with a ditto sheet for every lesson: 

It was important for me to give them something they could take 
home, that was something in their hand; this knowledge, float- 
ing around up there, it's in a book, and it's in an order kind 
of book, and it's in the same order that we covered it, and 
that should help their recall, (p. 125) 



The dittos, for instance, required coloring the American flag and matching 
words to definitions. 

For every lesson. Molly wrote out vocabulary words, objectives, and an 
abbreviated script. Her plan for the lesson on voting had these words at the 
top: vote, voting, booth, ballot, vote count, wrap-up. As objectives, Molly 
listed the following: students would be able to state that the opinions of 
the candidates determined how they voted and that their vote was private and 
a matter of choice. Her script was a combination of things to do (count the 
votes; review opinions) and things to say, ("You have a decision;" "Ifs 
time for you to vote"). Molly came up with the idea of using puppets 
(President Richard and Mr. Martin) for candidates and picked "issues" that 
she thought would be meaningful to the children (e.g., the lunch menu, 
recess). She realized that what she was teaching about presidential 
elections was simplified and not true to reality. Still, she believed the 
students could transfer what they learned to other elections (p. 126). 

Molly as "h^r own p erson " On the last day of the sequence, Molly 
reviewed her lesson plans during lunch and commented that it wa. hard to keep 
everything straight and to remember everything she was going to do (p. 62). 
When it was time to start the lesson, she pretended that one of the puppets. 
President Richard, was calling. "Hey, take us out of the closet." Going over 
to a cupboard, she took the puppet out. saying "Hello everybody." The child- 
ren called back, "Hi, President Richard." The puppet said, "I hope you'll 
vote for me." When Molly got the other puppet out. the children greeted it. 
"Hi, we are going to vote for you." 

Launching into the lesson, Molly said, "I think we should go over our 
opinions on the issues. After all, the way you vote is because of what you 
think about the issues." Then, through a combination of recall questions to 




the children- -"Can anyone remember what President Richard said about 
recess?"--and queries to the puppets themselves, she elicited their posi- 
tions, and recorded them on the board. 

The children were noisy and excited, and Molly interjected a few 
warnings. "I can't talk over people. Robert, go to the other side of the 
room. You know how to behave. Sam, you have your warning. Does anyone know 
what the word 'votes' means?" One girl said, "If you pick one person and 
they are 35, that means you vote." Molly let this confused response pass and 
put down the right answer: "Vote is the way you support the candidate." 

Now it was time to vote. Molly said, "I am looking for two people with 
good behavior who can go to the voting booth. Who knows what a voting booth 
is?" She wrote the definition on the board: " Voting booth is where you 
vote." Then she pantomimed stepping into a booth, closing the curtains, and 
stepping out. "A ballot," she explained, "is on what you vote." Molly dis- 
tributed the remaining ditto sheets for the elections booklet. While the 
class worked on them, she took two children at a time to the voting booth she 
had set up in the listening center (p. 67). In the end, Molly ran out of 
time and asked the children to put their books together at home. 

Afterward Molly considered what she would have to do differently in the 
future so that the booklets could be completed and the activities in her 
elections unit would go more smoothly. What happened during her elections 
unit stood in vivid contrast to much of the school work in this classroom, 
bringing Molly and the students to life. Watching her performance, Suzy 
commented spontaneously: "Isn't she fun to watch?" (p. 77). 

What Do the Cases Show? 
Looking back on these stories, one can compare what student teachers 
hoped for as they approached student teaching and what actually happened; how 



persons, program, and settings interacted to shape the experience; and how 
the realities of student teaching-its experiential quality and placement at 
the end of formal preparation-created significant impressions on Molly and 
Susan. Personal meaning, however, is not inconsistent with mislearning. 
Molly's and Susan's student teaching experiences were no exception. 

The Test of Rea]^^y 

Student teaching did not meet Molly's expectations. Having taken for 
granted her capacities concerning the interactive side of teaching, she found 
that she had many of the problems other student teachers have. The children 
tested Molly, and she had difficulty getting their attention and compliance. 
To her surprise, she had to put effort into learning how to manage Suzy's 
class . 

Contrary to her hopes. Molly had limited opportunities to synthesize all 
she had learned in her formal preparation. Instead, she received an inten- 
sive and lengthy induction into the "daily grind" of schooling. Thus, the 
experience proved to be a test for her as a novice but failed to be the cul- 
minating test of what she knew as a teacher. Though understandable. Molly's 
hope reveals a limited view of practical knowledge in teaching and shows how 
views of teaching grow and change over time. 

In contrast, Susan's expectations were largely met. She found out what 
it was like to be responsible for a class and she concluded that she could 
"handle it." Even though Susan never got the level of respect she wanted, 
she succeeded in taking charge. Thus she passed the personal test that stu- 
dent teaching represented for her. 

In teaching subject matter. Susan did the things she had hoped to 
do--plan and teach in several curricular areas over time. Up to a point, s:he 
also succeeded in doing what she had written abouc in her student teaching 



application-putting aside the basal and using the community as a resource. 
Lacking a sense of what she needed to learn to foster her students' under- 
standing, sh. was s^atisfied that she had the experiences she wanted. 

Interaction of Factors in rh^ ExperiPnrP 

Susan's personal capacities and concerns set the boundaries for learning 
from student teaching. Drawing on a new-found confidence developed in per- 
sonal relationships and work, Susan decided to take a hard line with the 
class. Her basin i^,security came through, however, when she continued t.. 
worry about not getting enough respect from her students. The need for per- 
sonal recognition helped motivate the book-making project. But the potential 
of the project as a worthwhile learning experience for teacher and children 
was curtailed by Susan's limited understanding of story writing and its peda- 

Susan worked to realize her ideal of a good teacher, one who combines 
skillful management with learning activities that are "fun." Based on 
teachers she admired from her past, this ideal had been extended by what she 
had learned in the Academic Program. Whereas Susan came to student teaching 
with foundational knowledge of teaching and learning, she aid not know how to 
connect this knowledge to pedagogical thinking and acting. 

Although rhe classroom setting did not impede Susan, it did not offer the 
necessary structure for learning. Susan had a great deal of responsibility 
and latitude. She did not have to perpetuate practices that conflicted w,::. 
her personal views or with those of her program. In fact, her cooperating 
teacher was an exemplary teacher of academic subjects. But because Susan did 
not see Bob as a model and because he did not act as a teacher educator, she 
had little opportunity to learn from him. 



In Molly's experience, the setting dominated. Against her nature and the 
messages of her program, she adopted a "teacherish persona" consonant with 
the school. In instructional activities typical for the setting. Molly mir- 
rored her cooperating teacher's bland and authoritarian comportment. This 
compliance came at a cost: The pervasive ethos of control left its marks on 
children and on Molly. When circumstances allowed. Molly asserted herself, 
drawing on her personal talents, everyday knowledge and the ideas she had 
learned in the Decision-Making Program. Employing strategies from a social 
foundations class, she departed from the sexism of Harrison school, she 
simplified the program's planning formats and motivated herself to write 
daily lesson plans involving objectives, scripts, and behaviors. 

Molly's knack for visuals, drama, and impersonation were prominent when 
she did "her own thing." Using puppets to relate the presidential election 
to children's lives, she was engaged and engaging in the activity. Doing 
things she beli3ved in. such as chip trading and writing conferences, .cne was 
warm and attentive. In the interplay of setting, person, and program. Molly 
changed personas as she moved through different instructional contexts. The 
tension between socialization and self-assertion, played out in these 
different contexts, set limits on her learning. 

Lessons of Experi ence anri Their T.imi^.c, 

Despite differences in the amount of prior classroom experience, both 
Molly and Susan learned how hard it can be for a novice uo take charge of 
someone else's classroom. Children recognize a lack of experience and behave 
accordingly; student teachers do not know (and may not like) the operating 
system of their classroom placement. 

Being in charge and having to keep 25 students occupied showed Susan the 
value of setting liuits and dealing with management through instructional 



planning that considers individual differences. She also saw how much time 
and effort that cakes. Molly assumed that she already had teaching and 
management skills. When the children were difficult to handle, she imitated 
Suzy who was skilled at pacing and monitoring the class but preoccupied with 
control . 

As for the knowledge side of teaching, both Molly and Susan were on their 
own during student teaching, and they succeeded within the limited under- 
standings and skills they brought to student teaching. Molly's election unit 
showed that she was serious about planning and completing an activity she 
thought would be meaningful to children, but she lacked any grounded 
understanding of politics or children's interests. Her beliefs and decisions 
in this area went unchallenged. 

While Susan's program stressed academic knowledge and teaching for 
understanding, she did not know how to recognize and develop possibilities 
for worthwhile academic learning. She was proud about doing what she thought 
were "meaningful" activities, such as going on fieldtrips or making books. 
Although the reading supervisor challenged some of Susan's plans, her sense 
that she had been "innovative" and "in charge" caused her to ignore his 

From the standpoint of the central tasks of teaching and teacher prepara- 
tion, Molly's and Susan's learning was systematically limited. Neither stu- 
dent teacher was helped to attend to pupil thinking in planning or teaching, 
or to clarify what counts as a worthwhile learning activity. While student 
teaching is not an occasion to learn subject matter, it can be an opportunity 
to consider the adequacy and accuracy of what one is teaching and to practice 
probing students' thinking to see what they are learning. 

Susan may have been closer to perceiving the central tasks of teaching, 
but neither cooperating teacher nor university supervisors focused her 


o 43 

attention on the particular techniques she needed to use to accomplish her 
goals in practice. In some ways. Molly seemed more attuned to the purpose- 
ful, strategic aspects of pedagogical thinking, out she became saturated with 
"institutional activities" (Green. 1971) and received no help to further 
pupil understanding. 

Personal Mean ing and Mislearntn g 

Because student teaching comes at the end of formal preparation and 
because it is experiential, it is a source of impressive, cathected 
learnings, regardless of the merits of the lessons learned. Both Molly and 
Susan felt that they had proven themselves even before student teaching was 
over. Not only had they stood the test of time, they seemed to have 
succeeded as teachers. They felt they had learned by doing. Both received 
glowirg recommendations from their cooperating teachers. This encouraged and 
reinforced these misconceptions. Thus, for Molly and Susan, student teaching 
was more an end than a beginning. 

Molly received criticism and advice only about the management side of 
teaching. This, coupled with Suzy's generally enthusiastic evaluation, left 
Molly's personal and process-oriented view of teaching undisturbed. The 
pedagogy of subject matter eluded her (Shulman. 1986). Susan sought outside 
advice about discipline and management, but placed great stock in Bob's 
reassuring midterm and final evaluation. In her first extended encounter 
with teaching, she defined her success mostly in terms of getting respect and 
conducting innovative activities. Yet Susan lacked the skills to clarify the 
point of these activities. Because student teaching has great personal 
meaning, surviving the experience and receiving praise from teachers have 
great affective salience. Compared with such "hard evidence." the rhetoric 
of programs carries less weight with student teachers. 



When is Student TeAnhinp Teach^.r RH..n.^^^^9 
Together with our framework, these stories of teacher learning during 
student teaching help to illustrate some answers to the question posed in the 
title of this paper. Student teaching is teacher education when intending 
teachers are moved toward a practical understanding of the central tasks of 
teaching; when their dispositions and skills to extend and probe student 
learning are strengthened; when they learn to question what they see, believe 
and do; when they see the limits of justifying their decisions and actions in 
terms of "neat ideas" or classroom control; and when they see experience as a 
beginning rather than a culminating point in their learning. Meeting these 
conditions depends on teacher educators' perceiving and acting on the central 
tasks of teacher preparation. 

By themselves, student teachers can rarely see beyond what they want or 
need to do or what the classroom setting requires. Without guidance, they 
cannot be expected to recognize that management skills may be necessary to 
teach classroom groups but are certainly not sufficient for teaching 
content. Nor can we expect novices to probe the validity of the knowledge 
they have to make curriculum or question their beliefs about children's 
interests while they try to stay abreast of all aspects of classroom life 
within the constraints of someone else's classroom and their own limited 

Teacher educators must be actively present in student teaching to give 
prospecti^re teachers a concrete sense of pedagogical thinking and acting. As 
the trusted person in the setting, cooperating teachars are well positioned 
to induct novices into the invisible world of teaching. The job of coopera- 
ting teacher is to talk aloud about what they do and why, to demonstrate how 
to probe and extend student thinking, to alert student teachers to interpret 


4 b 


signs of understanding and confusion in pupils, to stimulate student teachers 
to talk about their reasons for decisions and actions and the difficulties 
inherent to finding out what pupils know and what they need to learn. As an 
outsider to the setting, the university supervisor can help the student 
teacher relate the specifics of the classroom to larger frames of reference 
such as disciplinary knowledge, societal mandates, research on teaching, a 
broad view of learning to teach (see Buchmann. 1984). Through "situational 
teaching" (Cohn. 1979). the supervisor can connect foundational knowledge to 
particular actions and decisions and reinforce important concepts and 
orientations from the program. If cooperating teachers and university 
supervisors do not act as teacher educators, other factors (e.g. persons, 
setting) will dominate, shaping what can be learned in student teaching 
(Griffin et al.. 1983). 

For student teaching to be teacher education, it must go beyond survival 
or extended practice in the outward forms of teaching to sort out appropriate 
from inappropriate lessons of experience. Well-meaning praise from cooper- 
ating teachers, coupled with a focus on management, fixes the attention of 
student teachers in the wrong direction. University supervisors cannot only 
be occasional visitors who mark observation forms; they must act in concert 
with cooperating teachers to make student teaching an occasion for teacher 

The current structure of student teaching makes these goals difficult, at 
best, to achieve. Indeed, nnr case studies show how teacher learning can be 
limited or misdirected even with the best intentions and with some suitable 
preparation. For example, the case studies dramatize the failure of 
cooperating teachers to take seriously their roles as teacher educators. 
Current proposals (e.g., the Holmes Group report, 1986) to involve 




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