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The voice of the school advisor : perceptions of their practice Schmidt, Christina Renee 2002

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THE VOICE OF THE SCHOOL ADVISOR: PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR PRACTICE by C H R I S T I N A R E N E E S C H M I D T B.A. University of Windsor, 1994 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R T S in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Centre for the Study of Curriculum & Instruction) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F BRITISH C O L U M B I A March 2002 © Christina Renee Schmidt, 2002 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T 11 This study explores the role of the school advisor in teacher education. The role of the school advisor has been viewed as problematic because of the ambiguity surrounding the expectations of this position. In fact, 13.7% of the beginning teachers found that uncertain expectations of the school advisor's role were a source of conflict in their practicum (BCCT, 2001, p. 17). This study examines responses to the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey, which asked school advisors to provide perceptions of their role. The qualitative responses provided for these questions were analyzed using comparative analysis (Strauss and Corbin, 1998), where categories are developed from the similarities and differences among responses. Twenty-seven response categories emerged from the advisors' responses to Question (10): What are the three most important things that you try to communicate to your student teachers? Nineteen categories emerged from Questions (17/18): If you were able to change one thing about the way in which UBC organizes its practica, what would it be? Is there anything else you would like to highlight in your work with student teachers? The definition and explanation of these categories presents a colourful and dynamic picture of the advisory role, which is generally found to be professionally satisfying and personally invigorating. Their paramount focus as advisors is to instil practical skills, while at the same time, the main concerns revolve around the way the university addresses these same issues. The identification of advisors' perceptions has implications for pre-service teacher education. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii TABLE OF CONTENTS u iii LIST OF TABLES vi LIST OF FIGURES vii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS viii CHAPTER ONE 1 Introduction 1 Purpose 2 Research Questions 3 Significance of the study 4 Limitations of the study 5 CHAPTER TWO 7 Introduction 7 Student Teacher Supervision 8 Participants' Perceptions of the Practicum 14 Role Ambiguity 16 Practical and Professional Development in Student Teachers 19 Effects of the Practicum on the School Advisor 21 Summary 23 CHAPTER THREE 26 Introduction 26 Context 26 Broader Research 28 Survey Participants 29 Data collection 30 Data analysis 31 Recording 31 Category Development 31 Coding 32 Further Analysis 32 Central Category 33 Research Focus 33 Comparison of Findings 35 CHAPTER FOUR 37 Introduction 37 Survey Response and Representation 37 General Demographics 38 Gender 38 IV School Districts 39 School Level 40 Participant Age 41 Responses to Question 10 42 Preparation 45 Pupil Benefit 46 Teacher Benefit 46 Preparation Vignette 47 Classroom Management 49 Pupil Learning 50 Relationship to Planning 50 Respect for the Student 50 Personality 51 Classroom Management Vignette 51 Flexibility 54 Adaptability 55 Teaching Strategies 56 Flexibility Vignette 56 Relationships with Pupils 57 Relationship with Pupils Vignette 59 Summary 61 CHAPTER FIVE 62 Introduction 62 Analysis 62 Categories 64 Category Explanations 66 Other 66 Positive experience with UBC 68 Lesson/unit planning prior 70 Placement of the practicum within the school year 73 Student teachers should teach more 75 Longer practica 77 Faculty Advisor there more often 78 Summary 80 CHAPTER SIX 82 Introduction 82 BCCT Survey Overview 82 Gender Comparison 83 School Level 84 Practicality 85 Classroom Management 88 Role of the School Advisor 90 Sources of Conflict 91 Generally 91 Conflict with school advisor 92 Summary 95 Grimmet and Ratzlaff (1985) Overview 96 Survey Demographics 97 Study Findings 98 Postmodern Paradoxes 104 Conclusion 106 CHAPTER SEVEN 107 Introduction 107 Research Questions 108 Research Question No. 1 109 Research Question No. 2 110 Research Question No. 3 112 Conclusions 116 Implications for Practice 117 REFERENCES 120 APPENDIX A 124 APPENDIX B 130 vi LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Cross tabulation of surveys returned by gender 39 Table 2. Advisor Response by school level 41 Table 3. Category labels and explanations 43 Table 4. Top three things advisors try to convey to student teachers by school level 45 Table 5. Categorical responses for questions 17 & 18 64 Table 6. School level ranking of advisors' comments and suggested changes regarding UBC's practica organization 65 Table 7. Comparison of gender representation 84' Table 8. The school levels of survey participants 85 Table 9. Comparison of "Voice of the School Advisor" survey (1999/2000) with Grimmet and Ratzlaffs survey (1984/1985) 98 Table 10. Comparison of advisor role as explored by Grimmet and Ratzlaff (1985) with the 101 Table 11. The value and beneficiaries of aspects of the school advisory role 115 Vl l LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Ages of VOSA Survey Respondents 42 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS viii I would first like to thank my thesis supervisor, Tony Clarke, for asking me (so long ago) i f I would like to help him out with this survey he was putting together. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this project, persuading me to make a piece of it my own, and supporting me to this conclusion. Your guidance and patience is gready appreciated. I am very grateful to my family who has supported me in this endeavour. Thanks for listening when you weren't entirely interested, proofreading when I needed a fresh perspective, and giving me an answer whenever I asked, "What's another word for ?" Above all, I wish to thank Laine. Y o u have always believed that I can achieve more than I imagine for myself. That belief and your gende, constant encouragement has brought me to this point. Thank you. C H A P T E R O N E Working with student teachers is a rich, rewarding and stimulating experience. One which helps me develop as a professional and also, on a personal level! With the help of my student teachers, I remain current, up-to-date and continue to think "outside the box"! I truly appredate the opportunity to work with new teachers, just beginning their career working with our children—our future. I believe it is important for master teachers to give back by mentoring our newest educators. - West Vancouver School Advisor Introduction My research interest falls within the area of teacher education. Specifically, I examine the role of the school advisor in order to enhance the effectiveness of the practicum experience for both the school advisor1 and the student teacher2. Teacher education is a unique experience for everyone involved in the process. For the student teacher, it is a time of change, in which participants must make the transition from student to teacher. For the school advisor, it requires a shift from typically solitary work to the sharing of one's classroom and practice. These circumstances affect the working relationship between the student teacher and the school advisor, which is often considered the most influential component of the teacher education program (BCCT, 2001). This study, then, explores the role of the school advisor in teacher education. 1 The term school advisor is intended to be synonymous with other phrases denoting this role, such as cooperating teacher, school associate, and mentor teacher. 2 Student teacher refers to an education student currently enrolled in a professional teacher education program. 2 The role of the school advisor has been viewed as problematic because of the ambiguity surrounding the expectations of this position. In fact, 13.7% of the beginning teachers found that uncertain expectations of the school advisor's role were a source of conflict in their practicum (BCCT, 2001, p. 17). In a review on "Learning to teach" research, Canadian researchers Wideen, Mayer-Smith, and Moon (1998) emphasize the need to further explore the roles of school advisors in teacher education: "More attention needs to be directed at an in-depth study of how other players affect the landscape and process of learning to teach...supervising teachers are frequently missing in the research" (p.169). I hope that this research will contribute to a better understanding of how school advisors view their role as advisors and more specifically, the "pedagogical objectives" (Chin, 1999) they attempt to develop in student teachers. P u r p o s e In order to develop a deeper understanding of teacher education, one must consider all of the players involved in the student teacher's development. Much has been written about the experience of the student teacher and the novice teacher; however, the intention of this study is to provide an examination of the complementary role of advisor. Specifically, this study presents the perceptions of school advisors regarding their role. A n overview of their perceptions was developed from the responses provided for the "Voice of the School Advisor" (VOSA) survey that was completed by advisors participating in UBC's 1999/2000 teacher education program. By examining the perceptions of school advisors, we achieved a better appreciation of the dynamics of the influential pairing of student teacher and school advisor. Surveying the advisors who worked with student teachers from the University of British Columbia has led to a better understanding of the practicum and a clearer sense of the work advisors attempt to do at different grade levels. This study examined the perspectives of school advisors working in elementary, middle, and secondary schools. From their responses I was able to discern similarities and differences between advisors who teach in different settings. That, in turn, informs the other members of the triad3, and the policy makers developing teacher education programs. This presentation of the school advisor's role, through their own words, may lead to a more fulfilling and more effective teacher education program for all members of the teacher education triad. R e s e a r c h Q u e s t i o n s This study focuses on the qualitative dimension of the "Voice of the School Advisor Survey". (Please refer to Appendix A for a copy of the survey.) Particular attention is paid to questions 10, 17, and 18, each of which provide insights into the attitudes, beliefs, and understandings that give meaning to the work in which school advisors engage as school-based educators. Questions that guide this study: • What do school advisors attempt to convey to their student teachers? • How do school advisors perceive their role? • How do the results of this study complement similar, contemporary studies to provide us with a richer understanding of the school advisor's role? 3 The term triad is used in reference to practicum relationship between the student teacher, the school advisor, and the faculty advisor. 4 S i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h e s t u d y Despite the fact that the school advisor is repeatedly identified as the most influential part of the student teacher's education, there are many aspects of this role which remain, for the most part, unstudied. Although some research focuses on the supervisory relationship, most research concentrates on styles of supervision and communication patterns. Not much is known about the function of the school advisor in the development of the student teacher (Glickman & Bey, 1990; Wideen, Mayer-Smith, & Moon, 1998). In addition, much of the recent literature on school advisors is largely anecdotal (Chin, 1999) so a large, systematic study such as this is significant because it provides a contextual backdrop for further studies in jurisdictions with demographics and programs that are similar to U B C . This study attempts to expand the understanding of the role and influence of the school advisor, as the current concept is ambiguous and unclear (BCCT, 2001). In other research (Applegate & Lasley, Cole & Sorrill, and Morine-Dershimer & Leighfield, 1995), authors have indicated that advisors need more direction regarding the specific expectations which accompany their role. Therefore, the findings gathered from the V O S A survey attempt to discern the role that school advisors have created for themselves. It is hoped that by clearly stating the work that advisors are currendy doing, university programs can endeavour to complement this work. Fundamentally, the intention of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the practicum experience from the perspective of the school advisor. Hopefully, a better understanding will lead to the enhancement of the practical component of teacher education. Limitat ions of the study This study has some limitations. Due to the nature of the data collection, which was an open-ended survey form, we were only able to gather static data; hence, we were not able to ask follow-up questions that would clarify or extend the meaning of the responses. Thus, the results lack specific details that would present a more comprehensive picture of the school advisor's role. Budgetary constraints only allowed for one generic survey to be sent to all advisors, regardless of their teaching context, i.e., elementary school, middle school, or high school. Therefore, context specific questions were not proposed. However, the generic survey is conducive to the comparison of teachers' perceptions across the three different school levels. Also, this survey endeavoured to examine the perceptions of school advisors, and as such, did not solicit the views of other people involved in a developing teacher's professional education. Indeed, faculty advisors and student teachers themselves have ideas and opinions regarding the school advisory role; however, the gathering of those perceptions was beyond the scope of this survey. Nevertheless, the British Columbia College of Teacher's survey (2001) of beginning teachers provides a valuable tool for comparison, which will be explored later in this thesis. Another limitation is the voluntary nature of the survey. Teachers were sent the survey via school district mail and asked to fill it out and mail their responses to U B C . The survey return rate was significant at 61%; however, information could not be gathered from the remaining 39% of UBC's school advisors. Consequently, the results of this study, although generalizable, are based upon the responses of those teachers who chose to participate. Furthermore, this study was specifically limited to those advisors attached to UBC's main campus program and did not include U B C affiliated programs located at the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops or Selkirk College in Castiegar. Consequendy, the generalizability of this study is most accurately applied to institutions presenting a similar program. Despite these limitations, the findings can be interpreted in varying contexts. Ultimately, the analysis and interpretation of the results of this survey attempt to inform the understanding of the practicum experience through a broad examination of how school advisors view their role in the development of student teachers. 7 CHAPTER TWO Review of the Literature Perhaps what has been most poignantly illustrated is a needfor more study of school advisors' practices in their work with student teachers to gain a better understanding of the factors and structures that enhance and constrain the quality of the student teaching experience. - Peter Chin, 1997 Introduction This section presents a review of the pertinent literature relating to the role of the school advisor in a preservice teacher's education. Much study has been done regarding the practicum experience of the student teacher as the practicum is continually cited as the most influential component of the teacher education program (BCCT, 2001). Also, the school advisor is repeatedly identified as the most influential force on a person's learning to teach (Grimmet & Ratzlaff, 1986; Richardson-Koehler, 1988;). However, much of the research has not focussed on the goals and intentions of school advisor's work with student teachers; therefore, little is known about the role of the school advisor's work in the development of the student teacher (Glickman & Bey, 1990; Wideen, Mayer-Smith, & Moon, 1998). Future studies should attempt to expand the understanding of the role and influence of the school advisor as the current concept of teacher as school advisor is ambiguous and unclear. Most practicum arrangements see a student teacher assigned to one practising teacher. The student teacher then spends two to twelve weeks working daily with both the teacher and the 8 pupils in that classroom (BCCT, 2001). Other than the periodic visits from the university faculty advisor and the subsequent triad conferences, most of the responsibility for introducing the student teacher to the profession resides with the school advisor. Their role is paramount. The following research studies attempt to clarify the ambiguity that surrounds the role of the school advisor. It also explores aspects of supervision and supervisory styles found within the student teacher/school advisor relationship. By considering the perspecdves of the student teachers, faculty aadvisors, and the school advisors themselves, this review of current literature highlights some of the common conceptions regarding this position, as well as pointing to problems inherent with this role. Student Teacher Supervision Glickman and Bey's (1990) review of available research on teacher supervision focuses heavily on in-service supervision as a process of helping teachers improve their instruction. Embedded within the in-service supervision section are specific outcomes to be achieved through this process: increased reflection, improved collegiality and communication, increased teacher retention, greater teacher autonomy, improved teacher attitude, and improved student achievement (p. 551-552). However, in the brief pre-service section of the article, there are no specified outcomes. This may indeed be the product of the lack of research into the role of the school advisor, or the result of a lack of clear expectations on behalf of the university and school advisors themselves. Outcomes mentioned for the role of the school advisor are simply stated as observing the student teacher and providing feedback regarding the effectiveness of 9 the performance (p. 558). Generalized outcomes such as these may contribute to the reported perceptions of student teachers viewing school advisors as pragmatic and the faculty advisor as theoretical. In the summary, Glickman and Bey state criteria that should be applied when selecting teachers to serve in the role of school advisor: potential influence as a role model, prior experience as an advisor, and a supervisory style matching the student teacher's need (p. 561). This is similarly supported by Enz and Cook's study (1992). Enz and Cook (1992) surveyed student teachers and their school advisors in an attempt to discern the perceptions held regarding the roles and functions of the school advisor. They found that the responsibilities of the school advisor could be categorized into three groups: personal, instructional, and professional. Enz and Cook's instructional and professional categories echo Grimmet and Ratzlaff s (1986) and Gasner and Wham's (1997) emphasis on the transmission of pragmatic skills. However, the personal category developed by Enz and Cook stresses the necessity for the school advisor to possess the qualities of an effective mentor. Indeed, the authors suggest that it is those qualities (being a personal confidante, providing moral support and encouragement, actively listening, and articulating clearly) that should form the criteria for determining who should be a sponsor teacher (p. 13). According to this study, the foundation of the school advisor's role should be their ability to mentor, not necessarily their teaching proficiency. The implications of these findings are that 10 school advisors and student teachers believe that the practical skill development will excel in concert with personal support. Their results place considerable emphasis on the communication dimension of the school advisors' work. Dunn and Taylor (1993) examined the conversations of eight participating cooperating teachers. Their intention was to explore the type of communication occurring between the cooperating and student teachers. They distinguished between Consultant advice, which tended to apply to the present case and was unlikely to promote reflectivity, and Teacher advice, which involved elaboration, explanation, or examples to promote transfer and reflectivity. Forty-five percent of advice was Teacher advice, while the remaining 55% was Consultant advice. Consultant advice was more likely to occur during planning meetings and in relation to specific materials. This is interesting to consider in light of Enz and Cook's study (1992) that found school advisors should be effective mentors. Consultant advice would not likely be consistent with mentoring. Sudzina, Giebelhaus, and Coolican (1997) explored the expectations and perceptions of the mentoring and supervisory relationship between school advisors and student teachers. Student teachers related success in student teaching to a positive relationship with their school advisor. The school advisors, on the other hand, saw their roles in one of two ways: (1) as a hierarchical model where they were the student teacher's leader, or (2) as a partner in a shared, negotiated situation. Those who subscribed to the hierarchical model believed in being the caretaker of the student teacher, which involved helping to plan lessons and taking on extra duties. School advisors who saw mentoring as a shared responsibility believed that roles and expectations needed to be discussed and made explicit. As well as a means of determining expectations, 11 discussions also provided both the student teacher and the school advisor an opportunity to learn from each other. Sudzina, et. al. strongly suggest that school advisors receive training in the clinical supervision model of pre-observation conferencing, observation, and post-observation conferencing in order to encourage true mentoring, rather than mere advising. The authors propose that this supervision model is dependent upon both parties having a clear understanding of their roles and the expectations of them. Similar to Sudzina, et. al. (1997), Borko and Mayfield (1995) maintain that these expectations affect the way in which cooperating teachers and university supervisors work with student teachers. The researchers found that there was a wide range of quality and influence among the conferences conducted by various cooperating teachers. A t one end of the spectrum, cooperating teachers believed that they played an active role in student teachers' learning and were, therefore, very involved in observing and providing feedback. O n the other hand, some cooperating teachers did not feel that specific feedback or suggestions were important factors for the development of the student teacher. Regardless of the approach taken with their student teachers, the 11 cooperating teachers involved in this study were highly satisfied with their work. " A t their best, student teachers' relationships with both cooperating teachers and university supervisors can provide feedback about specific lesson components, suggestions about new ways to think about teaching and learning, and encouragement to reflect on one's practice. When these conditions exist, the potential of student teaching is realized" (p.513). This study found that in most instances, this potential was not realized. Conferences with cooperating teachers rarely explored in-depth issues. 1 2 Borko & Mayfield's study is interesting because it considers how student teachers view the practicum experience, that is, as an opportunity to practice their skills while receiving some feedback. The authors indicate that participants in this triad recognize the delicate nature of this situation and, therefore, seek to minimize discomfort and risk-taking. They suggest that enabling the cooperating teacher to become more confident in their role as teacher educator will deepen the value of this experience. Hoy and Woolfolk (1989), in their analysis of the supervision of student teachers, highlighted the tension between reflective/inquiry teaching and skill mastery and the delicate balance between the two that teachers need to achieve. They purport that without a technical base from which to work, teachers are not free to engage in analysis and inquiry. This claim seems to support other research that recognizes the practical focus of school advisors. However, Hoy and Woolfolk believe that school advisors and student teachers need to move beyond skill development and engage in reflective practice. They suggest four elements of successful supervision: (1) establishing clear and defined roles to help the student teacher become technically competent and reflective; (2) providing a framework for reflection; (3) training members of the triad to implement a supportive system that focuses on transitioning the student from dependence to independence; and (4) creating an environment that supports 13 experimentation and self-criticism. They also indicate that much of the clinical supervision process is ambiguous and in need of clarification (p. 121), which is consistent with the other research. Richardson-Koehler (1988) performed a qualitative study that attempted to discern the barriers hindering the supervision of student teachers. Like Hoy and Woolfolk (1989), Richardson-Koehler suggests that situation-specific feedback given by the school advisor was one barrier to effective supervision because it results in the student teacher's inability to generalize the principles learned during the practicum. Another barrier to effective supervision was the apparent focus of the school advisor on teacher individualism. She found that the student teachers were learning that the criterion of teacher success was "what feels right to the individual teacher" (p. 33). This seems to reflect a lack of standard values for teaching effectiveness and the basis of 'what feels right' does not seem to promote an inquiry based approach to teaching. Like other studies, Richardson-Koehler mentions that school advisors' approaches to teaching were influenced most strongly by their own student teaching experience (p. 30). Richardson-Koehler suggests that to alleviate these barriers there ought to be more professional development for school advisors. They propose that supervisory training will deepen the understanding gained by student teachers, encourage generalizability, and lessen the reliance on the "learn by experience" norm that is prevalent in many schools (p. 33). 14 Participants' Perceptions of the Practicum The British Columbia College of Teachers has conducted four surveys of recent graduates of teacher education programs in British Columbia. These surveys are intended to provide feedback to the College of Teachers about pre-service teacher education programs. The most recent survey (2001) had 1,963 respondents who shared their opinions regarding their own teacher education experiences. The 2001 survey indicated that 94.5% of those surveyed believed their practicum to be the most important part of their teacher training. Respondents perceived their practicum to be a chance to rehearse for the role of "teacher" (91.5%) and an introduction to the practicalities of teaching (96.1%). The majority of those surveyed ranked school advisors to be good models of teaching practice (86.6%). School advisors were ranked highest (86.5%) when respondents were asked about helpfulness on practicum, while faculty advisors were seen as secondary (77.7%). There seems to be an accepted notion of a university/classroom dichotomy, which the BCCT ' s 2001 survey explored. The survey indicates that 17.2% of respondents reported that there was poor communication between the university or its representatives and the school advisor. The difference in philosophy between the university and the school accounted for 15.6% of conflict, as reported by those surveyed. Additionally, 13.7% of beginning teachers found that differences in expectations of the role of the school advisory role caused conflict on practicum. Overall, the B C C T survey shows that differences in expectations posed a significant problem for student teachers, with 60.2% of the respondents identifying conflict situations between the teacher education program and the school (p. 17). 15 This report informs the research of school advisors in many ways. First, it clearly shows how pre-service teachers highly value the school advisor and the role the advisor plays in their professional education. Specifically, these data point to the practical dimension of this role, as well as its performative quality; that is, the advisor's ability to translate educational theory into classroom practice. Although this study clearly indicates the importance of the school advisor from the perspective of the student teacher, it does not specify the actions and activities that were effective. Hamilton and Riley (1999) surveyed 56 interns and their 37 cooperating teachers before and after the internship in an attempt to identify the similar and differing perceptions of intern concerns. Using the Johari Window tool 4 to compare responses, the researchers identified 27 intern concerns that were shared by both the interns and the cooperating teachers prior to the internship. Twenty-two of the 27 shared concerns focussed on instructional and discipline concerns. A t the conclusion of the internship, the cooperating teacher still perceived 15 instructional and disciplinary concerns, while the intern perceived none; only one concern remained common between the two. The authors suggest these results indicate that interns view the practicum as the completion of their learning process, while the cooperating teachers, on the other hand, view the practicum as the one step in continuing professional development for the intern. This difference in perspectives regarding the practicum can have many implications. The Johari Window is a framework "used in group process programs to depict how individuals give and receive knowledge and beliefs about themselves and others" (p. 98). 16 These findings complement that of Gasner (1998, 1997) and other researchers who conclude that school advisors see their role as contributing to the future of education—a duty that begins a process, rather than completing it. Although the findings of Hamilton and Riley's study are to be considered preliminary, these perceptions can shed some light on the practical/theoretical dichotomy that colours the experience of the student teacher. In light of this research, the school advisor's perceived emphasis on practical skills and pragmatism may be due in part to Hamilton and Riley's assertion that advisors see the practicum as part of a much longer process that involves knowledge gained from a teacher's own experience. If this is the case, skills would undoubtedly be emphasized during the contrived practicum experience because substantive reflection is likely to take place later on in the prospective teacher's own classroom (Hoy and Woolfolk, 1989). Conversely, Hamilton and Riley suggest that interns see the practicum experience as the completion of their education. This, too, could imply that by the time student teachers reach the practicum stage of their education (typically, the final stage of the education program), they feel as though they have 'ingested' and considered all the theory required. Role Ambiguity A n earlier study that asked school advisors to provide feedback on their role was conducted by Applegate and Lasley (1982). Unlike Gasner and Wham, Applegate and Lasley surveyed school advisors who had monitored field experience students; that is, students who are interested in a career in teaching but are not yet enrolled in a professional program. Applegate and Lasley's survey attempted to discern what problems faced school advisors in this situation. They found there were six problems associated with monitoring field experience students: (1) orientation to teaching, (2) understanding the partnership, (3) professionalism, (4) attitudes and skills of field experience students, (5) enthusiasm for teaching, and (6) planning and organizing. Sponsoring teachers in Applegate and Lasley's study want to see that field experience students have undertaken some practical preparation before arriving in the classroom, which underscores similar, pracdcal concerns of the school advisors that were identified in other studies. This study indicated that in the case of monitoring field experience students there seemed to be an obscure understanding of the role of the cooperating teacher. This is a similar finding to other studies examining the experience of advisors and student teachers in educadon programs (BCCT, 2001; Cole & Sorrill, 1992). Applegate and Lasley concluded that the uncertain expectations of the cooperating teacher's role were at the root of many of the six problems (p. 17). Their suggestion, congruent with many other authors mentioned in this review, was for increased communication between the school and the university. However, Applegate and Lasley seem to be suggesting that the functions of these roles be dictated by the university to both the school advisor and the field experience student (p. 18) rather than negotiated among all members of the triad. This study of the perceived problems of sponsor teachers is helpful in determining what the teacher expects of the field experience student, and subsequently the university that prepares them. What seems to be missing from this paper is the question of what the school advisor expects to teach or impart to the field experience student. Cole and Sorrill (1992) also attempted to increase the clarity of the school advisor's role. Their small qualitative study was based on informal discussion and the analysis of journal entries 18 completed by two faculty advisors and a small group of school advisors. Their findings indicated that the dudes of the school advisor are based on assumptions (p. 42) rather than explicit discussions with representatives of the university. Therefore, the assumptions upon which school advisors define their role are based on what they have observed occurring in their own school, or rather, what they recall from their own experiences as student teachers years ago. Again, the authors call for increased communication within the triad to help clarify roles and responsibilities, as well as recognition and evaluation. Cole and Sorrill also discuss the selection of school advisors, noting that advisors are often not chosen, but rather volunteer. This seems to go against the common assumption that student teachers will learn from those who are regarded by their peers as "master teachers." This study, again, highlights the ambiguity surrounding the advisory role. Although the authors call for increased communication, they do not present the work advisors endeavour to do during the practica. Nor do they suggest any ways in which the selection of school advisors can be improved in order to enhance the effectiveness of the school advisor. Morine-Dershimer and Leighfield (1995) have reviewed research-based criticisms of student teaching. They note that within the student teaching practicum the tension between theory and practice is felt most strongly because the student teacher, as well as the school advisor, must answer to both the university and the host school (p. 588). These uncertain parameters regarding the school advisory role echo Cole and Sorrill's (1992) concerns. This is interesting in light of the B C C T (2001) report that found that 84.4% of beginning teachers in B C saw no conflict between university and school philosophy. It is believed that open and explicit 19 discussion among the parties involved should foster a clearer understanding of goals and expectations of the practicum, as well as the role each member should play in order to achieve these goals. Practical and Professinal Development in Student Teachers Grimmett and Ratzlaff (1986) compared the results of their earlier study conducted at the University of British Columbia with the results of two other American studies. The purpose was to explore what was expected of the role of school advisor through a survey of all members of the triad (faculty advisor, school advisor, and student teacher) and to examine i f differences were influenced by time (1970s vs. 1980s) or context (Canada vs. United States). From the results, Grimmett and Ratzlaff found four areas to be highly agreed upon as functions of the school advisor: orientation, planning and instruction, evaluation, professional development. Through their comparison of studies, they found that there was more of a relationship between studies conducted during the same decade rather than in the same context. The only data comparable among the three studies was gathered from student teachers. That information presented the role of school advisor as being very practical. Additionally, the Canadian study examined by Grimmet and Ratzlaff found that all members of the triad expected school advisors to actively socialize new teachers into the profession (p. 48), which in part includes the teaching of specific skills and methods to the student teacher. Exploring how this role is viewed in a contemporary setting will complement these findings and expand upon the understanding of the school advisory role. 20 Twelve years later, Gasner and Wham (1998) attempted to better understand the role of the school advisor by surveying 454 teachers who had worked with pre-service teachers. Advisors were asked what they considered to be the greatest contribudon they could make, the greatest source of their frustration, and the greatest satisfaction of being a school advisor. The respondents clearly felt as though they were contributing to the future of the profession by emphasizing the following for the pre-service teacher: classroom experience, role modelling, basic teaching skills, and an understanding of the profession of teaching. When asked about contributing to the future of the profession, school advisors responded that they saw themselves as enabling the students to blend theory and practice while exploring teaching. The mastering of many skills inherent to teaching was repeatedly mentioned by the respondents. Skills included classroom management, unit and lesson planning, questioning techniques, transitions, and modifying lessons for students with special needs. School advisors also indicated that they found great satisfaction in their role because they were helping another professional to develop. The experience of being a school advisor also contributed to the development of the advisor's teaching skills and techniques. Through their work with student teachers, advisors found themselves exploring new ideas while also finding affirmation of their skills and abilities (p. 50). This study seems to indicate that the role of school advisor is not as pragmatic as one would be led to believe; it does not merely entail teaching a set of predetermined skills; rather, it involves considering and negotiating one's practice in light of another. Also, Gasner and Wham's study 21 clearly shows that school advisors view themselves and their role to be an important and valuable component to a developing teacher's education. The small qualitative study conducted by Langdon, Weltzl-Fairchild, and Haggar (1997) attempted to discern the role and problems involved in being a school advisor. Their results showed that all the teachers involved in the study viewed themselves as providing a practical experience that links university content to classroom practice (p. 49). However, like Applegate and Lasley (1982) some teachers felt unsure about the university's goals and wanted more information about the role they should play as advisors. As with other studies, the teachers interviewed suggested that student teachers needed more theory and experience with classroom management. The authors call for more research into these roles and the dynamics that influence their actions. Ef fec t s o f the P r a c t i c u m o n the S c h o o l A d v i s o r In order to explore the various aspects involved in the school advisory role, Duquette (1994) surveyed 40 school advisors involved in an alternative school-based education program. The findings show that advisors considered their role to include (1) demonstrating effective teacher behaviours and classroom management strategies, (2) providing resources, (3) providing opportunities for students to develop their emerging practice, (4) including the students with the life of the school, (5) providing support, (6) explaining what is happening and why, (7) providing opportunities to experiment with new techniques, and (8) modelling professionalism. Advisors were also asked about what they considered to be beneficial about participating in teacher education. Their responses included (1) opportunity for professional development, (2) 22 time to work with pupils and plan programs, (3) opportunity to meet new people, (4) source of professional satisfaction. A n interesting aspect of this study was the presentation of the concerns of school advisors. Their main concerns were (1) time constraints due to increased workload and (2) concerns regarding student progress. By focusing on aspects, benefits, and concerns regarding the advisory role, Duquette provides a snapshot of the advisors' experiences. A n interesting component of this study is its emphasis on the balance advisors must achieve between the needs of their pupils with the needs of the student teachers. This clearly illustrates the multiple demands placed on school advisors, and may provide a frame through which to view the advisors' emphasis on practical skills. The conveyance of practical skills to student teachers helps to balance the school advisors' need to serve the student teacher and educate the pupil. Furthermore, the authors suggest that advisors require clearer guidelines from the university and on-going support in their work with student teachers. To better understand the school advisory role Gasner (1997) explored the effects of the roles of school advisor on the professional development of the practising teacher. Teachers mentioned repeatedly that having a student teacher in their class gave them the opportunity to talk directly about teaching, and it was these interactions that enhanced the school advisors' practices in terms of content knowledge, teaching techniques and strategies, and approaches to classroom management (p. 32). Consistent with the literature, Gasner found that school advisors enjoyed the practical emphasis of this role, which encouraged them to reflect on the realities of classroom practice more so than other professional development activities (p. 51). 23 This study is interesting as it shows the value advisors place on their work with student teachers. It also presents school advisors as dynamic individuals who are willing to reflect on their own practice. Insomuch as teachers consider their role as school advisor to be professional development, further study would be needed to explore the ways in which their practice is enriched. Through the examination of eight case studies, Koerner (1992) identified that although having a student teacher is an invigorating experience, it is also coupled with feelings of self-doubt, discomfort, and tension as cooperating teachers balanced the valuable experiences of the student teacher with the educational welfare of the pupils. Koerner's study is unique in that it looks at not only how the advisor influences the practice of the student teacher, but also how having a student teacher influences the school advisor. It is important to recognize the advisor's feelings of discomfort and vulnerability i f we are to understand why practical classroom issues are so fundamental to the advisor's work with student teachers. Summary The studies reviewed sought to explore the role of the school advisor as perceived by student teachers, faculty advisors, and school advisors themselves. Consistently, it was shown that the role of the school advisor is ambiguous, and it was repeatedly suggested that a clarification of this role would improve classroom experiences for pre-service teachers. One constant among advisor perceptions was the description of their role as a link between university theories and classroom practice. However, no mention was made of what theories or ideas were being 24 translated into practice. The tension between the educational theory and practical skills was also reiterated within the literature. The school advisor was consistently viewed as practical, while the faculty advisor was seen as theoretical. This seems to suggest that the advisors' description of their role as a bridge between theory and practice is not congruent with the perceptions of student teachers and faculty members with respect to explicitly identifying theoretical applications in their daily practice. None of the studies attempted to relate inconsistencies of the school advisor role to the selection of advisors. However, it was indicated in several studies that there are no specific criteria for choosing school advisors. Rather, many simply volunteer for the duty; it is not necessary for them to possess any particular qualifications. The fact that universities are dependent upon gleaning volunteers through such an informal registry suggests that, for whatever reasons, few requirements can be set. However, some studies demonstrated the positive impact that training had on the student teachers' experiences. A n d although it may not be required, the authors proposed that training the school advisor in certain supervisory aspects would enable advisors to encourage more reflection and inquiry in their student teachers, and lessen the emphasis on technique. Overwhelmingly, the studies that were based on the perceptions of school advisors showed that working with student teachers was a positive and beneficial experience. Although student teachers and faculty advisors emphasized the practicality of the roles, advisors indicated that their supervision duties resulted in personal professional development. Much learning takes place on the part of the advisor through their work with the student teacher. However, 25 although being a school advisor is largely a positive experience, several studies showed that the role entailed balancing the needs of the student teacher and the needs of the pupils, which places a heavy demand on the school advisor. Contrary to the views of student teachers and faculty advisors, advisor-centred research shows advisors as not simply pragmatic, but rather, reflective and thoughtful regarding their teaching practice. The ways in which this discrepancy in perception can be lessened are topics requiring further study. My study aims to analyse data collected from more than 700 school advisors regarding what they attempt to convey to their student teachers and what they would change about the practicum. Analysing the survey data collected from teachers who work with UBC education students will help us to understand the role advisors primarily create for themselves and how they view their work with pre-service teachers. This outcome will shed light on some of the issues, tensions, and disparities highlighted above. 26 C H A P T E R T H R E E Methodology We use theoretical comparisons in analysis for the same purposes as we do in everyday life. When we are confused or stuck about the meaning of an incident or event in our data, or when we want to think about an event or object in different ways (range of possible meanings), we turn to theoretical comparisons. - A.L. Strauss & JM. Corbin, 1998 Introduction This chapter describes the context of the study and provides details about the larger research project in which this study is situated. It also describes various aspects of the research methodology, such as how the participants for the study were selected, how the data was gathered, and how the data were analysed. Specifically, this chapter illustrates the methods used to collect and analyse the qualitative responses of school advisors when asked about their work with student teachers in the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey. Context The "Voice of the School Advisor" (VOSA) survey was presented to school advisors working with the University of British Columbia's teacher education program. UBC's office of teacher education solicits approximately 1300 practicing teachers from 25 of British Columbia's 59 school districts to undertake the task of being a school advisor to one or more of the 1000 student teachers enrolled in the teacher education program. These teachers are mainly 27 concentrated in the area of British Columbia known as the Lower Mainland (communities from the Fraser Valley westward). This proximity allows for easier access among the student teachers, the school advisors, and the faculty advisors. However, U B C does support some student practica in areas of British Columbia that are far removed from the university, such as the Okanagan, the Central Interior, and the Kootneys. As the intention of this study was to develop an understanding of how school advisors perceive their role, all advisors associated with U B C , regardless of their location, were invited to participate in this survey. School advisors participating in the U B C teacher education program represent all levels of public school: elementary (grades K-7), middle (grades 6-8), junior high (grades 8-10), and secondary (grades 8-12). Although junior high schools still exist in British Columbia, a current educational trend in this province has been to amalgamate junior high schools with larger secondary schools or to create middle schools5, which are intended to help pupils more easily make the transition from elementary to secondary school expectations. In response to this change, U B C has broadened its teacher education program to include a middle years option in its Bachelor of Education program. The following is a brief overview of UBC's various school-specific programs in which there is a practical component requiring a school advisor.6 • The 12-month elementary years option provides broad preparation for teaching in elementary schools (Grades K to 7). • The 2-year elementary option provides broad preparation for teaching in elementary schools (Grades K to 7). In addition, within the program, a student teacher may develop a professional concentration in one of the following six professional specializations: 5 http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/kl2datareports/00sldtab/1566c.txt 6 http://www.educ.ubc.ca/teacher_ed/bachelor.html 28 (1) Early Childhood/Primary, (2) English as an Additional Language, (3) Humanities, (4) Mathematics and Science, (5) Special Education, and (6) The Expressive Arts in Education. • The 12-month middle years option provides broad preparation for teaching 10-14 year old pupils in any one of three settings: Middle schools (generally from grades 6 - 9), Elementary intermediate grades (grades 6 - 7), and Secondary grades (grades 8 - 9 and higher). • The 12-month secondary option, provides preparation to teach one or two subjects to youth in grades 8 through 12. B r o a d e r R e s e a r c h The larger research project, in which this study dwells, is intended to formally document the population of advisors, including who they are, how they work, and the assumptions they bring to that work (Clarke, 2001). In order to glean the breadth of that information, a two-part survey was constructed, consisting of open- and closed-ended questions. The first part asked the school advisors 18 questions about themselves and their perception of their work with student teachers, while the second part included an instrument intended to discern whether the advisor preferred a directive, collaborative, or non-directive supervisory role (Glickman, 1990). This study, however, focuses on an analysis of the information gathered in the first section of survey, specifically, the anecdotal responses to questions 10, 17, and 18. Survey Participants Surveys were sent to the teacher advisors participating in the 1999-2000 school year. Although the advisors surveyed may have had prior advisory roles with other institutions, they were chosen to participate in this survey because of their current affiliation with U B C . The U B C Teacher Education Office provided the names and school addresses of those teachers who had agreed to sponsor a student teacher. As the B C College of Teachers requires that a student teacher's practicum must take place in a public school, all the school advisors surveyed were working within the public school system. Thus, it can be assumed that the advisors have all the requisite teacher qualifications necessary to work for a B C public school. It should be noted that there are no particular qualifications required for school advisors other, than of course, being employed as a teacher of pupils in a public school. Teachers volunteer their names, or, in some cases, have their names volunteered, and need only be approved by their school's administration in order to be considered, a practice consistent with many other jurisdictions throughout North America (Morine-Dershimer and Leighfield, 1995). This practice makes it difficult to understand what motivates school advisors to participate and how that affects their work with student teachers. Generally, it is expected that prospective school advisors should have a certain amount of teaching experience prior to sponsoring a student, but that is not consistently considered for all applicants. Instead, the teaching interests of the current population of student teachers determine the number of grade level and subject area teachers needed for sponsorship. Consequently, the advisors' levels of experience are broad and cannot be generalized. Data collection In January 2000, the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey was sent out to all the school advisors whose names were provided to the researchers by the Teacher Educadon Office. One thousand, three hundred, and nineteen survey packages were sent out to school advisors. The package included the survey, a stamped and addressed return envelope, and a paper asking the advisor to provide contact information i f he or she wished to be included in a second phase of the study. The contact information was to be returned separately. A double-blind, multi-enveloped system was used in order to ensure the anonymity of the respondents while allowing us to track responses. Those advisors who did not respond to the initial survey were sent a follow-up survey package in February 2000 that contained the same components as the first package. Considering the demands faced daily by classroom teachers, the second mailing provided another opportunity for those teachers who did not respond initially to share their ideas and participate in the survey. The intention behind the second mail-out was to increase the number of respondents, thus leading to a more comprehensive study of school advisors. Despite having two survey mail-outs, thirty-two surveys were retuned unopened or incomplete. Therefore, of the remaining 1287 surveys that were received by school advisors, 778 were completed and returned: a 61% return rate. The data collection consisted of recording the responses to both the open- and closed-ended questions. Data was coded and entered into Statsview, a computer-based statistical analysis program. For the first section of the survey, the seven close-ended questions were mosdy 31 related to demographic information, and the responses were coded in accordance to the survey. O n the other hand, collating the eleven open-ended responses was a multi-step process that became the basis of the qualitative data analysis. Data analysis Recording The qualitative data provided specifically for survey questions 10, 17, and 18, underwent a process of comparative analysis (Strauss and Corbin, 1998). First, each anecdotal response was direcdy recorded in a simple word processing document. These responses were grouped according to the corresponding question and assigned the identification number of the respondent. The verbatim record was a process of immersion into the data; I was therefore obliged to consider the range of possibilities expressed by the advisors while examining the specifics presented in the data. Whole sentence analysis of the responses was employed (Strauss and Corbin, 1998). The exposure to the verbatim data demonstrated diverse perspectives, which required me to step back from the presumptions I may have developed through my work as a school advisor in 1997 and allow the data to present its own conclusions. Category Development While recording the advisors' responses, similarities and differences became perceptible. As I began to understand these similarities and differences, I created tentative categories based on commonalities within the answers. Comparative analysis requires that "Each incident is compared to other incidents at the property or dimensional level for similarities and differences and is grouped or placed into a category" (Strauss and Corbin, 1998, p.79). Through the 32 comparative process, it became clear that the tentative concepts I had initially identified could be grouped within a broader, more abstract category, which continued to clearly identify the properties that it represented. Through the development of these higher order categories, I was able to qualify the varying properties contained within that classification and thus develop a richer understanding. Applying these broader categories made the data simpler to consider, compare, and analyse. Coding Subsequendy, these categories were named and given codes, which were applied to the survey response and then entered into an electronic database. In order to ensure accuracy and consistency, I reviewed the data to assertain that the categories were representative of the responses. In other words, to ensure that the "data are not being forced; they are being allowed to speak" (Strauss and Corbin, 1998, p.65). Then I reviewed the codes assigned to each response to make sure the responses were indeed in the correct category. I coded and entered the responses for all 778 surveys. Through this process of comparison, I was able to look at the details in an analytic sense, not simply a descriptive sense. Further Analysis During the coding process, the expression of the properties contained within each category remained fluid. I continued to edit, alter, and change my understanding, and, subsequendy, my explanation of each category. Identifying the main categories and exploring of their properties comprised a major portion of my data analysis. In order to extrapolate the data and present the properties as a set of interrelated concepts, I also constructed narrative renderings of each 33 category. The narrative renderings, or vignettes, provide an illustration of various properties and dimensions of each category. It should be noted that the narratives do not present all the qualities assigned to each category, but rather reflect dominant properties. Therefore, each category begins with descriptive and explanatory details, followed by a selection of illustrative quotes taken from the survey, and finally, a vignette presents a contextualized rendering of the data concepts. Central Category Strauss and Corbin (1998) suggest that in order to integrate research findings into a larger theoretical scheme, a researcher must decide on a central category that represents "what the salient issues or problems of the participants seem to be" (p. 146). This is an important step in data analysis and research representation as it makes clear to other researchers, regardless of their perspective, the analyst's logic. The central category for this research, which supersedes the categories arising from the data, is the School Advisor's Work with Their Student Teacher. This category meets all of the criteria specified by Strauss and Corbin (1998) for choosing a central category, as all other major categories can be related to it, it appears frequently in the data, it relates consistently and logically with the data, and it is able to explain variations within the data. Research Focus This study focuses on an examination of the qualitative responses provided to questions 10, 17, and 18 in the first section of the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey. These questions are as follows: 34 • What are the three most important things that you try to communicate to your student teachers? • If you were able to change one thing about the way in which U B C organizes its practica, what would it be? • Is there anything else, not covered above, that you would like to highlight in your work with student teachers? The analyses of the responses given are guided by the research questions outlined in the introduction: • What do school advisors attempt to convey to their student teachers? • How do school advisors perceive their role? • H o w do the results of this study complement similar, contemporary studies to provide us with a richer understanding of the school advisor's role? The findings are reported and discussed in the following chapters, with explanations and examples of responses that comprised the categories accompanying the data. These findings construct a basic outline of the professional development dimension that school advisors deliberately attempt to encourage in their student teachers. The demographic statistics from the survey, presented first, serve to provide a backdrop to the responses given to questions 10, 17, and 18. The examination of survey question 10 is intended to provide a snapshot of how advisors view their role in the professional development of beginning teachers. It seems probable that what an advisor tries to communicate to their student teacher during his or her practicum is related to 35 how that advisor conceives of his or her role as a teacher. Conversely, the responses school advisors provided for questions 17 and 18 of the survey present an indication of how advisors see themselves within the scope of the broader U B C teacher education program. The advisors' notions regarding change in the program can be interpreted as an attempt to construct the program based on their conception of the role they play in teacher development. Therefore, comparing and collating the things advisors wish to convey to their students with the changes they would like to see in the program can create a clearer picture of the role of advisors. Comparison of Findings In order to provide a more extensive exploration into the role of the school advisor, the data collected from the V O S A survey was compared to the B C College of Teachers "Report of the 2000 Survey of Recent Graduates of British Columbia Teacher Education Programs" (May 2001). Layering the perspectives of school advisors with those of beginning teachers provides a basis for comparison of current experiences, so that a broader discussion of the advisor's role can take place. I also compare the findings of the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey to earlier research done by Grimmett and Ratzlaff (1985, 1986) on role expectations within the student teaching triad. They conducted a study examining the roles within the teacher education triad. They then compared the findings of their 1985 study to two similar American studies, one done in the 1970s and the other conducted in the 1980s. They found few differences in the perception of the role of the school advisor in the different study contexts (United States and Canada). However, they found significant differences between the studies conducted in the different 36 decades (1970s and 1980s), thereby signifying that "proximity of time" (p. 48) accounts for similarities in the understanding of the school advisory role. In order to investigate this claim, it seemed apt to compare the findings of Grimmett and Ratzlaff s 1985 study with the 2000 V O S A study, both conducted with participants of UBC's teacher education program. If Grimmett and Ratzlaff s premise regarding "proximity of time" is correct, then there should be notable differences between how the two studies view the role of the school advisor. The responses to the V O S A survey will significantly contribute to the broader understanding of the role of school advisor within the current teacher education program at U B C . Specifically, system-wide analysis of the information gathered provides insight into how school advisors perceive their role in the process of educating a young teacher and how these findings compare to other research. C H A P T E R F O U R Q u a l i t i e s A d v i s o r s A t t e m p t t o C o n v e y 37 I have enjoyed working with students over the years. They always ama^e me with their enthusiasm and positive outlook. Ifeel I am able to teach them about being a teacher, but I always learn so much from them. - Vancouver School Advisor I n t r o d u c t i o n This chapter presents the responses to the V O S A survey question 10: What are the three most important things that you try to communicate to your student teachers? The results to question 10 are given context through the presentation of pertinent demographic information, which shows the various backgrounds of teachers who comprise the body of school advisors upon which the field component of teacher education programs depend. S u r v e y R e s p o n s e a n d R e p r e s e n t a t i o n With the cooperation of the Teacher Education Office, the V O S A surveys were sent to the 1319 school advisors shown to be participating in the U B C Teacher Education Program during the 1999/2000 academic year. From the initial mail-out, 32 surveys were returned unopened due to incorrect addresses or the re-assignment of the student teacher to another school advisor. Although we had two mail-outs, some active school advisors did not receive a survey at all. Some names were not on our original list provided by the Teacher Education Office, and others took over for another school advisor mid-practicum. However, of the 1287 surveys that 38 were received by U B C school advisors, 778 were completed and returned; resulting in a 61% return rate. Given the strength of the return rate, it is felt that the results of this survey remain significant even though an estimated 30 advisors of the 1999-2000 cohort did not receive a survey. General Demographics The intention of this research project is to gain an understanding of the attitudes and beliefs that give meaning to the work of school advisors. In order to provide a greater understanding of the qualitative analysis, the following is a quantitative description of the people who did and did not participate in the survey. Gender As mentioned earlier, 1319 surveys were initially sent to all school advisors associated with U B C , and 778 surveys were completed and returned. O f those returned, 59% (n=460) were completed by women and 41% (n=318) were completed by men. It is interesting to note that according to the statistics kept by the British Columbia Ministry of Education 7, men comprise 34% of the teaching population, while women account for the remaining 66%. Therefore, when considering the "Voice of the School Advisor" it is important to note that the percentage of men who returned the survey is consistent with the total number of men who volunteer to be school advisors, not the proportion of men in the total teaching population. British Columbia Ministry of Education Website: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/kl2datareports/99tsqtext/2063.txt Report title, "Average Gross Salary of Educators by Gender and Position with School District" for the 1999/2000 school year. 39 Table 1. Cross tabulation of surveys returned by gender. Gender N o t Returned Returned Tota l Distributed Female i l l l i n g ! If,II 750 % 22.0% .9% 56.9% M.iK n Ijilliliiiiiiiiiiiiiiwi^^li I l l l l ^ B l i l ^ ^ M % 19.0% 21.1-., 'I 'd il n 541 778 1319-% 41.0% 59.0% 100.0% *NOTE: O f the 1319 surveys initially distributed, thirty-two were returned incomplete or unopened. School Districts Twenty-five school districts from across the province had teachers participating as advisors in UBC's teacher education program during the 1999/2000 school year. The district that had the most advisors was Vancouver, School District #39. Four hundred and twenty-six surveys were sent to advisors in the Vancouver district, and 239 were returned, for a 56% return rate for that district and 32.3% of the total number of surveys returned. The second largest district, School District #38 Richmond, also returned the second largest number of surveys; 16.5% of the total surveys were sent to the Richmond district, and 11.9% of the total responses were from Richmond. Coquitlam, School District #43, was the third largest district solicited at 9.1% of the total survey population, and their responses comprised 5.2% of the returned surveys. 59.8% percent of the returned surveys were from the three largest districts. The other districts that are considered part of the Lower Mainland comprised 36.1% of the responses. Only 4% of the responses were submitted by advisors participating from beyond the lower mainland. The response rate from each district was generally consistent with the proportion of surveys sent to each district. However, there was no response from three districts: Nanaimo-Ladysmith #68, Campbell River #72, and Francophone School District #93. In total, the missing districts 40 comprised only 0.8% of the total survey population, a total that is not considered significant. Appendix B contains a breakdown of district responses. School Level School level is the final area that can be analysed for both those who returned surveys and those who did not. Typically, schools levels are divided into elementary (kindergarten through grade 7) and secondary (grades 8 through 12). Some districts also have designated junior high schools (grades 8 through 10) or middle schools (grades 6 through 8). Al l four school levels were identified by UBC's teacher education office to be sponsoring one or more student teachers. While secondary teachers comprise 41 % of the total British Columbia teaching population8, their responses comprised 55% of the returned surveys. However, the total number of returned surveys from each school level is consistent with the proportion solicited; therefore, the surveys that were not returned should not impact the results. Table 2 shows the percentage of surveys that were returned and not returned for each grade level. British Columbia Ministry of Education Website: http: / /www.bced.gov.bc.ca/kl 2datareports /99sldtxt/1568.txt Please note that according to the data report "Teacher Headcount by School and School Type within District/Authority" for the 1999/2000 school year, teachers were categorized as either Elementary or Secondary according to the grade level taught. Therefore, middle school teachers were not recognized as a particular group in this report. 41 Table 2. Advisor Response by school level. School Level Not Returned Returned Total Distributed Elementary 1131(1 194 487 % 14.7 22.2 ' 36.9 Junior Hi<rh IlllSilK l"!llIlSliB!fi!II IIIIIBIIIII^^H % 0.1 0.6 0.7 Middle n:. , llililllHISlIB IBli^plalii pl i i i^^Bil lBH % ' 2.4 3.6 6.1 Secondary n 429 IKSIiBHillili * " 23.8 32.5 *'" 56.3 Total n 77- 1319* % 41.0 59.U 100.0 *NOTE: O f the 1319 surveys initially distributed, thirty-two were returned incomplete or unopened. Participant Age Our survey participants indicated that their ages ranged from 25 to 64 years old. The most common age range of the advisors was 50 — 55. One hundred and seventy-two advisors indicated that they fell within this range, comprising 22% of the total responding population. The second most common range at 17.5% (n=136) was the 30 — 34 year old range. The third, fourth, and fifth most frequent ranges were 40 - 44 (14.7%), 45 - 49 (14.5%), and 35 - 39 (14.1%), respectively. Two of the 778 respondents did not indicate their age range. Given that more than half of the teaching population is over the age of 459, it is not surprising to find such a large proportion of advisors being 50 — 55 years of age. Also, many schools and school districts expect teachers to have a certain amount of classroom experience before applying to 9 British Columbia Ministry of Education Website: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/kl 2datareports/00tsqtext/2079.txt Report title, "Age Distribution of Educators by Salary' Category Within District" for the 1999/2000 school year. 42 become a school advisor, so it is logical that older teachers tend to supervise student teachers. See Figure 1 for a representation of age distribution among survey respondents. Figure 1. Ages of V O S A Survey Respondents. 200 <n 150 0) "O c o C L </) <D E 100 50 50 136 110 115 113 172 75 ^ >%> v % ">%• Age groups Responses to Question 10 In an attempt to understand how school advisors perceive their role, I have focussed my analysis on the responses school advisors provided for question 10 in the survey's first section: What are the three most important things that you try to communicate to your student teachers? The responding advisors did not have a list of teaching characteristics to choose from; rather, the question was open-ended and their responses were anecdotal. As a result, the advisors' responses varied gready. As discussed in Chapter 3,1 used Strauss and Corbin's (1998) method of comparative analysis when considering the responses by identifying similarities and differences among the responses. I created 27 categories that reflected the 43 common responses of the school advisors. O f course, not all responses easily fit into the 27 common categories. Those that did not were categorized as "other". The categories reflect various qualities of good teaching practice. Note that the term "quality" is not meant to convey worthiness, but refers to a characteristic identified by the survey population. The 27 categories are as follows: preparation, flexibility, relationships with pupils, relationship with advisor, professionalism, classroom management, teaching strategies, reflection, initiative, expectations, communication, enthusiasm, hard work, fairness, being yourself, positive class climate, consistency, actively engage students, content knowledge, timing, accurate records, health, role model, other, care—put student first, confidence, and goal setting. Table 3 shows the nine most frequentiy used categories; these comprise the top one-third of the total categories. The "Explanation" column gives an indication of specific responses that would fall into that category. Table 3. Category labels and explanations. Category Explanat ion Preparation The student teacher should have detailed lesson and unit planning, clear objectives and expectations, and be organized and proactive in all aspects of teaching. Classroom Management The student teacher should incorporate different management strategies, become the authority in the classroom, and recognize the importance of classroom management to children's learning. 44 Category Explanat ion Flexibility The student teacher should learn to adapt to the needs of the learners, as well as understand and engage in a variety of teaching methods. Relationships with Pupils The student teacher should respect pupils, develop relationships with pupils, and work towards creating a rapport with pupils. Care—Put Students First The student teacher should show care and compassion for pupils, consider the pupils' well-being to be the focus of planning, and be empathetic. Professionalism The student teacher should develop a personal teaching philosophy, be personally accountable, participate in all aspects of staff duties, maintain a professional distance with students, partake in professional and personal development activities, and be open to suggestions for improvement. Reflection The student teacher should regularly contemplate what has happened in the classroom, thoughtfully consider and learn from his or her classroom experience, and pursue lifelong learning through reflection. Initiative The student teacher should seek out opportunities to participate in the classroom, be resourceful, see what needs doing, experiment with lessons, and be creative in the classroom. Fun/Enj oyment The student teacher should have fun, enjoy the students in the classroom, and help students to appreciate and enjoy life. When the responses were compared across the three teaching levels of elementary, middle, and secondary schools, preparation ranked the highest at all levels. The following three items varied 45 in rank, but were consistently chosen by all school levels: classroom management, flexibility, and relationships with pupils. Table 4 shows how advisors at the different school levels ranked the three things they try to convey to their student teachers. T a b l e 4. T o p three th ings adv isors try to convey to s tudent teachers b y s c h o o l leve l . E l e m e n t a r y S c h o o l M i d d l e S c h o o l Seconda ry S c h o o l Preparation Preparation Preparation Classroom management Relationships with pupils Classroom management Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility Relationships with pupils Classroom management Relationships with pupils Care—put students first Being yourself Professionalism Professionalism Consistency Care—put students first Fun and Enjoyment Actively engage students Being yourself Reflection Care—put student first Content knowledge Initiative Initiative Initiative Enthusiasm Professionalism Actively engage students Enthusiasm NOTE: Within the lists in Table 4, please note that the dashed line between categories indicates an even ranking of those qualities. Given the consistency of the top four items, the following sections of this chapter will discuss, in greater depth, aspects of these categories. P r e p a r a t i o n Fifteen percent of the total responses received from advisors indicated that preparation was a major quality that they try to convey to their student teachers. Preparation was often associated with practical dimensions of teaching. This is not surprising considering other research indicates that school advisors traditionally view themselves, and are viewed by others, as the purveyors of the practical (Gasner & Wham, 1998; B C C T , 2001). The emphasis on practicality seems logical as the variables within the classroom demand that teachers address issues while 46 grounded in practice. For pre-service teachers, these practical issues become increasingly significant within the classroom (BCCT, 2001). Although a true understanding of the meaning of "preparation" will warrant further research, comments provided in our survey provide some insight as to how preparation informs the work of classroom teachers. According to school advisors, preparation benefits both the pupil and the teacher. The following quotes are excerpts from V O S A survey responses, which most directly and succincdy illustrate various aspects of the Preparation category. P u p i l Bene f i t "Need to plan for individual differences." "Have a clear, reasonable objective—express them clearly to the students." "Set clear expectations and criteria for the students and communicate this to them." "Assess everything through the lens of the student." "To fit curriculum first to the personality of the class, and second to individuals within the class, [sic] Each child deserves a successful beginning of school." "We owe it to our students to be well prepared." T e a c h e r Bene f i t "Organization and planning—how to not spend 24 hours a day at the job!" "Learn organizational techniques: marks, paperwork, classroom" "Be prepared and proactive — curriculum and discipline." 47 "Planning — always think about where you want to get to, how you're going to get there and W H Y you are going — maybe there is a better way." P r e p a r a t i o n V i g n e t t e The following vignette is intended to capture and describe the Preparation category that emerged from the responses given by the school advisors in their anecdotal responses to question 10 of the survey. The student teacher entered the classroom for an early morning meeting with his advisor. David was feeling quite nervous because today was the day he would begin teaching a series of lessons that he had planned completely on his own. He knew he had planned well, but he was still anxious. It seemed like stage fright with a twist. Last week, after several classes of observation and co-teaching with his advisor, Judy, he found he was brimming with teaching ideas that he wanted to try. "I wonder if it's too soon to start teaching?" David asked himself. None of his friends in the program had started their immersion yet; they were waiting for their FAs and SAs to tell them when to begin. He didn't want to waitfor Judy. He was excited about this unit and was eager to take on the responsibility of planning and teaching. After school that day, he explained his teaching ideas to Judy and expressed how eager he was to start. Judy liked how his big ideas tied in nicely with her overall curriculum goals, and given his enthusiasm, she thought it was a great time for David to begin teaching. With some guidance, she knew he could turn his ideas into outstanding lesson plans. The first thing they did was work out a schedule. Judy knew that David needed time to make it all come together, so they decided that he would begin his lessons at the end of next week, giving him plenty of time to develop and gather resources. Secondly, Judy scheduled some mid-week meetings with David so 48 that she could go over some of the finer points of lesson planning with him. Although she was impressed with David's understanding of big picture planning, it was obvious that he needed to be taught some specifics about preparing a lesson, such as having specific lesson objectives and using forms of assessment other than worksheets. She didn't mind going over this with David, in fact, she saw this as a major part of her role as a school advisor. David was really glad he had approached Judy early because, as he quickly discovered, planning was a lot of work. One of the most complicated aspects of planning was ensuring that his lesson met the needs of the different academic abilities in the classroom. He really wanted to challenge the students at their levels, which demanded that the assignment have a certain amount of adaptability. This was important because there were also several students with IEPs that needed to be considered. In those instances, Judy gladly shared her expertise regarding how to best work with these students. In another case, David made a point of consulting the aide who worked with a particular student who had more acute special needs. Her suggestions as to how to make his lesson inclusive for that student were invaluable. This entire process made David realise that lesson planning required a bit of magic; one had to recognise the academic and social needs of all the students, match those needs with the curriculum objectives, while at the same time make the lesson interesting and engaging. It became obvious that the planning process could go on forever. In fact, it only came to an end because of the deadline. But when his time was up, Davidfelt confident about what he had done. The day had finally arrived and David was surprisingly anxious. "What's the matter with me?" David asked himself. "They're only kids. What do I have to be nervous about?" David knew exactly what he had to be nervous about—making a fool out of himself in front of an audience. In an attempt to quell his fears, he wore his lucky shirt and got to school extra early. He now sat in a cavernous classroom, waiting for Judy to arrive for a pre-teaching meeting. While he waited, he checked and double-checked that everything he neededfor his 49 upcoming lessons was there: the lesson plans, the photocopied handouts, the A-V equipment, the colouredfelts, the assessment guidelines, and the observation sheets for his advisor to fill out. Having everything he needed reassured him somewhat, but when he heard the key rattling in the already unlocked classroom door his face got hot and his hands started to sweat. Judy had arrived and now he would present to her all the work he had done. This was nerve-racking! As she clumsily made her way over to the desk they shared, a flutter of anxiousness released inside him. "Hey, I've done good work," he told himself. "It's going to be okay." And as he looked down at his piles of carefully prepared material, his confidence overwhelmed the butterflies. Classroom Management Classroom management was the second most important quality for both secondary and elementary teachers, and the fourth most important for middle school teachers. O f the total responses, 8.1% indicated that advisors attempt to convey the quality of classroom management to their student teachers. The predominance of this aspect across the varying school levels indicates that there is some incongruity between what is being taught in the university setting and what is being experienced in classroom practice. The B C C T survey (2001) also specifies that classroom management training is an "important concern" to beginning teachers as their findings show that there is a significant gap between the number of beginning teachers who received classroom management training and the number who considered it helpful. Obviously, further inquiry into the teaching of classroom management by schools, universities, and professional organizations seems warranted. The findings may help to make the student teacher's transition from university to the classroom smoother for both the student and the advisor. 5 0 From the school advisors' comments, practicing teachers consider classroom management to be intrinsically linked to other things such as student learning, planning, respecting the student, and developing one's own personality within the classroom. The following excerpts from the V O S A survey are included because they most directly and succinctly illustrate various properties included in the Classroom Management category. Pup i l Learning "Classroom management—can't teach i f they don't listen." "Student teachers need to understand that classroom management is a prerequisite to teaching." Relationship to P lanning "Classroom management includes lesson preparation and questioning strategies." "Management is the key. If [preparation] is done, management should not be an issue." Respect for the Student "Focus on discipline that is based on positive reinforcement, and develop your sense of humour." "Be fair to everyone. Treat all as equals." "Don't be their 'friend'!" "Strive to always be firm by fair with your students." 51 Persona l i t y "Set out your own style of teaching and classroom procedures." "Use humour and low key responses and good class structure to prevent problems." C l a s s r o o m M a n a g e m e n t V i g n e t t e The following vignette is intended to capture and describe the interrelated properties contained within the Classroom Management category. These properties were identified from the responses given by the school advisors in their anecdotal responses to question 10 of the survey. David bad only recently started his finalpracticum and hadjust begun teaching classes on his own. On this particular day he was presenting what he thought was an interesting and engaging lesson; however, these kids were not getting into it. "What's their problem?" David thought to himself. He was principally concerned with Jesse and Mel. They were usually well-behaved students, but today they seemed to be setting a tone of dissent for the entire class. Basically, they were running through the litany of classroom misbehaviour, talking while David was talking not-so-subtly mocking the assignment, disrupting other students, and wandering around the class. What incensed David the most was that the rest of the class wasjumping on their bandwagon of mischief. It almost seemed as though the other students thought that if Jesse and Mel were off-task then it was all right for them to be off-task—well.. .it wasn't! By the time David hadfinally finished explaining the assignment, only after being interrupted several times by Jesse and Mel, his ruby face could no longer hide his vexation. "This is cutting into your work time," he explained to the class through clenched teeth. Of course, what he wanted to say was, 'You two! Shut up and sit 52 down!" but he had promised himself when he started this practicum that he wasn't going to let himself lose control. He'd have to think of another way to deal with this situation. Their behaviour was not only making David exceedingly angry, it was also making him incredibly anxious. He couldn't even bring himself to look at Judy, his school advisor, who was watching this fiasco from the back of the class. "She couldfix this in a minute," David thought, "but I will NOT bring her into this. I can do this. ..I'm the teacher." In his ideal lesson plan (the one written out in his makeshift daybook), this was when the pupils were supposed to diligently begin their work; however, in the real world that was happening in front of him, the majority of the class hadn 't even opened their notebooks. This couldn 'tgo on any longer—he had to do something to get this class back on track. He didn't know much about classroom management, but one thing he believed innately was that people should not be humiliated publicly. He wanted whatever action he took to further the students' success in his class and not simply punish or embarrass them. What he needed to do right now was figure out how best he could get Jesse and Mel to engage in the lesson because all hell was breaking loose, and he was being observed. He casually strolled over to where Jesse and Mel were sitting, hoping that being in their %one of proximity would encourage them to get back on task. This seemed to work initially, but soon Ivan indicated that he needed some help...at the other side of the room! As expected, when David left his spot, Jesse and Mel's behaviour began to flare up again. This was making him cra^y! There was no way he could spend the entire class standing behind the raucous pair—he was a teacher, he needed to teach. ..and thatmeantAHL the students. He could get Judy to stand by them, but that wasn't right either; this was his class today. When David finished with Ivan, he strolled back to Jesse and Mel, determined to confront them about their behaviour. To be honest, David was a bit intimidated by Mel. She was an intelligent, articulate, and headstrongyoung woman; David suspected she was actually smarter than him. Up to this point David had enjoyed a pleasant relationship with her, but he had seen her angry before and knew that he didn't want to be on the receiving end her argumentative nature. Using 53 positive self-talk, David mustered up the courage to walk over there and call the pair on their behaviour. ('Tm the teacher. I'm responsible for this class. I can do this," David told himself over and over.) David knew that the behaviour of these two was not conducive to learning and it was, therefore, his responsibility to do something about it. On his way over to the pair he stopped at several students desks, inquiring about how their assignment was coming along, focusing their attention back on the work, and answering any questions they had. David thought this was important to do in order to make his approach to Jesse and Mel seem natural—he didn't want to reprimand them publicly. Although they were driving him nuts, he vowed he would try and remain respectful. When he got to their desks it was starkly apparent that they had not even attempted any further work on their assignment since he left them almost twenty minutes ago. Despite his rising anger, David quietly knelt down at their desks and made deliberate eye contact with each of them. ("I am the teacher," he kept telling himself.) Instead of reprimanding them, David asked them to explain themselves, to observe the class, and to draw conclusions about their behaviour and its effects. Although it was obvious they didn't like being confronted with their behaviour, they finally acknowledged what they were doing and took responsibility for it. They also weren't particularly forthcoming with suggestions for improving the situation. Finally, a consensus was reached among the three of them: the pair would move significantly away from each otherfor the remainder of the class, they would do the assignment on their own rather than as a pair, and they would sit separately for the rest of the week. This satisfied David. After school, during David's debriefing with Judy, he cited his classroom management as something that went well during his lesson. Although the class may have appeared somewhat chaotic at times, he was able to try different approaches to managing behaviour without compromising the respect of the students. He was able to 5 4 bypass his gut reaction and soke the problem in a manner that honoured his values. Also, he involved the students, which made them accountable for their behaviour, instead of making himself the "bad guy". Judy agreed heartily, glad that David was starting to develop his tenets of classroom management. She knew she would have done things differently and sooner, but David was learning. And so were the pupils, and that was the point. Flexibility The third most popular response was flexibility, at 8.0% of the total responses. Elementary school advisors ranked flexibility second highest (along with classroom management), while both Middle and Secondary advisors ranked it third. Flexibility refers to the student teacher's ability to modify and adapt lesson plans to the needs and circumstances of the class. Incorporated in the idea of flexibility is the assumption that the student teacher has a variety of teaching strategies upon which they can draw. It is interesting to note, again, the practical nature of this category. The ability to be flexible regarding teaching strategies and methods is essential for a classroom teacher; therefore, it is not a surprise to find it so highly ranked. A t some point during a student teacher's professional study, he or she will undoubtedly take several methods courses. "Methods courses" commonly refer to education classes specifically designed for the teaching of a specific subject. For example, i f a student teacher at U B C is intending to teach high school, he would likely take a "Principles of Teaching: Secondary" course. The purpose of this type of course is to present educational theories and strategies applicable for teaching secondary students. Often, this is a major source of strategy acquisition outside of the practica. Student teachers may begin one or both their practica with or without having taken some methods courses. If they haven't yet learned a variety of teaching strategies, 55 then the student teacher's ability to modify his lesson plan according to the needs and circumstances of the class is considerably reduced, leading to reduced effecdveness within the classroom and increased personal frustration. O n the other hand, other student teachers will begin their practicum having completed methods courses. Although these students have experience developing different teaching strategies, their experience planning and preparing for the university classroom will undoubtedly be very different than adapting to the variables encountered in the public school classroom: student attitudes, student absences, school activities, class dynamics, class-time interruptions, student academic ability, participation, etc. In any case; it is not possible to plan a lesson that anticipates and takes into account every variable, which is why school advisors understand the need for flexibility and attempt to convey that quality to their student teachers. The following is a presentation of excerpts from the V O S A survey that best illustrate various properties contained within the Flexibility category. A d a p t a b i l i t y "Be ready to adapt class routines when circumstances arise" "Be prepared, but expect change around every corner" "Professional nature of teaching:.. .adapting to the environment." "You can't keep all the balls juggling at once, just keep as many going as you can in the beginning. Some will fall, but just pick them up and keep going." "Be flexible and open-minded." "Flexibility is the key to success." "Developing flexibility and judgement" 56 Teaching Strategies "Be courageous — try lots of different teaching methods" "Try strategies/techniques to see what works with students." "Versatility/different teaching styles" "You must continually change ideas/concepts to adapt to the needs of your students." Flexibility Vignette The following vignette is intended to capture and describe the interrelated properties contained within the Flexibility category. These properties were identified from the responses given by the school advisors in their anecdotal responses to question 10 of the survey. What! Is this a fire drill?! How can this be? Why wasn't I notified about this?! What am 1 going to do about this lesson? It's poetic devices—they NEED to know this!! Hey, the students are starting to get out of their desks.. .1 didn't give them permission to go anywhere! They're starting to move towards the door. ..but we're only halfway through the lesson! How long is this going to take? 5'.. .10 minutes? I wish. Aahhh...they're leaving the classroom... where are they going? Aren't we supposed to meet somewhere... what's the protocol? I can't remember! My school orientation seems like years ago... don't I have a binder ofprocedures somewhere? Most importantly, what about my lesson ? We've only made it through half of the poetic devices. The other English 10 class has already had the entire lesson, plus the assignment. What am I going to do? The two classes will be at different points in my unit plan!! Oh yah.. .1 remember now, we're supposed to meet on the field. There's Judy. I'm just going to follow Judy, she seems to know what she's doing. Iforgot my class list! I think I can remember 57 all their names. ..but will I remember if I don't see them. It's okay, Judy's here. ..she's a pro.. .I'llfollow her lead. This gives me time to think about what to do about the lesson. Hmmmm this fire drill is taking longer than I thought. Why haven't they rung the bell yet?! At this rate, by the time we get back to the portable there will only be 10 minutes left in class. I can't explain five more devices then have them do the group assignment in 10 minutes. And if the assignment is postponed, what about tomorrow's lesson, and the test scheduledfor Friday? This fire drill has ruined my plans! What am I going to do? Focus—I can do this. I am a budding professional. I know! I'll run to the photocopier and photocopy my list of devices for the students so that they don't have to take notes. And instead of doing the fun cooperative learning project, they'll have to settle for a simplified, straightforward version of the original assignment. They'll do it on their own andfinish before next class. Of course that means I'll have to build in time for orally reviewing the assignment during the next class, but I think we can still be on track for the rest of the unit. It's too bad that both English 10 classes have different assignments—actually. ..it may even be better. This way they can't get the answers from the students in the other class. I'm a genius! I'd better tell Judy about these changes and get her to help me implement them. We should have fire drills more often... or maybe not! Relationships with Pupils Developing a personal relationship with each student was considered the second most important quality that middle school advisors try to convey to their student teachers, while elementary and secondary advisors considered it fourth. Overall, relationships with pupils comprised 6.6% of the total responses. It is not surprising that middle school advisors place a higher emphasis on developing rapport with students, as the middle school construct is intended to be a place that eases the difficult transition between elementary and secondary 58 schools. In middle schools students receive the personal attention prevalent in elementary school while gradually increasing their academic skills and expectations needed to achieve success in the secondary system. It seems somewhat surprising that elementary school teachers ranked relationships with pupils relatively low. This does not suggest that teachers do not value their students individually; indeed, the quality ranked fifth by elementary teachers was "putting the student first". However, given the age of the students and the structure of the elementary school classroom, the relationship between teacher and student is very clear—the teacher is in charge of the classroom and the students work within the parameters set by the teacher. On the other hand, adolescents within the secondary school system are less sure of themselves and their roles within the school, and within the world for that matter. As such, adolescent students are less likely to accept their teachers as authority figures and will often resist when they perceive a teacher to be taking advantage of his or her power within the classroom. Therefore, developing positive relationships with secondary students can be a means of motivating and engaging students without reliance on the typical classroom power structure. This may explain why secondary teachers considered the development of relationships with pupils to be an important quality. Overall, it seems that establishing personal relationships with pupils is beneficial for both the student and the teacher: the student feels valued and supported, while the teacher becomes privy to a student's individual needs. Notwithstanding, it should be mentioned that the development of personal relationships with students can include getting kids "on side", which is also seen as a proactive method of classroom management. The positive aspects for both the 59 students and the teachers are addressed i n the advisors' responses to the survey question, What are the three most import things that you try to communicate to your student teachers? " G e t to k n o w each chi ld because each one has very special qualities." " G a i n mature rapport and R E S P E C T o f students." " M a k e every attempt to establish relationships wi th students. Put i n the time." "The importance o f h is /her relationship wi th each student." "Demonstrat ing a warm, caring rapport. Establ ishing boundaries for students." "Respect and care for students (payback is great when you treat them as important)." "Get t ing to k n o w the kids because knowing them wi l l shape the way you teach." " K n o w the students — it's all about them, not you . " Relationship with Pupils Vignette The following vignette is intended to capture and describe aspects o f the responses categorized as Relationship wi th Pupils. David was in the final week of his practicum. During this time he was tapering off the time he spent teaching and increasing the time he spent observing. While sitting in the back of what had come to feel like his classroom, he surveyed the walls and viewed with interest each of the poetry poster projects that were hung there. He was amazed at what he saw. They did not look like the ragged pieces of construction paper, patched with word-processed script and magazine cut-outs that he saw on the walls in other classrooms. In this, his classroom, he saw the character of each pupil reflected in their project. 60 For David, the best example was Chanh's, not because he did the best on the assignment (which he didn't), but because of how the assignment affected Chanh, and subsequently, David. Chanh's love of anime was demonstrated in the pictures he chose to include. The casual observer of his poster would not notice or understand that the original drawings included on the poster were an act of daring risk-taking on the part of Chanh, a painfully introverted child. Throughout the duration of the project, Davidfound he had a million responsibilities within the class; however, he also realised that it was important to have quiet conversations with Chanh. They talked about anime, and David gently encouraged Chanh to include some of his own drawings. Initially, Chanh wouldn't even consider the idea. It was obvious to David thatfor Chanh to show his own artwork would be extremely risky; it would make vulnerable a part of himself he kept very private. David didn't push the topic, but continued to affirm Chanh privately. Chanh submitted his project late. In fact, David thought that perhaps he had badgered Chanh too much about his artwork and now he wasn't going to hand in anything. However, Chanh pleasantly surprised David by shyly submitting his project a few days late. Chanh refused to discuss his work with David, but David could telljust by looking at the poster that much thought was given to the content. The manner in which Chanh's drawings were artfully juxtaposed with professionals' work, signalled to David that this wasn'tjust another assignment to Chanh. It was a significant risk that led to significant outcomes. The poster itself was unassuming. So much so that removed observers would not know, and possibly not even imagine, how it affected the creator. Chanh's artwork met with the class's instant approval. In fact, their appreciation of Chanh's drawings notably, and positively, increased his self-confidence within the class. David had watched this phenomenon. And now, as he surveyed his practicum classroom, and recollected how he had played some part in Chanh's transformation, David realised that he had learned an important lesson: that as 61 David developed his teaching style he needed to make spaces within his practice that allowedfor him to cultivate personal relationships with his students. The poetry poster project was a poignant example of how a student's work reflects who they are. If the teacher knows and understands his students, then the teacher can plan lessons and activities that enhance, not limit, the student's abilities. Summary This chapter has explored the responses of UBC's school advisors to question 10 of the survey. The responses indicate that there were several aspects of teaching that advisors wished to convey to their student teachers. Generally, the top three qualities are considered to be practical skills (preparation, classroom management, and flexibility), while the fourth (relationships with pupils) had a more humanistic focus. When all the responses are considered holistically, it seems that the general objective of school advisors is to help the student teacher smoothly transition into the professional world. It is obvious that there are many dimensions involved in working with student teachers, and although this study has identified several of them, further research is needed to explore more deeply many of these aspects considered to be important to school advisors. 62 CHAPTER FIVE Advisors' Comments and Suggested Changes ...allpeople learn throughout their lives; all students, student teachers and teachers need to be in an encouraging and positive environment wherein they are able to work effectively, happily, and confidently. - Vancouver School Advisor Introduction Responses given for questions 17 and 18 of the survey were coded using the same categories as both questions elicited information pertaining to similar issues. Questions 17 and 18 read as follows: 17. If you were able to change one thing about the way in which U B C organizes its practica, what would it be? 18. Is there anything else, not covered above, that you would like to highlight in your work with student teachers? Analysis This was a very difficult section of the survey to attempt to analyse because of the breadth of responses. As with the responses to the survey question 10, the anecdotal responses given by the advisors to questions 17 and 18 were recorded verbatim and then coded according to 63 categories that developed naturally from the responses provided. Initially, a set of categories was developed for question 17 and another for question 18; however, it soon became obvious that there was no clean distinction between the types of responses given for question 17 and those given for question 18. As a result, the categories were combined and applied to each question. In order to analyse the responses provided for questions 17 and 18, the data was considered as one case, rather than two. There were several reasons for combining the data. Firstly, answers provided for question 17 often included more than one change. Therefore, in order to give value to both of the presented points, the first point would be coded in the "Change (17)" column and the second point would be coded in the "Anything Else (18)" column. Secondly, many of the responses provided for question 17 did not focus solely on change; rather, their answers either reflected generally on the experience of being a school advisor or combined these reflections with suggestions for change. For example, " U B C does an excellent job in teaching objectives and planning but human relationships and the dynamics of classroom management needs [sic] to be looked at." In this one sentence response to question 17 there are really two responses that need to be coded: 1. U B C does an excellent job teaching objectives and planning = positive experience with U B C , and 2. classroom management needs to be looked at — classroom management. Therefore, the response provided for question 17 needed to be coded with codes initially developed for the "Anything Else (18)" column. Thirdly, the responses provided for question 18 often elicited information similar to that provided for question 17. In some cases, the lines provided for question 18 on the survey form 64 were used to complete the response to question 17. In other cases, simply another suggestion for change was given as the response to question 18. Categories The responses of the advisors were coded according to 19 categories. Table 5 lists the seven most frequendy used categories, ail of which were ranked among the top seven categories for each school level. Table 5. Categorical responses for questions 17 & 18. Category Tota l Number Percentage of of Responses Tota l Responses Other 266 26.5 Positive experience with U B C 110 11.0 Lesson/unit planning prior to practicum 100 10.0 Placement of practica within the school year 90 9.0 Student teacher should teach more 64 6.0 Longer practica 56 5.5 FA there more often 48 5.0 Responses in all other categories 271 27.0 Total 1005 100 The remaining categories included the following: • consider the applicant's personality • classroom management training prior to practicum • school advisor and student teacher meet before practicum • negative experience with U B C • communication increase within the triad • student teacher should observe other teachers • change tuition voucher policy 65 • more practica • be prepared to work hard • U B C should revise forms • shorter practica When the responses were compared across the three teaching levels of elementary, middle, and secondary schools, there were six categories, not including "other" common to each school level: Positive experience with U B C , Placement of practica within the school year, Lesson/unit planning prior, Student teacher should teach more, Longer practica, and Faculty advisor there more often. The school level rankings beyond these are much more diverse. Table 6 shows what advisors at the different school levels would change about practica organization or their work with student teachers. Table 6. School level ranking of advisors' comments and suggested changes regarding U B C ' s practica organization. Categories School Level Ranking Elementary Midd le Secondary Other 1 1 1 Positive experience with U B C 2 2 3 Placement of practica within school year 3 3 6 Lesson/unit planning prior to practica 4 4 2 Student teacher should teach more 5 6 4 Classroom management training prior - 4 7 F A there more often 6 6 7 Longer practica 6 6 5 Observe more 9 - -Personality of applicant 10 9 9 More practica 6 - 10 SA and ST meet prior to practica 11 10 11 N O T E : When particular categories received an even number of responses, they were given the same ranking. The subsequent categories were ranked in consecutive order to illustrate the most popular rankings for each school level. 66 Category Explanations The consistency between elementary and middle school advisors for the top four categories, demands a closer examination of the attributes that contributed to the development of these categories. Although the category Placement of the Practica is ranked somewhat lower by secondary advisors, (6% of secondary responses compared with 12% of elementary and 14% of middle school responses), it will be included in this discussion because of its overall ranking as the fourth most selected category (see Table 5). The remaining three categories that were found to be consistent among all three school levels (Student teacher should teach more, Longer practica, and Faculty advisor there more often) will be touched upon, but the depth of discussion will not be to the same degree as the others due to the fact that the advisors' comments were not as revealing as those assigned to the previous categories. Although valuable, the comments made by the advisors were not often elaborated upon and would require further study in order to more deeply understand the meaning behind the comment. Other O f the 778 advisors who returned their surveys, there were 1005 total responses for questions 17 and 18. Given the diversity of the responses, many replies did not easily align with the responses of others, and subsequendy were categorized as "other". This cannot be considered unusual given the non-specific nature of the question. When using comparative analysis, Strauss and Corbin (1998) advise researchers to "ask not only what is going on in a descriptive sense but also how this incident compares dimensionally along relevant properties with the other already identified" (p. 66). Although the input provided was valuable and insightful, the comments did not always share relevant properties; they were either specific to that advisor's 67 situation or focused on an issue that was not highlighted by other survey respondents. When this was the case, the topics were unable to be categorized. The following are some examples of responses assigned to this category. "We need to be sure students entering art educadon, who cannot read, write, follow simple directions, etc. but who have technical and artistic skill, do not enter university programs from 'art programs', which assess only on a portfolio basis. The ability to paint is not enough to make a teacher." "There should be a formalized network for STs to contact each other (support group?!) Especially for teachers isolated in a school." "I really believe teaching is one of the most critical jobs in a democracy. People who replace me should understand this is a serious commitment to make. The money is lousy. The public abuses teachers.. .Teaching isn't a job one does simply because one can't get into a better, more competitive job in high tech." "Student teachers in Tech Studies are not being given the necessary training to teach power tool related subjects. Industrial backgrounds do not seem to be an important prerequisite anymore." "Not often, but occasionally teachers hear about horrific situations wherein the confidence of practicum students is eroded by rather mangy teachers who ought not to have students." " A sense of humour would help—ie. Don't be too uptight!" 68 " D o U B C students receive any courses about how to counsel children? In our very diverse and integrated classroom we are all presented with problems that the children face that go beyond their academic needs." "It would be interesting to survey student teachers about their practicum experiences and how their growth as teachers was affected by it. Sharing these results with school advisors might be helpful." "I wasn't wholly comfortable with the student teachers selecting classrooms since it tended to put classroom teachers on edge once the reason for the visitations was understood..." "Perhaps students could write a letter of introduction with a little personal information about themselves." This selection of quotes is representative of the diversity of concerns and comments presented by UBC's school advisors. Many of these responses warrant further inquiry. Positive experience with UBC Many of the advisors indicated that working with U B C student teachers was a positive experience overall. Indeed, positive comments about U B C were provided ten times more frequently than negative comments: 50 to 5, respectively. Although this generally speaks well 69 for UBC's teacher education program, the responses more specifically suggested two things: (1) that the student teachers themselves were a pleasure to work with, and (2) that being an advisor is valuable professional development for practicing teachers. It is not surprising to discover that advisors see their work as professional development; in fact, our findings in this respect support the current literature (Gasner, 1997; Hamilton and Riley, 1999) and indicate that teachers who chose to be involved in teacher education are thoughtful, reflective practitioners who see their professional practice as continually evolving. The following are some examples of responses that reflected this category. "It is the best professional development I experience!" "I see working with a student teacher as a two-way situation (symbiosis—both benefit). It allows me to examine my ways and allows the student teacher exposure to some modeling." "It's a great experience. A lot of time goes into being an advisor; however, there's benefit for both the student teacher and advisor. Definitely a breath of fresh air and change is good for everyone involved—including students!!" "They enrich me, and I hope they feel enriched." "It is such a pleasure to work with student teachers. Their energy, enthusiasm, and at times, idealism, are rejuvenating and wonderful!" 70 "I have enjoyed working with students over the years. They always amaze me with their enthusiasm and positive outiook. I feel I am able to teach them about being a teacher but I always learn so much from them." "I think everyone should take on a student. It keeps your teaching fresh and gives you a new perspective on learning!" "I learn a lot doing this and am grateful for the opportunity." "Working with student teachers is a rich, rewarding and stimulating experience. One which helps me develop as a professional and also, on a personal level! With the help of my student teachers, I remain current, up-to-date and continue to think 'outside the box'! I truly appreciate the opportunity to work with new teachers, just beginning their career working with our children—our future. I believe it is important for master teachers to 'give back' by mentoring our newest educators." Lesson/unit planning prior When school advisors were asked to comment generally about their experience or about what they would change about the program, 10% of the responses cited lesson and unit planning as a concern. Responses that mentioned student teachers' lack of teaching strategies, their unfamiliarity with the provincial IRPs, or deficiencies in lesson and unit planning skills were included in the same category, as all these aspects are interconnected. Specifically, comments assigned to this category mentioned that lesson and unit planning should be taught by the 71 university before the student teacher begins his or her practicum. These responses indicate that advisors see the teaching of lesson and unit planning to be the responsibility of the university; however, this seems perplexing when considering the advisors' responses to question 10. When asked what they wished to convey to their student teachers, advisors overwhelmingly suggested "preparation", of which a large component was lesson and unit planning. Advisors indicated that teaching this practical skill was a major part of their role, I cannot say with confidence that advisors consider the teaching of lesson and unit planning to be the responsibility of the university. Consider the following examples of responses that were assigned to this category. "Students do not know how to tie evaluation to objectives. For some reason, they [student teachers] have this idea that lessons must be 'fun'. Senior students wish to LEARN—student teachers need to know more and be prepared to impart knowledge AS W E L L as have students discover." "I feel that UBC has not prepared students well for the practicum. In my school, we have student teachers who don't understand basic lesson planning or how to create a unit! [sic] It is frustrating to have to do so much remedial work rather than focusing on improving skills and fine tuning. This frustration affects the student teacher and myself and makes the practicum more difficult." "Inform student teachers that they are responsible for creating their own resources, tests, worksheets, etc." "The students should have 'methods' courses B E F O R E the practicum. They should come knowing about various reading methods—basal readers, big books, guided reading, strategies, whole language, etc. A n d various math programs—'math their way', etc." "Students don't really come prepared to teach—they don't know what is in the IRP for the subject area and don't usually have a clear idea of how to teach so i f they have trouble with management on top of that it could be rough going." "I just feel that one thing that stands out for me is the lack of different teaching strategies these students come with. During my B.Ed. I learned many and it seems this is no longer a focus??? I often have to give many suggestions/strategies to change their thinking from 'read story aloud, do a worksheet'.. .How else can the children show you what they know?" "I have one observation, an important one: the student teachers who have worked with me have had no knowledge on how to write up and implement a daily (teaching) lesson! Please teach them how to do it or hire one master-teacher who will teach them how to construct and how to teach a realistic lesson!" 73 "Recently, a few student teachers seem to have been unprepared for the practicum by not being able to plan interesting, engaging lessons and/or not being prepared for the time and effort required." "The one complaint I have heard is the lack of practical courses as compared to philosophical, theoretical. They [the student teachers] want and need more than a litde bit in this course." "They need a package of basic, research validated, strategies in various subject areas to use in their practicums." Placement of the practicum within the school year U B C has several different streams within teacher education. Most options are 12 months in duration (September through August), although there are also 2-year and 5-year options for elementary education. In the 12 month program, a short practicum is typically scheduled in October, with the extended practicum taking place in the January to Apri l term, while the summer academic term takes place on campus. Undoubtedly, the timing of the practica impacts the experience of the student teachers, school advisors, and pupils, so it is not surprising that many of the school advisors commented on the placement of the practica within the school year. Responses indicated that practica should be changed to align better with the public school calendar. This category was ranked third overall (not including "other) by school advisors. The reasons for the change varied amongst the advisors: some thought the timing of the 74 practicum put more pressure on the advisor, given yearly responsibilities such as provincial exams and report cards; others indicated that a different time of the year would be more advantageous for the student teacher, as they can experience a variety of demands such as establishing the class in September; while others believed that the pupils would derive the greatest benefit from a change in the practica schedule. The following is a sample of the comments that reflected this category. "Students should spend the first week in September in the class—it's chaos and a very tough week." "If changes are planned to the timing of practicums, they need to match the public school calendar and its requirement for reporting and conferencing." "Perhaps starting the final/extended practicum earlier. My current grade 12 students indicated that they are concerned about ensuring coverage of materials to be adequately prepared for exams and further studies." "Although it is difficult at times, I think the September practicum is SO beneficial to student teachers—how to establish routines, etc." "I don't like that student teachers come so late and are so involved during the final report cards. I feel too much ownership there." 75 "The timeline for the secondary program works very well with semester school. However, the second semester starts one week later than the practicum students and is really under utilized, ie. no pre-service meetings with the F A . " "Not start during our turn around week between semesters!" "If the final practicum could be scheduled to end at the end of the school year, I think it would be beneficial." "I realize that due to time constraints, practica that is held at the beginning of the school year would be of considerable benefit, but not possible with the structure of the way UBC's one year program is set up." "If you want a teacher to take students in consecutive years do not have the short practicum in the 'spring' so close to the one ending in December. (Hard on the class)" "Also, your timing with semestered schools was awful! The first two weeks of practicum in late January were a waste of time—other than preparation." Student teachers should teach more This category was consistently represented among the various school levels and was ranked fourth overall (not including "other"). Responses indicating that student teachers should teach more than that which they were mandated to do by the university were generally very straight forward in their comments. For example, the advisor response, "I think that student teachers should be teaching more", was a typical response for this category. Without further discussion with the advisor, it is difficult to be certain about the motivation behind a comment such as this. However, at its most basic level, this category indicates that advisors believe that student teachers would benefit from more time being spent developing their skills with pupils in a working classroom. This is consistent with the literature that has found school advisors view their role as being integral to the development of student teachers' practical skills (Enz & Cook, 1992; Grimmet & Ratzlaff, 1986; and Gasner & Wham, 1997). School advisors' responses to the V O S A survey indicate that advisors believe that i f student teachers spend more time practicing these skills in a supported environment, they will be better prepared to independently face the multiple demands of the classroom. The following are representative comments that reflect those assigned to this category. "More time teaching to allow student teacher to become more a part of the school environment." "Student teachers should be encouraged to take on at least one week of full time—I don't think that having them N E V E R get to full time is a good idea. Y o u are not doing them any favours by not allowing them to see the reality of a full time load. Doing it in this type of supportive environment would give them a better idea of what having their own classroom will be." "I think that the student teachers could be teaching more than one hour a day for the first three weeks of the 13 week practicum." 77 "The 'immersion' should be 100% of the school advisor's teaching load, not 80%; otherwise, they're not fully realizing all a teacher needs to do (like all the housekeeping—collecting money, forms, etc.)" "I feel that student teachers should take a more commanding role in the teaching load. If the goal is to have a realistic experience then most student teachers should take on more than 75%-80%." "I believe that the student teachers should have at least 2 — 3 weeks of full immersion (not just up to 80%)." L o n g e r p r a c t i c a This category was ranked fifth overall (not including "other") and was consistently found in the top seven categories when responses were compared across varying school levels. Similar to the category "Student teachers should teach more", many of the responses assigned to the "Longer practica" category simply stated that practica should be longer in length, without giving an explanation as to why. The need for longer practica suggests that advisors believe that it is beneficial to student teachers to spend more time in the classroom. Although the assumption may be that responses indicating "longer practica" suggest that student teachers should teach more, this is not directly expressed in the advisors' comments. Therefore, to make that assumption would be inaccurate, as there are many other reasons why school advisors would find a longer practicum to be beneficial: increased classroom observation, 78 more time for conferencing, increased rapport with students, a more gradual increase in the student teacher's immersion, increased involvement in extra-curricular acdvides, etc. The following examples represent responses that were assigned to the "longer pracdca" category. " L O N G E R P R A C T I C A . " "Time has always been a problem. More would be nice." "Provide some way for student teachers to be in the sponsor teacher's class all year." "Practica is too short—should be at least one semester. It would be better to use one year for practica." "Make the fall practicum longer, they just get used to the school and they leave." Faculty Advisor there more often The final category that was common to each school level was "Faculty Advisor there more often". These comments indicated that the work advisors do with student teachers would benefit from regular communication with a faculty advisor. In many cases, advisors did not indicate how the faculty advisor would improve the practicum situation. Within the literature, the divide between the priorities of the university and those of the classroom is mentioned 79 repeatedly (BCCT, 2001; Applegate & Lasley, 1982; Morine-Dershimer & Leighfield, 1995), which puts the faculty advisor in a tensioned place—carrying out the expectations of the university in a place where those expectations have perhaps not been clearly expressed or clearly understood. As the faculty advisor plays the integral role of liaison between the school advisor and the university, it seems the expectations of the faculty advisor's role within the triad require further investigation. The following are some examples of responses assigned to this category. "This year, the faculty advisor has been less than satisfactory—putting in litde time and few appearances." "FA's must visit more than once every 2 to 5 weeks!!" "I would like to see the faculty advisor at least once every two weeks." "I have had one very difficult practicum because the faculty advisor was difficult for both my student and me to deal with. She rarely came to the school and was somewhat difficult to communicate with." "Provide more time for faculty advisor to meet." "FAs should evaluate student teacher's lessons more frequendy." 80 "Faculty advisors should schedule R E G U L A R bi-weekly meetings with sponsor teachers" "Faculty advisor to be in more contact with school advisor on performance of student teacher." Summary This chapter examined the advisors' general comments and suggested changes regarding the practicum component of UBC's teacher education program and their general comments overall. The comments and changes that were suggested indicate that school advisors are conscious of the role they play within teacher education. Many of the advisors find this role to be professionally satisfying and personally invigorating. Their main concerns focused on lesson/unit planning and the timing of the practicum. Specifically, advisors perceive the university to be deficient in its preparation of student teachers for the practicum classroom, particularly in the area of lesson planning and preparation. In many cases, advisors view the student teachers' lack of planning skills to be detrimental to both the student teachers' success and pupils' learning. The school advisors also indicated that having to teach basic lesson planning added to the stress of the advisory role. The school advisors were also concerned with the timing of the practicum. Generally, the advisors felt that having the practicum take place at another time in the school year may be more beneficial for the student teacher, the advisor, or the pupils. These are serious pedagogical issues, and the fact they were regularly expressed underscores the sincere professionalism advisors bring to their work with student teachers. As with the responses to question 10 of the survey, the concerns school advisors' expressed in their responses to questions 17 and 18 seem to reinforce the notion that school advisors effectively view their role as helping the student teacher develop practical skills essential for the creation a successful teaching and learning environment. 82 CHAPTER SIX Result Comparisons Teaching style' is a constantly developing tool. We don't start out with any real style—it grows continually as we teach and continue to learn ourselves. - Vancouver School Advisor. Introduction The purpose of this study is to gain a fuller understanding of the role of the school advisor in a developing teacher's professional education. Through an analysis of the qualitative components of the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey, I presented in the previous chapters several aspects of the advisor's role that were identified by the school advisors participating in UBC's teacher education program. To facilitate a richer appreciation of the role of the school advisor, I will compare the results of my study with two other significant studies: B C C T (2001) and Grimmet and Ratzlaff (1985). BCCT Survey Overview Through the results of the V O S A survey, we have seen the specific expectations that advisors place upon themselves. However, in order to get a fuller appreciation of the external expectations to which school advisors are subjected, I will present the pertinent findings of the B C College of Teachers "Report of the 2000 Survey of Recent Graduates of British Columbia Teacher Education Programs" (May 2001) and compare those results to the findings of our 83 survey. This survey is useful for comparison purposes as the largest proportion of those surveyed were affiliated with the University of British Columbia (45%). Therefore, the results of the B C C T survey regarding the role of the school advisor can be direcdy applied to the U B C teacher education program and viewed as comparable data. The survey was conducted by the B C College of Teachers as a review of teacher education programs beginning in 1990 and continuing in 1994, 1997, and 2000. The intention of the survey is to provide data pertaining to the "respondents' satisfaction with various aspects of the pre-service teacher education", as well as identify the positive aspects of teacher education. Those surveyed completed their teacher education in either 1996 or 1999. The BCCT' s 2000 survey were based on 1,963 returned surveys—58% of the total number surveyed. The results of the B C C T study were considered in two parts: (1) those who completed their program at the university's main campus and (2) those who completed their training at an off campus site (eg. Prince George, Kamloops, Cranbrook, etc.). For comparison purposes, I will only be considering the Main Campus results of the B C C T survey as our study focused only on those school advisors connected direcdy with UBC's main campus. School advisors affiliated with the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops and Selkirk College in Castiegar were not included in my survey. Therefore, of the 1,963 returned B C C T surveys, 1,660 were representative of main campus programs. Gender Comparison Seventy-four percent of the respondents to the B C C T survey were female, while the remaining 84 26% were male. This can be contrasted with the gender breakdown of the U B C school advisors surveyed: 59% of our school advisors were women and 41% were men. Please refer to Table 7 for a comparison of ratios among the different groups. Obviously, the gender divide among school advisors is less drastic than amongst student teachers and the total part-time and full-time teaching population. Table 7. Comparison of gender representation. Received Responses Male Female Total B C C T Main Campus Respondents ii 430 1,23d 1 J . 6 I ' % 26.3 100 \'( >S.\ Sm\ex- ii 31S k,d 778 ' „ % , 40.9 5<) 1 pin Total BG Teacher Population1" n 1-3,384 25,501 38,' % 36 66 100 School Level In order to determine school level (elementary, middle, and secondary) of beginning teachers participating in the B C C T survey, one has to consult the "Employment Patterns" section of the B C C T report. For purposes of comparison, I have considered junior high as a type of middle school. However, in the school advisor survey we found that of the 778 teachers who responded to our survey, 38% were elementary, 7% were middle, and 55% were secondary. Conversely, the U B C Teacher Education Office reported that in the year of the advisor survey, 53% of the pre-service teachers were elementary, 6% were middle, and 41% were secondary. Table 8 provides an overview of the school levels of participants in both surveys. It is 1 0 British Columbia Ministry of Education Website: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/kl2datareports/99tsqtext/2052.txtt Report title, "Head Count of Full-Time & Part Time Educators by Gender within School District" for the 1999/2000 school year. 85 interesting to note the seeming incongruity of the number of student teachers and the number of school advisors. However, given the fact that secondary teachers are required to have two teachable subjects, they are more likely to work with more than one school advisor during their practicum. O n the other hand, some elementary level school advisors will sometimes work with two student teachers in one school year, one during the fall practicum and another in the spring. T a b l e 8. T h e s c h o o l levels o f survey pa r t i c i pan ts . E l e m e n t a r y M i d d l e Secondary Total Teachers n 2.\3'3 n/a ' 16,396 -"\ % 51 n/a 41 Student Teachers in UBC's Teacher n sis;>3ilSS||i|lIl n/a Education Program % (, "41 ;' V O S A Mirvc\ n i lBf f i l l^ jJ^ l i % 38 55 B C C T Main Campus Respondents n 818 533 ' % ' 58 4.2 37.8 Prac t i ca l i t y As reported earlier, across the different school levels the V O S A survey found the top four things that school advisors try to communicate to their student teachers to be preparation, flexibility, classroom management, and developing relationships with pupils. Although the last three choices were ranked differently at each level, preparation was consistendy considered the most important quality amongst all the teachers at each level. In the school advisor study, preparation included things such as creating detailed lesson and unit planning, developing clear '' British Columbia Ministry of Education Website: http: / /www.bced.gov.bc.ca/kl2datareports/99sldtxt/1568.txt Please note that according to the data report "Teacher Headcount by School and School Type within District/Authority", teachers were categorized as either Elementary or Secondary according to the grade level taught. Therefore, middle school teachers were not recognized as a particular group in this report. 86 objectives and expectations, and organizing all aspects of teaching. Again, it is interesting to note that although school advisors wish to convey these practical skills to their student teachers, they also see the university as deficient for not equipping student teachers with these abilities prior to the practicum. This dichotomy between the practical and the theoretical, the classroom and the university, is echoed in the responses of the beginning teachers surveyed by the B C C T . They expect practicality, and in fact, beginning teachers used that quality as a guide by which to judge their education professors at the university. Further, they are particularly critical when they fail to see it modelled for them in their university classrooms. Consider this example, "Only about half of the lecturers actually practiced what they preached — they ignored active learning in their own classrooms! The ones that were excellent were real teachers who gave us realistic scenarios and practical solutions." (BCCT, 9) Indeed, the desire for practical skills is underscored by the findings that 82.1% of the BCCT's respondents believed that the best time to take methods courses12 is before the final practicum. Furthermore, 73.2% found their methods courses to be helpful (p. 9-10). When the respondents commented on their methods courses, they seemed to stress the need for greater practicality. "Method courses should have been more practical, with more strategies and less theory." 1 2 For example, UBC's E D U C 310—Principles of Teaching: Elementary and Middle Years. It is an "introduction to principles and instructional procedures related to classroom management, instructional planning, and the assessment of learning as applicable across grade levels and subject matter fields." 87 "Make it practical. The program was too theoretical, and lacked practical applications.. .most instructors were academics, and not teachers" (p. 10). In light of the comments of both the beginning teachers and their school advisors, it is clear that both groups seem to want to emphasize the practical aspects of teaching. Student teachers, most of whom are relatively new to the classroom, are likely to find a practical focus in their university studies to be reassuring and comforting—something reliable that they can cling to as they venture into the unpredictable dynamics of classroom teaching. Although many student teachers enter the field of education because of deeply held pedagogical beliefs and convictions, their major concerns upon entering the practicum classroom become increasingly practical, often superseding their loftier intentions. Hoy and Woolfolk (1989) suggest that teachers need to develop a technical base first so that they can later engage in analysis and inquiry. Many practical questions supersede pedagogical beliefs: How do I get the attention of the class? How do I construct a lesson? How do I make these students work? How can I tell what they've learned? What do I do when they get out of line? Advisors, on the other hand, may also find a practical focus to be valuable for the same reason; emphasizing specific skills and strategies will better enable the student teacher to find success during their practicum. A skills and strategies approach to working with student teachers may also be appealing to advisors because progress and development are easier to recognize and, therefore, assess. Also, given the relatively short time frames of the practica, a focus on practicality is more likely to produce positive results. Thoughtfully considering one's personal philosophy of education is an inherendy valuable practice for all educators, but it is an exercise that benefits from classroom experience and time. Therefore, i f an advisor were to consider this to be the focus of their 88 work with students teachers, they would be less likely to see concrete results by the end of the practica. Furthermore, the advisor may be less able to engage a student teacher in this reflective practice i f the student teacher is scrambling to gather resources and plan lessons. Classroom Management The B C C T reports that teacher education programs review issues of managing the learning environment and managing behaviour; however, the authors also state that the gap between having issues of management addressed and having pre-service education about these issues be considered helpful'is an "important concern". For example, 91.5% of respondents indicated that managing the learning environment was addressed, while only 76.9% indicated that it was helpful. Additionally, 88.4% indicated that behaviour management was addressed, while only 67.4% found it helpful (p. 12). Respondent comments published by the B C C T include the following: "As classroom management issues and strategies are a very important part of teaching and the teacher education program, I would like to see this being addressed more often." "Classroom management is the clue to a successful first year and whether a person enjoys the occupation of teaching.. .1 learnt a lot of practical tips to manage 24+ students in a classroom setting from a visiting speaker but definitely nothing from my courses." (p. 12) These statistics and comments from beginning teachers are echoed in the responses we received from school advisors. Eight percent of the advisor responses indicated that classroom 89 management was a quality that they attempted to convey to their student teachers at all school levels. The consistency of comments made by both new teachers and the school advisors survey indicates that there is some incongruity between what is being taught in the university setting and what is being experienced in classroom practice. Notice how the following advisor comments echo those made by beginning teachers. "Student teachers need to be given exposure to discipline/behaviour strategies for classroom management." "Evaluation and classroom management should be dealt with before the long practicum." Although classroom management methods and strategies are a manifestation of a teacher's personal philosophy and pedagogy, their purposes are essentially practical. Managing pupils' behaviours allows for teaching and learning to take place in the classroom, and is, therefore, vital to the student teacher's success. This is supported by the comments of beginning teachers, whose experience suggests that an understanding of classroom management skills seems to only truly develop when one has had some exposure to students. School advisors agree that student teachers develop these skills when they are immersed in the classroom; however, advisors indicated that classroom management strategies need to be demonstrated to student teachers prior to starting the practicum. Again, just as with the concerns of the advisors regarding lesson and unit planning, this comparison suggests that school advisors perceive their role to be that 90 of a specialist, who "fine tunes" the skills of the student. This, of course, implies that advisors expect the university to initially expose the student teachers to methods of classroom management. R o l e o f the S c h o o l A d v i s o r One aspect of the B C C T survey that could not be direcdy compared with the V O S A results was an assessment of the school advisor's role. The V O S A survey did not ask respondents to evaluate their effectiveness. However, the information gathered by the B C C T survey of beginning teachers provides an important evaluative view of the school advisor's work with developing teachers. Specifically, the B C C T survey asked the participants to rank those involved in their pre-service education. The survey found that school advisors were ranked as the most helpful, as they were considered to be helpful 86.5% of the time while faculty advisors were helpful 77.7% of the time (p. 16). It is interesting to note that although school advisors were considered most helpful, they were not perceived to be the best models of teaching practice. "Other teaching staff were found to be better examples of good teaching. A possible reason for this is the close working relationship between the school advisor and the student teacher. During the practicum, the student teacher is privy to the backstage behaviour of the school advisor. This exposure makes the advisor more vulnerable to judgement by student teachers as personal qualities and traits that would normally be hidden from the view of others are shared with the student teacher. 91 Other staff who do not work so intensely with the student teacher are more likely to present only their onstage behaviour, keeping the messiness of decision-making and lesson planning to themselves. Additionally, one must recognize that the power structure inherent in the student teacher/school advisor relationship may affect the way in which a student teacher views the practice of his or her advisor. Although the evaluation'process is intended to be a collaborative process, the advisor is ultimately in charge of assessing the student. This type of relationship may in fact colour the perception of each other's practice. Sources of Conflict Generally An interesting question added to the BCCT's 2000 survey asked about sources of conflict between the teacher education program and the school at which they did their practicum. The highest point of conflict was found to be poor communication between the university and their representatives and the school advisor. The next point of conflict was a difference in philosophy between the university and the school. Thirdly, 13.7% of the beginning teachers found that differences in the expectations of the role of school supervisor to be a source of conflict. The sources of conflict identified in the BCCT survey not only seem to underscore the dichotomy between the university and the classroom, but also indicate that this gap is problematic for the student teacher. These conflict sources were also reflected, in a small way, in the VOSA survey. When school advisors were to make general comments or suggest changes regarding the program, 4.7% indicated that they wanted the faculty advisor to have more contact with them. Also, 2% 92 suggested that there needed to be an increase in communication among the student teacher, faculty advisor, and school advisor. A small number of school advisors explained that more regular and clearer communication was established within the triad, the role of the advisor would be clearer. This is also supported by other studies (Morine-Dershimer & Leighfield, 1995; Cole & Sorrill, 1992). Interestingly, the V O S A survey found that 85% of advisors wanted feedback on their work with student teachers. To date, there is no mechanism for this; however, such feedback may begin to alleviate some of this conflict. Conflict with school advisor The B C C T survey also asked specifically about the source of conflicts between the student teacher and the school supervisor. Twenty-three percent of the respondents indicated that the largest source of conflict was rooted in the difference in methods of teaching. Although the nature of this category was not explained further, it seems that beginning teachers who chose this category found they wanted to use different teaching methods than those suggested by the school advisor. A t first glance, this statistic seems to suggest that the advisor was inflexible and unwilling to allow the student teacher to use methods that were perhaps unfamiliar to the advisor. However, when BCCT' s "difference in teaching methods" is considered in light of the results from the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey, one can draw other conclusions. Preparation was considered the most important quality to convey to student teachers, which suggests that advisors did not always deem their student teachers as prepared to teach. Preparation encompassed aspects of planning and organization, qualities intrinsic in teaching methods; therefore, i f the advisor did not consider the student teacher to be amply prepared then that student teacher's teaching methods would become a source of conflict affecting both 93 the student and the advisor. Current literature (Duquette, 1994) also demonstrates that school advisors are often balancing what is valuable for the student teacher with the needs of the pupils. If the school advisor chooses to contradict the wishes of the student teacher for what they consider to be to the benefit of the pupil, conflict will undoubtedly arise. Also, advisors indicated that they wanted to convey flexibility to the student teachers, which included implementing a variety of teaching methods. If students were not willing to do so, then teaching methods would again become a source of conflict. O n the other hand, when asked to comment on their experience with UBC's teacher education program, many advisors cited that they enjoyed learning about new ideas and methods through their work with student teachers. Apparendy, some old dogs like to learn new tricks. The comments provided in the B C C T survey indicate that conflict between the advisor and the developing teacher may have some basis in the arbitrary pairing of student teachers with school advisors. Consider the following responses to the B C C T survey: "I think more time should be taken by the university to ensure that appropriate school supervisors are assigned to students. If this was done then a longer practicum would benefit students." "I would change the 'sink or swim' nature of the practicum and foster a support network made up of faculty, other B C C T members and other student teachers. Practica should allow people 9 4 to grow as they prove teaching abilities instead of destroying confidence and stunting growth of a good teacher." "I think that school supervisors should have criteria to meet besides just wanting a student teacher. My practicum teacher I felt wanted a student so she could work on accreditation." (p. 18) School advisors also specified, in a small way, that the pairings of student teachers and advisors could be more effective. In fact, 4% of the comments provided for questions 17 and 18 indicated that the personality of the prospective student teacher needed to be considered, with 1.4% suggesting that the student teacher and the school advisor meet prior to the practicum to decide whether or not they should work together. Although this was a relatively low concern for advisors, it warrants contemplation. Consider these comments made by school advisors and note the similarity to those made by beginning teachers: "Candidates for the education program should not be admitted without an oral interview and more time needs to be taken in matching student teachers with school advisors. Advisor candidates should complete a profile sheet for UBC to assist in making successful placements." "Not often, but occasionally teachers hear about horrific situations wherein the confidence of practicum students is eroded by rather mangy teachers who ought not to have students. 95 Reiterate that all people learn throughout their lives; all students, student teachers and teachers need to be in an encouraging and positive environment wherein they are able to work effectively, happily, and confidently." The comments provided by both the school advisors and the student teachers indicate that the working relationship within this partnership can have a major effect on the quality of the practicum, either positively or negatively. Although teaching is largely considered to be a solitary practice—that is, teachers mostly work alone in their own classrooms, without being observed by other educators—teacher education is a practice wherein one makes themselves personally vulnerable. Both the advisor and the student teacher expose themselves to the critical, professional judgement of the other. Duqette's (1994) research also alludes to this. Therefore, both parties are required to be sensitive, professional, and tactful—all skills that involve a certain amount of insight and understanding. If the two parties do not share similar viewpoints, personality traits, and values, then this pairing can inflict more stress into an already highly charged situation. Summary The results of the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey, although more specifically researching the role of the school advisor, has much in common with the B C College of Teachers "Report of the 2000 Survey of Recent Graduates of British Columbia Teacher Education Programs" (May 2001). Both examined aspects of teacher education, yet each report considered a different perspective. A common theme found in both reports was a focus the issue of teaching practical skills. The V O S A survey found advisors wished to convey practical aspects of teaching such as 96 planning and classroom management to their student teachers. The beginning teachers indicated that the university component of their education lacked a focus on practical skills. It would seem logical, then, to suggest that the perceived theory/practice divide mentioned in other studies (Morine-Dershimer & Leighfield, 1995; BCCT, 2001) between the university and classroom settings, respectively, may in fact be indicative of the student teachers' difficulties putting the theory they've learned into practice. Also, beginning teachers and school advisors both indicated that the practicum experience could be enhanced if measures were taken by the university to better match the student and advisor. Obviously, one can glean much useful information by interpreting the results of both surveys independendy. Nevertheless, when we consider the findings of each survey in light of the other, we develop a richer understanding of the complexities of this relationship and the various dimensions of the school advisor's role. Grimmet and Ratzlaff (1985) Overview Grimmet and Ratzlaff (1985) conducted a study of student teachers, school advisors, and faculty advisors, in an attempt to determine the expectations for each of these roles within the student teaching triad. A secondary purpose was to compare their findings to those of previous research conducted in the United States. By comparing aspects of each role that were in agreement and disagreement among the studies, Grimmet and Ratzlaff wanted to see if the definitions and expectations of the triad roles remained constant over time (1970s vs. 1980s) and context (Canada vs. United States). From the results, Grimmett and Ratzlaff found the following areas to be highly agreed upon as functions of the school advisor: orientation, planning and instruction, evaluation, professional development. Through this comparison of 97 studies, they found more of a relationship between studies conducted during the same decade rather than in the same context, that being the United States or Canada. Grimmet and Ratzlaff surveyed student teachers, school advisors, and faculty advisors associated with the University of British Columbia in 1984/1985. To this they accounted some of the differences between their Canadian study and the American studies: Grimmet and Ratzlaff sampled a singular teaching program, while the American studies included seven different institutions (1985), and the Canadian study surveyed only those who were actively involved in teacher education at the time of the survey while the American study did not. Despite these minor differences in survey strategy, Grimmet and Ratzlaff concluded that the "Zeitgeist" of the decade had more to do with the differences than the context of the survey (1985, p. 26). Given that supposition, comparing the findings of our study into the role of school advisors, conducted 15 years later in the exact same context, may either strengthen or question the hypothesis of Grimmet and Ratzlaff. Survey Demographics Grimmet and Ratzlaff surveyed student teachers, school advisors, and faculty advisors who were involved in the teacher education in the 1984/1985 school year. Of the 1375 school advisors who received surveys, 637 responded; a 46.3% return rate. Three hundred and seventy-one respondents were female, while 261 were male. Table 9 compares the demographics of UBC's school advisors in 1984/85 with those of 1999/2000. T a b l e 9 . C o m p a r i s o n o f " V o i c e o f t h e S c h o o l A d v i s o r " s u r v e y ( 1 9 9 9 / 2 0 0 0 ) w i t h G r i m m e t a n d R a t z l a f f s s u r v e y ( 1 9 8 4 / 1 9 8 5 1 . 98 V O S A S u r v e y G r i m m e t / R a t z l a f f S u r v e y 1 9 9 9 / 2 0 0 0 1 9 8 4 / 1 9 8 5 T o i . i l S c h o o l \ J \ isnr Sur\ e\ 1319 1375 l ' l i p i l l . H K U l Surveys: Returned 778 637 Not Returned 541 738 Respondents: Male y - 2(,\ f e m a l e 460 371 Age: 20 - 24 0 2 25-29 50 93 30-39 245 299 40-49 227 170 Over 49 254 73 It is interesting to note the consistency of the gender response for both reports: 41% male and 59% female. However, a major difference between the two surveys is the age of the respondents. The 1984/1985 respondents were much younger than the 1999/2000 school advisors. The largest age group in the Grimment and Ratzlaff study was between the ages of 30 and 39. While that was the second largest age group among the VOSA survey responses, the largest group was over 49 years of age. S t u d y F i n d i n g s Grimmet and Ratzlaff s research identifies all aspects of the school advisor's role and clearly shows that the advisor bears much responsibility for the education of a beginning teacher. In order to compare the results of the two surveys, it is important to understand that the survey instrument used in the 1985 study was very different from that used in the 2000 study. In the Grimmet and Ratzlaff survey, respondents were presented with a comprehensive list of characteristics that could be attributed to the school advisor's role and asked to indicate if they 99 agreed or disagreed with that characterisdc belonging to the school advisor. Subsequendy, many items were identified as being part of the advisor's role that did not directiy involve educating the student teacher. The following items are examples of tasks attributed to the school advisor that do not attempt to convey some aspect of teaching to the student teacher: • provide the student teacher with place for personal materials • introduce student teacher to members of the administrative staff, co-teachers, and other school employees • involve the student teacher in extracurricular activities sponsored jointly by school and community The V O S A survey asked advisors "What are the three most important things that you try to communicate to your student teachers?", a question whose nature does not lend itself to a complete representation of all that is involved in the role. Therefore, it is important to recognize that the Grimmet & Ratzlaff findings are much broader in scope than the V O S A results, as it was not the intention of the V O S A survey to develop a comprehensive list of the various dimensions involved in being an advisor; rather, the items suggested in the V O S A survey are to be interpreted as the most important things advisors attempt to communicate to their student teachers. Nevertheless, there are some useful comparisons that can be drawn between the results of the two surveys. The Grimmet and Ratzlaff study involved having each member of the triad complete a 166 item questionnaire that asked participants to indicate expectations of each role. Instead of 100 presenting all the items identified in their study, I will focus on the items that relate specifically to their work with student teachers. • involve student teacher in planning and directing learning activities of children • show student teacher physical set-up of the classroom, school buildings, and school grounds • explain the overall plan of the course of study for each subject • explain the principles related to certain teaching techniques • demonstrate for the student teacher different methods of procedures of teaching • share with the student teacher information about the interests and abilities of pupils • tell the student teacher proven techniques of classroom management • supply the student teacher with copies of the teacher's guide, teacher's manual, textbooks, and other types of teaching aids • share with the student teacher ideas, discoveries, and innovations in education • make the student teacher aware of voice, pronunciation, and level of vocabulary • check unit or daily plans of the student teacher • show the student teacher how daily or unit plans are prepared • instruct the student teacher how to establish "close" rapport with the pupils 101 • ' give the student teacher detailed information as to how report cards attendace forms, and permanent records are prepared, used, and kept • supply reference books, professional magazines to be used by the student teacher • assist the student teacher to search for valid principles that would support his activities or teaching methods • counsel the student teacher about "proper" grooming and decorum in the classroom • help the student teacher interpret his observation notes of other classrooms The respondents to the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey suggested qualities they wished to convey to their student teachers, which were analyzed and found to be significant aspects of the advisory role. While the suggestions are not as comprehensive as the Grimmet and Ratzlaff itemized list, the findings of the V O S A survey are very similar to the 1985 survey. Table 10 aligns the qualities identified in the 1985 survey with the categories developed through the V O S A survey. Table 10. Comparison of advisor role as explored by Grimmet and Ratzlaff (1985) with the V O S A study (2000). V O S A (2000)Top Four Categories & Explanations Grimmet and Ratzlaffs (1985) Survey Results Preparation The student teacher should have detailed lesson and unit planning, clear objectives and expectations, and be organized and proactive in all aspects of teaching. • involve student teacher in planning and directing learning activities of children • explain the overall plan of the course of study for each subject 1 0 2 • share with the student teacher information about the interests and abilities of pupils • supply the student teacher with copies of the teacher's guide, teacher's manual, textbooks, and other types of teaching aids • check unit or daily plans of the student teacher • show the student teacher how daily or unit plans are prepared • assist the student teacher to search for valid principles that would support his activities or teaching methods C l a s s r o o m M a n a g e m e n t The student teacher should incorporate different management strategies, become the authority in the classroom, and recognize the importance of classroom management to children's learning. • tell the student teacher proven techniques of classroom management F l e x i b i l i t y The student teacher should learn to adapt to the needs of the learners, as well as understand and engage in a variety of teaching methods. • explain the principles related to certain teaching techniques • demonstrate for the student teacher different methods of procedures of teaching • share with the student teacher ideas, discoveries, and innovations in education 103 Relationships with pupils The student teacher should respect the pupils, develop relationships with the pupils, and work towards creating a rapport with the pupils. • instruct the student teacher how to establish "close" rapport with the pupils Items aligning with other categories in the V O S A survey Professionalism • make the student teacher aware of voice, pronunciation, and level of vocabulary • give the student teacher detailed information as to how report cards attendace forms, and permanent records are prepared, used, and kept • supply reference books, professional magazines to be used by the student teacher Reflection • help the student teacher interpret his observation notes of other classrooms Other • show student teacher physical set-up of the classroom, school buildings, and school grounds Although the two surveys are somewhat different in scope and nature, it is interesting to note the consistencies in the expectations for the school advisor, specifically in relation to their work with student teachers. Grimmet and Ratzlaff (1985, 1986) attributed the differences found between their study and the American study to "the spirit (Zeitgeist) of the 1980's" (p. 26). They contend that the 1980s purported a more conservative worldview than the 1970s. In that vein, one would expect that the popular culture of the 1990s and its shift from modern conservatism towards postmodern multiplicity, to be reflected in education. However, through a cursory comparison of Grimmet and Ratzlaff s 1985 study with the results of the V O S A survey, we find that there are strong correlations, even over the 15 years, between studies concerning the expectations of the school advisors role. P o s t m o d e r n P a r a d o x e s Many consider the 1990s to have been a time where North American society made the transition from modern to postmodern society. This has brought about many salient changes. For example, values once considered solid and foundational, such as respect and submission to authority figures, are less likely to be adhered to. Rather, there is an acceptance of diverse values and beliefs, and everything is subject to questioning, including education, the role of teachers, and teacher education. Postmodernism does not prescribe meaning; therefore, teachers are in a very tensioned position, a place of ambiguity and uncertainty regarding their roles and identities (Hargreaves, 1994). Given this new postmodernist paradigm, one would expect to see these changes reflected in how our society educates its teachers. However, the comparison of the 1985 Grimmet and Ratzlaff study with the 2000 V O S A study seems to indicate otherwise. Hargreaves (1994) examines this postmodern paradox: how, within a culture of questioning and redefinition, the North American system of education remains relatively unchanged. For example, postmodernism promotes "flexibility" within the workplace. Within a postmodernist structure, traditional roles are taken apart and workplace relationships altered. The boss may become a "team leader" and co-workers, "teammates" in order to signify the distribution of power to everyone. However, school (particularly secondary schools) remain very modernist in 105 structure, with strict divisions occurring between subject and the dominance of an established hierarchy: administration at the top, followed by the department heads of academic subjects, then teachers of academic subjects, and finally, teachers of electives. The consistency of pragmatic expectations of the school advisors seems to be a further example of stagnancy surrounded by change. The paradox intensifies as one realizes that teachers are not themselves removed from postmodernist tendencies; in fact, teachers themselves uphold many of these beliefs. They recognise that there are many ways of living, that flexibility is a necessity, that specific roles are blurred, and that they need not succumb to a fixed hierarchy. Contemporary teachers, too, question everything. However, it is with a dose of postmodern cynicism that many teachers resist change imposed by external powers such as administration, government, and the public. This resistance may lead to a "digging in" of teachers—the suspicion of and opposition to any type of suggested change. Therein lies a flexibility paradox—the defence of the status quo as a cynical response to external pressure. Hargreaves (1994) suggests another reason as to why teachers resist change: the postmodern cry of flexibility can mean an burden to "do it all", which can be particularly overwhelming for school advisors. This "flexibility" may drive teachers to seek safety and security in the trenches of traditional ideologies. Hence, another paradox of flexibility—postmodernist ideology believes in empowering the individual, but the pressure and impossibility of doing it all in the educational forum results in negative teacher responses such as cynicism, burnout, isolation, and guilt. Whether or not teachers and advisors should change their role in accordance to societal shifts is not being debated here; rather, this discussion is intended to explain the uniformity of role expectations in a society whose core values have given way to a new social climate. Everyone, including teachers, is in the process of negotiating this new social climate. However, a resulting change within the school advisory component of teacher education has not been noted to date. Conclusion There is a remarkable consistency among the findings of the three studies: the B C College of Teachers' "Report of the 2000 Survey of Recent Graduates of British Columbia Teacher Education Programs" (May 2001), Grimmet and Ratzlaff s "Role Expectations for the Three Positions in the Student Teaching Triad" (April, 1985), and the "Voice of the School Advisor Survey" (2000). A l l three surveys examined roles as they are defined within British Columbia's system teacher education. Although the B C C T survey did not focus solely on respondents associated with U B C , the largest component of participants had received their training through U B C . A constant finding among all the reports was the value placed on the work of the school advisor, in particular, the conveyance of practical skills and techniques. The comparison across triad perspectives and research time periods demonstrates that the school advisor's role has remained relatively unchanged—an interesting response given the postmodern shift of society. As we stand at the cusp of a new millennium, North American society is navigating its way in a new culture of questioning and change, while the response of teacher education is still to be decided. 107 CHAPTER SEVEN Discussion & Conclusion Teaching is a professional callingguided by a moralforce. The heart of teaching is the individual relationship between teacher and student. Their challenge as students, and as future teachers, will be to recognise and reduce the discrepancy between the ideal and the possible. - Richmond School Advisor Introduction The challenge of this study has been to develop an understanding of the insights, beliefs, and understandings held by school advisors and how that informs their work with student teachers. In particular, the findings of this study focused on the qualitative dimension of the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey, which was returned by 778 advisors working with U B C — 6 1 % of those surveyed. As such, the study significantly represents the views of advisors in the Lower Mainland. This chapter begins by reviewing the results of this study in light of the research questions. Then, in order to more fully understand the role of the advisor in a beginning teacher's development, I summarize the findings presented in Chapter 6, a comparison of the results from the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey with the BCCT's survey (2001) of beginning teachers, as well as the findings from Grimmet and Ratzlaff s (1985) research conducted 15 years earlier. Finally, I will present implications for practice and for further research. 108 Research Questions The intention of this research project is to gain an understanding of the attitudes and beliefs that give meaning to the work of school advisors. Specifically, this study focuses on the qualitative dimension of the "Voice of School Advisor" survey, which is based on the advisors' responses to survey questions 10, 17, and 18. 10. What are the 3 most important things that you try to communicate to your student teachers? 17. If you were able to change one thing about the way in which U B C organizes its practica, what would it be? 18. Is there anything else, not covered above, that you would like to highlight in your work with student teachers? The analyses of the responses given are guided by the research questions outlined in the introduction: • What do school advisors attempt to convey to their student teachers? • H o w do school advisors perceive their role? • How do the results of this study complement similar, contemporary studies to provide us with a richer understanding of the school advisor's role? 109 Although these questions were addressed in the previous chapters four and five of this study, providing direct answers to these research questions will give a simple summary of the findings. Research Question No. 1 The first questions asked, "What do school advisors attempt to convey to their student teachers?" In short, advisors' responses indicated that they attempted to convey the practical qualities of teaching to their student teachers. Most often identified as the practical aspects of teaching included helping student teachers prepare lessons, develop flexibility, practice classroom management skills, and build up rapport and relationships with the pupils. Although developing rapport with pupils seems to be a more abstract than practical skill, it is considered practical because building personal relationships with students has very practical results: enhanced student achievement, more responsive lesson planning, and improved classroom management. A n interesting contradiction that was exposed in this study was the advisors' view on who should teach the basic practical skills: the university or the advisor? Although the importance of preparation was identified as the quality most advisors wished to convey to their student teachers (15% of total responses), ten percent of the advisors indicated that they had concerns regarding student teachers lack of lesson and unit planning prior to the practicum. These responses seem to suggest contradicting notions: (1) that the school advisor should convey lesson and unit planning, and (2) that the university should be responsible for teaching lesson and unit planning. Indeed, i f school advisors view themselves as reinforcing and teaching the practical qualities of education, as suggested in this and other studies (Langdon, Weltzl-10 Fairchild, & Haggar, 1997; Gasner & Wham, 1998), then the expectation would be that U B C need not emphasize the teaching of classroom practicalities as that responsibility is expected to be undertaken by the school advisor. However, this does not appear to be the case. I believe that rather than accept these views as contradictory, there may be a middle ground suggested through the advisors' comments. That is, advisors expect the university to give student teachers a general background to lesson preparation, including lesson plan templates and an understanding of the key components necessary for planning. The role of the advisor then would be to "fine tune" the rudimentary skills taught at the university. This hypothesis requires further study and investigation. The implications of specific research in this area could be the development of a more complementary partnership between the university and the school advisor. Research Question N o . 2 The second question asked "How do school advisors perceive their role?" It must be recognized that question 10 asked the advisors what they "attempted to communicate" to their student teachers, which presupposes that advisors are inherently intent on communicating something, or sharing something with their student teachers. In that respect, the creators of the survey viewed the advisors as leaders or mentors to the student teachers. Additionally, questions 17 and 18 asked the advisors to give their opinions regarding UBC's teacher education program. This acknowledges that the advisor is part of a larger program that is intended to provide a certain service; that is, the professional education of developing teachers. It also acknowledges that advisors play a significant role in that education process. Although these points may be obvious, I am highlighting them here in order to recognize that those U l completing the survey were unlikely to provide responses that presented their advisory role as something other than that of a teacher or guide to their student teachers. Therefore, the research question should be specified to read, "As people whose position it is to help student teachers develop, how do school advisors perceive that role?" When the responses of the school advisors are considered in light of the additional qualifiers mentioned above, we can conclude that advisors perceive their role as purveying the practical aspects of teaching to their student teachers. In other words, they are guides who help student teachers make the transition from theoretical student to realistic teacher. They expressed that preparation, classroom management, flexibility, and relationships with pupils are the most important qualities to convey to student teachers. Advisors are in a special position and their responses suggest recognition of that. They realize that they have much to give to student teachers that cannot be conveyed in university classes, the least of which is supported exposure to the realities of the classroom. As such, the advisors had noteworthy comments and suggestions regarding the program that arose from their unique classroom experiences. Specifically, they suggested that U B C needs to better prepare students to plan units and lessons. Advisors were also concerned with the placement of the practicum within the school year. These comments and suggested changes indicate that advisors have deep pedagogical concerns. Furthermore, they indicate that school advisors are conscious of the vital role they play within teacher education. Many of the advisors explicitiy and implicidy indicated that they found the role of school advisor to be professionally satisfying and personally invigorating. This signifies that although there may be times of frustration, advisors place great significance and value on the work they do with student teachers. 112 Research Question No. 3 Finally, the third question that guided this study was, "How do the results of this study complement similar, contemporary studies to provide us with a richer understanding of the school advisor's role?" The results of the V O S A survey were compared with the results of the B C College of Teachers "Report of the 2000 Survey of Recent Graduates of British Columbia Teacher Education Programs" (May 2001) and Grimmet and Ratzlaff s "Role Expectations for the Three Positions in the Student Teaching Triad" (April, 1985). Both the B C C T and V O S A survey examined aspects of teacher education, with the B C C T looking broadly at the beginning teacher's professional education experience and the V O S A survey examining the school advisors' perceptions of their role within teacher education. Although they considered different perspectives, a common theme was found regarding the role of the school advisor: a focus on the teaching of practical skills. The V O S A survey found advisors wished to convey practical aspects of teaching such as planning and classroom management to their student teachers. The beginning teachers indicated that their university education lacked a focus on practical skills, while they learned much from their advisors during their practica. Both reports alluded to the student teachers' difficuldy translating theory into practice. Through a cursory comparison of Grimmet and Ratzlaff s 1985 study with the results of the V O S A survey, we find that litde has changed regarding the expectations of the school advisor's role. The data gathered in the studies gleaned information using different instruments: 113 Grimmet and Ratzlaff s 166 item list of the comprehensive aspects involved in the role of a school advisor and the V O S A survey's open-ended question asking advisors what was important to communicate to student teachers. When the Grimmet and Ratzlaff s data specifically pertaining to advisor's work with student teachers was considered, there was remarkable uniformity. Again, the role of the school advisor was expected to involve helping the student teacher develop the practical skills of teaching that are needed in a classroom. It is difficult to say whether or not the understanding of the school advisor's role within teacher education has been deepened through the comparison of these studies, as each seems to support the claims of the other—an increase in validity, rather than increased insight. However, the consistency of expectations over the 15 years between the surveys was an interesting discovery. Grimmet and Ratzlaff, when comparing their findings to American studies conducted 15 years prior to theirs, attributed differences to the span of time between the surveys. This, however, did not seem to be the case when comparing their results with the V O S A survey. While societal norms, values, and expectations have changed remarkably since the 1980s, this has not seemed to affect the role of the school advisor, which is an interesting commentary on the resistance of educational systems to change. The results of the V O S A survey show the work of the school advisor to be a complicated and delicate attempt to balance competing priorities. The school advisor is, metaphorically, serving two masters: the educational needs of the student teacher and the educational needs of the pupils. Unfortunately, the pedagogical objectives for these two priorities are not always met simultaneously. Given the results of the V O S A survey in light of these competing priorities, I suggest that the school advisors' emphasis on practical skills is their attempt to adequately 114 satisfy the needs of both the student teachers and the pupils. If the student teacher can teach well, then the value is extrinsic—it goes beyond the teacher—and the pupils, as well as the student teacher, benefit. Table 11 lists the qualities and comments of the school advisors, as well as the primary beneficiaries of these qualities, and the intrinsic or extrinsic value of this quality. It is important to note that although the words intrinsic and extrinsic adequately express the idea, these words should do not comprehensively convey all that is intended. Indeed, intrinsic is used to suggest that the quality has a value that is primarily internal, as well as essential. Extrinsic, on .the other hand, does not suggest that the quality is unnecessary; rather, it is simply used to express that the quality benefits those outside of the teacher. 15 T a b l e 11. T h e v a l u e a n d b e n e f i c i a r i e s o f a s p e c t s o f t h e s c h o o l a d v i s o r y r o l e . B E N E F I C I A R Y V A L U E Q u a l i t i e s A d v i s o r s A t t e m p t t o C o n v e y Preparation Classroom Management Flexibility Relationship with Pupils Care—putting the students first Professionalism Reflection Initiative Fun/Enjoyment Student Teacher Pupil Student Teacher Pupil Student Teacher Pupil Student Teacher Pupil Pupil Student Teacher Student Teacher Student Teacher School Advisor Student Teacher Pupil Extrinsic Extrinsic Extrinsic Extrinsic/ Intrinsic Intrinsic Intrinsic Intrinsic Extrinsic/ Intrinsic Intrinsic A d v i s o r s ' C o m m e n t s & S u g g e s t e d C h a n g e s Positive Experience with U B C Lesson/Unit Planning Prior School Advisor Student Teacher Pupil Placement of Practica within the School Year Student Teacher Pupil School Advisor Student Teacher Should Teach More Longer Practica Faculty Associate there more often Intrinsic Extrinsic Extrinsic Student Teacher Extrinsic Student Teacher unknown School Advisor Extrinsic Student Teacher 116 The most popular qualities of this role seem to have strong extrinsic value, benefiting both the student teacher and the pupil. A more rigorous examination of the correlation between the value and the beneficiaries of particular qualities may lead to a better understanding of the motivation behind the work of the school advisor. Conclusions Given the number of people surveyed and the 61% response rate, there are several generalizations that can be made from the qualitative analysis of the "Voice of the School Advisor" survey. (1) School advisors perceive their role to be essentially practical. That although they address more theoretical and ethereal aspects such as personal reflection, caring for students, and having fun in the classroom, the main focus of their work with student teachers is to convey the practical aspects of teaching, namely preparation, classroom management, and flexibility. The fourth quality, relationships with pupils, has a more humanistic focus but with the understanding that developing these relationships has a distinctly practical benefit within the classroom. (2) School advisors are conscious of the importance of their role within the broader goals of teacher education. The analysis of advisors' comments regarding the teacher education program at U B C and their suggested changes, indicate that many of the advisors find this role to be very professionally satisfying and personally invigorating. Predictably, their main concerns focused on practical 117 issues such as the teaching (or lack thereof) of lesson/unit planning by the university, as well as how the timing of the practicum affects the rhythm of the school year for the pupils and the student teacher. These issues suggest that the advisors' primary concerns are for the education of the pupils in the class and the progress of the student teachers who are there to learn. These generalizations are supported by the comparisons of this study with the BCCT's (2001) survey and Grimmet and Ratzlaff s (1985) research. Overwhelmingly, the role of the school advisor enables beginning teachers to translate the theory learned in university into the practices needed within the classroom. The advisor's unique position within the triad allows him or her to provide the most direct guidance and support for the student teacher. Also, the school advisor has a great deal invested in their work with the student teacher, as the advisor must deal direcdy with the repercussions of the student teacher's work with the class. For example, if the student teacher is unable to become proficient with her skills during the practicum, the advisor may feel increased pressure to "make up for lost time". Conversely, if the student teacher quickly adapts to the needs of the class and is able to create a climate for learning, then the advisor is able to build on that after the student teacher has left. Given the symbiotic relationship of the advisor and student, it is not surprising that practical issues of teaching remain paramount in the minds of advisors. Implications for Practice Given the consistency regarding the role of the school advisor as presented in these studies, these expectations ought to be accepted within the practice of teacher education, made explicit within the triad, and subsequendy developed. As it is currendy expressed in UBC's Bachelor of 118 Education Handbook and Calendar 2001 -2002 the school advisor is expected to act as a mentor and model for the student teacher, with pardcular attention being paid to (a) relationship building, (b) modeling, (c) supervising, and (d) evaluating. These guidelines seem to emphasize discussion and conferencing between the advisor and student teacher, whereby the student teacher can reflect on their developing practice and endeavour to improve their skills—skills that have been developed at the university prior to the practica (p. 32). Therefore, the advisor's classroom becomes a place where student teachers can practice what they have already learned and receive feedback on their performances from their advisors. Based on the results of the V O S A survey, this is a limited view of the school advisor's work. School advisors repeatedly indicated that they communicate, teach, and develop practical aspects of teaching to their student teachers. Yet, the advisory role presented in UBC's Bachelor of Education Handbook is not that of a teacher educator involved in skill development; rather the role of advisor seems to fulfill certain administrative and non-administrative objectives. For example, the advisor is expected to structure the student's teaching load, consult regularly with the faculty advisor, and monitor and assess the student teacher according to guidelines put forth by the university. The non-administrative components of the advisory role (ie. demonstrate good professional practice, model reflective practice, be a listener, etc.) seem to present a much more passive construct of the advisory role than the results of the V O S A survey revealed. When the results of the V O S A study are compared with the B C C T (2001) and Grimmet and Ratzlaff (1985) studies, a dynamic and colourful portrait of the school advisory role is constructed. This clearer understanding of the actual work of the school advisor enables the university to better construct a teacher education program that builds on the strengths of the 1 1 9 advisory role and seeks to support advisors in their education of student teachers. The re-alignment of university and school objectives can only help to enrich the student teacher's evolution from student to teacher. This study focussed on the qualitative aspects of the V O S A survey and exposed several categories pertaining to what school advisors wish to communicate to their student teachers. There is a need further explore these aspects. Specifically, how these aspects "fit" in the university's model of learning to teach, what student teachers feel they need to know, and how the aspects are conveyed to student teachers. In order to provide an accurate picture of the practicum experience, further research needs to be conducted into the role of the faculty advisor: How does she perceive her role? What does she intend to communicate to student teachers and school advisors? How does she convey these qualities? Seventy-five percent of school advisors participating in the V O S A survey were satisfied with the role of the faculty advisor in the practicum. How the faculty advisor supports the work of the school advisor should be explored and built upon. Given the findings of the V O S A study, a similar study that focused on the role of the faculty advisor would provide a more comprehensive understanding of the entire practicum. Further exploration into the intense teaching/learning relationships forged during the practicum experience will enhance our understanding of this situation and better enable faculty and school institutions to create constructive environments for those learning to teach. REFERENCES 120 Applegate, J. & Lasley, T. (1982). Cooperating teachers' problems with preservice field experience students. Journal of teacher education. 33(2). 15-18. Bachelor of education student handbook and calendar 2001-2002. Vancouver: U B C Teacher Education Office. 2001. Borko, H . & Mayfield, V . (1995) The roles of the cooperating teacher and university supervisor in learning to teach. Teaching & teacher education. 11(5). 501-518. British Columbia College of Teachers (2001). Report of the 2000 survey of recent graduates of B.C. teacher education programs. Vancouver: B C College of Teachers. Chin, P. (1999). Exploring the complexities of the practicum: Case studies of two school advisors. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia, British Columbia. Clarke, Anthony. (February, 2001). The voice of school advisors. Paper presented at the 5 t h Annual International Conference on Practical Experiences in Professional Education, Melbourne, Australia. 121 Cole, A . & Sorrill, P. (1992). Being an associate teacher: A feather in one's cap? Education canada. 32(3). 41 - 48. Dunn, T. G . & Taylor, C. A . (1993) Cooperating teacher advice. Teaching & teacher education. 9(4). 411-423. Duquette, C. (1994) The role of the cooperating teacher in a school-based teacher education program: Benefits and concerns. Teaching & teacher education. 10(2), 345-353. Enz, B.J. & Cook, SJ . (1992, April) Student teachers' and cooperating teachers' perspectives of mentoring functions: Harmony or dissonance? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, C A . Gasner, T. (1997. March) The contribution of service as a cooperating teacher and mentor teacher to the professional development of teachers. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Gasner, T. & Wham, M . (1998). Voices of cooperating teachers: Professional contributions and personal satisfaction. Teacher education quarterly. 25(2). 43 - 52. Glickman, C. & Bey, T. (1990). Supervision. In Houston. R.W. (ed.). Handbook of research on teacher education: A project of the association of teacher educators. New York: Macmillan. 122 Grimmet, P. & Ratzlaff, H . (1985, April). Role expectations for the three positions in the student teaching triad. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association, Chicago, IL. Grimmett, P. & Ratzlaff, H . (1986). Expectations for the cooperating teacher role. Journal of teacher education. 37(6). 41 - 50. Hamilton, A . & Riley, J.F. (1999) Shared perceptions: How interns and their cooperating teachers view concerns facing interns. Action in teacher education. 21(1). 97 - 107. Hargreaves, Andy. Changing teachers, changing times: Teachers' work and culture in the postmondern age. London : Cassell, 1994. Hoy, W. & Woolfolk, A . (1989). Supervising student teachers. In Woolfolk, A . (ed.), Research perspectives on the graduate preparation of teachers. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Koerner, M . E . (1992) The cooperating teacher: A n ambivalent participant in student teaching. Journal of teacher education. 43(1). 46-56. Langdon, P., Weltzl-Fairchild. A , & Haggar, J. (1997). Cooperating teachers: Concerns and issues. Canadian review of art education. (24)1. 46 - 57. 123 Morine-Dershimer, G . & Leighfield, K . (1995). Student teaching and field experiences. In Anderson, L . (ed.), International encyclopedia of teaching and teacher education. New York: Pergamon. Richardson-Koehler, V . (1988). Barriers to the effective supervision of student teaching: A field study. The journal of teacher education. 39(2). 28 — 34. Strauss, A . L . & Corbin, J . M . (1998). Basics of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publishing. Sudzina, M . , Geibelhause, C , & Coolican, M . (1997). Mentor or tormentor: The role of the cooperating teacher in student teacher success or failure. Action in teacher education. 28(4). 23 - 35. Wideen, M . , Mayer-Smith, J., & Moon, B. (1998). A critical analysis of the research on learning to teach: Making the case for an ecological perspective on inquiry. Review of educational research. 68(2). 130 - 178. Zeichner, K . (1992). Rethinking the practicum in the professional development school partoership. Journal of teacher education. 43(4). 296 - 307. 124 A P P E N D I X A The "Voice of the School Advisor" Survey 126 The Voice of School Advisors * 8. What sort of professional development would be useful to you in your work with student teachers? 9. ^Approximately how many student teachers have you worked with for their main practicum? Number of students: Number of students who passed: 10. What are the 3 most important things that you try to communicate to your student teachers? 11. Are there any requirements for teachers who wish to work with student teachers: At your school level? At your district level? O Yes O No O Not sure O Yes O No O Not sure If 'Yes,' please list requirements: If 'Yes,' please list the requirements: 12. Do you think there should be specific expectations/requirements for teachers who work with student teachers? O Yes O No O Not sure If 'Yes,' please list the key expectations/requirements: If 'No' or 'Not Sure' please explain: 13. Who should be responsible for selecting teachers from those who indicate they want to work with student teachers? O Principal OSchool-based team O District-based team O University O Other. If you chose a team-based approach, who should be on the team? 1 2 7 . The Voice of School Advisors 14. Should there be feedback to teachers who work with student teachers? O Yes O No O Not sure If 'Yes,' what sort of feedback would be useful to you? How might this feedback to be arranged? The following questions are specific to your experiences with UBC: 15. How well is UBC preparing student teachers for the practicum? O Less than adequately O Adequately O More than adequately O Other. 16. When working with UBC student teachers I would prefer that UBC faculty advisors: O Take on a larger role O Take on a lesser role O OK as it is O Other If your answer refers to working with UBC student teachers in a 'project' (e.g., Humantities & Social Justice, PBL, SMiP, etc.), in contrast to the regular program, please give the name of the project: 17. If you were able to change one thing about the way in which UBC organizes its practica, what would it be? 18. Is there anything else, not covered above, that you would like to highlight in your work with student teachers? Please turn over for SECTION T W O rzj> 128 [ • T h e Voice of School Advisors . . SECTION TWO - CIRCLE TV OR 'B' 19. Please circle either A or B for each item. There are no right or wrong answers. Please do not omit an item. You may not completely agree with either A or B, but circle the one that is closest to how you feel as an practicum advisor working With a Student teacher. (My thanks to Carl Glickman for allowing me to use his material in this question.) i. A . Advisors should give student teachers a large degree of autonomy and initiative within broadly defined limits. B. Advisors should give student teacher directions about methods that will help them improve their teaching. ii. A . It is important for student teachers to set their own goals and objectives for professional growth. B. It is important for advisors to help student teachers reconcile their personalities and teaching styles with the philosophy and direction of the school. iii. A . Student teachers are likely to feel uncomfortable and anxious if the criteria on which they will be evaluated are not clearly defined by the advisor. B. Evaluations of student teachers are meaningless if student teachers are.not able to define with their advisors the criteria of evaluation. iv. A . An open, trusting, warm, and personal relationship with student teachers is the most important ingredient in advising student teachers. B. An advisor who is too intimate with student teachers risks being less effective and less respected than an advisor who keeps a certain degree of professional distance. v. A . My role during pre- and post-lesson conferences is to make the interaction positive/to share realistic information, and to help student teachers plan their own solutions. B. The strategies I use with student teachers in pre- or post-lesson conferences are aimed at our reaching agreement over the needs for future improvement. vi. In the initial phase of working with a student teacher: A . I develop objectives with each student teacher that will help accomplish school goals. B. I try to identify the talents and goals of the student teacher so he or she can work on their own improvement. vii. When several student teachers in a school have a similar classroom problem, I prefer to: A . Have the student teachers form an ad hoc group and help them work together to solve the problem. B. Help the student teachers on an individual basis find their strengths and abilities so that each one finds his or her own solution to the problem. 129 'v : ; '' The Voice of School Advisors viii. The most important clue that a workshop is needed for students in a school occurs when: A . The advisor perceives that several student teachers lack knowledge or skill in an area, which is resulting in low morale, undue stress, and a less effective teaching practicum. B. Several student teachers perceive the need to strengthen their abilities in the same instructional area. ix. A . The advisors should decide the objectives of an after school workshop since they have a broad perspective on the student teachers' abilities and the schools' needs. B. Student teachers and advisors should reach consensus about the objectives of an after school workshop before the workshop is held. x. A . Student teachers who feel they are growing personally will be more effective than student teachers who are not experiencing personal growth. B. The knowledge and ability of teaching strategies and methods that have been proved over the years should be taught and practiced by all student teachers. xi. When I perceive that a student teacher might be scolding a pupil unnecessarily: A . I explain, during a post-lesson conference, why the scolding was excessive. B. I ask the student teacher about the incident but do not interject my judgements. xii. A . One effective way to improve student teacher performance is to formulate clear behavioural objectives and create meaningful incentives for achieving them. B. Behavioural objectives are helpful to some student teachers but stifling to others; some students benefit from behavioural objectives in some situations but not in others. xiii. During a pre-lesson conference: A . I suggest to the student teacher what I could observe, but I let the student teacher make the final decision about the objectives and methods of the observation. B. The student teacher and I mutually decide the objectives and methods of observation. xiv. A . Improvement occurs very slowly if student teachers are left on their own; but when a group of students within a school work together they learn rapidly. B. Group discussions, with several student teachers in one school, may be enjoyable, but I find that individual, open discussion with a student teacher about a problem and its solutions leads to more sustained results. xv. When an after school workshop is scheduled: A . All student teachers who participated in the decision to hold the workshop should be expected to attend it. B. Student teachers, regardless of their role in forming a workshop, should be able to decide if the workshop is relevant to them and, if not, should not be expected to attend. 130 APPENDIX B Survey Response by School District Not Received Received Total #22 Vernon Count 1 1 % of Total .1% .1%, #23 Central Okanagan Count 3 7 10 % of Total .2% .5% .8% #33 Chilliwack Count 3 7 10 % of Total .2% .5% .8% #34 Abbotsford Count 18 17 35 % of Total 1.4% 1.3% 2.7% #35 Langley Count 31 40 71 % of Total 2.4% 3.0% 5.4% #36 Surrey Count 39 66 105 % of Total 3.0% 5.0% 8.0% #37 Delta Count 31 44 75 % of Total 2.4% 3.3% 5.7% #38 Richmond Count 61 157 218 % of Total 4.6% 11.9% 16.5% #39 Vancouver Count 187 239 426 % of Total 14.2% 18.1% 32.3% #40 New Westminster Count 4 7 11 % of Total .3% .5% .8% #41 Burnaby Count 34 49 83 % of Total 2.6% 3.7% 6.3% #42 Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Count 19 6 25 % of Total 1.4% .5% 1.9% #43 Coquitlam Count 51 69 120 % of Total 3.9% 5.2% 9.1% #44 North Vancouver Count 16 18 34 % of Total 1.2% 1.4% 2.6% #45 West Vancouver Count 21 22 43 % of Total 1.6% 1.7% 3.3%. #48 Howe Sound Count 5 5 % of Total .4% .4% #57 Prince George Count 1 1 2 % of Total .1% .1% .2% ' #61 Greater Victoria Count ? 2 4 % of Total .2% .2% .3% #67 Okanagan Skaha Count 1 2 3 % of Total .1% .2% .2%, #68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith Count 2 2 % of Total .2% .2% #69 Qualicum Count 1 3 4 % of Total .1% .2% .3% #71 Comox Valley Count 1 2 3 % of Total .1% .2% .2% #72 Campbell River Count 6 6 % of Total .5% .5% #73 Kamloops-Thompson Count 8 14 22 % of Total .6% 1.1% 1.7% #93 Francophone Schools Count 1 1 % of Total .1% .1% T O T A L Count 541 778 1319 % of Total 41.0% 59.0% 100.0% 

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