Date of Award

8-12-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Joel Meyers, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Catherine Cadenhead, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Steve Truscott, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Barbara Meyers, Ph.D.

Abstract

This qualitative inquiry evaluated the Student Support Team Project and its effects on preservice teachers’ knowledge and perceptions of prereferral intervention and student support teams. This investigation is important because prereferral intervention and student support teams have been used increasingly to provide assistance to teachers and to students who need assistance with academic, social and emotional problems. This has created a need to provide preservice education that helps to prepare teachers to use these resources to help their students. This investigation demonstrated a specific approach to such instruction for preservice teachers (i.e., the Student Support Team Project), including an evaluation to determine changes in perceptions and knowledge that resulted during and after participation in this project. Participants were preservice teachers enrolled in an alternative teacher certification program. The research design was qualitative. Data collection included semi-structured interviews, written reflections from the preservice teachers, input from key informants, field notes and research team reflective journals. The collection and analysis of data were done recursively and used constant comparative methods. Analysis of the data revealed three main categories: Knowledge, Knowledge Needed, and Project Feedback. Knowledge reflected the participants’ understanding of student support teams and their implementation and included the following themes: Knowledge about Data Collection, Knowledge about Intervention, Knowledge about Student Support Teams, and Generalization of Knowledge. Knowledge Needed reflected the knowledge participants needed to understand and work effectively with these teams, including the following themes: Knowledge Needed about Data Collection, Knowledge Needed about Intervention, Knowledge Needed about Student Support Teams, and Other Knowledge Needed. Project Feedback included perceived strengths and weaknesses of the Student Support Team Project, including the following themes: Project Helpful, Project Struggles, and Project Suggestions. One key finding was how preservice teachers’ understanding of student support teams evolved from vague ideas about teams, to increasingly specific case-focused ideas, and finally, to generalized understandings. Findings are discussed in relationship to the literature on prereferral intervention and teacher development. Implications for preservice teacher education are discussed. Future research is also suggested.

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