Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



In response to the growing demands and pressures on teacher preparation and quality, as well as the call for further research distinguishing the role and impact of early field experiences (FEs), this qualitative study explored the perceptions of the secondary English pre-service teachers at a large southern State University. The study was guided by four research questions that aimed to: (1) examine the pre-service teachers’ perceptions about the value of their early FEs; (2) explore how early FEs shaped the pre-service teachers’ understanding of teaching; (3) identify concerns about teaching that the pre-service teachers have as they undergo FEs; and (4) understand whether the pre-service teachers’ perceptions of teaching shifted from the beginning to the end of their FEs, and, if they do, how they shifted and what factors caused the shift. Deweyan pragmatic concepts of experience, continuity, and interaction together with narrative inquiry theory, Vygotskian sociocultural theory of development, and Bakhtin’s concepts of dialogue and heteroglossia composed a theoretical framework allowing narrative inquiry as leading method to examine the pre-service teachers’ stories. The four main participants of the study provided the majority of data presented by field site reports, field experience logs, autobiographical essays, conceptual teaching units, and individual and focus group interviews. The data analysis applied a three-dimensional narrative methodology and thematic narrative analysis. The findings indicated that the pre-service teachers valued FEs as foundational to their professional growth and understanding of teaching despite some organizational issues. The study results allowed for implications concerning policy and practice and further research in the area of FEs. While the findings cannot be generalized to the entire population of pre-service teachers, they add to the body of research and to understanding the early FEs and their impact on professional establishment and growth.



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Committee Chair

Bickmore, Steven



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Education Commons