Perceptions of Pre-Service Teachers As They Relate to Professional Practice

Dr. Emily Williams
New Mexico Highlands University

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Dr. Elissa Poel
New Mexico State University

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Dr. Miguel Licona
New Mexico State University

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Dr. Elsa Arroyos
New Mexico State University

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Alma Meraz-Rodriguez
Las Cruces Public Schools

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the beliefs and concerns of pre-service teachers as they relate to professional practice during their practicum experience. This study took place in a minority-serving university in the Southwest. All activities were conducted during one academic semester and held during the weekly on-campus seminars. The participants were a convenience sample of 13 pre-service teachers enrolled in dual licensure programs (elementary/special education and secondary/special education). Pre/post surveys, interviews, and focus groups were used to triangulate the data. Responses to questions posed during focus groups, interviews, and questionnaires were explored thematically. The results indicated that pre-service teachers maintained a positive attitude toward their students, projected an understanding of their students and their disabilities, and recognized the challenges that students with disabilities face.

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