An exploratory study of the factors that influence pre-service teachers’ instructional practices with diverse students.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the complex array of factors in teacher education programs that influence pre-service teachers’ instructional practices with diverse students. Participants in the study included eight female 2008 graduates of a teacher education program at a private university. Factors considered were organized around four main themes: (a) campus factors (student demographics, social support, supervision, materials, mentoring, and curriculum), (b) individual characteristics (attitudes and beliefs, cognitive ability, and social support), (c) professional standards (knowledge, skills, and dispositions), and (d) university factors (seminars/courses, social support, supervision, collaboration, and curriculum). In an effort to closely examine variables, the researcher conducted interviews and reviewed archival data, including e- folio entries, observation notes, candidate reflections, and conference summaries. Due to the complex nature of the topic, this study entailed a descriptive, non-experimental cross case-study research design. The Classroom Instructional Practices Scale (Johnsen et al., 2002) was used to determine the degree to which each of the study participants differentiated instruction in the areas of content, rate, preference, and environment. After An Exploratory Study of the Factors That Influence Pre-service Teachers’ Instructional Practices with Diverse Students close examination of the 17 factors, four emerged as having the greatest influence on instructional practices of pre-service teachers with diverse students: (a) the beliefs of the individual interns, (b) characteristics of mentor teachers to whom the interns were assigned for their culminating field experiences, (c) characteristics of the intern supervisors and other university faculty members who worked with the interns, and (d) the coursework/seminars that the interns participated in during their culminating field experiences.