First Advisor

John F. Heflin

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Policy




First year teachers, Professional socialization, Interns (Education)



Physical Description

4, v, 265 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


The competencies and needs of those entering the teaching profession have become the subject of public debate since the release of A Nation at Risk. Subsequently many comprehensive and comparative reviews have documented the socialization of those entering the teaching profession especially student teachers and first-year teachers. The problems of beginning teachers have produced survival and self-oriented concerns. Internships and induction programs have been developed to ease the socialization of beginning teachers and mediate these concerns. As internships are developed and induction programs implemented, descriptive field studies which examine the processes of beginning teacher socialization are needed. Particularly, studies which investigate the socialization of first-year teachers prepared in cooperative field-based programs are necessary. This study was designed to document and analyze the teaching experiences of four first-year teachers who completed an extended field-based Internship – CPEP (Cooperative Professional Education Program). These teaching experiences were documented in terms of a conceptual framework drawn from socialization theory, occupational socialization theory, and teacher socialization research. Three questions were developed to guide this research into the teacher socialization process: 1) What are the socialization structures and processes, formal and informal, which shaped teachers' perceptions of their first year of teaching? 2) What are the teachers' perceptions of problems encountered and what adjustments are made? 3) What are the common concerns shared by these beginning teachers? The conceptual framework, socialization theory, coupled with a comparative case study design, were utilized to collect, organize, and interpret the data. Data sources included interviews, questionnaires, observations, video tapes, and journals. These multiple data sources provided evidence of the factors which explain beginning teachers’ induction into the teaching profession, teaching experiences in terms of teacher socialization theory and research and the relationship between teacher socialization and occupational socialization theory. The answers to the research questions are as follows: First, several significant contextual factors shaped these first-year teachers' perceptions of teaching: the organizational nature of the schools, the physical demands necessary to maintain energy levels for teaching, and the lack of time for planning. The influence of each teacher's primary socializing agent, the internship mentor teacher was expressed through a process of collegial emulation. Their students and teachers in other schools were also influential socializing agents. The behavioral outcomes of the teachers consistently focused on issues related to efficiency and organization. Second. the most significant self-perceived problems were the lack of planning time and the dynamics of working with other staff members. Although these beginning teachers became increasingly self-critical about the consequences of their teaching, they maintained a tone of confidence and competence. Third, the Stages of Concern Questionnaire administered to the teachers revealed relatively high student-focused (task) and teacher-oriented (impact) concern intensities. Their most commonly shared concerns included refocusing their teaching and identifying the consequences of their instruction. Although institutional demands influenced teacher adjustment to the norms and values of the profession and to the school as a social organization, the teachers also took an active role in this socialization process. The teachers were influenced by institutional norms, but they also created new roles and norms. Consequently, their socialization was a dynamic and interactive process. Occupational socialization variables which linked teacher socialization to occupation socialization theory included training, formal and informal mechanisms of control, and stages of socialization. The research findings contribute to the teacher education knowledge base and should be of value to four primary audiences: school site administrators who supervise beginning teachers, staff development administrators who organize in-service programs, governing bodies which regulate teacher certification, and university personnel who develop and supervise teacher preparation programs.


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