Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

Sub-Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate

Abstract

Cognizant of the importance of teachers' understanding of systemic classism which is often complicated by systemic racism, the present study explores how pre-service teachers at Francis Marion University (FMU) in Florence, South Carolina view the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to teach students from impoverished homes and how they think their teacher education program affects their teaching practice. A qualitative research methodology, including interviews and document analysis was employed to investigate how FMU per-service teachers perceive the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they will need to work with children of poverty and how they view the effectiveness of their courses within the Teacher Education Program at FMU on their future practice teaching (Merriam, 1998). A purposeful and criterion sampling approach was used to select the participants in order to focus on a limited number of rich information that highlighted the experiences of pre-service teachers (Patton, 2002). Data collection consisted of a series of six 30-40 minute interviews with five participants. Semi-structured interviews using open-ended questions were conducted. Document analysis was used to triangulate and define what a successful teacher of children living in poverty meant to the participants. The researcher's analysis of the participants' interviews and collected documents brought the themes of: lack of necessities, low income, understanding students' background, diverse instructional skills, lesson plan skills, communication skills as well as being caring and professional. Participants in the study believed that poverty is related to low income or lack of basic needs such as running water and electricity. Also, the participants felt that the teacher education program at Francis Marion University helped them to realize the importance of understanding students' background and improved their teaching along with lesson planning skills. Qualified teachers were defined as being caring for students and professional in their career. This present study provides insight into the need for professional preparation. Most importantly, it arouses educators' awareness to establish more teacher education programs.

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