Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Barbara Meyers

Second Advisor

Teresa Fisher

Third Advisor

Daphne Greenberg

Fourth Advisor

Diane Truscott


Learning to teach is a complex process, especially for beginning teachers entering the profession through alternative certifications. Reflection, coaching, and feedback are supports demonstrated to assist new teachers in developing expertise. However, research on the nature and enactment of feedback is lacking, especially regarding (AC) teachers.

This qualitative multiple-case study examined three coaching dyads, the feedback given by a university coach (UC), and how it was received and used by three Teach For America corps members (CMs) within the context of their coaching courses.

Data collected included: (a) interviews; (b) artifacts; (c) document; (d) UC evaluations completed by CMs; and (e) researcher memos. Data were analyzed using constant comparative methods enhanced by ATLAS.ti. Trustworthiness techniques included data triangulation, prolonged engagement, thick description of participants, researcher memos, peer debriefing, member checking and an audit trail.

Feedback provided by the UC promoted: efficacy, professionalism, teacher learning, and the problemetizing of practice. CMs responded to feedback relevant to their individual needs and guided their understanding of teaching in urban schools. CMs revealed challenges in learning to teach while simultaneously working towards certification, which were more difficult than expected. This unique study examined feedback of reflective and classroom practices for an entire school year. Recommendations are for teacher educator programs to provide:

(1) systematic training for university supervisors and coaches, particularly in giving feedback, (2) more time for field component of teacher development, and (3) adequate resources to optimize coaching and acknowledge the distinctive characteristics of AC teachers.