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Exploring Multidimensional Effects of Pre-service Teachers' Work in Title I Schools

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Jillian Harpster

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Office of Research and Economic Development Research Council: Faculty Seed Grants

Award Date: Jan 1, 2024

End Date: Dec 31, 2024


Learning to teach is difficult. Much research has shown that clinical experiences are instrumental in preparing pre-service educators for the classroom, and preparedness is also linked to retention. 

During a time of increased diversity in schools — in terms of socio-economic, racial, linguistic, cultural and other demographic affiliations — it is imperative that pre-service teachers not only have ample opportunities to be in classrooms prior to entering the field, but also that the classrooms they are represent the diversity of U.S. public schools. Likewise, students in those classrooms should have the opportunity to read multi-textured, accessible novels that centralize voices that represent non-dominant cultures. 

This project is designed to observe the effects of one cohort of pre-service secondary English Education majors in their second semester of a four-semester program as they work with middle-level readers in a Title I school in a local school district. The partnership will take the shape of book clubs, during which students will read a young adult novel that centralizes a protagonist from non-dominant culture. This research will serve as a way of documenting and better understanding the benefits of university/Title I school partnerships. 

Researchers will examine experiences of middle school learners, the classroom teacher at the Title I school and the pre-service secondary English educators. Through visits and surveys, data will be collected about pre-service teachers' comfort in the classroom and engagement with students, as well as middle-level readers' comfort with the pre-service teachers and understanding of the college as a community partner. Additional information will be gathered during semi-structured interviews with pre-service teachers, the classroom teacher and students participating from the Title I school.

The study’s findings will serve as pilot data for future grant proposals and to lobby for financial support for the continued partnership on an institutional/college level. 

Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being

Jillian Harpster, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, is leading a project to help pre-service middle school teachers broaden their practical experiences in diverse classrooms.
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