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Evolution of clinical teachers as teacher leaders through professional learning

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Evolution of clinical teachers as teacher leaders through professional learning
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Gutierrez, Cindy K
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xiv, 178 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Educational leadership ( lcsh )
Teacher work groups ( lcsh )
Teachers -- In-service training ( lcsh )
Educational leadership ( fast )
Teacher work groups ( fast )
Teachers -- In-service training ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 167-178).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Cindy K. Gutierrez.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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ocn435425088
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Full Text
EVOLUTION OF CLINICAL TEACHERS AS TEACHER LEADERS
THROUGH PROFESSIONAL LEARNING
by
Cindy K. Gutierrez
B.A., University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, 1997
M.A., University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 2002
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
School of Education and Human Development
2009


by Cindy K. Gutierrez
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctorate of Philosophy
degree by
Cindy K. Gutierrez
has been approved
by
7
6 ate


Gutierrez, Cindy K. Gutierrez (Ph.D., Educational Leadership & Innovation)
Evolution of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders Through Professional Learning
Thesis directed by Professor Carole G. Basile
ABSTRACT
This qualitative single case study examined how professional learning framed within
a context of teacher leadership changed the perceptions and practices of clinical
teachers and influenced their evolution as teacher leaders. The following question
guided this study: How do clinical teachers evolve as teacher leaders through the
experience of professional learning specifically designed around a framework of
teacher leadership?
The conceptual framework for this study, supported by the broader literature
on clinical teachers and teacher leadership, used a role-based model of teacher
leadership developed by Killion and Harrison applied to the work of clinical teachers
as they carried out each of the roles in their collaboration with a teacher candidate.
The conceptual framework guided the design of a 15-week on-line professional
development unit that enabled participants to explore one of the roles each week
through a 3-step interactive learning cycle. The cycle included participant
engagement in initial learning about a particular role through various activities such
as reading journal articles or watching a video, application of new knowledge and
skills with teacher candidates, and finally reflection through weekly on-line


discussion boards. Fifteen clinical teachers from three metro-area districts
participated in the study.
Data were collected through pre- and post-questionnaires, on-line discussion
board threads, artifacts from a culminating change project carried out by clinical
teachers, as well as a final focus group conducted with clinical teachers after the
completion of the professional development unit. Analysis of the data resulted in a
revised model of the conceptual framework identifying four specific levels that
scaffolded clinical teachers evolutionary journey as teacher leaders: (a) establish the
clinical teacher-teacher candidate relationship, (b) develop a critical inquiry stance,
(c) inquire collaboratively about teaching and learning, and (d) develop a leadership
stance. Results also indicated that the on-line learning community significantly
supported clinical teachers evolutionary journey and their teacher candidates became
an important extension of that learning community. All but one clinical teacher came
to see themselves as a teacher leader and the experience broadened their initial
conceptualizations of clinical teachers and teacher leaders.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
it for publication.
Signed
Cardie G. Basile


DEDICATION
To all of the clinical teachers who boldly embarked on this journey of
professional learningyour passion for education and your willingness and desire to
help not only your teacher candidates, but your colleagues and yourselves understand
all the complexity that underlies teaching and learning are truly remarkable and
inspiring. Being a witness to your evolution as teacher leaders was an honor.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman,
a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.
- Maya Angelou
Achieving this goal and continuing to strive to become this woman would
simply be impossible without the tender care, love, and support of so many people in
my life.
To my parents, who nurtured a spirit of hard work and determination within
me and made sure that I had every opportunity no matter the sacrifice.
To my grandmother and Mrs. Anne Hartman, two exceptional women and
teachers who inspired me to follow my dream of becoming a teacher.
To Lita Martinez who first opened the door for me to begin my own
evolutionary journey as a teacher leader beyond my classroom walls.
To Susan Field, serendipitously our paths crossed 5 years ago as we embarked
on this crazy path to the Ph.D. I would have never made it through this journey
without you, and I am so thankful for our friendship.
To my dear mom, Jim, Eva, and so many other family and friends who lent
their encouraging words, support, and many weeks and weekends taking care of my
children while I was away writing.


To my committee members, Stevie, Sally, and Barbara, whose continued
support, thoughtful questions and suggestions, and sincere interest in my research
made this process so much more meaningful.
To Carole Basile, my mentor, teacher, steadfast advisor, and so much more...
you literally changed my life.
And most importantly, to my dearest children and husband...
TJ and Gwen, I hope that I have shown you that you can achieve anything you
are passionate about and are willing to work hard forI promise we will have more
time now for reading books, backyard adventures, laughing in the sunshine, and trips
to the ice cream store.
Nacho, there are simply no words to thank you for your limitless patience,
love, understanding, and unyielding belief in me. Sharing this accomplishment with
you means more to me than you can imagine.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLES...............................................................xiii
FIGURES...............................................................xiv
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION.........................................................1
Evolution of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders Through
Professional Learning..........................................1
Need for the Study.................................................2
Research on Clinical Teachers..................................2
Research on Teacher Leadership.................................3
Purpose of the Study and Research Question.........................5
Significance of the Study..........................................5
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE.............................................8
Overview...........................................................8
Research on Clinical Teachers......................................8
Conceptualizations of the Role of Clinical Teachers............9
Practical apprenticeship lens...............................9
Critical inquiry lens......................................13
School-based teacher educator lens.........................16
Impact of the Clinical Teaching Role on Clinical Teachers
Themselves.................................................18
Growth and learning........................................18
Reflective practice........................................19
Emotional turmoil..........................................20
Professional Learning Designed for Clinical Teachers..........20
Research on Teacher Leadership....................................21
Definitions of Teacher Leadership.............................22
The Work of Teacher Leaders...................................23
Characteristics of Teacher Leaders............................24
Professional Learning Designed for Teacher Leaders............25
Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders..............................25
Clinical Teacher as Mentor....................................26
Clinical Teacher as Learning Facilitator......................31
Clinical Teacher as Resource Provider.........................32
IX


Clinical Teacher as Classroom Supporter........................33
Clinical Teacher as Curriculum Specialist......................34
Clinical Teacher as Instructional Specialist...................35
Clinical Teacher as Data Coach.................................35
Clinical Teacher as Learner....................................36
Clinical Teacher as School Leader and Catalyst for Change......37
Conclusion........................................................39
3. METHODOLOGY..........................................................40
Research Design...................................................40
Treatment.........................................................40
On-line Professional Development Unit..........................40
Three-Step Learning Process....................................46
Culminating Catalyst for Change Project........................48
Validating the Design of the PDU...............................49
Sample............................................................51
Data Sources......................................................53
Discussion Board Threads.......................................53
Pre- and Post-Questionnaire....................................55
Catalyst for Change Project Planning Page Documents............55
Participant Final Focus Group..................................56
Data Analysis.....................................................56
Reliability.......................................................58
4. RESULTS..............................................................59
Preparing to Embark on the Professional Learning Journey: Initial
Perceptions of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders Prior
to the PDU.....................................................59
Attributes of Effective Clinical Teachers......................60
Attributes of Effective Teacher Leaders........................60
Perception of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders.............62
The Evolution of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders Week by Week
Through Analysis of On-Line Discussion Board Threads...........65
Week 1 (January 21-27, 2008): Framing the Role of a Clinical
Teacher as Teacher Leader...................................65
Week 2 (January 28-February 3, 2008): Clinical Teacher as
Mentor......................................................67
Week 3 (February 4-10, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Resource
Provider....................................................69
Week 4 (February 11-17, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Classroom
Supporter...................................................70
x


Weeks 5 and 6 (February 18-March 2, 2008): Clinical Teacher as
Learning Facilitator........................................73
Week 7 (March 3-9, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Learning
Facilitator-Difficult Conversations.........................80
Week 8 (March 10-16, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Data Coach.....83
Week 9 (March 17-23, 2008): Clinical Teachers Begin to Plan
Catalyst for Change Projects.................................87
Weeks 10 and 11 (March 31-April 13, 2008): Clinical Teacher as
Instructional Specialist.....................................88
Weeks 12 and 13 (April 14-28, 2008): Clinical Teacher as
Curriculum Specialist........................................91
Weeks 14 and 15 (April 28-May 7, 2008): Clinical Teacher as
School Leader and Catalyst for Change........................95
Shifting Perceptions of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders: Post
Questionnaire..................................................108
Attributes of Effective Clinical Teachers......................109
Attributes of Effective Teacher Leaders........................110
Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders...........................112
Clinical teachers who already perceived themselves and their
role as a teacher leader................................114
Clinical teachers whose perceptions did not change..........116
Clinical teachers whose perceptions changed to yes........116
Concluding the Journey: The Final Role of Clinical Teacher as
Learner........................................................118
An On-line Learning Community Emerges...........................118
Teacher Candidates as a Critical Source of Learning............124
PDU Design Facilitates Clinical Teachers Learning and Evolution
as Teacher Leaders.............................................127
5. DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS, LIMITATIONS, AND
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE STUDY..................................131
Discussion of Revised Conceptual Framework........................131
Overview.......................................................131
Level 1: Establishing the Clinical Teacher-Teacher Candidate
Relationship................................................133
Level 2: Developing a Critical Inquiry Stance..................134
Level 3: Collaborative Inquiry on Teaching and Learning........137
Level 4: Developing a Leadership Stance........................138
On-Line Learning Community.....................................140
Implications for Practice.........................................144
Professional Learning Designed for Clinical Teachers...........144
Teacher Preparation Programs...................................145
xi


Limitations........................................146
Recommendations for Further Research...............147
Contribution to the Field..........................148
APPENDICES
A. SCREEN SHOT OF ON-LINE PLATFORM.....................150
B. WITS SHEET..........................................152
C. PRE-QUESTIONNAIRE...................................156
D. POST-QUESTIONNAIRE..................................159
E. PLANNING DOCUMENT...................................161
F. FOCUS GROUP QUESTIONS...............................163
G. READINGS USED IN PDU................................165
REFERENCES................................................167
xii


LIST OF TABLES
Table
2.1. Research Base for Conceptual Framework..................................27
3.1. Design and Sample Content of Clinical Teacher (CT) Professional
Development Unit.......................................................42
3.2. Clinical Teacher Demographics.............................................52
4.1. Attributes of Clinical Teachers (Pre-questionnaire).......................61
4.2. Attributes of Teacher Leaders From Pre-questionnaire......................62
4.3. Catalyst for Change Projects..............................................96
4.4. Attributes of Effective Clinical Teachers, Pre- and Post-Questionnaire..109
4.5. Attributes of Effective Teacher Leaders, Pre- and Post-Questionnaire....111
4.6. Clinical Teachers Qualitative Conceptions of the Attribute..............113
4.7. Quantitative Results From the Pre- and Post-Questionnaire Related to
Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders..................................114
xm


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1.1. Conceptual framework....................................................6
5.1. Revised conceptual framework..........................................132
xiv


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Evolution of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders Through Professional Learning
Historically, teacher education programs have depended on practicing
teachers often called, cooperating or clinical teachers, as the nexus for
supporting, mentoring, and supervising pre-service teacher candidates. However,
there is a distinct need to support clinical teachers in developing understanding and
empathy for the new role as teacher candidate mentor and need to acquire tools useful
in the implementation (Clinard et al., 1997, p. 27). Katzenmeyer and Moller (2001)
concurred: We ask teachers to assume leadership roles without any preparation or
coaching, because [we assume] they appear to intuitively know how to work with
their colleagues (p. 47). Yet, the research indicates that the role of the clinical
teacher has been unclearly and often narrowly conceptualized (Feiman-Nemser, 2001;
Glickman & Bey, 1990; Guyton & McIntyre, 1990). Furthermore, clinical teachers
rarely receive professional learning or preparation of any kind (Borko & Mayfield,
1995; Knowles, Cole, & Presswood, 1994), especially not as teacher leaders. This
study examined how professional learning framed within a context of teacher
leadership can provide clinical teachers with new perspectives and practices.
1


Need for the Study
Research on Clinical Teachers
The majority of research on clinical teachers has focused primarily on the one-
directional apprenticing role that clinical teachers assume in helping to support a
teacher candidates developmentsharing knowledge of teaching and helping teacher
candidates see and develop effective teaching practices (Borko & Mayfield, 1995;
Bowers, 1994; Clinard et al., 1997; Glickman & Bey, 1990; Rajuan, Beijaard, &
Verloop, 2007; Sanders, Downson, & Sinclair, 2005). Much of the research also
examines the collaborative relationship between clinical teachers and teacher
candidates focused only on what impact the clinical teacher has on the learning and
development of the teacher candidate (Borko & Mayfield; Bowers; Clinard et al.,
1997; Glickman & Bey; Tannehill, 1989). This is likely perpetuated by the
traditional view that one learns to teach simply by doing and the role of the clinical
teacher is to serve in a supervisory capacity for the teacher candidate. Clinical
teachers perceive that their role is to provide guidance and opportunities for teacher
candidates to gain practical experiences in the classroom while passing on their
technical knowledge of teaching (Caruso, 1998; Gaffey, 1994; Koemer, 1992;
Lemma, 1993; Rajuan et al.; Sanders et al.).
A small body of research has examined the perceived benefits clinical
teachers report they get from mentoring and supporting a teacher candidate
(Boudreau, 1999; Bowers, 1994; Burden, 1990; Clarke, 2006; Cornell, 2003;
Hastings, 2004; Kahn, 2001; Koemer, 1992; Koskela & Ganser, 1998; Landt, 2004;
2


Murray & Stotko, 2004; Scheetz, Waters, Smeaton, & Lare, 2005; Tannehill, 1989; L.
Wilson, 1996). Some of the benefits reported include learning innovative
instructional techniques from their teacher candidate (Bowers; Burden; Landt) and
engaging in deeper self-reflective practices as they are often explaining their practice
and decision-making to their teacher candidate (Clarke, 2006; Landt). A few studies
centered on professional learning for clinical teachers. Again, these studies revealed
that the primary outcome of the professional learning designed for clinical teachers is
focused on how they can be more successful in their mentoring and advisory practices
to support the growth of the teacher candidate (Caruso, 1998; Gaffey, 1994; Mitchell,
Clarke, & Nutall, 2007), not how the role can support their own professional growth
and leadership skills.
Research on Teacher Leadership
As for teacher leadership, this field has surfaced over the past several decades
as a significant area of research interest because of its increasingly important role in
the language and practice of educational improvement (York-Barr & Duke, 2004,
p. 255). Paulu and Winters (1998) asserted that recognizing the unique contributions
of teacher expertise is key to educational progress; when this expertise becomes more
widely available as teachers collaborate and share effective instructional practices,
growth and learning among teachers is a natural outcome (Barth, 2001; Hart, 1995;
Lieberman & Miller, 1999). Darling-Hammond, Bullmaster, and Cobb (1995)
stressed that teacher leadership is directly connected to teacher learning as teachers
are given opportunities to take initiative and collaborate in new ways which provides
3


the impetus for innovation and improvement of practice. Given that teacher
leadership and teacher learning are so closely intertwined (Barth, 2001; Darling-
Hammond et al., 1995; Hart, 1995; Lieberman & Miller, 1999; York-Barr & Duke,
2004), then it stands to reason that the role of being a clinical teacher can be
broadened far beyond the traditional apprenticeship role for teacher candidates and
can be seen as a pathway towards teacher leadership for the clinical teacher.
In their review of over 2 decades of research on teacher leadership, York-Barr
and Duke (2004) uncovered two substantive findings that also inform the need for
this study. First, the most consistently documented positive effects of teacher
leadership are on teacher leaders themselves, supporting the idea that leadership and
learning are inextricably related: Teacher leaders grow in their understanding of
instructional, professional, and organizational practice as they lead (p. 289). Second,
when the focus of teacher leadership is at the classroom level of practice, it is more
likely to have an impact on student learning than if it is focused at the organizational
level. This research study directly addresses both of these findings. The design of
the professional learning studied in this research enables clinical teachers to not only
focus on their abilities to mentor and support teacher candidates, but to also explore
their role as teacher leaders, reflecting on their own practice and learning. It is also
situated at the classroom level because being a clinical teacher focuses primarily at
this level as the clinical teacher collaborates with the teacher candidate. Thus,
focusing on teacher leadership with clinical teachers in this way has the potential to
most directly impact student learning.
4


Purpose of the Study and Research Question
Although these studies have begun to build an initial understanding of the
possible broader impacts of the clinical teacher-teacher candidate collaborative it does
not provide an in-depth understanding of the potential learning that could occur as a
result of being placed in a position of leadership. Very little attention has been given
to better understand, or uncover, the broader impact on clinical teachers own
learning and development. None of the research examined the clinical teacher role
from the multi-faceted perspective of teacher leadership.
Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore how professional learning
framed within a context of teacher leadership changes the perceptions and practices of
clinical teachers. The research question is: How do clinical teachers evolve as
teacher leaders through the experience of professional learning specifically designed
around a framework of teacher leadership? The conceptual framework for this study
used a role-based model of teacher leadership developed by Killion and Harrison
(2006) applied to the work of clinical teachers as they carry out each of the teacher
leadership roles in their collaboration with a teacher candidate (see Figure 1.1).
Significance of the Study
Education today is fraught with multiple reform efforts in hopes to improve
achievement and success for all students. During the past decade, teacher quality has
been a central focus of many reform efforts. National organizations such as the
National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future (1996) and task forces alike
have upheld the notion that improving the quality of teaching is the single most
5


Mentor
Haw do I build trust and
rapport to support an effective
professional working relationship
with my teacher candidate?
Curriculum Specialist
How do I help my teacher
candidate understand and analyze
my school's curriculum in order to
effectively implement it to meet the
needs of diverse learners?t
Instructional Specialist
How do I model quality
instructional practices and
help my teacher candidate
understand how and why
select and implement the
practices that I do?
Data Coach
How do I help my teacher candidate use
multiple sources of data about our
students to inform decision-making?
Learning Facilitate!
How do I facilitate my teacher
candidates development
through effective modeling
and coaching?
Resource Provider
How do / collaborate with others to
recommend and share resources
reflective of research & best practice
my teacher candidate?
Classroom Supporter
How do l use co-teaching
strategies to not only help my
teacher candidate take on gradual
responsibility for teaching, but also
intentionally work toward
improved student achievement for
mv students?
Learner
How do / model the disposition of
being a life-long learner and open
myself up to learning from my
teacher candidate and the entire
experience as a clinical teacher?A
School Leader & Catalyst for Change
How do I carry out my commitment to continual
improvement such that I keep trying to hone and craft
my practice and act with the intention of making a
positive difference towards the vision of my school?
Figure 1.1. Conceptual framework.
6


important factor towards improving student achievement: Student learning depends
first, last, and always on the quality of the teachers (Institute for Educational
Leadership, 2001, p.l). Thus teacher leadership has the potential to truly impact
teacher quality. As stated by Merideth (2007), It follows, then that leadership
among all community members must... be sought, nurtured, valued, and respected
... teacher leadership is a natural outcome ... it is the key to the professionalism of
teaching and the achievement of all students (p. vii).
This study, then, intended to broaden the traditional conceptualization of
clinical teachers beyond simply supervisors and facilitators of learning for teacher
candidates. A clinical teachers role can be one of tremendous potential for personal
and professional learning and growth, taking steps into a new world of teacher
leadership. Inevitably their own quality of teaching can be enhanced if the right
learning opportunities exist to support their development as part of todays school
reform efforts that require immensely skillful teachingand schools that are
organized to support teachers continuous learning (Darling-Hammond, 1998, p. 7).
Therefore, given the number and importance of clinical teachers used by the field of
teacher education, it is critical that schools and school districts understand the
potential for using this role to create teacher leaders that can impact student learning.
7


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Overview
In this review of the literature, research on clinical teachers and teacher
leadership is broadly explored to understand historical and contemporary influences
on the conceptualizations of these constructs, the impact on the teachers who serve as
clinical teachers and teacher leaders, and professional learning designed to support
clinical teacher and teacher leadership development. Then, the review closely
examines the research base for the conceptual framework (see Chapter 1, Figure 1.1)
applied in this study that investigated how clinical teachers evolved as teacher leaders
through the experience of professional learning specifically designed around a
framework of teacher leadership.
Research on Clinical Teachers
Throughout most of the 20th century, a central feature of teacher preparation
has been the practical field experience component, most notably student teaching
(Glickman & Bey, 1990; Guyton & McIntyre, 1990). All types of field experiences,
including student teaching, create new roles for practicing teachersthat of clinical
teacher (also sometimes referred to as cooperating teacher, mentor teacher, or
associate teacher). Clinical teachers open up their classrooms to host teacher
candidates, allowing candidates to observe and practice teaching in real-world
8


contexts. Hundreds of thousands of practicing teachers take on this role annually, yet
there is very little clarity or conceptual depth in the literature specifically about their
work and even less research about the impact of serving in this role on the clinical
teachers themselves. Furthermore, research on professional learning designed for
clinical teachers is also scarce.
Conceptualizations of the Role of Clinical Teachers
Practical apprenticeship lens. A large majority of the research on clinical
teachers focuses on their role as purely a practical one, providing opportunities for the
candidate to observe the clinical teachers practice and then guiding the candidate to
try out this practice themselves (Glickman & Bey, 1990; Guyton & McIntyre, 1990;
Maynard, 1996). Many research studies indicate that clinical teachers conceptualize
the clinical teacher-teacher candidate relationship as an apprenticeship model where
the clinical teacher is the expert and the teacher candidate is the novice (Gonzalez &
Carter, 1996). Goldsberrys (1998) definition of a mentor teacher supports this
notion: A mentor is an experienced practitioner who guides the development of an
inexperienced one (p. 438). Thus, through an apprenticeship lens, the primary role
of clinical teachers is to share their expert knowledge and skill with teacher
candidates such that the teacher candidate has ample opportunity to learn and practice
these teaching skills as they grapple with the realities of teaching (Boudreau, 1999;
Bullough & Kauchak, 1997).
This way of thinking about clinical teachers work has been perpetuated by
various perceptions of the role of clinical teachers. For example, Elliott and
9


Calderhead (1994) found that mentor teachers see their role as that of a nurturer or
supporter so that teacher candidates can learn by whatever works in their school or
their classroom (p. 176) as they act as a guide, a listener, and an organizer of
experiences for the teacher candidate. A more recent study of how clinical teachers
perceive their role revealed similar findings, where their main role was to be a guide
to the teacher candidate in gaining practical experiences in the classroom, seeing
themselves as role models of technical knowledge and experts in their craft who can
pass on its technical principles to eager novices (Rajuan et al., 2007, p. 238). In
another review of the literature on the role of mentor teachers, Maynard and Furlong
(1994) found that apprenticing is at the forefront of many theoretical models which
they state is partial and inadequate, perhaps only appropriate at a particular stage of
a trainees development (p. 78).
Other conceptualizations of clinical teachers roles arise from how they
approach their mentoring tasks, such as in the framework developed by Balch and
Balch (1987). In this model, seven roles are outlined for clinical teachers: (a) model
teacher, (b) observer and evaluator of teacher candidates, (c) planner of teaching
experiences and demonstrator of planning processes related to teaching, (d)
conferencer, (e) professional peer, (f) counselor, and (g) friend. The first three roles
speak to the modeling and supervisory guidance of the expert clinical teacher to the
novice teacher candidate, again reflective of the apprenticeship model. The last three
roles speak to the interpersonal relationship that clinical teachers should develop with
their teacher candidate that is assumed to optimize the teacher candidates learning of
10


effective practices while being a guest in the expert clinical teachers classroom. The
fourth role, conferencer, begins to shed light on a role that clinical teachers carry out
beyond just apprenticing teacher candidates. This role refers to the use of reflection
to better understand the why behind teacher decision-making and implementation
of certain teaching practices (Schon, 1987). However, a recent study (Sanders et al.,
2005) using the Balch and Balch framework to better understand how clinical
teachers engage in these roles and to what extent they actually practice these roles
suggested that clinical teachers still carry out their work with teacher candidates
primarily through the roles that are aligned with the apprenticeship model. The
research involved an in-depth case study of 4 clinical teachers that included
observations and interviews of the clinical teachers. Their findings indicated that
clinical teachers spent nearly 2/3 of their time functioning in the roles of planner and
modeler focusing on the nuts and bolds of planning processes (p. 718) and day-to-
day teaching. This is captured in the following dialogue between a clinical teacher
and teacher candidate:
Candidate: I might just watch how you do poetry so when I do it next
week Ill know.
Teacher: Being able to control the class is the key to teaching. So
gather any techniques you can (p. 719).
Only 1% of their time was actually spent in the conferencing role to support teacher
candidates to critically reflect and inquire about their own practice or that exhibited
by the clinical teacher.
11


Finally, the apprenticeship model is largely sustained by the dominant view
held by clinical teachers that one learns to teach simply by doingby experience
(Borko & Mayfield, 1995; Bullough & Kauchak, 1997; Glickman & Bey, 1990;
Hawkey, 1997). A very large-scale study conducted in 1990 by the American
Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) confirmed this. Institutions
were selected from more than 700 AACTE member institutions to participate in the
Research About Teacher Education ProjectStudy Four (RATE IV). This study
provided the first profile of American clinical teachers including demographics about
age, gender, advanced degrees, years of teaching experience, etc. It also gathered the
perspective of clinical teachers regarding what they felt to be essential in learning to
teach. As reported by Zimpher and Sherrill (1996), clinical teachers in the study
believed that observing teaching, receiving feedback and practicing teaching
strategies (p. 292) were the key elements for a teacher candidate learning to teach.
Providing specific feedback and suggestions in the same expert-to-novice
pattern were similarly expressed by clinical teachers in another study conducted by
Borko and Mayfield (1995). As part of the Learning to Teach Mathematics (LTTM)
project, the authors interviewed several clinical teachers about their role and
relationship with teacher candidates as it related to their perception of how one learns
to teach. As one clinical teacher explained about observing her teacher candidate, I
always like to share what I saw that they were doing really well. I like to share what I
saw they might do some improving on and offer suggestions that might work ...
12


And, if I find something that isnt working at all, I feel like its my responsibility to,
to let them know I feel that way (p. 507).
Critical inquiry lens. With a push towards national education reform that
acknowledges the significant complexity of learning to teach (Darling-Hammond,
1998; National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future, 1996), there has
been a strong call for research over the past decade to try and reconceptualize the role
of clinical teachers (Ewart & Straw, 2005). Many researchers highlight the critical
importance of collaborative, school-based approaches to student teaching and other
field experiences (Dempsey, 1994; Goodlad, 1994; Richardson, 1997; Wang & Odell,
2002) advocating for a movement away from the apprenticeship model and toward an
inquiry model in which all partnersteacher candidates, the clinical teachers, and
university facultyare involved in critical reflective practice aimed at transforming
teaching and learning. Cochran-Smith and Lytle (2001) supported this idea through
their notion of inquiry as stance where inquiry is not perceived as just a project or a
strategy, but more specifically as the ways we stand, the ways we see, and the lenses
we see through as educators (p. 50). It is reflective of a position that teachers
classrooms should be the site for continual investigation where educators collaborate
and engage in the joint construction of knowledge as it relates to practice and the
purposes of schooling. At the same time, they should treat the knowledge and theory
produced by others as generative sources for interrogation and interpretation.
Dalozs (1986) theoretical model of mentoring which focuses on how support
and challenge are both necessary elements in encouraging novices to reach their
13


potential aligned with goal-setting and visioning, was the basis of two studies to
better understand how clinical teachers pushed beyond the typical apprenticeship
model towards that of critical inquiry. Martin (1996) and McNally and Martin (1998)
examined ways in which clinical teachers perceived the interplay of support and
challenge in working with their novice teachers and specific examples of how they
engaged in support and challenge of their novice teacher. Results from both studies
indicated that clinical teachers acknowledged that challenge was a key ingredient to
growth for the teacher candidate, but knowing how to effectively engage in challenge
without seeming unsupportive was often-times difficult. All clinical teachers
indicated in the studies that engaging novice teachers in critical reflection on their
teaching and on their students learning was something they attempted as part of the
challenge process. But, what was not apparent in these studies was the clinical
teachers willingness to share in the self-reflective process regarding the examination
of their own practice which could provide an explicit model of what it means to carry
out a critical inquiry stance in teaching. Another study found similar results. A case
study was conducted to examine the way in which five clinical teachers engaged in
reflective practice with their teacher candidates. Their practice fell into two primary
categories. First, reflection on how effective their advisory practices were in
supporting the teacher candidate and second, the sense they made of their teacher
candidates practice as they observed them teach (Clarke, 2006).
Despite the call for clinical teachers to shift to a more critical inquiry lens,
recent studies indicate that significant challenges still exist in meeting this call. One
14


of the biggest difficulties identified by many (Clarke, 2001; Clarke & Jarvis-Selinger,
2005; Feiman-Nemser, 1998; Feiman-Nemser & Rosaen, 1997; Saunders, Pettinger,
& Tomlinson, 1995) included the need to better understand how the backgrounds and
underlying assumptions about teaching that clinical teachers bring to their role
inherently influences the way they carry out their role. As stated by Bullough (2005),
Teachers do what they know and mentor as they teach. In effect, mentor identities
are subsumed under teacher identities (p. 153). For example, in a large-scale study
of 301 clinical teachers in British Columbia who completed a recently developed
Teaching Perspectives Inventory that examines a teachers fundamental beliefs about
teaching and learning, 89% of clinical teachers identified with teaching perspectives
that tend to align to the aforementioned apprenticeship lens, with only 11% of
teachers identifying with perspectives that naturally encompass a critical inquiry
stance to teaching and learning (Clarke & Jarvis-Selinger). Another small-scale case
study that examined teacher candidates experiences with their clinical teachers
identified a significant need to support clinical teachers in being able to engage in
critical reflections of teaching and learning that help teacher candidates interpret and
reinterpret inquiry-based teaching (Cherian, 2007). Similarly, in her review of the
literature on mentoring, Hawkey (1997) concurred that mentors and mentees must be
better able to unravel their preconceptions and examine the impact of these
preconceptions on their practice, helping them refine or amend their perspectives as
appropriate (p. 329).
15


School-based teacher educator lens. Over the past few decades, there has
been a movement to broaden the perspective of clinical teachers as merely
supervisors of teacher candidates to collaboratively engaging in the preparation of
teacher candidates as school-based teacher educators. Clarke (2001) referred to this
as the professionalization of the role of clinical teachers. An example of this
movement can be illustrated by the work of professional development schools
(PDSs), which are reflective of broader school reform (Darling-Hammond, 1994).
PDSs are designed to focus simultaneously on teacher preparation and teaching and
learning within the school through a strategic partnership between the school and
university-based teacher education program. The PDS focuses on four functions:
teacher preparation, ongoing professional development for teachers, renewal of
curriculum and instruction, and inquiry aimed at best practice. The role of clinical
teachers within the PDS context is often more deeply explored as significant
resources are provided through the partnership including unique collaboration
between university faculty and school faculty as well as typically a larger cohort of
teacher candidates immersed in extended internships. Clarke (2001) maintained that
initiatives such as PDSs have the potential for addressing the work of clinical teachers
in a more coherent and comprehensive manner.
One study reflective of the professionalization of clinical teachers was
conducted by Ewart and Straw (2005) where the interviews of 17 clinical teachers
involved in a 7 month extended practicum were examined to understand clinical
teachers perceptions of their role as teacher educators. The clinical teachers all saw
16


their role as that of supporting the teacher candidates learning. Key to this support
was helping teacher candidates learn how to reflect on ones own teaching. Strategies
reported by the clinical teachers towards this effort were modeling for teacher
candidates how to set goals, giving feedback that encouraged reflection through open-
ended questioning, thinking aloud for candidates about their own instructional
decision-making as well as having teacher candidates critique the clinical teachers
lessons. The researchers concluded that these clinical teachers were practicing
learner-centered teaching ... they strove for collaborative relationships in which
partners saw teaching as problem-solving (p. 198).
In another study that examined teacher candidates lived experiences with
their clinical teachers in a newly-formed PDS, the candidates identified four major
responsibilities and rituals of their clinical teachers (Gimbert, 2001). First, they
expressed the important influence of their clinical teacher building a trusting and open
relationship with them. Second, clinical teachers made very explicit what they did
and why with regards to teaching practice and invited teacher candidates to co-plan
and co-teach with them. Third, the clinical teachers created space for teacher
candidates to ask questions about their practice. Lastly, the clinical teachers and
teacher candidates engaged in reflective discussion about the complexity of teaching,
trying to continually assess what the students knew and what they needed to know.
Another PDS case study of 2 clinical teachers approaches to mentoring resulted in
similar ways in which the clinical teachers carried out their role. The researcher
(Yendol-Hoppey, 2007) articulated it as creating spaces as pedagogical tools to
17


support the teacher candidatespace to take risks and explore innovative practices,
space to raise questions, space to improve, space to celebrate, and space to become a
uniquely reflective teacher and not merely an exact replica of the clinical teacher. As
more clinical teachers carry out deeper roles as professional school-based educators,
there seems to be more opportunity to engage in role exploration, reconceptualization,
and change (Silva & Dana, 2001) more closely aligned with the call towards a critical
inquiry lens.
Impact of the Clinical Teaching Role on Clinical Teachers Themselves
Much of the research involving clinical teachers focuses on the way clinical
teachers mentoring practices impact teacher candidate learning and development.
Very little research examines how the role impacts or benefits clinical teachers
themselves. The limited research in this area is primarily case-based, exploring the
perceived benefits clinical teachers feel they get from mentoring and supporting a
teacher candidate.
Growth and learning. The most commonly reported benefit of being a
clinical teacher is the opportunity to learn from the teacher candidates as they bring
new teaching ideas and instructional methods from their teacher preparation program
(Koemer, 1992; Koskela & Ganser, 1998; Murray & Stotko, 2004; Scheetz et al.,
2005; Veal & Rikard, 1998; Weasmer & Woods, 2003). Fairbanks, Freedman, and
Kahn (2000) examined the function and nature of highly effective mentor/mentee
relationships and they stated that
18


mentor teachers recognize their capacity to learn from their less experienced
colleagues ... [en]able[ing the mentor] to question current practice and
consider alternate approaches. ... The exchange of ideas through modeling,
dialogue, and experience fostered professional growth, not only for the novice
but for the mentor as well. (p. 109)
Two studies indicated that clinical teachers changed their practices as a direct
result of being a clinical teacher as they observed new innovative instructional
strategies modeled by their teacher candidates (Landt, 2004; Murray & Stotko, 2004).
L. Wilson (1996) reported from her case study that clinical teachers feel more
confident in implementing a new instructional method they have been wanting to try
because their teacher candidate may know about it from the university and having
two teachers in the classroom makes it easier to handle any unforeseen
implementation challenges. Finally, some clinical teachers see the opportunity as a
way to revitalize and renew their teaching (Sandholtz & Dadlez, 2000).
Reflective practice. As a result of collaborating with a teacher candidate,
some clinical teachers report that they become more reflective in their practice
(Clinard et al., 1997; Lemlech & Hertzog, 1999; Sandholtz & Dadlez, 2000; Weasmer
& Woods, 2003). In a study that examined how clinical teachers in a newly formed
PDS saw benefits to their role, they commented that they were much more reflective
because of the increased opportunities to discuss pedagogy and the continuous flow
of questions about student learning and best practice (Scheetz et al., 2005, p. 35).
They also identified being ever-mindful of best practice because they always had to
be on for their teacher candidate (p. 36). In another study that examined how
hosting a teacher candidate results in clinical teacher reflection, Weasmer and Woods
19


found that as clinical teachers spent time verbalizing their thinking to teacher
candidates about their teaching practices and the foundational theories that ground
their practice, it validated that practice for themselves. Lastly, one clinical teachers
narrative inquiry about her experience caused her to reflect critically on the
experience reforming aspects of her own teacher identity (Johnson, 2003).
Emotional turmoil. Not all impacts perceived by clinical teachers are positive.
One study examined the emotional journey of clinical teachers and found that they
experience a wide-range of emotions as they take on their role (Hastings, 2004). In
the study, clinical teachers reported experiencing guilt in terms of not having enough
time to spend with their teacher candidate due to the stressful demands of being a
full-time teacher as well as guilt about turning over their classroom and releasing
responsibility for their students to a novice teacher. Other feelings included a heavy
sense of responsibility, as well as disappointment and frustration if their teacher
candidate was not progressing.
Professional Learning Designed for Clinical Teachers
The small body of research that examined the content and effect of
professional learning designed for clinical teachers primarily focused on their
supervisory role of teacher candidates and how to improve their mentoring skills
(Guyton, 1989; Marvin & Beasley, 1996; Metcalf, 1991). In a study that compared
the experiences of teacher candidates early in their program placed with clinical
teachers who had participated in professional learning, and those who had not, found
that teacher candidates had more active involvement and interaction with students and
20


were more likely to receive feedback concerning their performance if the clinical
teacher had participated in professional learning (Killian & McIntyre, 1986). Some
research focused on professional learning involving case-studies of teacher candidates
learning to teach, which supported clinical teachers to anticipate and respond to the
phases of development in which a teacher candidate might typically progress (Caruso,
1998; Feiman-Nemser, 2001). One larger cross-cultural study of highly effective,
reform-minded clinical teachers did uncover that they commonly engaged in highly
collaborative, ongoing professional learning with other clinical teachers promoting a
professional culture characterized by critical talk about teaching and learning to
teach (Feiman-Nemser, 1998, p. 72). But a more in-depth understanding of
professional learning designed for clinical teachers that broadens and deepens their
work beyond traditional supervision and mentoring of teacher candidates is missing
from the literature.
Research on Teacher Leadership
The concept of teacher leadership has been prevalent in the research literature
since the early 1980s as educational reform initiatives began to focus on multiple
aspects of teacher professionalism and teacher quality (Berry & Ginsberg, 1990;
Little, 1988; Talbert & McLaughlin, 1994). The importance of teacher leadership as
a factor in reform efforts is couched in the idea that involvement by individuals at all
levels of an organization are required in order for improvement and change to take
hold (Ogawa & Bossert, 1995); thus significant improvement in the quality of
21


education for students depends on leadership by teachers in classrooms and with their
colleagues.
Definitions of Teacher Leadership
A clear definition of teacher leadership is lacking in the literature, due, in part,
to the broad way in which the term teacher leadership encompasses a wide array of
ideas (York-Barr & Duke, 2004). Ways of thinking about teacher leadership have
evolved over time and have been influenced by other conceptions of leadership.
Early notions of teacher leadership were often equated with serving in formal roles
for the primary purpose of efficiency in school operations (e.g., department heads,
grade level team leaders) and have since shifted to the notion of truly recognizing
teachers and their expertise as central to the process of reculturing schools for
continuous improvement (Silva, Gimbert, & Nolan, 2000). This has given way to
teacher leadership being situated in leadership theories that are participative
(Leithwood & Duke, 1999), organizational (Ogawa & Bossert, 1995), and distributed
(Spillane, Halverson & Diamond, 2001) such that leadership is not vested in just one
person. Instead, it is highly likely to be embedded in more informal roles, such as
mentoring new teachers and pre-service teachers, participating in collaborative
structures that facilitate the sharing of instructional practices and personal expertise,
and engaging in critical inquiry of teaching and learning (Ackerman & Mackenzie,
2006). Teacher leadership conceptualized in this way engages every person in the
school with the responsibility to take on appropriate leadership roles (Neuman &
Simmons, 2000).
22


The Work of Teacher Leaders
Given the multiple definitions and ways of thinking about teacher leadership,
the work of teacher leaders varies widely and tends to be ever-changing as teachers
shift in and out of formal and informal roles of leadership. In their review of the
literature on teacher leadership, York-Barr and Duke (2004) categorized the work of
teacher leaders into seven dimensions of practice that crossed multiple levels of scale
from the classroom, to the school, the district, the community, the university, and to
the larger profession as a whole. The seven dimensions included: (a) coordination of
management such as involvement in administrative functions and special events; (b)
school or district curriculum work; (c) professional development with colleagues such
as mentoring of new teachers or leading workshops; (d) participation in school
change and improvement; (e) leadership and involvement with parents and the
broader community; (f) larger contributions to the profession such as participating in
professional organizations or politically advocating for policy change; and (g)
engagement in pre-service teacher education through school-university partnerships.
In their study, Crowther, Kaagen, Ferguson, and Hann (2002) took the approach of
examining the work of highly effective teachers as determined by their extensive
impact on their schools and communities in an effort to understand the essence of
how teacher leaders lead regardless of their role or title. What they found is that
teacher leaders took.a critical stance in their work, conveying convictions about
contributing to a better world, relentlessly striving for authenticity in their teaching,
learning, and assessment practices; actively facilitating communities of learning with
23


colleagues; confronting barriers in the schools culture and organizational structures;
acting on visions of success to translate ideas into sustainable systems; and nurturing
a culture of success at all levels of their work.
Characteristics of Teacher Leaders
Katzenmeyer and Moller (2001) described teacher leaders as those teachers
who lead within and beyond the classroom, identify with and contribute to a
community of teacher learners and leaders and influence others towards improved
educational practice (p. 5). Thus, research that has examined teacher leaders in
practice reveals a broad range of knowledge, skills and dispositions that teacher
leaders possess in order to be effective in their work. First and foremost, teacher
leaders are excellent teachers (Fullan, 1994; Katzenmeyer & Moller; Sherrill, 1999).
They deeply understand the complex interactions of teaching, learning, curriculum,
and assessment (Yarger & Lee, 1994). They also are innovative, seeking out
challenges and taking risks, while also demonstrating a disposition as a life-long
learner who is passionate about teaching (M. Wilson, 1993; Yarger & Lee). This in
turn influences how they are perceived by colleagues as highly competent, respected,
and a significant value to the broader school community (Little, 1988). As teacher
leaders engage in their work with others, they work diligently to establish
relationships, building trust and rapport with colleagues (Lieberman, Saxl, & Miles,
1988; Sherrill). They have the skills to expertly collaborate with colleagues to
support ongoing improvement of teaching as they effectively communicate, listen,
negotiate, mediate, and handle conflict (Lieberman et al.; Yarger & Lee). They also
24


have a keen ability to assess, interpret, and prioritize the often competing needs and
concerns of teachers working at the ground level and the broader initiatives of
administration and the district (Sherrill).
Professional Learning Designed for Teacher Leaders
There has been a significant call in the literature for more formalized training
and support in order to foster the development of teacher leadership (Griffin, 1995;
Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Ovando, 1996). Only a few case study descriptions of
professional learning designed for teacher leaders exist and they reveal multiple
approaches, contexts, and content (York-Barr & Duke, 2004). One of the strongest
commonalities across these case studies is the notion that the emergence of teacher
leadership is best fostered in the context of a learning community. In their large-scale
study on effective professional development, Garet et al. (1999) concurred that
professional learning designed for teachers is most effective when it is structured to
support sustained, coherent, active, collaborative participation.
Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders
One of the clearest effects of teacher leadership is growth and learning among
teacher leaders themselves (Barth, 2001; Darling-Hammond, 1988; Ovando, 1996).
Given that the research on clinical teachers calls for a broader conceptualization of
their role that recognizes the complexity of teaching and learning and embodies a
critical inquiry stance needed to transform teaching and learning (Ewart & Straw,
2005; Goodlad, 1994; Wang & Odell, 2002), then it stands to reason that
conceptualizing the role of clinical teachers through a framework of teacher
25


leadership has the potential to meet this call. Thus, the purpose of this study was to
understand how clinical teachers evolved as teacher leaders as a result of participating
in professional learning designed around a framework of teacher leadership. A role-
based model of teacher leadership (Killion & Harrison, 2006) was selected to develop
the conceptual framework for this study (see Chapter 1, Figure 1.1) because it
provided clarity to the often ambiguous definition of teacher leadership found in the
literature (York-Barr & Duke, 2004), while the distinction among the roles also
helped to frame the content of the professional learning designed for clinical teachers
in the study. Table 2.1 identifies the specific research base for the role-based teacher
leadership model, its application to the work of clinical teachers, and the resulting
essential question for each role that framed the content of the professional learning.
Clinical Teacher as Mentor
One of the more formal roles of teacher leadership is that of mentor,
supporting new teachers (Archer, 2001; Berry & Ginsberg, 1990; Hart, 1995; Paulu &
Winters, 1998) as well as mentoring preservice teachers (Darling-Hammond, 1994).
Teacher leaders, whether in formal or informal roles, work to establish strong
relationships with their colleagues by building trust and rapport with them
(Lieberman et al., 1988; Sherrill, 1999). Similarly, as clinical teachers engage in their
role as mentors, they work to develop trust and rapport with their teacher candidate to
establish an open and honest supportive relationship (Boudreau, 1999; Gimbert, 2001;
Stanulis & Russell, 2000). This requires effective interpersonal skills (Brooks, 1996),
such as listening, problem-solving skills, and flexibility (Kyle et al., 1999). This sets
26


to
Roles of a teacher leader
Application in the work of
a clinical teacher
Essential question
Mentor
Teacher leaders establish strong relationships
with colleagues by building trust and
rapport.
Mentoring requires effective interpersonal
skills.
(.Archer, 2001; Berry & Ginsberg, 1990; Hart,
1995; Lieberman, Saxl, & Miles, 1988; Paulu &
Winters, 1998; Sherrill, 1999)
The Clinical Teacher
Establishes an open, safe supportive
relationship with the teacher candidate by
building trust and rapport.
Demonstrates willingness to listen, problem-
solve, and flexibility.
{Boudreau, 1999; Brooks, 1996; Kyle, Moore, &
Sanders, 1999; McNally & Martin, 1998;
Stanulis & Russell, 2000)
How do I build trust and
rapport to support an effective
professional working
relationship with my teacher
candidate?
Learning Facilitator
Teacher leaders create opportunities that will
promote growth among their colleagues in
their professional practice.
Teacher leaders are highly skilled at facilitating
critical reflection among teachers and
assessing the learning needs of their
colleagues.
{Lieberman et al., 1988; Silva et al., 2000;
Smylie & Denny, 1990; M. Wilson, 1993; Yarger
& Lee, 1994)
The Clinical Teacher
Models their thinking and practices related to
planning, instruction, & assessment.
Engages teacher candidate in critical reflection
of teaching and learning.
Balances support with challenge.
Facilitates difficult conversations.
{Booth, 1993; Cherian, 2007; Clinard et al.,
1997; Daloz, 1986; Ewart & Straw, 2005;
Hawkey, 1997; Jacques, 1992; Ross, 2002;
Wildman, Magliaro, Niles, & Niles, 1992)
How do I facilitate my teacher
candidates development
through effective modeling
and coaching?
Table 2.1. Research Base for Conceptual Framework


Roles of a teacher leader
Application in the work of
a clinical teacher
Essential question
Resource Provider
Teacher leaders identify and share resources &
examples of best practice with colleagues.
{Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Killion &
Harrison, 2006; Sherrill, 1999; Yarger & Lee,
1994)
The Clinical Teacher
Shares school, district, and personal
professional materials with teacher
candidate.
Models how to access expertise of individuals
in the building, district, and community to
support students.
(Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Feiman-Nemser &
Rosaen, 1997)
How do I collaborate with
others to recommend and
share resources reflective of
research & best practice with
my teacher candidate?
to
oo
Classroom Supporter
Teacher leaders employ a gradual-release
continuum (modeling, co-teaching,
observation & feedback) to support
colleagues in gaining new skills.
(Allen & LeBlanc, 2004; Berry & Ginsberg,
1990; Guiney, 2001; Killion & Harrison, 2006)
The Clinical Teacher
Models, co-plans, and co-teaches with teacher
candidate to support gradual release of
responsibility.
Selects co-teaching models based on comfort
and skill level of teacher candidate and
explicit needs of students.
{Feiman-Nemser & Rosaen, 1997; McIntyre &
Hagger, 1994; Tomlinson, 1995; Zanting,
Verloop, Vermunt, & VanDriel, 1998)
How do I use co-teaching
strategies to not only help my
teacher candidate take on
gradual responsibility for
teaching, but also intentionally
work toward improved student
achievement for my students?
Curriculum Specialist
Teacher leaders use their expertise in
curriculum to help colleagues become savvy
consumers of district curriculum materials
and develop supplemental curriculum to
support student learning.
{Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Killion &
Harrison, 2006; Lieberman et al 1988; Sherrill,
1999; Yarger & Lee, 1994)
The Clinical Teacher
Models use and critical analyzation of district
curriculum materials.
Supports teacher candidate in curriculum/unit
development to meet the needs of diverse
learners.
{Fairbanks et al., 2000; Feiman-Nemser &
Rosaen, 1997; Kyle et al, 1999)
How do I help my teacher
candidate understand and
analyze my schools
curriculum in order to
effectively implement it to
meet the needs of diverse
learners?
Table 2.1. Continued


to
VO
Roles of a teacher leader
Application in the work of
a clinical teacher
Essential question
Instructional Specialist
Teacher leaders are expert teachers who
implement highly effective instruction.
Teacher leaders make explicit how and why to
select and implement certain strategies to
differentiate instruction for diverse learners.
(Fullan, 1994; Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001;
Lieberman et al 1988; Sherrill, 1999)
The Clinical Teacher
Model high quality instruction for teacher
candidates
Effectively communicate their reasoning for
implementing certain practices
{Ewart & Straw, 2005; Feiman-Nemser, 1998;
Feiman-Nemser & Rosaen, 1997; Kyle et ah,
1999; Yendol-Hoppey, 2007; Zanting et al.,
1998)
How do I model quality
instructional practices and
help my teacher candidate
understand how and why I
select and implement the
practices that I do?
Data Coach
Teacher leaders collaborate with colleagues to
examine multiple sources of student data in
order to plan for instruction.
{Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Killion &
Harrison, 2006; Sherrill, 1999)
The Clinical Teacher
Collaborates with teacher candidate to collect
and analyze various forms of student data in
order to inform decision-making.
{Feiman-Nemser, 1998, 2001)
How do 1 help my teacher
candidate use multiple sources
of data about our students to
inform decision-making?
Learner
Teacher leaders demonstrate disposition of a
life-long learner.
Teacher leaders seek opportunities for challenge
and growth
{Barth, 2001; LeBlanc & Shelton, 1997; Ovando,
1996; Smylie, 1994; M. Wilson, 1993; Yarger &
Lee, 1994)
The Clinical Teacher
Models life-long learning.
Learns from the teacher candidate through
sharing of strategies and resources and
engaging in critical reflection on teaching
and learning
{Clinard et al., 1997; Ewart & Straw, 2005;
Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Kahn, 2001; Koerner,
1992; Koskela & Ganser, 1998; Lemlech &
Hertzog, 1999; Murray & Stotko, 2004;
Sandholtz & Dadlez, 2000; Scheetz et al., 2005;
Weasmer & Woods, 2003; Yendol-Hoppey, 2007;
Zanting et al., 1998)
How do I model the
disposition of being a life-long
learner and open myself up to
learning from my teacher
candidate and the entire
experience as a clinical
teacher?
Table 2.1. Continued


Roles of a teacher leader Application in the work of a clinical teacher Essential question
School Leader and Catalvst for Change Teacher leaders are committed to improving education for all children. Teacher leaders influence change by introducing new ideas and challenging the status quo. (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2001; Crowther et al., 2002; Darling-Hammond, 1994; Killion & Harrison, 2006; Lieberman et al., 1988) The Clinical Teacher Commits to continuous improvement in practice Serves as a catalyst for change in themselves and their practice to support school improvement. {Darling-Hammond, 1994; Dempsey, 1994; Goodfellow & Sumsion, 2000; Goodlad, 1994; Richardson, 1997; Wang & Odell, 2002) How do I carry out my commitment to continual improvement such that I keep trying to hone and craft my practice and act with the intention of making a positive difference toward the vision of my school?
u>
o
Table 2.1. Continued


the foundation for creating a working relationship where the teacher candidate will
feel comfortable in taking risks and reflect upon the challenges and complexities of
teaching and learning (McNally & Martin, 1998). The explicit attention to
developing this supportive and open relationship is also critical to diminishing what is
often perceived as a power relationship where the clinical teacher has the power as
the expert practicioner and the teacher candidate is the novice (Feiman-Nemser &
Rosaen, 1997; P. Graham, 1999; Smith, 2007).
Clinical Teacher as Learning Facilitator
As teacher leaders carry out the role of learning facilitator, they create
opportunities that will promote growth among their colleagues in their professional
practice (Lieberman et al., 1988; Silva et al., 2000; Smylie & Denny, 1990; M.
Wilson, 1993), whether it is formally leading professional learning on a particular
instructional strategy, nurturing collaboration amongst a grade-level or departmental
level team, or engaging in one-on-one conversation with a colleague about a teaching
episode. Teacher leaders in this role are highly effective communicators (Yarger &
Lee, 1994) and have the ability to facilitate dialogue and team work, structure
interactions with teachers that ensure learning is successful, and continuously assess
the learning needs of their colleagues (Killion & Harrison, 2006). When clinical
teachers take on this role, they consistently create opportunities that will facilitate the
growth and learning of their teacher candidate by modeling and engaging in critical
reflection with teacher candidates about their own teaching practices and those of the
teacher candidate (Cherian, 2007; Ewart & Straw, 2005; Gimbert, 2001; Hawkey,
31


1997; Ross, 2002; Wildman et al., 1992). Clinical teachers model their thinking and
practices related to planning, carrying out instruction and assessment, and constantly
reflect on improving student learning. In addition, clinical teachers facilitate these
same types of critically reflective conversations with teacher candidates enabling
them to reflect on their growing practice (Clinard et al., 1997). Clinical teachers must
also provide a strategic balance of support and challenge in their work with teacher
candidates making sure that teacher candidates have optimal opportunities for
continued growth (Daloz, 1986). The ability to sometimes navigate difficult
conversations and give honest feedback to teacher candidates is essential to this
process (Booth, 1993; Jacques, 1992).
Clinical Teacher as Resource Provider
Teacher leaders are strategic in identifying and sharing resources, materials,
and examples of best practice with their colleagues (Killion & Harrison, 2006). They
have significant content, curriculum, and instructional expertise themselves
(Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Sherrill, 1999; Yarger & Lee, 1994), and they are also
effective in seeking out new knowledge and collaborating with others who have
differing areas of expertise when needed (Killion & Harrison). In the same sense,
clinical teachers must be excellent resource providers for their teacher candidates.
Clinical teachers must introduce teacher candidates to their world of teaching which
is highly contextualized within their unique classroom, school, community and
district. Clinical teachers have access to the essential resources that enable them to
carry out their daily role as teachers including text books and other curriculum
32


materials. They also have established relationships with key individuals such as
special education teachers, librarians, school counselors or psychologists, parent and
community leaders and many others who all have areas of expertise that are important
for teacher candidates to learn to access. When clinical teachers explicitly model how
they access and flexibly utilize these many resources in their work, then teacher
candidates begin to understand how to do the same (Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Feiman-
Nemser & Rosaen, 1997).
Clinical Teacher as Classroom Supporter
As teacher leaders engage in the role of classroom supporter, they employ a
gradual release of responsibility model to support the attainment of new knowledge
and skills by their colleagues (Killion & Harrison, 2006). Teacher leaders
strategically structure their interactions with their colleagues that fall across a
continuum from modeling or demonstrating a particular skill, to co-teaching with
colleagues, to finally transferring responsibility for that skill over to their collegues,*
helping them move from dependence to independence. Numerous studies and
professional learning formats focused on peer coaching and instructional coaching in
schools are examples of teacher leaders engaging in this role (Allen & LeBlanc, 2004;
Berry & Ginsberg, 1990; Guiney, 2001). For clinical teachers, taking on the role of
classroom supporter looks very similar as they, too, help their teacher candidate take
on gradual responsibility for increasing teaching skills after explicitly modeling and
reflecting about best practice, then co-planning and co-teaching with the candidate,
and finally releasing responsibility to the teacher candidate as independence is gained
33


(Feiman-Nemser & Rosaen, 1997; Gimbert, 2001; McIntyre & Hagger, 1994;
Tomlinson, 1995; Zanting et al., 1998). As clinical teachers co-teach with their
teacher candidates, they utilize a variety of formats based on a number of factors
including skill and comfort level of the teacher candidate and clinical teacher as well
as the needs of the students in the classroom (Beck & Kosnik, 2000; Feiman-Nemser,
1998; Sands, Kozleski, & French, 2000).
Clinical Teacher as Curriculum Specialist
Teacher leaders have significant expertise in the design and implementation of
curriculum as guided by their knowledge of content and instruction (Katzenmeyer &
Moller, 2001; Lieberman et al., 1988; Sherrill, 1999; Yarger & Lee, 1994). They help
their colleagues became savvy consumers of district curriculum guides and
developers of their own classroom curriculum (Killion & Harrison, 2006, p. 42) to
meet the needs of all students. Clinical teachers do the same for teacher candidates as
they introduce them to the district curriculum and support them in their own efforts to
develop curriculum units that are often a requirement of their teacher preparation
programs (Feiman-Nemser & Rosaen, 1997; Kyle et al., 1999). Clinical teachers
need to model how to analyze district curriculum, identifying its strengths and gaps in
meeting the diverse needs of their students and how to design their own curriculum
that will enhance student learning while also meeting required standards (Fairbanks et
al., 2000; Killion & Harrison).
34


Clinical Teacher as Instructional Specialist
Teacher leaders are expert teachers, consistently and effectively implementing
research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of diverse learners (Fullan,
1994; Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Lieberman et al., 1988; Sherrill, 1999). In both
formal and informal roles, teacher leaders help their colleagues understand how and
why to select and implement certain strategies in order to differentiate their
instruction to meet the learning needs of all students (Killion & Harrison, 2006).
Clinical teachers must also be excellent role-models in the way they implement high-
quality instruction in their classrooms (Feiman-Nemser & Rosaen, 1997; Kyle et al.,
1999). In addition, they are able to communicate to teacher candidates what is behind
their thinking as they implement best practice, clearly articulating the reasons why
they make the instructional decisions that they do (Ewart & Straw, 2005; Feiman-
Nemser, 1998; Gimbert, 2001; Yendol-Hoppey, 2007; Zanting et al., 1998).
Clinical Teacher as Data Coach
As data becomes an increasingly important part of the educational landscape
in teachers work given the highly accountable policy context of todays schools,
teacher leaders are taking on a newer role of being a data coach (Killion & Harrison,
2006). This role was less explicit in prior research on teacher leaders as it was often
referred to in the context of teacher leaders being highly competent in assessment
practices (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Sherrill, 1999). As data becomes more
accessible to classroom teachers, teacher leaders must have the skills to collaborate
with colleagues to examine multiple sources of data, including achievement and
35


demographic data, in order to better understand students strengths and areas of
weakness. Teacher leaders also then need the ability to act upon that knowledge and
use the data to inform decisions about curriculum and instructional strategies that will
address the identified needs of their students (Bernhardt, 2004; Lipton & Wellman,
2004). There are very few explicit references in the literature regarding mentor
teachers use of data with novice teachers and they are typically in the context of
helping the novice teacher critically analyze the influence of their teaching on student
performance by examining student work (Feiman-Nemser, 1998, 2001). The role of
data coach is very important for clinical teachers as they guide their teacher candidate
in learning how to use authentic classroom-level data to inform their decision-
making.
Clinical Teacher as Learner
Teacher leaders embody and demonstrate the disposition of being a life-long
learner, seeking out opportunities for new challenge and growth as professional
educators (LeBlanc & Shelton, 1997; M. Wilson, 1993; Yarger & Lee 1994). Their
learning is highly contextual (Lave & Wenger, 1991), continuously learning as they
lead because their leadership role affords more opportunities for exposure to new
information and practices through collaboration and interaction with other teachers
concerning the complex nature of teaching and learning (Barth, 2001; Ovando, 1996;
Smylie, 1994). Clinical teachers also model a disposition for being a learner to their
teacher candidate as they openly and explicitly reflect on their practice and share how
they are constantly striving to improve (Ewart & Straw, 2005; Feiman-Nemser, 2001;
36


Yendel-Hoppey, 2007; Zanting et al., 1998). At the same time, clinical teachers
embrace the opportunity of serving in this role to learn from their teacher candidates
and the experience itself. Clinical teachers gain new insights and understandings
about practice and their students as they observe their teacher candidates teaching
(Kahn, 2001; Koemer, 1992; Koskela & Ganser, 1998; Murray & Stotko, 2004;
Scheetz et al., 2005). Also, the process of engaging in critical reflection and
conversation with teacher candidates creates consistent opportunities to inquire about
the complexities of teaching and learning and to reform understanding of practice
(Clinard et al., 1997; Lemlech & Hertzog, 1999; Sandholtz & Dadlez, 2000; Weasmer
& Woods, 2003).
Clinical Teacher as School Leader and Catalyst for Change
Teacher leaders are driven by their commitment and conviction to create a
better world and thus better education for all children (Crowther et al., 2002). They
are visionary and have the ability to create systems to sustain success in schools
despite their complexity (Crowther et al.; Lieberman et al., 1988). Teacher leaders
are also able to influence change for improvement by introducing new ideas and
challenging the status quo (Senge, 1990). In this sense, they promote in themselves
and others a critical inquiry stance to teaching and learning in order to continuously
improve practice inside the school (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2001; Darling-
Hammond, 1994; Killion and Harrison, 2006; Lieberman & Miller, 1999). In Killion
and Harrisons original role-based teacher leadership framework, the role of school
leader is separate from the role of catalyst for change as the original framework is
37


applied to teacher leaders in more formal roles who have influence in collaborating
with school administrators to design, implement and assess school improvement
initiatives. In the conceptual framework for this study that guided the design of
professional learning for clinical teachers, the roles of catalyst for change and
school leader were merged together because clinical teachers typically do not have
formal influence with school leadership in implementing school change initiatives.
But, in the same sense, their role as a catalyst for change does provide an important
model of school leadership for their colleagues and their administrators. Clinical
teachers must have the commitment to continuous improvement, always trying to
craft and hone their practice. When they have this commitment, they become a
catalyst for changechange in themselves, change in their practice, and change that
supports the betterment of the school to keep meeting the needs of all students. When
they model this disposition for teacher candidates, they help novice teachers begin to
understand that teaching will always require an inquiry stance of, How can I make
education better both inside and outside my classroom walls? (Darling-Hammond,
1994; Dempsey, 1994; Goodfellow & Sumsion, 2000; Goodlad, 1994; Richardson,
1997; Wang & Odell, 2002). When clinical teachers and teacher leaders engage in
these roles it provides them with a sense of empowerment that has the potential to
influence not only the collegial professional learning and renwal of teachers but also
the culture of schools (Murphy, 2005).
38


Conclusion
Feiman-Nemser (1998, 2001) called for research that deepens our
understanding of how thoughtful mentors actually work with novices in ways that
examine teaching and learning through a critical inquiry lens, how they develop a
reperoitoire of practices in supporting novice teachers in this way, and what
conditions support and sustain this kind of work. Similarly, York-Barr and Duke
(2004) called for lines of inquiry in teacher leadership that clearly define the targeted
context of teacher leadership practice, including how and why the focus on teacher
leadership emerged, how the work of teacher leaders was situated, and the specific
improvement focus of the leadership (p. 291). This study meets both of these calls
as it examines the evolution of teacher leadership situated in the role of being a
clinical teacher and nurtured and sustained through professional learning. A more in-
depth understanding of how the role of clinical teacher can be used as a pathway to
teacher leadership can greatly inform the ever-evolving work of teacher educators and
school and district administrators alike.
39


CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
Research Design
Based on a review of the literature on teacher leadership and the role of
clinical teachers, this study was designed to investigate how clinical teachers evolve
as teacher leaders as a result of participating in professional learning. A single case
study methodology was used to examine the following research question: How do
clinical teachers evolve as teacher leaders through the experience of professional
learning specifically designed around a framework of teacher leadership? Using a
case study approach is most appropriate for explanatory research questions and to get
an up-close, in-depth understanding of a particular situation (Yin, 2006).
Treatment
On-line Professional Development Unit
Using a conceptual framework that links teacher leadership to the role of
being a clinical teacher (see Chapter 1, Figure 1.1), the researcher designed a 15-week
on-line professional development unit (PDU) for clinical teachers that began the end
of January, 2008 and continued through mid-May, 2008. Table 3.1 provides an
overview of the content of the PDU as it related to each of the roles in the conceptual
framework. An on-line format was chosen as participating clinical teachers in the
PDU had multiple demands on their time and came from across four large urban
40


districts in a vast metropolitan area. The on-line format enabled clinical teachers to
develop an effective on-line learning community, which according to Ludwig-
Hardman (2003), is a group of people, connected via technology-mediated
communication, who actively engage one another in collaborative learner-centered
activities to intentionally foster the creation of knowledge, while sharing a number of
values and practices (p. iv).
The researcher is affiliated with the Teachers Learning in Networked
Communities (TLINC) grant initiative in conjunction with the National Commission
for Teaching and Americas Future (NCTAF) that provides grant funding to support
teachers in the development of on-line learning communities. TLINC uses an open
source on-line platform called Tapped-In (www.tappedin.org). This platform enabled
clinical teachers in the PDU to access and share electronic professional resources of
all file formats (i.e., PDF documents, images, multi-media files, web-links, word-
processed documents, etc.), as well as collaborate through discussion boards, live
chats, and e-mail lists. A screen shot of the on-line platform is in Appendix A. The
participants came together for one initial meeting face-to-face in order to connect
with one another and receive training and support for using Tapped-In. The
remainder of the PDU was conducted on-line. At the conclusion of the PDU,
participants came back together for a final face-to-face event to share their
culminating Catalyst for Change projects (see Table 3.1 and further description
below) and to debrief their experiences in the PDU. An expert in professional
development and teacher leadership who also had experience in working with clinical
41


to
Weekly exploration of
role in the framework
Week 1-The Connections
Between CTs & Teacher
Leadership
Week 2-CT as Mentor: How do
I build trust and rapport to
support an effective professional
working relationship with my
TC?
Week 3-CT as Resource
Provider: How do I collaborate
with others to recommend and
share resources reflective of
research & best practice with my
TC?
Gaining a deeper
understanding
Read Killion & Harrisons
article, 10 Roles for Teacher
Leaders
Reflect on how collaborating
with a TC is similar to being in a
professional marriage?
Brainstorm the key people,
curriculum and instructional
resources, community resources,
and essential school processes to
introduce to your TC.
Learning applied with
teacher candidate (TC)
Talk with your TC about this
professional learning you are
engaging in order to help them
see the connection that teachers
are constantly learning.
Engage in conversation with TC
about educational philosophies,
values & beliefs to develop
common ground and establish
working norms.
Copy and share resource list
with TC; continue to add to the
list and include ideas that the TC
brings from university
experiences.
Sample reflection
discussion thread
Introduce yourself to the others
inthePDU. After reading the
article and looking over the
framework on the first page of
the syllabus for how cooperating
teachers might engage in these
10 roles, what are you looking
forward to exploring and
learning about the most in this
PDU? Do you have reservations
about any of the roles?
As you engaged in conversation
about beliefs and norms with
your TC using the Professional
Marriage handout, what did you
learn about your TC? What did
you learn about yourself from
the conversation?
TCs may be intimidated by their
CTs experience and expertise
and may be hesitant to bring
forward ideas they are learning
from the university. How can
you create an environment that
is mutually beneficial for both oi
you to learn from one another?
Table 3.1. Design and Sample Content of Clinical Teacher (CT) Professional
Development Unit


-fc-
u>
Weekly exploration of
role in the framework
Week 4-CT as Classroom
Supporter: How do I use co-
teaching strategies to not only
help my TC take on gradual
responsibility for teaching, but
also intentionally work toward
improved student achievement
for my students?
Week 5-7-CT as Learning
Facilitator: How do I facilitate
my teacher candidates
development through effective
modeling and coaching?
Gaining a deeper
understanding
Together with the TC, view
professional video on co-
teaching models
Explore coaching as a
continuum of interactions
(modeling; consulting and
giving feedback; collaboration;
coaching through mediating
thinking) through articles and
PowerPoint. Also identify
personal conflict style and
determine strategies that
effective coaches use to engage
in difficult conversations.
Learning applied with
teacher candidate (TC)
Plan with your TC how you can
implement the co-teaching
models in the coming weeks
Identify a coaching look for
that the TC would like the CT to
model and debrief; engage in a
coaching cycle conversation
after a TC has taught a lesson;
complete the conflict style
inventory and conduct a difficult
conversation
Sample reflection
discussion thread
What benefits do you see for
your pre-service teacher, for
yourself and for your students
from co-teaching?
-After engaging in a coaching
cycle with your student teacher,
including a pre conference, an
observation and a post
conference, reflect on that
experience. What went well?
What did you find challenging?
What would you do differently
next time?
-If you had an opportunity to
conduct a difficult
conversation, describe the
situation and the outcome. What
did you learn from it and would
you have done anything
differently?
Table 3.1. Continued


-t*
Weekly exploration of Gaining a deeper Learning applied with Sample reflection
role in the framework understanding teacher candidate (TC) discussion thread
Week 8-9-CT as Catalyst for
Change & School Leader: How
do I carry out my commitment
to continual improvement such
that I keep trying to hone and
craft my practice and act with
the intention of making a
positive difference towards the
vision of my school?
Week 10-CT as Data Coach:
How do I help my TC use
multiple sources of data about
our students to inform decision-
making?
Week 11-CT as Instructional
Specialist: How do I model
quality instructional practices
and help my TC understand how
and why I select and implement
the practices that I do?
Using the Catalyst for Change
Project Planning Sheet, begin
drafting your ideas for your
catalyst for change project
Through article jig-saw, explore
the critical role of informative
assessments that provide daily
insight into student performance
and continually inform
instructional decision-making.
Shift thinking that teachers are
not planning for instruction, but
planning for student learning.
CTs read various articles on
teaching/leaming cycle,
differentiated instruction,
culturally responsive instruction,
& high-yield instructional
strategies.
Share your ideas for your project
with your TChow might they
be able to contribute to the
success of the project?
Select a piece of recent student
work to examine student
performance with your TC. Use
the data dialogue protocol to
examine the work. Then discuss
with TC what informative data
they can collect in their next
lesson or TWS to guide their
instructional decision-making.
Talk with TC about which are
you will focus for the next few
weeks to truly enhance your
ability to plan for student
learning. Where would the TC
like to focus?
Briefly describe what you plan
to do for your change project.
What help/support might you
need from the facilitator to guide
your efforts? Any help and
support your PDU colleagues
can provide?
What is still challenging for you
regarding the use of data?
Would you recommend this
dialogue protocol to other
teachers or your principal? How
could it help your grade level
team or your school overall in
using data in meaningful ways?
What is the top challenge you
face in terms of providing
instruction that impacts student
learning? What are you doing to
address this challenge? What is
the top challenge your student
teacher is facing and how are
you supporting him/her in
addressing the challenge?
Table 3.1. Continued



Weekly exploration of
role in the framework
Week 12-CT as Curriculum
Specialist: How do I help my
teacher candidate understand
and analyze my district
curriculum in order to
effectively implement it to meet
the needs of diverse learners?
Week 13-15: Finalize Catalyst
for Change Project
Gaining a deeper Learning applied with Sample reflection
understanding teacher candidate (TC) discussion thread
Explore the broader idea of the
purpose of a rigorous and
coherent curriculum in
education. Then read Guskeys
article, Mapping the Road to
Proficiency, to better understand
how teachers unpack the
standards to inform close
alignment of curriculum,
instruction & assessment.
Using the Table of
Specifications in the article,
work with TC to unpack a
standard you are working on in a
unit and analyze your current
alignment of your unit
curriculum, the instructional
activities, and the assessments.
In what ways are you feeling
successful in linking your
curriculum, instruction and
assessment? Provide us with
specific actions you have taken
and the results of those actions.
Complete Catalyst for Change
Project
Continue to involve TC in the
project where appropriate
Prepare to share your project at
the final face-to-face event
including the following details:
1) Overview of project; 2)
Artifacts that document the
project; 3) Reflection on how
engaging in the project has
impacted your teaching, your
perceptions of teacher
leadership, and impact on
student achievement/success.
NOTE: The role of CT as Learner was intentionally imbedded throughout the PDU due to the nature of the entire
PDU experience being about ongoing professional learning by the CT.
Table 3.1. Continued


teachers and teacher candidates facilitated the PDU. She provided weekly feedback
to each of the participating clinical teachers regarding their participation, responded
to questions from the participants as well as provided suggestions and one-on-one
support to clinical teachers in the design and facilitation of their Catalyst for Change
projects.
Three-Step Learning Process
The PDU was designed to allow clinical teachers to explore a particular role
of the conceptual framework on a weekly (or sometimes bi-weekly) basis (see Table
3.1). The structure for engaging in learning about a role each week was a three-step
process. First, clinical teachers engaged in learning about a particular role through a
Weekly Introductory Task Sheet (WITS) that provided initial background and context
regarding the role being explored. Typically, clinical teachers also engaged in
reading an accompanying journal article, viewing a professional teaching video clip,
or briefly doing some personal reflection around a topic or question related to the
role. Then the clinical teacher applied this newly emerging knowledge in working
with his or her teacher candidate by engaging in conversation and trying to implement
a particular strategy with the teacher candidate related to the role being explored for
the week. For example, during the week clinical teachers were exploring the role of
classroom supporter, the WITS provided background knowledge and context on
approaches to co-teaching. The clinical teacher and teacher candidate then watched a
digitized 25 minute video clip together followed with brainstorming possible ways
they were going to co-teach in the coming weeks. The final step in the weekly
46


learning cycle of the PDU was for clinical teachers to reflect and critically discuss
new understandings, on-going experiences with teacher candidates, and connections
of their role to broader aspects of teacher leadership. An example of the WITS sheet
that outlines the three-step process for the week of classroom supporter can be found
in Appendix B. Research indicates the essential importance of developing teachers as
reflective practitioners who have the ability to critically examine their practice in
order to develop deeper understanding and insight and thus transform future practice
(Admiraal & Wubbels, 2005; Korthagen, 2001; Zeichner, 1994). Reflection was
facilitated through the use of the discussion board on Tapped-In. Each week, the
researcher provided three discussion board threads (i.e., discussion questions related
to the role). Clinical teachers chose at least one thread to respond to and then also
replied to the response of at least one of the other clinical teachers. A norm was
established at the beginning of the PDU for clinical teachers to post their initial
response by mid-day Saturday and reply to at least one colleague by the end of the
weekend before the next weeks cycle began. This provided a weekly rhythm of sorts
that enabled clinical teachers to gain new knowledge and understanding about the role
at the beginning of the week, try implementing those new understandings and
strategies with their teacher candidate throughout the week and reflect upon their
learning and experience at the end of the week.
Salomon and Perkins (1998) contended that involvement in any learning
community requires high levels of social interaction. The structure of the three-step
learning process applied in this PDU provided a predictable learning cycle and
47


essential preconditions in an on-line environment to support and encourage the
engagement and interaction of all clinical teachers week after week. Ludwig-
Hardmans (2003) case study of effective instructional design for on-line courses
supports a similar three-stage developmental cycle for on-line communities where
participants engage in initial learning, then enter into intensive interaction with peers
and finally conclude with reflection or some type of ritualized closure experience.
What is imperative in the design is that collaborative online learning communities
provide community members the chance to learn from and with others and to
contribute to others learning (Wilson, Ludwig-Hardman, Thomam, & Dunlap,
2004, p. 6).
Culminating Catalyst for Change Project
The Catalyst for Change project enabled clinical teachers to identify some
type of change that they had been wanting to make that would have an impact in their
classroom or in their school and ultimately on student achievement. Clinical teachers
began considering possibilities and planning their project given a guiding template
mid-way through the PDU and then carried out the majority of the work on their
project while their teacher candidate was taking on more and more responsibility in
the classroom and spending more time in solo teaching practice. This job-embedded
opportunity gave clinical teachers precious and meaningful time to engage in change
they had identified for themselves. It also provided structure to that often awkward
time many clinical teachers feel in giving over responsibility for their classroom to
the teacher candidate and suddenly finding themselves outside their comfort zone; the
48


Catalyst for Change project gave them another way to focus their attention as
educators.
Validating the Design of the PDU
Although the content of the PDU is grounded in the literature on clinical
teachers and teacher leaders, it is important to examine the content validity of the
constructs represented within the PDU to ensure the extent to which it accurately
represents all facets of both teacher leadership and the role of clinical teachers
(Carmines & Zeller, 1991). The researcher attended to issues of content validity in
multiple ways. First, the researcher collaborated closely with the facilitator of the
PDU who is an expert in facilitating professional learning, teacher leadership, and has
extensive experience working with teacher candidates and clinical teachers, to design
the weekly learning experiences for clinical teachers and the reflective discussion
board threads. Also an on-line instructional design expert examined the three-step
weekly learning cycle and validated that it provided quality opportunity for
participants to develop a true on-line learning community. In addition, two focus
groups were conducted prior to the start of the PDU to validate that the content would
in fact contribute to clinical teacher development connected to teacher leadership.
One focus group was with a group of 4 teacher educators from three different state
teacher preparation programs. They were given the conceptual framework and asked
to provide feedback about whether this framework would indeed support clinical
teachers to better carry out their roles in effectively working with teacher candidates
and begin to broaden their role to encompass aspects of teacher leadership. The
49


consensus of the group was very positive and affirmative that the framework and
resulting PDU design effectively incorporated essential topics that, in their experience
as teacher educators, high-quality clinical teachers needed to know and be able to do.
They also commended the designs connection to teacher leadership development as
they felt that the role of being a clinical teacher can be an important pathway to
teacher leadership. The second focus group was with a group of 5 experienced
clinical teachers who were also given the conceptual framework and asked to provide
their feedback on whether this framework would indeed support clinical teachers to
better carry out their roles with teacher candidates and connect their role to teacher
leadership. This group overwhelmingly confirmed that the framework was a strong
match for the kind of content that was absolutely necessary to help clinical teachers
work with teacher candidates. They were also intrigued by the notion that being a
clinical teacher could be connected to being a teacher leader. Many of them
conceptualized teacher leadership as a much more formal role reserved for only a few
outgoing, climb-the-ladder type of teachers in their buildings; but nearly all of them
were excited about the potential that the role of being a clinical teacher could be
considered as teacher leadership when defined in broader terms. One teacher in the
group was much more reserved, though, about the potential connection as she stated,
We are not in a climate where it is positively looked upon that teachers do things
outside their classroom and try to be these big-shot leaders in a buildingthat could
really rock the boat for a teacher and be dangerous for their future in the school and
the district.
50


Sample
The sample for the PDU was a convenience sample of 15 clinical teachers.
Twenty clinical teachers actually participated in the PDU, but only 17 of them
originally consented for their participation in the PDU to be included in this research
study. Two out of the 17 teachers who consented did not end up completing the
PDU, leaving the total research sample at 15 and the total number of overall
completers of the PDU at 18. Table 3.2 provides an overview of demographic data of
the final sample of 15 clinical teachers who completed the PDU and consented to
have their participation included in the research study.
The sample was obtained in two ways. First, the researcher is the director of
teacher education at a large urban university that partners with six metropolitan
districts. This partnership has led to the establishment of 23 professional
development schools across these districts where teacher candidates complete a series
of internships working along side various clinical teachers while enrolled in their
teacher preparation program over the course of 12-18 months. A flyer describing the
opportunity to participate in the PDU was distributed to each professional
development school and shared with the clinical teachers.
Incentives were provided for participation in two distinct ways. Participants
had the opportunity to earn three graduate credits at a significantly reduced cost for
participating in and successfully completing the PDU. Secondly, the researcher also
collaborates closely with district level leaders in one of their most urban partner
districts. In 2006, this district drastically redesigned their compensation system for
51


Table 3.2. Clinical Teacher Demographics (N= 15)
Demographic characteristic N %
Number of clinical teachers from District A 8 53
(73,053 students; 79% minority students; 68% F&R)a
Number of clinical teachers from District B 6 40
(38,821 students; 40% minority students; 29% F&R)a
Number of clinical teachers from District C 1 7
(6,731 students; 84% minority students; 83% F&R)a Gender
Male 2 13
Female 13 87
Age
20-30 3 20
31-40 6 40
41-50 2 13
51-60 4 27
School level
Elementary 12 80
Middle school 2 13
High school 1 7
Total number of years as a teacher
1-5 3 20
6-10 2 13
10-15 5 33
15+ 5 33
Highest level of post secondary education
BA/BS only 1 7
Some M/A or continuing education 5 33
MA or higher 9 60
Number who were first time clinical teachers 5 33
If not first time, number of candidates previously mentored
1-2 4 27
3-5 4 27
6-7 0 0
8 or more 2 13
Number of clinical teachers currently teaching in a professional 14 93
development school
a Based on Fall 2007 Student Enrollment Data from the Colorado Department of Education; F&R
refers to free and reduced lunch rate
52


teachers and created an opportunity for teachers to receive additional compensation
by engaging in job-embedded professional development that significantly enhances
professional knowledge and skillsthese opportunities are called Professional
Development Units (PDUs) in the district. Working closely with district leadership,
the researcher was able to obtain full approval for any teacher in the district serving
as a clinical teacher to receive additional compensation for successfully engaging in
and completing the Clinical Teacher PDU. The district distributed the flyer to
teachers across the district through their electronic news bulletin, shared it with
principals, and shared it with other university faculty that work with the district to
place teacher candidates for field experiences or student teaching. Overall,
approximately half of the clinical teachers participating in the PDU and research
study came from the large urban district the researcher collaborated with (most of
them also in affiliated professional development schools) and the other half came
from professional development schools from two other metropolitan districts with
which the researcher works.
Data Sources
Discussion Board Threads
The discussion board threads were an essential element to the three-step
learning cycle that enabled the clinical teachers to reflect on their newly emerging
knowledge, experiences with teacher candidates, and connections of their role to
broader aspects of teacher leadership. The discussion board threads were directly
related each week to the role being explored and the roles were tied directly to the
53


conceptual framework grounded in literature on clinical teachers and teacher
leadership. Each week, discussion board threads or questions were crafted by the
researcher for participants to respond. One question was typically related to newly
emerging knowledge the clinical teacher was gaining about the role being explored;
another question typically asked participants to reflect on their experience that week
in trying out their knowledge or a new strategy with their teacher candidate; and the
third question then typically stretched their knowledge and experience into the realm
of teacher leadership asking the clinical teacher to reflect on how that role connected
to the broader implications of teacher leadership (e.g., working with their colleagues
within the school and impacts on student achievement). The data in the discussion
board threads provided essential insight into how participants knowledge was
emerging connected to their roles as clinical teachers and teacher leaders. In addition,
there was an open-ended discussion board thread called Ahas, Wonderings, &
Questions that provided participants an opportunity at any time to post new
connections they were making, new wonderings that their learning experience was
conjuring up, as well as post general questions that related to any overall learning
need they had. This enabled the PDU facilitator to continually assess the needs of the
participants as they engaged in the professional learning from week to week and
provided a source of formative information about participants needs and
development in relation to the professional learning.
54


Pre- and Post-Questionnaire
Prior to engaging in the PDU, clinical teachers completed a pre-questionnaire
that first provided an avenue to collect demographic information about the
participants, but also participants conceptualizations about the role of clinical
teachers, teacher leaders and whether they initially perceived the role of being a
clinical teacher as teacher leadership or in-fact themselves to be a teacher leader.
This information was collected on the pre-questionnaire using broad open-ended
questions that participants responded to in approximately 15 minutes. The post-
questionnaire was administered at the completion of the PDU and used the exact
same open-ended questions as the pre-questionnaire with the addition of whether the
experience of participating in the PDU impacted their perception of clinical teachers
as teacher leaders or themselves as teacher leaders. A copy of the pre- and post
questionnaire can be found in the Appendices C and D.
Catalyst for Change Project Planning Page Documents
The Catalyst for Change project enabled clinical teachers to identify some
type of change that they had been wanting to make that would have an impact in their
classroom or in their school and ultimately on student achievement. It was a
culminating project in the PDU that nudged the clinical teachers to engage in the
teacher leadership roles of Catalyst for Change and School Leader. As clinical
teachers were beginning to plan their projects, they completed a planning document
(Appendix E) that helped to scaffold the design of the project such that the clinical
teachers would consider various aspects about not only the project itself but also the
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ultimate impact of engaging in the project on themselves as teacher leaders and the
connection to student achievement. An example of the planning page document can
be found in the appendix.
Participant Final Focus Group
At the end of the final face-to-face meeting at the completion of the PDU,
clinical teachers participated in a 45-minute focus group. A series of questions were
developed that asked participants to critically reflect on the design and experiences of
the PDU and how they impacted their abilities and their conceptualization of their
role as clinical teachers. The questions were intended to illicit a summative snapshot
of how and to what degree had this uniquely designed professional learning helped
clinical teachers develop as teacher leaders. A copy of the focus group questions can
be found in Appendix F. The focus group was tape recorded and later transcribed.
Data Analysis
All data collected in this research study (besides the demographic data
regarding the sample of clinical teachers) was qualitative in nature. Given the
explanatory nature of the research question to better understand the evolution of
clinical teachers as teacher leaders as a result of their participation in the PDU, the
data was inductively coded in a chronological order (Pre-PDU Questionnaire, weekly
discussion threads, catalyst for change projects, Post-PDU Questionnaire, and final
focus group discussion) looking for themes that emerged to provide insight and
understanding regarding clinical teachers evolution as teacher leaders. NVIVO
software was used to help the researcher organize, code and analyze the data using
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the technique of constant comparative analysis. This analysis technique enabled the
researcher to chunk the data into small parts and label each chunk with a descriptive
in-vivo code. The researcher then compared each new chunk of data with previous
codes, so that similar chunks were labeled with the same code. Codes were grouped
by similarity and a theme was identified and documented based on each grouping
(Strauss, 1987).
Another qualitative analysis technique that was used included classical
content analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994). This technique was applied to questions
on the pre- and post-questionnaire to determine most frequently cited ideas related to
the attributes of effective clinical teachers and teacher leaders. These questions were
inductively coded. Small chunks of text were inductively coded with a descriptive in-
vivo code. Then, the researcher listed these codes in a chronological order to
examine which codes, and thus attributes of effective clinical teachers and teacher
leaders, were most commonly stated by the participants.
Lastly, a data display technique known as a partially ordered display was used
to organize the data and themes that emerged among the wide variety of catalyst for
change projects. A partially ordered display aims to uncover and describe what is
happening in a local setting (Miles & Huberman, 1994). This display helped the
researcher uncover the themes related to level of impact the project was focused on
(e.g., classroom level, grade/department level, school level).
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Reliability
Triangulation was used by collecting data from multiple sources and using
multiple methods to examine the data from different perspectives. Miles and
Huberman (1994) recommended identifying triangulation sources that have different
biases and different strengths such that they complement each other.
Check-coding was utilized to enhance intercoder reliability. Miles and
Huberman (1994) defined check-coding as two researchers who code the same data
set and discuss their initial findings in order to seek common understandings of the
data set. One doctoral candidate ad one of the researchers doctoral committee
members engaged with the researcher to review and code approximately 10% of the
data sources. Because the data was all coded inductively and did not have an a priori
coding structure, each additional coder individually coded a portion of the data using
constant comparative analysis. Then the coders met with the researcher to discuss the
themes they each saw emerge. Similarities were noted and disagreements showed
that a definition had to be explained or otherwise amended (Miles & Huberman).
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CHAPTER 4
RESULTS
In order to examine the research question of how do clinical teachers evolve
as teacher leaders through professional learning designed around a framework of
teacher leadership (Killion & Harrison, 2006), 15 clinical teachers (CT or CTs)
engaged in an on-line professional development unit (PDU) over the course of 15
weeks while working with a teacher candidate (TC). This chapter will examine the
results of this study based on the analysis of pre- and post-questionnaires, on-line
discussion board threads, artifacts from a culminating catalyst for change project
completed by the clinical teachers as well as a final focus group conducted with
clinical teachers at the completion of the PDU.
Preparing to Embark on the Professional Learning Journey: Initial Perceptions
of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders Prior to the PDU
Prior to beginning the PDU, it was essential to capture the clinical teachers
initial ideas and thoughts regarding their perceptions of their role and that of teacher
leaders in order to understand how their perceptions would change as a result of
engaging in the professional learning. The clinical teachers completed a pre-
questionnaire with open-ended questions asking them to identify effective attributes
of clinical teachers and teacher leaders and whether or not they perceived their role as
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a clinical teacher as one of teacher leadership or if they saw themselves as teacher
leaders.
Attributes of Effective Clinical Teachers
Table 4.1 shows the wide variety of attributes that participants identified about
effective clinical teachers. The most commonly cited attributes were flexibility and
open-mindedness. As one clinical teacher stated, [Clinical teachers need to] remain
flexible with their classrooms, while another saw flexibility as a willingness to
adapt. Open-mindedness was also very closely related to ideas of flexibility but in a
broader sense of remaining open to the experience and willing to work with the ideas
that their teacher candidate brings. Other common attributes included being a
learner, giving feedback, and facilitating gradual release of responsibility of the
classroom instruction over to the teacher candidate.
Attributes of Effective Teacher Leaders
The questionnaire also asked clinical teachers to identify what they thought
were attributes of effective teacher leaders. Table 4.2 displays again another wide
variety of responses. Most frequently cited was the notion of being a life-long
learner. One clinical teacher stated that teacher leaders are life long learners who
continue to change as education changes and children change, while another clinical
teacher connected a teacher leaders disposition for life-long learning to self-initiated,
continual reflection: Teacher leaders participate in some sort of on-going learning
based on self-evaluation. Other common attributes identified were having expertise
in curriculum and instruction, being an effective listener as well as a critical thinker
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and problem-solver as one clinical teacher said they offer solutions' to challenges
faced in the school.
Table 4.1. Attributes of Clinical Teachers (Pre-questionnaire)
Attribute # of CTs who identified the attribute
Flexibility 6
Open-minded 6
Learner 5
Gives feedback 5
Facilitates gradually release of responsibility 5
Willingness to share classroom 4
Effective communicator 3
Expert in curriculum and instruction 3
Listener 3
Collaborative 2
Transparency in teacher decision-making 2
Empathetic 2
Mentor 2
Patient 2
Organized 1
Self-reflective 1
Demonstrates leadership 1
Role-model 1
Critical thinker and problem solver 1
Resource 1
Risk-taker 1
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Table 4.2. Attributes of Teacher Leaders From Pre-questionnaire
Attribute # of CTs identifying that attribute
Life-long learner 5
Expert in curriculum and instruction 4
Listener 3
Critical thinker/problem solver 3
Role model 2
Effective communicator 2
Takes initiative 2
Flexible 2
Facilitator 2
Takes on extra duties 2
Respected 2
Mentor 2
Committed to school improvement and change 1
Shares expertise with others 1
Gives feedback 1
Open-minded 1
Innovative 1
Motivator 1
Supportive 1
Empathetic 1
Responsible 1
Directive 1
Perception of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders
When asked to consider whether the role of clinical teachers can be perceived
as a function of teacher leadership, 12 of the 15 participants answered yes. Some
perceived the connection to be that of taking on an extra duty: In some ways yes. A
clinical teacher is going above and beyond his/her normal duties to further the field of
education. Many other clinical teachers perceived their role as one of teacher
leadership because they were serving as a role-model for teacher candidates. As a
clinical teacher, I am leading someone who is going down the same path I went down
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... I am modeling good leadership qualities that are essential when my teacher
candidate begins his or her career. Similarly, another clinical teacher stated they
should be models of how to enter the professional communities that are the
backbone of a productive school. Two other responses aligned closely with the most
frequently cited attribute of teacher leaders, that of being a life-long learner. One
clinical teacher commented, A clinical teacher must demonstrate the attributes of a
leader: learning, self-evaluation, etc., as a model for the teacher candidate, while
another simply stated, Yes, because we are facilitators of learning. The few clinical
teachers who did not see the role of being a clinical teacher as that of a teacher leader
seemed to express a sense of confusion or hesitancy in defining teacher leader and
often interpreted it to mean the teacher taking the lead in a classroom. As one clinical
teacher stated, I dont really understand this question since I am assuming they are
different roles. At a point, the teacher candidate becomes the teacher leader. Im not
sure.
The final question on the pre-questionnaire asked clinical teachers if they
perceived themselves to currently be teacher leaders. Only 8 of the clinical teachers
answered yes; 3 others answered no and the remaining 4 were non-committal with
answers of maybe or not sure. Of those who already saw themselves as teacher
leaders, 4 of them provided extensive examples of how their leadership was defined
by taking on more formal and extended roles outside of their classroom (e.g.,
department or grade level leader, district curriculum development, leading staff
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development, etc.) and being highly involved in on-going professional learning in the
school or district. As one teacher stated:
Ive served on the school leadership team for the last two years, have team
taught with special education teachers, integrated technology and taught
technology to staff, participated in teacher development grants ... I feel I am
very involved in the school and have created a positive rapport with students
and staff.
The other 4 clinical teachers that answered yes reflected on their teacher
leadership through a less traditional, more informal lens centered on collaboration
with other teachers to support one anothers improvement of practice or their own
personal inquiry to continuously reflect on and refine their own practice. One clinical
teacher stated:
... a teacher leader is someone who helps other teachers learn about their own
teaching and is willing to help them try new ideas in the classroom, or to think
about their teaching in a new way. I feel I make sure I am available to others
if they need help with another student or teaching idea.
A second clinical teacher commented that she saw herself as a teacher leader because
I constantly reflect on my instructional strategies as well as my philosophy on the
various aspects of the education profession and am always trying to fine tune my own
practice.
For clinical teachers that were unsure about whether or not they saw
themselves as teacher leaders prior to the professional learning, their hesitancy
seemed to stem from perceiving the role of a teacher leader as someone in a much
more formal role. Some stated that they would like to be, but they were over-
committed to taking on anything new. As one teacher said, Right now, I am in the
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first stage/class of working on my masters degree and am feeling pretty stretched ...
I am continually aware of my responsibility to my teacher candidate and hope I am
doing it justice. Another stated, Im not sure, but Im willing to put in the extra
work if needed and to help. Im about solutions. Others who were unsure were not
confident that their own commitment to supporting change in teaching was a function
of teacher leadership. One clinical teacher said, I might be. I have tried to make
changes in my teaching and tried to impact other teachers as well.
For those clinical teachers that stated they did not see themselves as teacher
leaders, the reasons focused on a perception of having a lack of experience or a lack
of curriculum or instructional expertise. As one clinical teacher commented, Not
yet, but it is a goal of mine. I recently completed my teacher induction program and
view myself more as someone to relate to and bounce ideas off of as opposed to a true
leader. Two of the 3 clinical teachers who did not see themselves as teacher
leaders had less than 5 years teaching experience.
The Evolution of Clinical Teachers as Teacher Leaders Week by Week
Through Analysis of On-Line Discussion Board Threads
Week 1 (January 21-27, 2008): Framing the Role of a Clinical Teacher as Teacher
Leader
The first week of the PDU was designed to introduce participants to the
conceptual framework that delineates the roles of teacher leaders in ways that clinical
teachers carry out the roles when they work with teacher candidates. Introducing
clinical teachers to this broader conceptualization of teacher leadership enabled
clinical teachers to see themselves as already carrying out many of the roles in their
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daily practice as teachers. As one clinical teacher stated, I see myself in many of
these roles as well, and I cant really say I planned it that way, its just happened over
the years. Another clinical teacher replied, I agree with you whole-heartedly that
we are already doing the ten roles ... and this [PDU] makes us even more in tune to
them and hopefully allows us to keep on doing them to our best ability as well as to
continue to grow ourselves.
As clinical teachers began their reflective on-line discussions at the end of the
first week, they were asked which role(s) they currently saw as a personal strength.
By far, the clinical teachers most identified with the role of a learner. One clinical
teacher put it this way:
I believe I am strongest at being a learner and demonstrating that lifelong love
of learning, using what I learn to help our students achieve. I continually want
to improve my instruction and am always open to learning from my teacher
candidates.
In addition, clinical teachers also identified any roles they were most
interested in learning more about. Two roles surfaced strongly for the clinical
teachers, but for different reasons. The first role was that of data coach. Many
clinical teachers identified this role as one they were the least confident in their ability
to carry out. Many were struggling in their own practice to effectively use data or
were just beginning to engage in collaborative processes with other colleagues to
analyze and make sense of classroom level data. As one clinical teacher said:
I am most tenuous about the role of data coach ... the trick is what to do once
you know the data. I read an article a couple years ago that said schools tend
to be data rich and information poor. To me, that sums up the difficulty of
that role.
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The second role that emerged strongly was the combined role of catalyst for
change and school leader. Clinical teachers were not necessarily nervous about this
roleinstead it was quite the opposite. They had never intentionally thought about
this role or felt empowered and confident enough to consider this role as part of their
practice. As one clinical teacher commented:
The role of catalyst for change I dont initiate very often in a productive way.
I havent seen myself as one who could create positive changes in the school.
I work on committees toward that end but as [another clinical teacher]
suggested I just never saw that role as who I was.
A different clinical teacher articulated it this way:
After reading the article, I am excited to be talking about how to make a
difference outside my classroom. I think it is incredibly important for
teachers to have ownership in their schools and be invested in more than just
their own students, but the whole student body.
Week 2 (January 28-February 3, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Mentor
As clinical teachers began to explore their role as mentors through an activity
that engaged them in conversation with their teacher candidates about educational
philosophies, current thinking about critical classroom aspects including classroom
management and instructional planning as well as establishing norms to work
together, the most salient idea that emerged during this second week was the need to
develop a relationship with their teacher candidate built on openness and trust. As
one clinical teacher stated:
I think that it is a necessity to establish openness and trust first. As in other
successful relationships, a TC and his or her lead teacher need to be able to
discuss anything that is happening in the classroom and in both individuals
learning. A lot of discussion about things outside of the classroom helps to
develop this relationship.
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Many clinical teachers saw this open and trusting relationship critical to
seeing the strengths of a novice teacher candidate in order to help them develop, even
if their strengths did not match the style of the clinical teacher. Here is how one
clinical teacher articulated this:
One thing that we both felt was crucial was that we had to have an open
relationship in which we could share ideas about how a lesson could improve
or evolve. To me there is a fine line of being a critical critiquer versus
changing a lesson because it is not done the way you like it. My TC and I are
very different in how we present things but if we work together both of our
lessons can be effective. I think my strength is being able to recognize that
everyone is different in the way that they teach. If the goal and outcome are
the same then the method can be played with a little. In saying that and if I
am honest with myself, it always takes me a while to get used to different
style in the classroom.
Another clinical teacher provided an example of how having the mentoring
conversation with her teacher candidate earlier in the week was already creating an
open and trusting environment for the two of them to critically reflect on the clinical
teachers practice:
This last week, my TC felt comfortable enough to tell me that I warn kids they
will get a refocus and then dont follow through. That is a quality I need to
work on. I know TCs need to have that behavior plan in order and I need to
model what I expect. It was a gentle way of helping me follow through with
expectation. I want to work on that more to model.
A different, yet very important theme that emerged during this week was the
frustration and challenge in finding enough time for meaningful communication and
collaboration with their teacher candidate during the school day in order to feel like
an effective mentor. As one teacher stated:
I think that open communication is key. It has been difficult, because my TC
is here two days a week and it seems like every moment we have is filled. I
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have had her over to my house, and we have e-mailed each other, and I think
this helps us get to know each other and build trust with one another. I think
the challenges will be to find time to really plan and stay focused on what the
expectations are.
Week 3 (February 4-10, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Resource Provider
During the third week of the PDU, clinical teachers and teacher candidates
engaged in sharing resources, allowing clinical teachers to introduce teacher
candidates to the important resources in the school (curriculum guides, learning
specialists, community resources, etc.) as well as hear from teacher candidates about
resources they were being exposed to at the university. Ongoing communication and
remaining open to new ideas continued to be central to clinical teachers
understanding and execution of this role as it provided what clinical teachers deemed
the foundation to create a safe risk-taking environment for teacher candidates and
clinical teachers to share and try out new ideas. As one clinical teacher stated:
I believe it is so important to create a risk-free environment for the TCs as
well as the children in the room. I may be experienced, but that sure doesnt
mean I dont make mistakes, or that the kids dont act up for me some of the
time. I think starting the year with that open and honest communication
definitely helps this. We talked the first day all about who each of us were
and what we expected, desired, and purpose was. I see my role in bringing
out the best of [my teacher candidate] knowing that I can make this a very
positive experience.
Another clinical teacher shared a strategy of how she engaged in conversation with
her teacher candidate regarding her own student teaching experience to demonstrate
her openness to trying new ideas and learning from her teacher candidate.
One of the first discussions I like to have with a new TC is a description of my
student teaching. I give examples of strategies that I still use today that I
learned from my cooperating teachers. I mention lessons that I created and
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my CT then adapted for her own use. I then talk about my previous TCs and
the ideas that they brought to my classroom that I really liked and use now. I
hope that sets the stage for an open exchange of ideas.
Clinical teachers also began sharing ways in which they could scaffold and
support teacher candidates to feel safer to try new experiences. After one clinical
teacher shared how she had debriefed with her teacher candidate different ways in
which the candidate could have handled a difficult encounter with a student, another
clinical teacher shared an idea for helping her own teacher candidate:
As I continue to think about it, I know that there is a student that my TC and I
dont quite see eye to eye on. I think the next time I see her, Ill ask her what
she would do about the situation if it were her own classroom. If contacting
parents doesnt come up, I might suggest it. Then, Ill let her take control of
the contacting. Ill be there, of course, but let her take the reins on this one. I
think one of the most important things we can do as CTs is to let our TCs try
out their wings in a safe(r) environment. As a new teacher, I think I had to do
too much for the first time all on my own, and I remember it terrifying me.
The more authentic, real teaching experiences we can provide, the better!
Week 4 (February 11-17, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Classroom Supporter
As clinical teachers explored various strategies of co-teaching as a way to
engage in the role of being a classroom supporter, all clinical teachers identified the
dual benefits that co-teaching not only provided a critical scaffold for teacher
candidate learning, but also clearly helped meet the diverse needs of the students in
the classroom. One clinical teacher stated:
I think an advantage is that you can provide scaffolding to your TC while the
lesson is going on. There is benefit sometimes to letting the TC make
mistakes, but when we tried this approach, I really liked the understanding
that I would jump in at any time to guide the instruction in the room to model
a certain approach. For example, my TC was working on wait time and
avoiding giving them the answer too soon. While co-teaching, he asked a
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question and was about to give in and I was able to come in and re-direct the
students again so that they would have another chance to answer the question.
Another clinical teacher stated the mutual benefits this way:
The main benefit I see is that students come to respect and use both of us as
resources of support in the room. Throughout the day, as my TC gets more
comfortable in the routines of this classroom, students are turning to her for
help. Sharing classroom support builds a stronger foundation for her as she
begins to take over the responsibility for the instruction of the entire
classroom. Students also benefit because they are given more attention when
there is more help in the room from a trained adult. [For example] during
Math, the program we use lends itself to station teaching. My TC works with
a small group of students who rotate through a station over several days. This
approach deepens her skills around a particular lesson and allows her to
become better acquainted with the students in that group. Because of that
acquaintance she can then have a deeper understanding of student skills,
which is crucial as she plans for future lessons.
Although this mutual benefit was perceived very positively, clinical teachers were
challenged by the tension between when to jump in and lead or model more as the
clinical teacher, and when to let their teacher candidate grapple with the complexities
of teaching and hopefully learn from experience.
I dont know if this is a challenge of co-teaching specifically, but it certainly
is a challenge for me while my TC and I are co-teaching. How do I know
when to step in and save my TC from classroom management issues?
Perhaps she has a higher tolerance for noise level than I do, but some of the
stuff that goes on in the room while she is teaching drives me crazy! I try not
to jump in too often, and certainly less often lately as we are getting close to
her lead teaching weeks, but what is that just right amount?
Numerous other clinical teachers chimed in as this same challenge resonated with so
many of their experiences. Some offered suggestions as to what they had tried. For
example, once clinical teacher responded:
My TC has a difficult time with the classroom management piece also. When
she was doing read aloud they were all over the place. We sat down and
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talked about what she needed to say to the kids. I just modeled for her what I
would say to the students. We thought it needed to come from her not me.
She did a terrific job and they are listening better.
Towards the end of the thread, another clinical teacher offered a key question as a
way to help himself and his colleagues decide when it was appropriate to jump in.
I also think that there are times when stepping in is appropriate, and other
times when it isnt. The question is: Is this a good learning environment for
everyone? For example if there is lots of noise but there is discussion of the
topic, I wouldnt worry too much about it with my TC. On the other side, I
had a TC once that went to the other extreme and demanded silence and
jumped all over any one who made a peep. That was completely
inappropriate and I told him that. This is a learning environment for the TC to
practice, but I wouldnt let it change the learning in my room. I am, after all,
the one who has to answer to my principal, the parents and the students about
what happens in my room.
Another interesting theme that emerged during this week was how the teacher
candidate-clinical teacher relationship had evolved over the past 4 weeks into a more
unified team, benefiting students, teacher candidate learning as well as critical
reflection on the part of clinical teachers regarding their own practice. One clinical
teacher captured this evolution well with this discussion board entry:
I would model how I do things [with my teacher candidate], and we would
talk about what went well, and I would point out split second decisions I
would make during a lesson and why. Then she would observe again and try
to see things she had maybe missed in the previous lesson. Then she would
take over and I would take notes or talk with her later about how she did, and
which techniques she chose to apply. Sometimes I jumped in on a lesson to
show her how to steer a group. Then I would observe her and just be there for
support as she taught, and I could spend my time clarifying with students
needing extra support or even observing behaviors of specific children.
As a result of this sort of practice, [my teacher candidate] got first-hand
experience with the less definable, more abstract areas of teaching that you
cant really learn from a textbook. I got to see how she would handle
situations, which gives me further insight to my own teaching. My students
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get the benefit of an extra adult to help when they need it and to help them
stay on track so that they get the message of the lesson instead of just playing
with their shoelaces. Also, I think that the co-teaching methods help solidify
the team status of myself and my TC so that we present the ever-important
solid, united front to our students.
Another clinical teacher stated it like this:
I think that knowing the TC better and having a better understanding about the
strengths and challenges we encounter together, plus observing her operate
more often in the classroom situation has given me a clearer insight about
when to step in and when to wait. As a result, I can wait longer and she steps
up to rectify the problem sooner. I believe this change is due in part to her
understanding about my expectations for the class is stronger, her
comprehension about how the dynamics of the class flows and her overall
basic understanding about classroom management from classroom theory is
all being put into play in the room. As a result we are working better as a
team.
Weeks 5 and 6 (February 18-March 2, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Learning
Facilitator
During weeks 5 and 6, clinical teachers engaged deeply in an exploration of
their role as a learning facilitator, which fell on a continuum of explicit modeling of
teaching practices and strategies for giving feedback to engaging in more formal
cycles of coaching to support teacher candidates abilities to mediate their own
thinking and engage in critical self-reflection. At the same time, clinical teachers
were exposed to readings that broadened their understanding of coaching processes
and purposes, the potential impact of a coaching, collaborative culture on schools and
student learning (Appendix G lists references for all readings in the PDU), as well as
opportunities to apply coaching approaches to two sample teacher candidate
scenarios.
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During week 5, clinical teachers saw timely, explicit feedback as essential to
supporting the continued growth of their teacher candidates, just as it is essential to
supporting their own growth. As one clinical teacher commented:
I believe there is great value in providing and receiving feedback. To begin
with, immediate feedback gives us the conversations we need to grow as
teachers. When I receive feedback, I want to apply what I have learned
immediately to see if it works better. I try to give immediate feedback to my
TC so the lesson is fresh in both of our minds so we can have that open,
honest conversation. Our TCs are learning and it is our responsibility to
provide that immediate feedback for growth.
Clinical teachers employed a number of strategies to provide feedback to their
teacher candidates. They wanted to ensure that the feedback was received in a
positive manner and not perceived as evaluative; their intention was to create an
opportunity for their teacher candidate to continue growing as a teacher. One clinical
teacher articulated this scenario:
I think it is important to find the positives first. My own experience with
positive feedback empowers me to perfect what I am doing and try new
things. For instance, the last time I gave my TC feedback I told her that the
activity she presented was good because it helped build background
knowledge for the text. In addition, the activity was engaging the students
because they were up out of their seats, sharing with their peers ... more
student talk/less teacher talk. Through this feedback, I wanted her to trust her
decision about trying the activity and understand theory behind it. However,
after the initial lesson, we discussed how the students seemed confused in the
beginning and management became difficult. As we reflected and questioned
the lesson, we came up with some options to revise it. With the next group,
my TC modeled the expectations of the activity with me first so students
could actually see the procedure. It wasnt so much that the feedback I gave
her was negative; I was trying to help her bridge a gap I saw in the lesson.
Another clinical teacher commented on how she used consistent modeling and
discussion to support her teacher candidates growth: Throughout the day I offer
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many kinds of feedback, about classroom management, ways to pass out papers, how
to organize the room or kids, or just how to transition kids to the next activity.
Another clinical teacher commented on using a half-sheet written feedback form with
three categories (I saw, I wondered, and I thought), while a different clinical teacher
talked about strategically giving feedback that focused on encouraging incremental
changes over time:
We [teacher candidate and clinical teacher] agree on 2 or 3 things that he will
be focusing on for a lesson, and I provide specific feedback on that specific
focus. We talk a lot about the big picture and that these changes take a long
time so we think in terms of getting good at very small chunks of it at a time.
As clinical teachers were exposed to broader types of coaching and their
purposes (e.g., cognitive coaching) clinical teachers were asked to engage in a formal
coaching cycle that began with a pre-conversation with their teacher candidate about
the lesson the candidate was going to teach, observing the lesson, and lastly engaging
in a post-conversation as a way to facilitate critical reflection about teaching and
learning. This activity helped clinical teachers broaden their skills at supporting
teacher candidates to self-identify strengths and areas for improvement as well as
mediate critical reflection on teaching and learning. As one clinical teacher stated:
I think that it is important for the TCs to ask the question of themselves first,
what do you think went well and what do you think you would like to do
differently next time? After they are able to verbalize it first, then it doesnt
seem to be as evaluative when you talk to them about what you saw. If they
see things differently than you did, then you can focus on their thoughts first
and then tackle anything that you saw later. This way it is more about them
and not you, does that make sense? A lot of the time, I notice the same things
that the TC notices which makes it easier.
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One of the broader articles on coaching resulted in this shift in thinking by
another clinical teacher:
The most important ideas for me [from the article] were the elements of
asking questions. I literally wrote the acronym SPACE [silence, paraphrase,
accept nonjudgmental, clarify, and extend] on my notes to remind me of the
strategies to prompt reflection. I really practiced the clarify and extend. I
asked my TC at the end as an extension what kind of things he will be
considering for next weeks lesson as he reflects on this. I think this is very
important, especially as they feel a little disconnected from week to week. I
also had been working with my TC on wait time (silence) with students and
realized that I have a very difficult time shutting up when it comes to talking
to my TC about his lesson!
The opportunity to broadly explore their role as a learning facilitator also
enabled clinical teachers to begin to engage in critical self examination of their own
teaching practices. Often, this came about from being encouraged to think aloud
with their teacher candidates when modeling a particular practice and explain their
underlying thinking regarding the implicit decisions they made. As one clinical
teacher commented:
I modeled having certain children repeat the directions before going off to
complete a task. There are several second graders that need this. It was good
for me to focus on this tooone reason I love to have TCs because it makes
me reflect on my teaching too. I think about things that I know work well, but
I may not be doing myself. Having a TC seems to always exemplify a
reciprocal learning experience. The questions she asks about herself, I am
always forced to look at myself in that same way and vice versa.
Another clinical teacher discussed the challenges as well as benefits of making
transparent those things that have become second nature to a more experienced
teacher:
This is my fourth year teaching, which by no means makes me an expert, but I
dont really have to plan for the management piece of a lesson in the same
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way I used to. I can make split decisions if a lesson isnt going well, or if I
think the kids dont understand the how or why of what we are doing. I
really had to slow down and pedal backward a little bit to make sure that I
explained how and why I give directions to my students. It was difficult to do
this beforehand and then explain in the middle of a lesson as I changed my
mind based on how the kids were doing. However, the experience proved
valuable to me because I had to self-analyze and think about how things could
have gone better.
During this 2-week time frame, two significant shifts in clinical teacher
thinking and action began to emerge. First, there was clear evidence of a growing
sense of confidence among the clinical teachers in themselves as teacher educators
and their leadership role in helping a novice teacher develop. Much of the
conversation in earlier weeks had an element of unsureness as demonstrated by this
comment by a clinical teacher in the second week:
My TC had a very difficult time answering any of the questions, specifically
the What I Believe section at the top. Many of his answers were just
agreeing with the way that I do it. I realized that many TCs come with very
little idea of all that it takes to teach. I realized that I have to be a stronger
role model for him in some areas, but I also have to step back and allow him
to develop his own philosophy in many of these areas. How do I do that?
But by the 5th and 6th week, clinical teachers were finding their footing, harnessing
many of the skills and strategies to feel more competent and confident in their
decision-making and interactions with their teacher candidates. One clinical teacher
stated it this way:
Being a coach is like we are a light house because our coaching can be used as
guidance for safe passage. If the purpose of coaching is to mediate thinking
and building the internal resources, I saw this happening this week with our
conversations, note taking, trying my suggestions out and the comfort of our
conversations. This is the time I can give her safe passage. Each week we
build on the week before and the experiences my TC has had. Our
conversations of why I do this and that all day long helps with those internal
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resources. I can see her soak them all up and she isnt afraid to ask questions.
Her organization is the strength and wanting that schedule, anticipating what
might happen all will help that safe passage as I begin to release
responsibilities over [to her].
Another clinical teacher evidenced his growing confidence in trusting his perception
of his teacher candidates strengths and needs while co-teaching and coaching a
lesson even though the university supervisor didnt see it in the same way:
My TC chose to focus on maintaining attention (random selection, asking
questions before calling on a student, wait time). It was great to have this
conversation before his lesson and to model for him. Heres my challenge:
after modeling on Wednesday, he did a writing lesson on Thursday. We
agreed that we would co-teach it, but he would be the one in the lead since he
was being observed. I was a little frustrated because he seemed to come in
unprepared. Every time the kids were working, I would have to pull him aside
to tell him what to do next. He also had a difficult time with wait time, he
consistently gave the kids the answers and didnt challenge them sufficiently
to come up with their own ideas, right or wrong. Immediately after the lesson
the site professor pulled him out for his post conference. He came back, I
asked him what feedback he got, he said, She loved it! I was blown away.
This site professor who normally gives great feedback, gave him a pass. I
struggled with it all day and ended up saying nothing to my TC, I will address
it with him another time, another lesson. I do feel that my feedback is as valid
as the site professor, but wouldnt it have been confusing for me to give
completely different feedback to him than the professor? Does the opinion of
the professor trump my opinion? What do you all think? Ever had a similar
situation?
The thread continued with other clinical teachers chiming in on their experiences and
offering suggestions for what this clinical teacher might do, including how to
approach the university supervisor about the situation, what he might say to her, and
how he might continue to support his teacher candidate in meeting his high
expectations through further coaching conversations, co-planning and co-teaching.
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Another significant shift in the conversation among clinical teachers was
feeling comfortable in moving their attention away from always discussing what was
happening with their teacher candidate to broader issues related to teaching and
learning in general as well as specific issues they were grappling with in their own
practice. One clinical teacher posted this response:
While reading the assigned pages from Reflective Practice to Improve
Schools, a couple of points the author made hit home with me. The first was
in the section What is the Potential of Reflective Practice to Improve
Schools? The authors state that A reduction in external mandates may
ultimately result when educators are viewed as effectively addressing many of
the challenges of practice. The belief that externally prescribed interventions
must be mandated if schools are to improve could be challenged. I have
been a teacher in [this district] for twenty years and until recently very few
prescribed interventions were mandated by the district. In the past few years
however, [the district] has adopted a prescribed math curriculum, science
curriculum, literacy guides, and are working on a social studies curriculum.
Part of me feels that it is about time that the district provides teachers with the
materials to teach the curriculum. However, another part of me rebels against
all the prescribed mandates because I began my career needing to collect,
invent, and research to prepare for the various subjects I teach. I learned from
that level of inquiry and found it more reflective than following a prescribed
curriculum. If my lessons dont go well when I use the prescribed curriculum
or my test scores dip, etc., its easy to blame the curriculum rather than look at
my own practice. I tend to want to go back to creating many lessons myself,
but feel that Im not allowed to do so. I spend too much time struggling with
that dilemma rather than creating or searching for what materials will best
meet my students needs. Its also interesting to note that several schools in
[the district] are now applying for what they call autonomy. It wasnt that
long ago that we had autonomy and we were asking for curriculum and
materials. Its an interesting shift.
In a different thread that was related to a particular scenario of how you might
coach a teacher candidate struggling with a schools adopted math curriculum, many
clinical teachers used this as an opportunity to discuss their own struggles with new
math curriculums and sharing their approaches to problem-solving it. Interestingly,
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this was the most popular discussion thread for week 6, with 29 responses. Here is a
representative sample of the conversation:
CT 1: I love the scenario of the student teacher having trouble with the math
curriculum. I think this hits home personally with any of us who teach
Everyday Math. In the beginning, I know that I spent many nights at home
going over the manual and teaching myself the new approaches to
multiplication and division. My TC had a lot of trouble with math when she
came in. I made sure that she understood how hard it was for all of us in the
beginning. I told her, Take the manual home and do the work yourself until
you understand it. Its hard work! However, by explaining how it was hard
for many of us at the start I think that would/did make the TC feel less
intimidated by the curriculum and more like a learner.
CT 2: Its so nice to hear that you are still struggling with the Everyday Math
at times! I am teaching the fourth grade fraction unit, and each morning I
have to read through everything and practice it! The great thing for me is that
math used to be my weakness. Using Everyday Math has taught me ways to
solve problems that would have helped me out as a child. The hard part is
explaining it to parents! Some of mine have been very adamant that the old
way is better and they will only teach their child that at home. For some
students this isnt a problem. For others they become so confused that they
are unable to do either method. Any ideas on handling this?
CT 3: I send home the instructions from the reference book and some parents
have come in to learn. The problem occurs with those parents who are very
resistant to it. We have had our fourth graders teach their parents at student
led conferences. Some parents seem to be more accepting when their own
children show it to them.
CT 4: We are having a Math Night this week to teach parents games and I am
excited. Kids will be able to play games now for homework and parents will
know how. I have gotten a couple children to come and be my translators.
They are proud of themselves and then parents understand!
Week 7 (March 3-9, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Learning FacilitatorDifficult
Conversations
A key aspect to being a learning facilitator is the ability to mediate and
negotiate difficult situations which often involves some amount of conflict. In weeks
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5 and 6 and even prior to that, some clinical teachers had raised issues regarding their
teacher candidates that were causing tension (e.g., teacher candidates lack of
preparedness, attention to detail, self-initiated engagement). For their role as clinical
teachers and their broader potential as teacher leaders, clinical teachers needed skills
to address these difficult issues. During the 7th week, clinical teachers engaged in
readings about different styles in dealing with conflict and conflict resolution
strategies, and were encouraged to apply some of the ideas learned by engaging in a
difficult conversation with someone they might be in conflict with (e.g., teacher
candidate, colleague, etc.).
Through exposure to varied conflict resolution styles during this week
(referred to through animal metaphors like a turtle who avoids conflict at all costs,
a teddy bear who values relationships with others more than having their goals met,
a shark who is confrontational and more concerned about their point of view, a
fox who is about compromise, and an owl who sees broader aspects of conflict as
a problem to be solved while still valuing both individual goals and relationships),
clinical teachers became much more cognizant of not only their current style, but how
they had grown in their approach and ability to handle conflict over their career and
depending on the situation. As one clinical teacher stated:
I feel, as I heard from others, that my style changes with the situation. Also I
feel I have grown over the years and have more tools in which to deal with
conflict. I feel I was much more a teddy bear/turtle when 1 was younger. I
didnt feel I had much power to affect change and felt I needed to be able to
clearly state what I wanted the solution to a conflict to be before I addressed
it. Therefore I didnt try very often to initiate a resolution. To resolve conflict
then was virtually impossible. I am still a teddy bear more often in highly
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emotionally charged situations but with more awareness and more experience
I aim for the fox and owl. I try to take my judgment out of the situation, the
rightness or wrongness of it, I try to understand the larger picture which has
allowed me to come from more of an owl point of view. I am more willing to
come to a solution all can live with. Yet I want to feel that I have expressed
my concerns clearly without blame. This has taken some insight and a lot of
practice.
This was confirmed by a younger clinical teacher only in her first year of teaching.
I see my younger self as a turtle. There were definitely pieces in there that
really resonated with me, but a part of me that is resting right now. The teddy
bear rung the most true with my current self. I really dont like conflict, and
want everyone to like me. However, seeing some of the other styles, I now
have something concrete to work towards. Ideally Id like to be an owl.
As the conversations continued over the week, one clinical teacher
hypothesized whether clinical teachers had a tendency to handle conflict in a more
specific way than other teachers or in other situations.
In reading everyones responses, I wonder if teachers tend to be more on the
turtle and teddy bear side, or if we just have a strong representation of them
within our group. We all seem to strive to be owls, even if it sometimes
proves difficult. Do we all have certain personality characteristics in common
as teachers or as CTs?
In response, clinical teachers chimed in that they felt they had the ability to engage in
conflict as a clinical teacher through a fox or owl perspective, even if they were not
typically like that in other situations. For example, one teacher stated:
As I have gotten older and taken a look at myself and my values I believe I
lean more towards being in between the fox and the owl. In saying that I also
feel that my relationships with my TCs have evolved and again I see myself
more as having the personality of an owl. For example, last week I had big
discussion with my TC in regards to his etiquette in the classroom. For the
past couple of weeks he would tend to hide behind my desk unless I had
something for him to do. He was not able to self motivate himself and as a
result of this my students still have trouble connecting with him. I figured if I
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did not say something to him then this behavior might continue and it would
hurt his experience as a TC.
Another clinical teacher responded to this question, confirming that shes able to take
on the style of an owl with her teacher candidate because of the open, honest
relationship they have built.
I am fortunate that my style works well with my TC as I act more like an owl
with her than my normal turtle or teddy bear self. The only reason I feel
comfortable having some of the difficult conversations with her is because
weve built up a foundation of trust between us, and Ive acknowledged that
we are BOTH learning in this situation.
Week 8 (March 10-16, 2008): Clinical Teacher as Data Coach
As clinical teachers explored this role during week eight, they read a number
of articles on various formative assessment practices and tried to engage in a data-
driven dialogue with their teacher candidate using student assessment data from their
classroom along with a dialogue protocol provided in the PDU.
The role of data coach was identified in the very first week as a role that
clinical teachers were very hesitant about, perceiving themselves as having limited
knowledge and skills in using data effectively to drive instruction. This same theme
emerged strongly in the discussion threads over the week. Only 1 clinical teacher
was able to successfully use the dialogue protocol as intended to engage in a
discussion about classroom level data with her teacher candidate. She prefaced her
post about the use of the protocol with the fact that she had been engaging in
conversations about data with her teacher candidate all semester long in which
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indicated she had a fairly sophisticated understanding and confidence in working with
data.
My TC and I have looked at data together since she has started. We look at
anecdotal notes taken in my class during independent reading, writing
conferences and math. We also have looked at our second grade beginning of
the year and mid year district assessments. We have also examined our school
goals in each of the areas. We make instructional plans based on all of these.
I think we mostly struggle with the fact that it is the same group of kids who
are lacking in skills in each areabut they still show growth ... Now that my
TC and I are taking small groups and she will be there 4 days a week, she has
her own clipboard for the anecdotal notes and we will compare notes to guide
instruction and continue to rotate groups so that we can see trends as we
compare our notes.
Simply by coincidence, this week of the PDU fell during the mandated state
assessment window, possibly complexifying the ability of clinical teachers to
complete the data driven dialogue protocol as designed. Instead, many clinical
teachers framed their discussion about data with their teacher candidates around the
issues related to the state testing they were witnessing. Other clinical teachers shared
the article they had chosen to read on formative assessment with their teacher
candidate and discussed how they could implement the ideas presented in the article.
One interesting theme that emerged from a number of clinical teachers reflections on
using the data dialogue protocol in the future with grade level teams or as a school
was the ability of the protocol to help teachers depersonalize the data so that they
could objectively consider the implications of the results. As 1 teacher commented:
Not personalizing data has always been a challenge for me when looking at
assessments either on my own or with a group. This personalization can
happen in the way of, Look what I didnt do! or Look at what I did do! I
see the potential for depersonalizing data by using the assessment dialogue
protocol... I plan on using this same protocol in my PLC [professional
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learning community] and department. I think it is important to help teachers
make the shift from personalizing their own data to collective inquiry.
It was clearly obvious that clinical teachers were still grappling with their
ability to effectively organize, interpret, and use data to inform their instructional
decisions. Two key issues seemed to be at the core of this struggle. First, clinical
teachers lacked the ability (including use of technology) to look at and analyze data
trends in a meaningful way as they were overwhelmed with the amount of data to sift
through. One clinical teacher articulated her frustration this way:
I would just like to say that if I had some kind of technology that allowed for
comparisons of past and present data, I would welcome using data driven
assessment and other forms of data recorded to drive lesson planning,
remediation strategies, etc. How much paper work are we to muddle through?
I feel resentment toward data-driven anything at this point because Im the
one who will have to forfeit my planning time to process the figures that are
supposed to be so helpful.
A second clinical teacher responded:
I agree with you! At my school we often examine the data that we are given.
However, there is often so much that we have no idea where to start and the
results end up sitting in a pile. If there is a particular student that I need to
look at it is easier to use the information but when I need to look at all of
them, it is virtually impossible in the time I have!
The second key issue was limited time to engage in meaningful data analysis
and interpretation that could impact instructional decision making, balancing more
formal data results with ongoing formative classroom-based assessment. Nearly
every clinical teacher made comments such as, The biggest challenge I see with this
is the time we need to truly analyze benchmarks, etc. or What challenges me the
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most about using data is finding the time to sift through all of the data that is available
to me. Another clinical teacher stated it this way:
I need to work on feedback that moves the learning forward. But I am still in
the world of CSAP, progress reports, report cards, DIBELS, MAPS,
COGATs, ILPs, IEPs and PD days that focus on CELA so I can see who is
FEP and who is LEP. None of these acronyms encourage alternative forms of
assessment so I will continue to do it in two ways: the way that provides the
best feedback to my learners, and the way that requires the use of a sharp no. 2
pencil. (I am climbing off of my soapbox now ...)
Despite these obvious tensions and frustrations, clinical teachers leveraged the
support from their colleagues in the PDU to problem solve some of these challenges
and critically reflect on their current practice as they considered how they could
implement and improve their own practice using assessment and data. For example,
some clinical teachers shared how they were beginning to use new technology
provided by their school or district to help them gather, organize, and interpret data.
One teacher suggested the following:
I dont know if this would help you, but does your school or district have e-
instruction clicker systems? I won one at a tech conference last summer. I
teach second grade and I use it to help me guide my instruction for different
areas. In the article Classroom Assessment, Minute by Minute, Day by Day,
there was an example of using traditional questioning and giving students a set
of four cards labeled ABCD--multiple choice. That is what you can do with
the clickers, you type in questions, each child gets a clicker and they push
ABCD on a remote control kind of device. You can then look at a graph of
the results to each questionimmediately and discuss it right then and there.
Another clinical teacher talked about data management software her district uses:
At the beginning of the year my team mate and I look at data from CSAP. I
work in a district that has taken CSAP data and compiled it in different ways
so it isnt so overwhelming to look at. CSAP data was useful because we
made our Power Standards that we spiral back to during the year. We got
these standards from the data that CSAP gave us (identifying the standards
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