Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-1-2015


Sunderman, B. (2015). The Study of Pre-service Teachers Participating in Candidate Learning Communities: A Mixed Methods Study. EdD diss, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Administration (UNL-UNO), Under the Supervision of Professor Jody C. Isernhagen. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Barbara Sunderman


The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of instructional skill and professional dispositions of pre-service teacher education candidates’ understanding of their own teaching skills. The research examined perceptions before and after the clinical experience while participating in a Candidate Learning Community. In this mixed-methods study, perceptions were quantitatively measured with a pre-survey and a post survey of 17 participants and qualitatively described by 11 participants in follow up interviews; each intensely studied teaching skill and professional pedagogy in coursework and cooperative classrooms.

The research revealed significant increase in personal perception of teaching skills and dispositions during the clinical term while participating in Candidate Learning Communities. The findings indicated that concentrated classroom participation and course work combined with the Candidate Learning Community groups can help develop improved perception of teaching skills and professional dispositions. The quantitative data indicated a significant difference in teaching skills and dispositions from the pre-survey at the beginning of the academic term to the post-survey at the end of the term. The qualitative findings indicated the participants benefitted from involvement in a Candidate Learning Community; these benefits were described as an increase in teaching and learning ideas, encouragement from others, increases in teaching skills and dispositions, and a feeling of belonging. Implications of this study were the use of learning communities can impact perceptions of the learning of pre-service teachers. Based on the findings of this study, implications for future study included investigating how participation in Candidate Learning Communities impacted the work with colleagues during in-service teaching, investigating the impact of learning teams and their effectiveness with other pre-service teaching majors, and investigating the impact of learning communities over time.

Advisor: Jody Isernhagen