Date

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Department

Educational Leadership

First Adviser

Yoshida, Roland K.

Other advisers/committee members

Spokane, Arnold; White, George; Daghistani, Bulquees

Abstract

Cooperating teachers (CTs) are considered one of the most important groups who play a role in the success of student teachers (STs) during their field-based experience (FBE). The literature in the Arabic world about how CTs should fulfill their role has been limited with most of what is available has been conducted in the United States and other western countries. Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education has established expectations for the number of pre-school children to be enrolled in schools. To serve these children, the Ministry has mandated that pre-school teachers preparation programs set and meet higher standards of quality. In order to determine what standards may be the most important to implement in these programs, this study was the first to be conducted with samples from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to determine the competencies that those professionals involved in FBE believed were the most important to the success of STs.University faculty members, university supervisors, CTs, and STs from two long-standing preschool teacher preparation programs were surveyed to investigate the most important practices CTs should have in four sets of competencies -personal, interpersonal, cognitive, and instructional-- in order to provide effective FBE for STs. Four themes emerged from the results that were often inconsistent with previous research from the United States: 1) the total sample preferred teacher-centered more than constructivist/student-centered practices; 2) different categories of participants held contrasting views on the relative importance of some various competencies; 3) the communication skills of CTs were rated the least important in the interpersonal competency area by the total sample; and 4) of the subsamples, the university supervisors mentioned most frequently the behavior of student teachers' self-reflection on their teaching but not on their cooperating teachers teaching. Many of these results can be explained from cultural and societal lenses. Replication of this research with other samples from other preschool teacher preparation programs will lead to a deeper understanding of key behaviors that will help improve these programs especially during this period when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is engaged in reform and renewal.

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