Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Joyce Many, PhD

Abstract

The Teacher Cadet Program began in South Carolina as a means of introducing high school students to the career of teaching. Although implemented in 1986, little research exists about the perspectives of stakeholders in the Teacher Cadet Program. The purpose of this research study was to explore the participants' perspectives concerning the structure and experiences offered in the TCP and describe how those experiences influenced college and career decisions.

This qualitative case study investigated how 46 Teacher Cadet participants in a rural public high school perceived their experiences in the Teacher Cadet Program. The study also examined the stories of four participants who represented each of the groups studied. Data collection methods included survey information, interviews, and focus group discussions analyzed using a constant-comparative approach. Focusing on a single site allowed the researcher to explore the stories of program participants and uncovered three elements they viewed as the most important characteristics of the program: the contributions of hands-on experiences, the significance of early exposure to the field of teaching, and the importance of the relationships that were established. Study results provided a framework for understand in the affects of the Teacher Cadet Program on participants. The findings documented overall positive perceptions. This study added to the body of knowledge about the perspectives of stakeholder in the Teacher Cadet Program in regards to the value participants placed on their experiences and subsequently how those experiences influenced their career and college plans.

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