Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Barbara L Bales

Committee Members

Marie G Sandy, Elise M Fraturra, Linda M Post


Clinical Experience, Cooperating Teacher, Co-Teaching, Readiness to Teach, Student Teaching, Teacher Preparation


Research outlines the importance of teacher candidates’ clinical experiences in their preparation programs (e.g., Banks, 2015). Research also shows that many initial educators feel unprepared for the challenges of managing their own classrooms once they transition from their preparation programs to their school sites (e.g., Levine, 2006). Teachers who feel unprepared to independently lead in the classroom are less likely to employ instructional behaviors that positively affect student learning (Darling-Hammond, Chung, & Frelow, 2002). An effective clinical experience is critical in building initial educators’ sense of preparedness and self-efficacy, qualities that lead to the employment of high-quality teaching practices in the classroom (e.g., Ronfeldt & Reininger, 2012).

Preliminary research on a co-teaching model of student teaching – the student teacher and cooperating teacher collaboratively plan the delivery and assessment of instruction throughout the clinical experience – suggests improved perceived preparedness for teacher candidates (e.g., Bacharach & Heck, 2012). However, few of the initial studies have followed teacher candidates into their own classrooms after the clinical placement to consider the perceived effects of the model on their subsequent teaching practices.

The purpose of this bounded case study was to explore self-perception of readiness for the classroom of initial educators who had completed a co-teaching or traditional model of student teaching during their clinical experience. Situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991) was used as the lens for this exploration given its focus on the milieu of the classroom and the interactions between the teacher candidate and cooperating teacher. Through completion of a readiness survey and participation in one-on-one interviews during their first months of teaching, initial educators shared their reflections on how their clinical experience model affected their sense of preparedness for leading their own classroom. Based on participants’ perspectives, implications for teacher preparation programs and faculty considering a shift to the co-teaching model of student teaching are offered. The findings contribute to the teacher education knowledge base and offer opportunities for future research.