Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Payal P. Shah

Abstract

Given the expanding racial, socio-economic, and cultural divide between student and teacher populations in U.S. public schools, pre-service and early-career teachers need to develop the cultural competence necessary to navigate an increasingly diverse population of students. To do so, pre-service and early-career teachers must cultivate an understanding of how education and schools are affected by the structure of and issues within society. The field of social foundations of education (SFE) provides an opportunity to assist prospective and current teachers in developing the critical inquiry skills and cultural competence needed to persist in teaching an increasingly diverse population of students.

This study utilizes qualitative case study methodology to investigate a university-based teacher induction program at a predominately white institution (PWI) in the southeastern U.S. to inform teacher induction and teacher preparation policy and practices in a way that assists pre-service and early-career teachers in the cultural competence necessary to navigate teaching an increasingly diverse population of students. In seeking to understand how early-career teachers’ participation in a university-based teacher induction program supports their exposure to the key tenets of SFE and impacts the development of inquiry skills that allow for the questioning of educational assumptions and identification of inequities within educational policies, nine teachers who participated in the university-based induction program, as well as all three members of the program’s leadership team, were interviewed.

This study aspired to fill a research gap, as there is no existing literature that examines the role of a university-based teacher induction program in facilitating the development of a critical perspective of education necessary for early career teachers to navigate teaching an increasingly diverse population of students. The study’s findings indicate that though participants had a limited understanding of SFE content and principles, they benefited from induction support that mirrored the key tenets of SFE. These findings demonstrate that university-based induction programs provide an opportunity for SFE scholars to locate alternate space within the teacher development continuum for SFE content and principles to be incorporated – building upon the aspects of the field teachers engage with during their pre-service preparation.

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