Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Larry D. Burton

Second Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Third Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Abstract

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to explore the implementation of and perceptions of the Joint Board of Teacher Education benchmarks for teaching practice, or student teaching. Data were gathered concerning how the benchmarks were implemented and the perceptions of multiple stakeholders regarding the adequacy of their implementation. Additionally, stakeholders were asked about the possible need for including some benchmarks from the USA in order to create an ideal teaching-practice program in Jamaica.

Method. This study used a multiple descriptive case study design. Two teacher training institutions in Jamaica were purposively selected. From each of these institutions a focus group of 8 student teachers and a focus group of 8 supervisory faculty members were purposively selected as informants. Student teachers were sampled from the primary (elementary) and secondary (post-primary) programs. Both genders were included in the study. Interviews and conversations were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Document analysis and observations provided additional data that were coded, using the constant-comparison approach. Participants in the study assisted in the verification of the results by reviewing the transcriptions and making comments.

Results. Themes that emerged from the study revealed that most stakeholders perceive the teaching practice program to be important, and implementation of a majority of the benchmarks to be adequate. Stakeholders from the two teachers’ colleges assert that the JBTE Assessment Instrument needs to be upgraded to reflect the changes experienced in the technology-oriented, 21st-century classroom. Stakeholders perceive that additional USA benchmarks, if included in the JBTE benchmarks, could create an “ideal” teaching-practice program for Jamaica.

Conclusion. The teaching-practice exercise is a worthwhile and meaningful learning experience, and the JBTE benchmarks are relevant and appropriate in some situations. The benchmarks need to reflect more completely the diverse needs of the student teachers, the supervisory faculties, and all students in the classroom, including students with special needs. The benchmarks need to be upgraded to particularly measure the skills, content, and attitudes of the student teachers’ performance. Teaching practice needs a change of names, for example, “school practice” and “teacher candidate,” that reflect more precisely the role of prospective teachers.

Subject Area

Student teaching--Jamaica, Teachers--Training of--Jamaica, Benchmarking (Management).

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