Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Human Sciences and Education

Document Type




Teachers are certified either by a traditional university-based program or an alternative route to certification program. Graduates transition into teaching from diverse backgrounds and bring with them various experiences and predetermined expectations and visions of the profession. Teacher education preparation curriculum traditionally has included exposure to pedagogy and theory. These programs amass many underprepared students, which results in graduates who are underexposed to pedagogical best practices.

The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) approach to teaching views learning spaces as sites for knowledge-building, innovation, and inquiry. According to the SoTL, the educator looks carefully and critically at students’ learning to improve college and university courses and programs (Hutchings, Huber, & Ciccone, 2011).

To examine the perceptions of teachers, five elementary school teachers with three or more years of teaching experience participated in a focus group interview about their perceptions of their teacher education preparation and their teaching practice.

The research questions and interview protocol focused on understanding how to better align teacher preparation experiences with the daily endurances of teaching. In addition, this study considered the perceptions of both teachers who completed a traditional teacher education preparation program and teachers who chose an alternative route to teacher certification.

Teachers were invited to participate in the focus group based on their certification status, years of teaching experience, and level of engagement while teaching. Probing questions were asked to gain a deeper understanding of their perceptions and experiences.

The differences among the teachers’ perceptions was insignificant, regardless of the certification route chosen. In addition, the study revealed that the knowledge teachers gained from observing and interacting with colleagues outweighed the knowledge gained from teacher education preparation programs.

Findings from this study contribute to the restructuring of teacher education preparation programs, teacher induction programs, and teacher experiences. Recommendations from the findings of this study include incorporation of more teacher observation and collaborative experiences in teacher education preparation programs and providing teachers with a more realistic preparation experience.



Committee Chair

Mitchell, Roland