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How new, full -time, fire technology instructors in California community colleges learned about the teaching/learning process: A mixed methods study

Clifford W Hadsell, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this mixed method study was to determine how new, full-time fire technology faculty members at community colleges in California learned about the teaching/learning process and what expectations they had for teacher training to be provided by their institution, and to replicate a previous study done by Deborah Brennan earlier in 2002 using occupational instructors. The quantitative portion of the study examined specifically what methods they used to learn about the teaching/learning process and what formal teacher training preparation was expected and available to them. The qualitative portion further examined the ways they learned about the teaching/learning process. ^ A survey designed and developed by Deborah Brennan, PhD (2002) was used to collect data on the new faculty members’ expectations for training. There were significant differences between the expectations of fire technology instructors for receiving and the actual training received in the areas of classroom instruction, curriculum development, developing philosophy of teaching, writing a course syllabus, preparing course materials, writing tests, evaluating student performance on tests, and assessing test effectiveness. The study reinforced many of Dr. Brennan’s findings of occupational instructors in mid-western states. The areas of expectations were exactly the same with the exception of advising program majors. The study also found that 75% of fire-technology instructors had a mentor assigned versus 34% of mid-west occupational instructors. ^ All of the California community colleges provided training through faculty orientation, in-services, workshops, and by requiring professional development plans for faculty members. Two-thirds of the interview informants reported the training needed more focus. The new faculty members identified areas in which they needed training, including areas such as; college policies on student conduct, and using computers in instruction. They suggested the training be held over one to three days and be delivered in a flexible format for newly hired faculty. All respondents had previous teaching experience in fire and life safety, and many had taught as adjunct faculty for many years. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Hadsell, Clifford W, "How new, full -time, fire technology instructors in California community colleges learned about the teaching/learning process: A mixed methods study" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3352769.