Teachers' learning: First -year teachers' learning in an independent Catholic middle school for Latinas of low income

Jacqueline Stone, Fordham University

Abstract

This hypothesis-generating study examines the perspectives and experiences of five first-year teachers learning to teach middle school Latinas of low income. One of these teachers had professional education, but four of the participants had no professional educational experience. Research focused on three issues: (a) perspectives on low income Latinas' learning, (b) understanding of instructional planning for middle school Latinas, and (c) perspectives on preparation for teaching Latinas of low income. ^ The extensive data for this yearlong investigation included field visits, interviews, classroom observations, fieldnotes, school documents, and teachers' personal writings. The data were analyzed systematically by seeking patterns, defining categories, and then continually reducing the categories until major themes emerged across the participants. Major themes were living and working within this community-based school, relationships between teachers and students and their affect on instructional planning, and the knowledge base essential for teaching middle school Latinas of low income. ^ Five hypotheses were generated: (1) Teachers need to establish personal, trusting teacher-student relationships through an understanding of their students' lives and needs in order to successfully address the learning needs of middle school students of low income. (2) First-year teachers' understanding of how to plan instruction to actively engage middle school students of low income develops with collegial, collaborative team planning and teaching with an experienced colleague. (3) Teachers of middle school students of low income need to understand and articulate a coherent pedagogical content knowledge base to address the learning needs of their students. (4) Teachers of middle school students of low income need intensive personal and professional support in well-defined mentoring systems. (5) Teachers who feel passionately about meeting the needs of their students tend to be persistent in their efforts to meet the learning needs of students of low income. ^ Implications for preparing teachers to teach middle school students of low income and suggestions for further research are presented. A personal statement concludes from the findings that first-year teachers of middle school students of low income need professional education prior to teaching and school-based personal and professional support if they are to develop professionally, be retained, and significantly improve the learning of low income students. ^

Subject Area

Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Secondary|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Jacqueline Stone, "Teachers' learning: First -year teachers' learning in an independent Catholic middle school for Latinas of low income" (January 1, 2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3056162.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3056162

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