Toward a common language for reform: A case study of interns in the Fordham Internship Fellowship Program

Peter Anthony Mutarelli, Fordham University


The recent reform agenda for improving American education defines the classroom teacher as pivotal in the success of such reforms. In order for administrators to develop their school environments to be conducive to reform, they need to understand how best to enable their teachers to act as reflective, transformative intellectuals. A common language is required for administrators and teachers for the critical discourse needed to plan and implement school reforms.^ This study seeks to understand how various influences affect the socialization and formation of teaching interns involved in the Fordham Internship Fellowship Program. These influences include family background, prior experiences and education, as well as the Program components at the University and the cooperating Catholic schools. The study further seeks to understand how these influences affect the philosophies, personal practice language, and the formation of educational platforms in the individuals selected.^ The sample of individuals selected for this study come from two distinct groups; one which completed their internship year prior to the 1991/92 school year and another which was enrolled in the program during that year. A case study approach is utilized to analyze data collected from transcripts of interviews with interns, mentors, and principals, as well as on-site observations and relevant documents.^ The findings suggest that the eclectic nature of the divergent influences affecting each individual results in the formation of philosophies and educational platforms which contain facets of contrasting ideologies. Family backgrounds and prior experience foster conservative viewpoints while the Catholic school and its surrounding environment have the most profound effect on the development of progressive and radical ideologies. The various components of the internship socialize the individual by providing not only knowledge and methods, but also the ability to be reflective and flexible in their actions. The development of a common language for reform, therefore, requires administrators to understand the effect of these influences and the resulting diversity in each individual and in themselves. ^

Subject Area

Educational administration|Teacher education|Educational philosophy

Recommended Citation

Mutarelli, Peter Anthony, "Toward a common language for reform: A case study of interns in the Fordham Internship Fellowship Program" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9412143.