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Struggling Student Teachers: Interventions for Support and Success

Sheree M Moser, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Teacher shortages in K-12 schools have created unique challenges for teacher preparation programs (TPPs). University instructors face the task requirements of supporting candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds at the undergraduate and graduate level. While some of these candidates enter higher education programs skilled, eager, and committed, others are less prepared, requiring significant attention to make it through the program. Exams required by state departments of education and minimum grade point averages influence each candidate’s ability to move forward within the program, causing some students to experience additional struggles related to mental health and financial burdens. The problem of practice addressed in this dissertation identifies common struggles of students enrolled in four Career and Technical Education (CATE) programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and thus common struggles for their teacher educators. All of these CATE programs share a common content designation within state and national policies. In addition, the study examined strategies faculty use to support struggling students throughout those students’ time as teacher candidates. This study consisted of two parts methodologically. In Part One, a narrative case study was conducted to examine the progress and struggles of a single student, hereafter referred to as Josie. That research laid the groundwork for Part Two, in which three formal interviews were completed with faculty running CATE programs to gather initial qualitative data to identify common struggles faced in all content areas. A qualitative methodology was used to document interview results. Each interview was summarized based on question categories, similarities, and differences were highlighted to identify checkpoints and interventions that have worked well for teacher education candidates. Common themes of struggle and intervention were identified. Consistent with a ‘dissertation-in-practice' (DIP) study that proposes application as well as diagnosis, a letter to the college deans from me and my CATE TPP colleagues was created to share information related to program status and structure.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Educational psychology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Moser, Sheree M, "Struggling Student Teachers: Interventions for Support and Success" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI28259229.